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Old 05-05-2014, 11:04 PM   #1
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Satellite solutions

For those that have them, what satellite system do you use when you travel? I have DirecTV at home an could easily take my receiver or DVR with me when I travel. I am curious what people are using for their hybrid and if they have regrets, ideas, etc.

I've been thinking about a simple stand and DirecTV dish. They can be purchased cheaply on E-Bay. I also see the 'portable' systems by Wineguard and other makers that seem like they could be really useful. Mounted systems don't seem reasonable for a hybrid due to the weaker structure.

Any other ideas would be great.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:44 AM   #2
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When I upgraded my home DirecTV to HD I took the old SD receiver and dish to my camper. After much aggravation with wind blowing the dish over and alignment problems I ended up with these devices:

http://www.winegard.com/mobile/tripod.php
Winegard TR-3535 Satellite Tripod Mount

This has a wide footprint and is much more wind tolerant.

http://www.alignasite.com/

This device lets you see the sky where the satellite is and makes it easy to avoid trees and other obstacles when aiming the dish.

One more thing. DO NOT let DirecTV know you are using this in an RV. They want a separate subscription for an RV. In my case as far as DirecTV knows it is just another bedroom TV in my home. That is only $6.00 a month. They only down side is you will lose your local channels if you get too far from home. But, hey, you have a crank-up antenna for locals when away from your home area.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:36 AM   #3
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I had played with a manual dish for quite a while and it didn't work for me. Maybe I'm just impatient, but many of my trips are short (2-3 days) and fiddling with a dish just didn't seem like a reasonable amount of time.

Recently, I got a good deal on a Dish Tailgater, and while I haven't used it while camping, the driveway test is awesome! Just about anywhere I put it, it automatically finds the birds. I would definitely recommend an automatic solution
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:43 AM   #4
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I am a Dish user, but the solutions are the same. The auto tune products work great based on every review that I have read from current users. The tailgater is the cheapest and one of the best but only works with Dish.

Depending on how you use your RV, don't give up on the tripod / standard dish. I switched from SD to HD last fall and after upgrading the dish on my tripod, I have had no problem with tuning and reception in my TT. Am considering getting a tailgater that I would only use for short overnite stops or weekends when setting up the tripod might be a bit more work than I want to do.

Set up your tripod and practice tuning your sat signal AT HOME. Remember when you travel, you'll have to reset the dish for the location where you camp. The settings are easy to find by zip code and equally easy to adjust the dish. The key to using a tripod is to get it set up absolutely vertical and balanced on firm ground. Hanging a gallon milk jug or similar weight will keep wind from moving it once you have it set up. Another solution is to screw it into a picnic table after you level the table. A cheap signal meter is a critical device in tuning the signal. they can be had for less than $10 and are installed "in line" near the dish.

the auto tune units are great but can be pricey. Unless you are a gypsey and setting up in different places several times each season, they might be more than you want to invest and the cheaper tripod set up will work fine. It will take you 15 to 30 minutes compared to 5 or 10 with the auto tune, but its about how much you want to spend.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:56 AM   #5
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I also have had direct TV for years. With all the new HD TV's out there, I would not think of watching standard definition any more. Direct TV has never given me a problem about using a receiver on the road. In fact, I have called them several times from campsites needing help. Now I am an old hand. I just take a receiver from my back office and take it with us. In fact, leaving out this morning for Flint River RV park in Bainbridge, GA. Don't bother buying a dish. You can find plenty abandoned everywhere. Direct TV does not want them back. You can easily find an abandoned one somewhere or I just asked around. I have several spares out in my barn. I used the HD dish. As far as a tripod, I used the Heavy Duty surveyor tripod you can get from Home Depot for around $100. You can get the piece to mate the tripod to the dish online. You can also buy a tripod online ready to go for direct TV dish. Alignment can sometimes be a problem, especially when the trees are full of leaves. Just need to do a little planning ahead with the campground map so you are in a good location. The more practice you get, the quicker you will be with setup. I would not think of traveling without my satellite dish, especially during football season. Gotta watch the draft this week! Time to hit the road. Good luck.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:01 AM   #6
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Below is a link to a company who specializes in TV for RV. They have a complete tripod package (heavy duty) plus signal meter, etc. Check them out. This is the tripod I use.

http://tv4rv.com/sunshop/index.php?l...ct_detail&p=13
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for all of the suggestions! Maybe I'll go on CL or something and see if I can get a dish for free.

I usually travel for 1-3 weeks at a time throughout the summer and sometimes stay at various places for those weeks, so I would be setting up several times throughout the summer. The ease of the 'tailgater' models that auto-find the reception is tempting for this reason. From what I've seen, they are only available in standard definition though, correct?
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:07 PM   #8
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No Tailgater is HD, but only Dish Network. It is made by King Controls who makes models for Direct TV, just not as inexpensive.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:47 PM   #9
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It was implied that the auto tuners could lock a signal in trees or whatever where you couldn't get a signal with a tripod. Simply not true. If the signal is blocked or to weak to lock in, the same would be true with either antanne system. If you are mechanically challenged and have trouble setting things up, then the auto tuners are the answer. Tripod mounted dishes are pretty simple to set up and with practice you can be watching tv in 30 minutes. Moving a lot and have stays of 2 or 3 days, you also may do better with the auto tune. They are just more expensive, not more effective.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:23 PM   #10
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It will come down to time over cost. I've done both. Time to watch TV with an automatic dish is 10 minutes. Time with manual is 30 (my personal experience) BUT the biggest difference is with the automatic dish, time messing with the dish is 1 minute, with the manual dish is 15-20. If I stayed in a location for weeks at a time, I would not get an automatic dish, but can't beat it for weekend trips.

On the down side. As mentioned, you can likely get a traditional dish free, or close to it. Automatic dishes, mine was $350 and they go up from there. The surface area of the automatic dish is smaller than the traditional dish, so it will likely be more affected by obstacles than the manual dish BUT in my case, you have far more options on where to place the Tailgater (on the roof, slide out, truck bed, picnic table, probably even in a tree!).
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