King Controls, a manufacturer of RV satellite TV antennas, recently released an amplified HD over-the-air TV antenna head called JACK that is designed to mount on a Winegard Sensar lift mechanism. JACK covers UHF and VHF digital broadcast bands and, according to the company, offers improved UHF reception where 80 percent of the new local digital broadcasts are assigned. Though still considered a directional antenna, JACK offers a wide reception range, which makes it easy to locate and fine-tune a digital signal using the TV’s channel scan feature.
Installing the 1 1/2-pound JACK on the Sensar lift mechanism is a simple, five-minute project for anyone with minimal mechanical aptitude. All that’s required are needle-nose pliers and a screwdriver. The zinc-plated hardware is included for either a pole mast installation or, as we used it, a total replacement head for the Winegard Sensar batwing-style antenna used on many RVs.
After shutting off power to any existing amplifier power supply, screw the included aluminum Sensar bracket to the antenna and make your way to the roof. Carefully unscrew the coaxial cable from the existing antenna. The existing dust boot protecting this connection may be weathered, brittle or even missing, but a replacement is provided.
Using pliers, remove the pair of retaining clips on the existing antenna mount pins. Don’t worry if they’re rusted or broken as new ones are supplied. Removing the two pins will free the antenna body from the lift mechanism arms. We found it more convenient to install the JACK after raising the lift mechanism slightly for better access to reinstall those same mounting pins through the arms and new Sensar bracket holes.
With the pins and clips reinstalled, fill the coax connector with the supplied di-electric protective grease, then fit the new dust boot over the coax connector and reconnect to the antenna, fitting the dust boot into the recessed slot around the connector. A dab of silicone will help keep the dust boot seated and another dab will seal the cable end. Test the lift mechanism for any binding and ensure the antenna head remains horizontal throughout its arc of movement. If it doesn’t, you have one of the retaining pins in the wrong set of bracket holes.
Back inside, power up your existing 12-volt DC amplifier (booster) and you’re ready to go. If your coach doesn’t have a boosted signal, you’ll need to install the supplied power injector between the end of the cable and TV (or digital converter box). A 120-volt AC to 12-volt DC power converter is then plugged in to the nearest receptacle and connected to the power injector.
We found that the UV-protected aerodynamic JACK doubled the number of digital channels that the old non-HD amplified analog antenna was able to pull in from 40 miles, and without any “low signal” warnings. Directional fine tuning corrected any occasional pixelated display, providing a clean and clear HD picture for our $49.95 investment and five minutes of labor.
For more information, call 800-982-9920 or go to www.kingcontrols.com.