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Old 08-24-2016, 08:10 AM   #1
mrk
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Replace cable between antenna and TV

The antenna cable on my '99 Tradewinds is 17 years old, and it's no longer working. It could be just a broken wire near the connection to the antenna, and I intend to cut the wire back a few inches and install a new connector to check out this possibility. The antenna is fine; we ran a wire from it to the booster, and get a great signal.

The larger question is how to replace the entire cable, from antenna to TV booster. It appears that a single cable runs all the way from the antenna, through the roof, and to the booster. If I want to replace the entire cable,
1) is there any "specification/type" of cable I need to use, and
2) how do I pull the new cable?

Can I simply tape the new cable to the old cable, and start pulling? With my luck, it would come apart somewhere inside the ceiling, and we don't want that.
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Old 08-24-2016, 08:38 AM   #2
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I've got the same problem, so I will be watching for a good solution. However, I did cut about 4 inches off the antenna end and replaced the connector......it helped a lot. My fear is that the cable is "fastened" at some point in the roof and will not pull through. Rook
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Old 08-24-2016, 08:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrk View Post
The antenna cable on my '99 Tradewinds is 17 years old, and it's no longer working. It could be just a broken wire near the connection to the antenna, and I intend to cut the wire back a few inches and install a new connector to check out this possibility. The antenna is fine; we ran a wire from it to the booster, and get a great signal.
The larger question is how to replace the entire cable, from antenna to TV booster. It appears that a single cable runs all the way from the antenna, through the roof, and to the booster. If I want to replace the entire cable,
1) is there any "specification/type" of cable I need to use, and
2) how do I pull the new cable?
Can I simply tape the new cable to the old cable, and start pulling? With my luck, it would come apart somewhere inside the ceiling, and we don't want that.
mrk
The better of the 2 readily available coaxial cable is RG6, rather than RG59.
However hopefully when you "cut the wire back a few inches and install a new connector" it will fix your problem....(pulling a new cable from the roof to the antenna booster in a RV can be a nightmare).
Good luck.
Mel
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:27 AM   #4
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Several years ago I had the same problem and found that the coax connector that connected my bat-wing cable to the MH coax just inside the roof was completed corroded. It was an easy fix. I just removed the bat-wing mount and the connection was right there. All of the RG-6 inside my MH is in great condition and I think you'll find your's is also in good shape. However, the bat-wing had RG-59 coax and I replaced that with RG-6.
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:57 AM   #5
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Hi MRK, and all,

Mel is correct about the cables but not a concern in your case. RG-6 cable has less signal loss per 100 ft than RG-59. RG-59 is a slightly smaller cable and could be easier to install in tight spaces and a run of 20 feet or so the loss factor would hardly be measurable. All that being said either cable would be fine in your case.

One other difference is RG-6 has a copper clad over a steel wire for the center condtuctor. This was done to improve the signal carrying capability at high frequencies. This is the main reason RG-6 is used for satellite installations as the frequencies are very high 950-1450 MHz. Most RG-59 cables have solid copper center conductors. Also RG-6 is always 100% shielded using foil with a semi 40-60% braid or 4 solid drain wires. RG-59 may or may not have foil and may or may not be 100% shielded.

One thing to check is if your coach has RG-6 and it is possible as National used both types. If the cable is RG-6 the main failure is the center conductor (being steel) can rust and this eats away at is capability to carry the signal. It is even worse when the cable has to carry power up to the preamp as with most RV antennas. This failure will most likely be at the antenna as it is exposed to the weather elements. When inspecting the center conductor it should appear shinny and red in color.

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Old 08-30-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
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It's time for an Update.
I read in the Windgard paperwork that came with the Tradewinds (rev 7/98) that the cable is RG59, and examining a piece that I cut from the antenna end of the cable seems to verify this.
I installed a new temporary connection onto the cut-back wire, and now I get several TV channels. Not as many as I got when I ran a wire (RG-6) directly from antenna to booster, but at least the antenna is now functional. I still need to install a permanent, properly crimped connector, unless I replace the entire cable.
Regarding pulling a replacement cable: I still might try this, as the distance between the outside antenna and the place where the cable becomes visible is only 4 feet. (Since I've already removed the headbanger TV, there is a lot of space that I haven't yet re-purposed.) I used an inspection scope to try to follow the cable back into the roof, and I did see a band encircling the bundle of wires with the cable. I imagine that there may be another similar band on the antenna end, too. The band(s) was nailed/screwed to a construction member of the TW roof, but I think, with a little silicon spray, I will try to pull a new wire (RG-6) through the bundle. "What could happen, right"? (Famous last words).
It will likely be late into the fall season before I attempt this, so if anyone else gets ambitious and tries it before I do, please let us know how it goes.

