Hands-On: Winegard Dome ’N Go

Those of us who have satellite dishes planted on our roofs know the drill: Jockey the rig so that there are no trees or obstructions that can block the view of the southern sky.

For me, that means the roof-mounted dome is blocked from receiving a signal about 30 percent of the time. While Winegard probably didn’t design and market the Carryout portable dome specifically as a supplement to an existing permanently mounted system, it fits the bill perfectly in this capacity.

The main intent obviously is to offer a portable dome that is
easy to transport and handle, providing satellite reception for just about any occasion. In
that respect, the Carryout is only 20 inches in diameter and 151/2 inches tall – and it’s
very lightweight and stowable.

The dome has a handle, making it comfortable to position on
a small table, picnic table or the ground, as long as it has a clear view of the southern
sky and is not in an area where water can puddle. Fifty feet of coax and power cable are
provided with the dome. Once the dome is in position, you simply connect the coax and the
power cord and route the other ends to the satellite receiver and 12-volt DC auxiliary
port, respectively. Although the set-up is simple, you need to make sure the coax is
connected before plugging in the power cord and turning on the receiver. Once operating, it
took a minute-and-a-half for the dome to find the signal, and maybe 30 seconds longer to
lock it in. The picture quality was excellent.

Programming is set for DirecTV, with the
capability to reset switches to make the dome receive Dish signals. Clearly written
instructions take the user through the procedures for reprogramming and operation with
certain Dish receivers. The MSRP is $899, but Camping World President’s Club members can
get it for $799.

An optional Ladder Mount kit allows the dome to be mounted on a typical RV
ladder (1 to 11?8 inches in diameter). The kit, which sells for the club price of $230 at
Camping World, is made of metal and installs in minutes. The dome is relatively stable on
the platform, but not designed to stay there while the RV is on the road. The bracket,
though, can remain in place while traveling. This option (which includes additional cabling
and a switch) makes it practical to use the Carryout as your primary satellite antenna,
while providing portable versatility when parking under trees.

The Carryout is pretty easy
to store and use, but it’s also easy to steal. You can cable/lock the handle to the table
or bench (though that’s not very secure). I’ll take that risk if it allows me to win the
battle over the trees.

For more information, contact Winegard at (800) 288-8094.

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