Saturday, June 1, 2013

Learning is Fun! How we Watch TV. Plus, the Goods on our Antennae

This type of post is a little different for me due to more specifics than creative writing but I guess some of you out there would really like to know about how we do some things. So, I'm expanding my writing repertoire for those curious folks out there.

Learning is fun matrix

And of course I have to make it mine, so I am calling this the...

Learning is Fun! Series

The first topic on our list...

T.V., television, the boob tube, the tele

Here, I try to answer some of your questions and satisfy the curiosity that some might have...

Can YOU have t.v. in your home on wheels? 

If you want t.v. bad enough, you'll have it! When we first started out we bought a Phillips portable 9 inch digital HD TV with FM tuner that we paid $111.00. We actually bought it on the road in January 2012, due to football season! It came with a cute little antennae that looked like a metal stick but in no time at got broken so, we bought a rabbit ears antennae for $30.00 at a  Flying J.

Baby Phil TV time 500

Even though the screen was small, we were still entertained, in the van, when the sun went down. The antennae tried to bring in channels but at the most we would only get 2-4 and 3 of them would be Spanish habla espanol, no bueno! 

Time went on and in July we bought ourselves an Anniversary/Birthday present...a new T.V.!!

We gifted ourselves a Sansui 19 inch super slim LED-LCD HDTV. What a difference the extra inches make!!

[caption id="attachment_4844" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Hellllooooo.... Hellllooooo....[/caption]

At that point (July 2012) we were still using our rabbit ears to bring in the channels. Right around the Winter R.T.R. (January 2013), in Quartzsite, is when the biggest change in our T.V. reception changed drastically. We bought a new antennae, that we now call The Black Ops looks like we're honing in the Mother Ship! haha

"The Black Ops" is a ClearStream4 HDTV Antennae. We receive over the air digital and HD programming with no fees. We bought our antennae off of Amazon for about $75.00 in January, they are on sale now at Amazon for around $90.00The dimensions are: 9.1 x 28.2 x 20.1 inches and weighs roughly 7.4 pounds. The antennae has a range of about 65 miles...the main reason for getting it!!

In Quartzsite this Winter...and again football season at its peak, we had no channel if we tried really really really hard. We actually drove into Ehrenberg for the weekends, roughly 20 miles away, to catch the games! Plus, I missed the whole entire season of MY favorite show, The Biggest Loser... it just wasn't cuttin' it for us.

[caption id="attachment_4850" align="alignleft" width="150"]Install Install[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4849" align="alignright" width="150"]Hi-5 Hi-5[/caption]

We bought this new antennae, while at the R.T.R., and became the talk of the camp! It was a definite conversation starter for t.v. goers and all of the men, whether they like t.v. or not!!

Here is how we've hooked ourselves up with some tele:

A quick peek at our set-up before getting into the details.

[caption id="attachment_4853" align="aligncenter" width="224"]The Black Ops The Black Ops[/caption]

(Image Ant. 2) The antennae comes in a box with all of the pieces that you need to put it together, it took about 15 minutes for my handy man. Out of the box the antennae (the black circles) are black but the "grill" and the metal pieces that connect together are silver, we have spray painted all of the silver pieces a flat black. The antenna is placed on a regular one inch piece of PVC pipe that we have also spray painted flat black...(.97 cents at Walmart). We purchased a cute little solar light at the Dollar Store and placed it at the very top of the PVC, ya know...for low flying planes!

[caption id="attachment_4855" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Night Light 500 Ant. 2[/caption]

(Image Ant. 3) In this picture you can see where J' has fit the PVC pipe into the 90* elbow. There are 2 rebar rods, about a foot long, inside of the PVC to reinforce it during hard winds. The PVC is held onto our cargo basket with 2 U-bolts that we picked up at Radio Shack for about $3.00 a piece. In this picture you can aslo see the RG6 rated coax cable running down the length of the PVC into the roof of the van...the next picture is better for the cable.

[caption id="attachment_4854" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Elbow PVC 500 Ant. 3[/caption]

(Image Ant. 4) J' drilled a hole through the roof with his 18 volt Dewalt drill and a Titanium bit to feed the RG6 rated coax cable through to the inside of the van. The hole was filled with silicone caulk...and seems to be holding up pretty good!

[caption id="attachment_4857" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Running RG6 thru roof Ant. 4[/caption]

(Image Cab.5) The coax cable being run through the ceiling of the van, down along our interior trim to the T.V.

[caption id="attachment_4856" align="aligncenter" width="350"]RG6 Coax cable run 500 Cab. 5[/caption]

(Image TV 6) Our glorious 19 inch nightly entertainment!

[caption id="attachment_4860" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Front TV 500 TV 6[/caption]

(Image Back 7) J' drilled a couple of holes in the back of the t.v., at the top and fed a small piece of rope through the holes of the t.v. We use the rope to hold the t.v. in place instead of a mounting bracket...too many crashes onto our heads while getting water! We also installed a pigtail (the black cord taped to the back of the t.v.), so as not to pull on the fitting on the t.v. Believe us, you do not want a bad fitting when you're trying to watch the rose ceremony of The Bacherlorette and the cord accidentally gets moved!

[caption id="attachment_4859" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Back TV 500 Back 7[/caption]

(Image Stg.8) Showing how the rope acts as a mounting bracket.

[caption id="attachment_4861" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Pull my string 500 Stg. 8[/caption]

 Hopefully those images will help clear up any questions about how our antennae is set-up, when we put it up outside...which is most of the time. However, there are times when we don't want to put it up, can't put it up or are just not sure if we can or if we should. For those times, we will take The Black Ops off of the PVC pipe and place it on the front dash. I do not have pictures of this, because we've only had to really do this a time or two in a casino parking lot, but I'll run down how we do it.

We have pretty big sun shades up in our windows at all times, when we are parked. We also have two separate black pieces of fabric we put on the sun visors and push them to the side windows so the side windows are blacked out too. The antennae fits right on the dash board and is balanced by the steering wheel. I am accident prone so I make sure to wrap the corners in a towel before doing this so 1- the antennae doesn't rip the sun shade (yes, I learned the hard way) and 2- so the other edges don't poke ME in the eye ball...or Savannah (yes, I learned the hard way!). Even with the antennae up there, Savannah can usually still sleep on her bed that sits in the drivers chair. Doing it this way, the antennae is out of the way, it can't get broken and isn't outside bringing peeping eyes onto the scene.

All in all, we love our Black Ops and our t.v., we don't wish for satellite although it would be nice to get the History channel and TLC and some others, we love the ongoing cost....FREE!

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask and if I don't know them J' will!

I hope everyone had fun learning today. You can catch us back here...some day...some time!


Learning here




  1. Wow that thing is a sight. I had to laugh at the little light on top :D

  2. Sounds like a great antennae. But, after saying you couldn't get channels in the country and had to go to town, you describe the antennae. Does it draw in the channels you want to watch while camping outside of town? How many? The three major networks?

  3. Well we were driving into a different part of town when we still had the rabbit ears. We never have to move now with the Clearstream. Right now we are getting NBC, Fox, ABC, My45, a couple of locals,PBS + 3 movie channels. It suits our needs pretty well! Thank you for asking!