Dale
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:34 AM   #7
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Being a short run you might get lucky (and if you do go buy a Lottery Ticket). The problem might be the cable is probably zip tied to other cables or even worse clamped to a hard point. If so you'll never get a replacement cable to follow the same path. Might be best to pull back as much as you can and use a fish line if possible to install a replacement.

Grease up what's there with cable lube. Really slick stuff that will evaporate. Makes a big difference.

Klein Tools 32 oz. Premium Synthetic Clear Lubricant-51028 - The Home Depot
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:37 AM   #8
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Have you checked (replaced) the connection just inside the roof mentioned in post #4? That's what I plan to do next. Rook
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rook View Post
Have you checked (replaced) the connection just inside the roof mentioned in post #4? That's what I plan to do next. Rook
When I read Fred's post, I was assuming that, since his unit is 4 years newer, maybe National put a connector there, as when I pulled up the cable boot, my cable was surrounded by caulk. I didn't see any connection, but maybe it's hidden beneath the caulk. In fact, the cable on the roof is grey, whereas the inside cable is black. I was assuming that someone painted it, but maybe there IS a connection there.

If yours has a connection, then I'll bet I have one, too. That would make the project very simple, as the cable inside appears to be fine. If you get a chance to check yours for the connector, let me know what you find.

Dale
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:28 PM   #10
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Dale....watch this video. Clears everything up. You will have to paste the URL into your Browser. Rook

https://youtu.be/azbnbr58j10
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Old 08-30-2016, 01:02 PM   #11
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Dale, you have to remove the antenna mounting plate from the roof of the motorhome to get to the connection.
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:12 PM   #12
mrk
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Today I finished fixing the antenna wiring.

I removed as much of the caulk as I could from the point where the wire from the antenna enters the roof. The wire did not appear to be anchored but I couldn't pull it out, so, on a whim, I went inside the TW and removed the crank handle, spring, and rotating tube, hoping that I could see the wiring without having to remove the baseplate to the antenna.

I was not disappointed. I was able to pull the wiring down through the hole. There was a connector connecting the internal wiring to the wire leading to the antenna. When I separated the exterior wire from the connector, I noticed that the connector had some corrosion, and part of the exterior wire's core had broken off inside the connector. I replaced the connector.

On the roof, I taped the new cable (I used 8 feet of RG-6) to the old antenna cable and pulled it through the antenna tube, then pushed it into the hole in the roof. I went inside the TW and pulled the old cable with new cable attached into the coach. When it was all inside, I trimmed some of the excess from the new cable, installed a cable end and connected the new cable to the new connector. After confirming that I now have an excellent signal, I squeezed all the wiring back into the ceiling and re-installed the parts of the antenna system that I removed earlier.

Oh, I bought two new cable boots to protect the connections to the antenna and to the rooftop, and yes, I forgot to put one of them on, but I caught my faux pas before I pulled the new cable into the unit. Had to cut the tape to separate the cables, put the boot onto the new cable, "facing" the appropriate direction, and re-tape the cables together.

Thanks to all for their advice and suggestions on this project. I was thrilled that I didn't need to pull the new cable from the antenna head all the way to the booster.

Now, if I could only find something worth watching on the tube...
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:33 PM   #13
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Glad it worked out for you. This issue comes up every few months somewhere on IRV2. Usually the solution is as you did or to remove the exterior antenna mount and do the repairs from there. You did it the easy way.

Coax functions as a wave guide for radio/TV signals, in that the signals are carried on the outside of the center conductor and not as a voltage inside the wire. Thus any corrosion on the exterior of the center conductor will significantly impact the transmission quality. Keeping the connectors and cable ends dry is very important in coax runs. I like to use self-sealing rubber tape around any connections exposed to the weather. You can buy this stuff at HD & Lowes, and other places.
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:27 AM   #14
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Dale;
I just replaced the front 8ft of roof sheathing this summer on our 97 Tropical 6350 along with the membrane. Glad it all worked out for you. I can verify that the cable is tie strapped to the 1inch sq tubing (along with other wires) along the route to the over head console from the antenna through to the booster. As well the factory used a lot of glue all over so "fishing" a new cable through the existing path may be difficult.
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