How to Hook up a TV to an RV Antenna Step-By-Step

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With an over-the-air RV TV antenna, you get free, instant access to potentially hundreds of local channels.

Connecting your TV to your RVs antenna, however, can seem complicated if you’ve never done it before.

Luckily, it’s a very simple process!

So, let’s learn the basic steps to hook up a TV to an RV antenna. And we’ll highlight some tips on how to improve your reception and get the most out of your antenna.

How Do I Hook Up An Antenna To My TV?

With An Existing Antenna

1. Connect The TV To The Antenna

Over-the-air antennas, even High Definition (HD) antennas, will typically connect to your TV via a coaxial cable.

Coaxial Cable

So, simply screw the coaxial cable from your RV antenna into the coaxial port on the back of your TV

What if your TV model doesn’t have a coaxial port?

Then you will need what is called an ATSC Tuner. You simply plug your coaxial cable into the tuner, then run either AV cables or an HDMI cable from the tuner to the back of your TV.

Mediasonic ATSC Digital Converter Box

Mediasonic ATSC Digital Converter Box

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2. Mount Your TV

In some cases, you will need to remove your TV from the wall mount to access the cable ports. If this is the case, then simply re-mount the TV to the wall before proceeding.

If you have yet to mount your TV, be sure to check out our guide on attaching a TV mount to an RV wall, as well as, how to install a flat-screen TV in an RV.

3. Run A Channel Scan

Once your TV is hooked up to the RV antenna, and the TV is mounted correctly, ensure the antenna is “on” (if it’s amplified) and run a channel scan. You will run the channel scan right from your TV. And how you do it will vary by manufacturer, so you may have to refer to your TV’s manual for instructions on how to do this.

If no channels are found, you may have to adjust your antenna and run the scan again.

Tip: Rescan for channels monthly to potentially pick up new channels.

With A New Antenna

If you plan on installing an antenna on your RV yourself, make sure to choose a model with a durable build or one that you can easily fold down while driving.

1. Construct Your Antenna

Unbox your antenna and follow the manufacturer’s set up instructions diligently. You can skip this step if you have a pre-built model, but it’s always a good practice to read the user manual before installing your antenna, anyway.

2. Install Your Antenna

Locate a secure, unobstructed position on your RV roof to attach the antenna.

Tip: Contact your RV dealer or manufacturer to see if there is a pre-wired or reinforced area for this system.

Again, every antenna is different, so refer to the installation instructions for the step-by-step process to install your specific antenna.

Never hesitate to employ professional help if necessary. Installing an antenna on your own the wrong way can end up costing you more in the long run. You can also skip this step if you want to use a portable antenna.

3. Run the cables

Look for the holes or “hook-ups” in your RV where you can feed the cables through. Then, run the power and interface cables inside the RV so you can connect them to your TV.

4. Connect The Cables, Mount Your TV, and Run A Channel Scan

Refer to steps 1 through 3 from the first scenario. After your channel scan is done, you’re good to go!

Tip: The antenna model you pick significantly influences the installation process. Some units are portable, so you don’t have to attach it to the roof. All you have to do is find an area with good reception, connect your antenna and TV, and you’re good to go.

Improving Your TV Experience

Even with a properly-connected antenna, you can still experience signal issues depending on your location. Here are a few optional devices that can improve your reception and make setting up much more straightforward.

TV Antenna Rotator

As you move from location to location, you might have to rotate your antenna to get better reception, and manual adjustments can be a hassle. With a remote-operated antenna rotator, you can easily adjust your antenna’s angle and direction.

Some models even come with channel-saving features. When you’re watching a specific channel, the rotator automatically moves in the right direction to get the best signal!

Many TV antennas come with this feature built-in, however, separate antenna rotators are available for purchase, as well.

TV Antenna Booster

Reception quality depends on the distance to your local signal towers and other factors like weather, terrain, and your surroundings. A TV antenna booster can improve the signal quality received by your antenna if you can’t get a better reception from rotating your antenna.

If you have an amplified TV antenna, then you are already seeing the benefits of signal boosting.

However, if you have a non-amplified antenna, you can simply attach a TV antenna booster to it to get improvements in signal quality.

Winegard TV Antenna Amplifier Signal Booster

Winegard TV Antenna Amplifier Signal Booster

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Antenna Signal Meter

An antenna signal meter is helpful if you want to skip the guess-work. This device connects to your RV’s antenna cable and automatically tests the signal strength whenever the antenna moves.

You can quickly find which local stations are within range with a signal meter and make the setup process faster.

A signal meter will also allow you to:

  • Adjust amplification to fine-tune the picture quality
  • Rotate your antenna (available on certain models)
  • Adjust volume audio signal feedback
Winegard Company RFL-332 Sensar Pro Signal Meter

Winegard Company RFL-332 Sensar Pro Signal Meter

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Tripod Base

If you have a portable, un-mounted antenna, it might benefit from a tripod base. Not every place you set up camp will have even ground. These mounts can help keep your antenna stable and level even in harsh weather conditions. Some models even come with bubble levels to help you with the alignment process.

Outdoor Antenna Mount

Outdoor Antenna Mount

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