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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-08-2008
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Digital TV

We purchased a Phillips digital TV and a digital antenna several months ago and when it works, the picture is great, but often it is unwatchable--major pixelization, freeze frames and broken audio. We use it only at the dock.

I started out with the antenna temporary on the fwd hatch and was not surprised when it provided poor reception. Moved it to the lifeline stanchion with the same results. I figured that since uhf tv is line-of-sight, higher would be better. Moved it halfway up the mizzen and it seemed a little better, so then I went to the top of the mizzen and could not see any improvement. I could take it to the top of the mainmast, but I have serious doubts that would make matters any better.

Before I invest $200 in one of those Shakespeare 2020 SeaWatch antennas, I'd like to hear from some who have actually used them. All opinions are appreciated.
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Old 08-08-2008
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I've tried a few different setups over the past 10 years. I tried a smaller UFO (similar to the 2020 you mentioned) on the backstay (about 20' off the water) of my c320 first which only got the Providence stations (at the marina) about 5 miles away. I then mounted a Shakespeare 2020 (I believe) about 2/3s of the way up the c320 mast (about 35' off the water) with better reception at the marina but still couldn't get Providence (faded in and out with too much snow) out at Block Island about 18 miles away. On my current boat I tried the "hoist up" circular aluminum antenna and that has worked better than the other 2 attemps. I just leave it on the pilothouse and get both Providence stations pretty good at the dock or anywhere around NGBay. On Block Island I hoist it up (about 45' off the water) and get it good enough to catch the Weather in the morning with live radar rain pictures which is all I want it for ...... well of course except for the DVD/VCR player for an occasional movie or pre-recorded show Works OK at Martha's Vinyard and I was just down in Greenport NY (Long Island) and got the Hartford Conn. station OK.
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Old 08-08-2008
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We were pleased with the performance of our UFO antenna all the way up the mast.
Unlike analog signals...digital either gives you a usable picture or not depending on the reception and since ALL broadcasts will be digital shortly, it it a good idea to insure that you have good cables and a decent antenna mounted as high as practical. BTW... the Shakespear is 126 bucks in the sailnet store.
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Old 08-08-2008
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i am not very happy with my shakespear. it really doen't do much better than one of the homemade jobs
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Old 08-08-2008
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This may not be constructive for the op but to anyone else reading, save your money and don't buy any of the so-called digital TV antennas. You will receive digital signals equally as well as you did with any contemporary type as these are just a marketing ploy to sell unnecessary stuff.
If your reception is currently poor, it will be poor when trying to tune the digital signals as well but it becomes more problematic as digital signals are either in or out.
If you can't mount the antenna higher and want to buy anyting to improve reception and do not currently have an antenna with a built-in amplifier, you may want to consider that, regardless of whether it is advertized as digital, an amplified antenna will definitely enhance the signal quality.
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Old 08-09-2008
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It's just too dependent on your cruising grounds, so there is no final solution. Buy a good DVD player and a radio for weather reports. Open TV will just bring more trash into your boat anyway ......
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Old 11-09-2008
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Glomex TV antenna questions

I have a Glomex antenna (a saucer-like flat disk) mounted on the top of my mast and its amplifier in the cabin. It was installed in '99, before I bought the boat. I'm told it worked great in the past but I haven't been able to get signal through it. One lead also goes to the radio but my reception is poor there also.

There is power to the unit. The "Gain Control" knob is missing and I can't seem to get in there to change the gain.

Does anyone have any experience with Glomex? Any suggestions on technical support?
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Old 11-09-2008
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sdcornwell-

Given that the antenna is nine years old, it may have some serious corrosion issues and may have failed for that reason. Have you inspected the electronics??? Also, if you're trying to use it for a HDTV ATSC signal, it may not work properly, since it is probably designed for the older analog NTSC signal and may not amplify the ATSC signal properly.
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Old 11-10-2008
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I would bet with 99% certainty that your Glomex has corrosion in the cabling or connectors.
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Old 11-10-2008
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Hello All,

Longtime lurker, first-time poster, Robin....

For what it's worth I tried this, and it worked a treat!

I use a small USB HDTV receiver with my laptop; it even has a neat little remote control! It works great! The dongle has an RF connector and I use a balun with two wires that I lay on the bolts for the upper chainplates, port & starboard,(thin strips of duct tape in an X hold the splayed bare wire to the carriage bolt heads) then a coax cable from the balun to the dongle. My rig is my antenna, and it works great!
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