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Old 08-12-2016, 02:23 PM   #1
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King Jack TV antenna test

I was an early adopter of OTA antennas and at one point a couple of friends and I had a friendly little contest to see who could come up with the best design. All of them worked pretty well and, as is typical with digital reception, the most important variable was an unobstructed line of sight.

Living in a canyon, with no clear path to the TV transmitters, I always had to very carefully aim the antenna, sometimes only a few degrees difference meant the difference of a signal or not.

At home I've been using a commercial 8 bay unit for years and it does a great job in a difficult location. On the road I've been using a 4 bay unit with fairly good results but there's always the finding the optimum direction and it's fairly fragile and not well suited to being thrown in the back of the truck.

So I thought I'd try out buying a Jack replacement antenna head and their signal strength meter. I didn't want a permanently mounted roof setup.

Wow, should have done that years ago. The strongest reading my 8 bay could bring in 2 blue lights. Amplified Jack; 4 blue lights

I had to make a bit of a mickey mouse set-up to test it at home and compare it to the 8 bay. I took a small m/c battery, a small inverter and my netbook with a TV stick up on the roof so the two antennas were side by side. I'm really happy with the results and the Jack is so much less sensitive to the direction it's pointed.

So, on the road, the 1" aluminum tube will drop into the socket I already have on the top of the spare tire holder and signal strength meter will be inside but I'll still be able to see it.

I'm a happy camper, always nice when the results exceed expectations.

Ron
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I was an early adopter of OTA antennas and at one point a couple of friends and I had a friendly little contest to see who could come up with the best design. All of them worked pretty well and, as is typical with digital reception, the most important variable was an unobstructed line of sight.

Living in a canyon, with no clear path to the TV transmitters, I always had to very carefully aim the antenna, sometimes only a few degrees difference meant the difference of a signal or not.

At home I've been using a commercial 8 bay unit for years and it does a great job in a difficult location. On the road I've been using a 4 bay unit with fairly good results but there's always the finding the optimum direction and it's fairly fragile and not well suited to being thrown in the back of the truck.

So I thought I'd try out buying a Jack replacement antenna head and their signal strength meter. I didn't want a permanently mounted roof setup.

Wow, should have done that years ago. The strongest reading my 8 bay could bring in 2 blue lights. Amplified Jack; 4 blue lights

I had to make a bit of a mickey mouse set-up to test it at home and compare it to the 8 bay. I took a small m/c battery, a small inverter and my netbook with a TV stick up on the roof so the two antennas were side by side. I'm really happy with the results and the Jack is so much less sensitive to the direction it's pointed.

So, on the road, the 1" aluminum tube will drop into the socket I already have on the top of the spare tire holder and signal strength meter will be inside but I'll still be able to see it.

I'm a happy camper, always nice when the results exceed expectations.

Ron
Same here Ron have Wineguard directional antenna's on roof at home now for almost 6 years . Also live near lot's of hills . Dumped the sat. and cable which have had for about 37 years . As soon as HD came out , saw a article about cord cutting . Put up antenna and have more then enough to watch . Only on 5 foot pole . Get Netflix DVD's and have a Roku player . About 17.00 a month . Could eliminate those too if price gets too high . The antenna has lot's of programming and it is free . Pat
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:36 PM   #3
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The "RV replacement" version of the King Jack antenna comes with two mounts: one is a square mount meant to go on the extendable square tube crank-up rooftop antenna arm that many RVs have; the other is a mount meant for a round antenna mast. The instructions say to not use the round antenna mast mount on an RV.

I assumed that perhaps this mount wasn't robust enough to endure the vibrations it would encounter on an RV. I called King to ask about this. A young tech told me that he didn't really know, but pointed out that this mount is easily removable from the mast (it is). I want to use a King Jack on my Escape's antenna mast, so I think I'll drill a hole in the mount and install a safety wire so that it won't become a road hazard if the mount breaks and falls off.

I'll have to order a second King Jack for this, as I installed the first one on an antenna mast at home. It seems to work pretty well.
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:57 AM   #4
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Good to hear that the King Jack works good. I am going to look for a non-permanent solution for TV in the future too, and it is good to hear what works for folks.
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:49 PM   #5
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The instructions say to not use the round antenna mast mount on an RV.

I want to use a King Jack on my Escape's antenna mast, so I think I'll drill a hole in the mount and install a safety wire so that it won't become a road hazard if the mount breaks and falls off.
Yes, I did a double take on that also. Might have been better if they'd said "moving" RV.

I cross pinned my solar panel mast and it's been fine with the pin. Much more secure than relying on a clamp.

Well, my happiness with the King Jack antenna just went up another notch. I was going to take it down to a local mall parking lot that has a clear line of sight to the local mountain and test it there. It has at least 3 transmitters on it. But I thought, what the heck, why not do an impossible test at home. Even on my roof I don't have a clear line of sight to the transmitters. There's an escarpment and trees in the way. So why bother trying it on the trailer 20' lower and with a new monster house point blank in the way.

