Rayzar Sharp


Photo Credit: Bob Livingston

The dome is 15½ inches in diameter and weighs only 4½ pounds. Made of UV-protected plastic, the dome is designed to withstand years of outdoor exposure.

By Bob Livingston
April 27, 2015
Filed under Gear, Resources, Tech Tips


Winegard’s new automatic amplified broadcast dome looks like a mini satellite dish but brings in crystal-clear local HDTV signals


“Free TV” has a nice ring to it. The idea of receiving local programming via over-the-air broadcasting is appealing to those who prefer not to incur a monthly service charge for watching TV. Many RV parks offer cable TV hookups, but the signal could be coming from a far-off location and be void of local programming, which is useful when in unfamiliar places. Once the feds mandated that all TV broadcasters convert to a digital signal in 2009, the paradigm changed for the better — a lot better.

High-definition programming is now the norm, and most owners rely on batwing antennas to pull in the signals. While that works OK, and a few other suppliers offer more sophisticated antennas, Winegard has taken this segment to the next level with its new Rayzar Automatic Amplified Broadcast HDTV Antenna.

The Rayzar Automatic looks like a mini satellite dish, and works using similar principles. It employs state-of-the-art electronics to bring in the most channels. For example, it’s easy to find a signal or two using just about any antenna, but the Rayzar computes the best antenna position to bring in highest number of signals, automatically. And it’s designed to bring in signals that are more distant. It has an ultra-low noise amplifier to boost signal strength resulting in minimal picture pixelation.

Winegard's Rayzar broadcast antenna sits smartly on the roof of any motorhome. Its low profile helps blend in to the exterior lines, and the dome can be ordered in black or white.

Winegard’s Rayzar broadcast antenna sits smartly on the roof of any motorhome. Its low profile helps blend in to the exterior lines, and the dome can be ordered in black or white.

When a search is initiated, the antenna rotates automatically in a direction that allows for the most channel availability. It typically takes around two to three minutes to go through the search process, and when the optimum number of TV frequencies is found, a figure will show up on the display screen. From here, a scan is initiated in the TV, which will determine how many stations can actually be viewed. The sub channels affect this process and the frequency figure on the display screen will likely be different from channels that are watchable.

During our test, we positioned the RV in a location where we knew it was difficult to receive broadcast signals. The readout showed 20 frequencies, but only six channels were watchable. Those channels were crystal clear and the picture was HD-quality. One of the channels was pixelating a little, so the manual control was used to move the antenna slightly and fine-tune the signal. Pushing the Search button again returns the antenna to the Automatic Search Mode.

Once we relocated to a more populated area, the frequencies were vast, with dozens of channels to watch.

The control panel, which replaces an existing batwing antenna counterpart, is loaded with features to keep the user informed of available frequencies and antenna positioning. Red and green LEDs indicate antenna position and will blink when the antenna is rotating. The on/off button has the same function found on batwing antenna controls, activating the amplifier, which will lock out the cable signal when on.

Winegard specifically designed the aftermarket kit to retrofit existing batwing antennas. Included in the box is all the necessary hardware to plug any holes left by the batwing antenna; there’s even a ceiling plate to cover the hole vacated by the old antenna crank-up mechanism. The intention of the installation design is to remove the existing antenna and place the new dome in the same location. A roof plate handles the modifications up top. But that may not be possible, as we found out. There are very specific instructions for locating the dome and it must not be farther than 30 feet from the control panel (a 20-foot coaxial cable is included and recommended for optimum performance) and have the necessary clearance from the front and side of the motorhome roof. In our case, we needed to move the dome away from the original location to meet these requirements, which was easily accomplished, but left the roof plate exposed — not a big deal.

In the end, the dome sits nicely on the roof and has a low enough profile so it looks integrated into the design of the RV. Performance and ease of use are exceptional, and there’s no risk of leaving a batwing antenna up when on the road. The Rayzar is available at Camping World for $399 and comes in black or white.

Here’s how the installation went:

Step 1

[1] The original crank mechanism in the ceiling is removed, exposing a rod, which will pull out with the batwing antenna body.

Step 2

[2] The existing control panel is removed from the ceiling or wall,

Step 2A

[2A] exposing the coaxial cables and power wires.

Step 2B

[2B] To make life easier, painter’s tape can be used to mark the coaxial cables and power wires after identifying and removing from the existing control panel.

Step 3

[3] Sealant must be peeled off the batwing antenna base before removal. A sharp putty knife makes the job a little easier, but use caution not to cut into the roof, especially if it’s rubber.

Step 4

[4] Once the old putty is cleared from the base of the batwing antenna, the screws are removed. Using a screw gun facilitates this process.

Step 5

[5] The batwing antenna should peel off the roof easily, but use caution not to lift the rubber membrane, if so equipped. Pull up the base to clear the inner rod from the hole in the roof.

Step 6

[6] The existing coaxial cable is disconnected from the batwing antenna, which is removed from the roof at this point.

Step 7

[7] Choosing a location for the dome requires a few measurements. The dome needs a minimum of 18½ by 18¾ inches of space for the installation. It needs to be 12 inches from the edge of the RV and at least 24 inches from the front of vehicle, and clear of nearby obstructions. When installing on a Class C, take the dimensions of the engine hood into consideration.

Step 8

[8] The roof plate is positioned over the hole used to mount the batwing antenna. In a perfect world, the new dome can be placed over this plate, but in our case, the required clearances would not allow for that positioning.

Step 9

[9] Rubber-roof lap sealer is applied to the back of the roof plate. Make sure to use the proper sealant for the type of roof material.

Step 10

[10] The roof plate is screwed down onto the roof after routing the connecting coaxial cable from the control box. In this case, the original cable was long enough.

Step 11

[11] Once the roof plate is screwed down, a line of lap sealer is applied to the edges and over the screw heads. Lap sealer will fill in openings and surfaces that are not level. Control the bead and don’t over-apply the sealant.

Step 12

[12] After locating the dome to its permanent home, make sure the coaxial-cable connection is facing the back of the motorhome. In this case the dome was placed next to the roof plate.

Step 13

[13] Mounting the dome to the roof is a simple process. Mark the location of the feet and

Step 13A

[13A] move the dome to the side to apply lap sealer on the area.

Step 13B

[13B] Carefully place the dome’s feet over the sealant and attach to the roof using the provided screws; apply sealant around the edges on the screw heads.

Step 14

[14] The ceiling plate does a nice job of covering the hole left by the batwing antenna crank mechanism.

Step 15

[15] Previously marked coaxial cables and power wires are connected to the Rayzar control box. In this case, the original batwing antenna was not a Winegard brand unit, but the wiring is similar.

Step 16

[16] The final step is installing the Rayzar control box in the same location as the original panel. The new box will easily cover the hole in the wall or ceiling.



Winegard | 800-288-8094 | www.winegard.com



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One Response to “Rayzar Sharp”

  1. Bill Klaes on July 25th, 2016 6:39 pm

    Does the Rayzor Sharp work with the optional digital over-the-air tuner on my ViP 211z?


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