Owners who subscribe to satellite TV for their motorhomes must rely on a dish antenna to bring in the signal. While many motorhomes are fitted with rooftop dishes, those who frequent campgrounds where trees and heavy vegetation grace the landscape know that receiving a signal is not always possible. The alternative for frustrated satellite signal seekers, and those who don’t have a rooftop dish, is a portable system. Winegard, a popular manufacturer of antenna products for RVs, has introduced the Carryout Anser to make portable dish setup almost automatic and less expensive.
While portability has its benefits, setting up a dish that seeks the satellite automatically is much more convenient than using standard hardware requiring manual pointing. Winegard splits the difference with its new Anser, calling it a hybrid automatic portable satellite antenna, and it can be purchased for $399.
The Anser is uniquely designed, looking like a globe with the top lopped off. It weighs only 16 pounds and can be transported by the built-in handle, but it’s on the bulky side so it may be challenging to find an adequate storage compartment in some rigs. Nevertheless, it employs a number of features that make it practical as a tag-along antenna, even if the motorhome is fitted with a rooftop dish.
Foremost in the benefits column, the Anser can be placed up to 25 feet from the motorhome. That makes it fairly easy to find an open view of the southern sky, unless you’re parked in the jungle. It can be set on the ground, picnic table or mounted on an adjustable tripod mount (TR-1518) sold by Winegard. The tripod makes it easy to keep the dish out of standing water, which can damage the unit. It can only take winds up to 35 mph, so the tripod anchor improves the odds the dish won’t shift and lose the signal.
Compatible satellites for the Anser allow Dish and Bell service subscribers to receive HD service while DirecTV is limited to standard programming. Since the Carryout Anser has a larger reflector, Dish HD programming can be received from a single satellite rather than toggle between three, which is common with many automatic antennas. Locking onto a single satellite also makes it easier to find an unobstructed view to the sky.
Operation is simple. Once the elevation is determined, the top part of the dish is rotated to line up with the proper number embossed on the side and locked in place. The user connects the Anser to the receiver (most motorhomes have portable satellite connections outside or in a storage compartment). The power cable is plugged into 12-volt DC power and the dish automatically orients to the proper azimuth. The power cable is then
unplugged and TV is ready to be watched. Both provided cables are 25 feet, but a 50-foot power cable is available. In some cases, the receiver might have to be programmed, but that’s an intuitive process.
We hooked the Anser up to a DirecTV receiver and the dish found the satellite in a couple of minutes. Once locked in, the signal continued to feed the receiver for the duration of our trip. At one point, we strung a second coax (two outputs provided) to our friends next door to connect to their receiver.
Sure beats fumbling with manual dish antennas.
Winegard, 800-288-8094, www.winegard.com