Since it's so quick to set up I tried it anyway. Knock me over with a feather. Same 8 stations that I get with the 8 bay on the roof.

One bird seemed quite interested in what I was doing below him. I was hoping he wasn't going to poop on my head. That's why we keep the small cover on at home, even in the summer.

Hard to see what I had on screen on the netbook in the bright sunlight. Looks like the desktop, a TV picture and me. The netbook does work well as a TV, I'm still undecided if I want to get a dedicated small TV. Hey, my first mobile TV was a snowy 5" B&W. Anything larger in HD and color looks great to me.

Ron
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Well, my happiness with the King Jack antenna just went up another notch. I was going to take it down to a local mall parking lot that has a clear line of sight to the local mountain and test it there. It has at least 3 transmitters on it. But I thought, what the heck, why not do an impossible test at home. Even on my roof I don't have a clear line of sight to the transmitters. There's an escarpment and trees in the way. So why bother trying it on the trailer 20' lower and with a new monster house point blank in the way.

Since it's so quick to set up I tried it anyway. Knock me over with a feather. Same 8 stations that I get with the 8 bay on the roof.
I'm not all that surprised - down at TV frequencies (even UHF), you don't need line of sight. At home we don't have clear line of sight to any station, but all local stations (up to perhaps 60 km away, but without mountains) come in with even an old-fashioned RV antenna, and well with a home rooftop directional antenna.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
One bird seemed quite interested in what I was doing below him. I was hoping he wasn't going to poop on my head.
That's quite the nice roof over the bird feeders... but I suppose where it rains a couple hundred days a year, you should have a good roof.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I'm not all that surprised - down at TV frequencies (even UHF), you don't need line of sight. At home we don't have clear line of sight to any station, but all local stations (up to perhaps 60 km away, but without mountains) come in with even an old-fashioned RV antenna, and well with a home rooftop directional antenna.


That's quite the nice roof over the bird feeders... but I suppose where it rains a couple hundred days a year, you should have a good roof.
Oh, you folks in Alberta are so cruel to us living out here on the Wet Coast. But the pain is dulled somewhat when I think of us out on the water in January, in a winter race, sun shining and warm, making jokes about those poor folks East of the Rockies with their block heaters and frozen water.

OK, I do admit that sometimes we do get a little rain and the bird feeder has vertical joints that aren't waterproof. If the bird seed gets damp it can get moldy, hence the roof over. Yes, we have the bird feeders, including the hummingbird feeder, out year round. A concept that might seem strange to some folks that live in frozen wastelands.

My friends and I have tested multiple designs in multiple locations. You're quite correct in the frequency working in a positive way towards mitigation of line of sight impairment but in the end it's a mix of frequency, line of sight and distance to the transmitter. Not quite a black art but we've had some results that were unexpected. At any rate the King Jack, for this location, has given the strongest signal of any antenna previously tested.

Ron
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Old 08-20-2016, 05:39 PM   #8
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OK, now that I established that the King Jack antenna does a good job, the next step was to make it easy to hook up.

At first I considered putting the signal meter and power injector inside. But since there's always a possibility that we might do another CruiseAmerica delivery or use the antenna on another vehicle I decided to make it modular. It's already easy to remove the antenna, so having the rest semi-portable made sense to me.

I just happened to have an old telco box that was the right size. I mounted it with quick release brackets on the back bumper. It is well protected by the spare tire.

A quick spray with Krylon got rid of the grungy telco grey.

It was a lesson in frustration and patience since my right hand is in a cast. Ever try and put a 6-32 screw in place and put a nut on it with one and a bit hands.

Went out last night to buy a 19" Samsung on sale but it looked so small. Now I'm undecided on the best size. We're not huge TV watchers but for going across Canada next summer it might be nice to have.

Ron
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:57 PM   #9
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Ron, your portable setup looks great. I am wondering how you got 12-volt power to the injector.

I'm thinking of copying your setup, except I will put the injector and signal meter inside (visible through a window).

I'm assuming you brought power out from the trailer somehow -- yes? If so, it would confirm my suspicion that I don't have to use the 120v power supply from King, which appears to be a simple 12v transformer, and that I can instead run 12 volt from within my trailer.

Can you clarify? Thank you!
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Old 09-23-2016, 06:50 AM   #10
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Yes, it does seem quite happy to run on 12 volts.

I ran a wire, along with several others for a rear light and back up camera out back. Originally I was going to put the signal strength meter etc. inside and peer through the back window while rotating the mast. But it just seemed easier to put it in the box at the rear, more out of the way than any location that I could figure out for the interior.

With the Jack antenna being much more omni directional than I expected I almost don't need the signal strength meter.

Ron
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