Caravan and camping often requires clever solutions to common problems, from developing a sustainable source of 12V power for the caravan to watching the telly. The good news is that multiple solutions exist for for almost any issue you’re likely to face on the road.
We had been in search of a portable television antenna for camping. The Winsig Digital Television Camping Antenna appeared to be the answer. While Winsig antennas for caravans and motorhomes have been available for quite some time, the latest version is reasonably new to the market, having been developed during an intensive R&D push during the covid-19 lockdowns.
The Camping Antenna is the portable version; however, there are numerous Winsig antennas available that can be mounted permanently to the RV.
WINSIG: VERSATILE AND POWERFUL
The Winsig Camping Antenna is versatile. Not only could it be used for tent camping purposes – provided you have access to 12V power (from the car, for example), but it readily suits pop-tops and camper trailers of all types.
The kit includes the antenna itself, a few metres of coaxial cable, the cable connection to the TV, the power injector, and a ‘through the wall’ fitting. A special mast is also provided, which allows you to temporarily (or permanently) fit the antenna to the roof of your van and achieve a height suitable for receiving the TV transmission.
The mast includes a special bracket designed to fit one of the four hooks that help secure a pop-top’s roof in the ‘closed’ position.
I found the kit very easy to setup and use. I used a 12V double adaptor in order to power the 12V TV and power injector off the one point in a pop-top I loaned for the test. Honestly, the hardest part was hooking the bracket on the antenna mast over the hook – and even that was very easy.
A key feature of the Winsig is that it receives signals from all points of the compass simultaneously. Because it is omni-directional, it is requires no adjustment or orientation towards the nearest transmission tower.
It is also compact (about half the size of its competitors) and receives signals in horizontal and vertical polarity. Winsig antennas are designed to receive all TV transmissions in Australia and New Zealand, so it won’t have trouble picking up the older VHF and UHF signals.
Another key benefit of the Winsig is its built-in booster, which allows travellers to be a large distance from the nearest transmission source and still receive a good signal. It’s worth pointing out that it also contains a filter to prevent interference from mobile phone signals.
Winsig says its own testing has yielded impressive results, with a signal strength consistently 6-12dB higher than competing products. During testing, the company received Melbourne TV channels while in Apollo Bay (on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road), about 160km from the nearest TV transmitter (in Mount Dandenong).
Now, it is a TV antenna – not a satellite dish – and as such it won’t work in all parts of Australia; however, it will receive a strong signal wherever there is proximity to a television transmitter.
I can confirm that in the area I used it – about 1.5 hours outside of Melbourne, I had an excellent TV picture.
The Camping Antenna is a little cheaper than the Winsig that can be permanently mounted to the van (or used to replace the van’s existing antenna, if desired); however, it did a very good job and was easy to set-up. The mast/bracket solution is clever, too.
It appears to be an excellent way for camper trailer owners, in particular, to still watch TV while at camp.