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Old 01-19-2014, 09:10 AM   #1
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WTB Satellite TV Antenna, Automatic, Stationary, SD, Fold Down

For more than two years I felt smug and righteous every time I fired up the Datron satellite antenna pointer and waited for it to find the DirecTV satellite at 101 west longitude. Many said it was obsolete given that it depended on the low-speed data port from a Sony A65 IRD that was also obsolete. But if all you needed to do was point the antenna at the satellite and then turn over the signal reception to a more up-to-date IRD/DVR, then it worked just fine. The antenna is a standard 18" "pizza pan" with a single LNB and it was amazingly good at delivering a strong signal to the receiver. Even in marginal locations with partial obstructions like tree branches, the Datron could find that 101 DirecTV satellite.

We use an old Series II, TiVo-capable, standard definition DVR in the wife's den at home and then move it to the coach when travelling. The signal strength seen by the DVR from the larger elliptical antenna at home and the Datron in the coach was the same.

Yesterday while settling in at an RV park, the Datron let its magic smoke get out. In its dying gasp it locked on to 101 West. That was fine because we could watch TV. What was not fine was that the antenna was deployed (up) and the box was fried and unable to stow the antenna. I had to get up on the coach roof and dismount the antenna assembly.

What I'm looking for is as near to a direct replacement for the Datron as possible. We do not need or want high definition or in-motion capabilities. We do want the antenna to automatically find DirecTV 101 West. It needs only one output. The Winegard MiniMax looks like it might fill the bill technically but I'd really prefer the non-dome configuration. Something like the Winegard RM-DM46*Crank-Up Satellite Antenna but in an automatic, motorized configuration. The more surface area on the parabolic dish, the better, to a point. Don't want the large elliptical antenna. The lower profile domes look better but would theoretically be more susceptible to rain fade and partial obstructions.

So, in summary: "Pizza Pan", fold down, automatic, stationary, DirecTV.

Suggestions?

Cross posted on Monacoers.

TIA,

Dave M. 2003 Windsor
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindsorDave View Post
For more than two years I felt smug and righteous every time I fired up the Datron satellite antenna pointer and waited for it to find the DirecTV satellite at 101 west longitude. Many said it was obsolete given that it depended on the low-speed data port from a Sony A65 IRD that was also obsolete. But if all you needed to do was point the antenna at the satellite and then turn over the signal reception to a more up-to-date IRD/DVR, then it worked just fine. The antenna is a standard 18" "pizza pan" with a single LNB and it was amazingly good at delivering a strong signal to the receiver. Even in marginal locations with partial obstructions like tree branches, the Datron could find that 101 DirecTV satellite.

We use an old Series II, TiVo-capable, standard definition DVR in the wife's den at home and then move it to the coach when travelling. The signal strength seen by the DVR from the larger elliptical antenna at home and the Datron in the coach was the same.

Yesterday while settling in at an RV park, the Datron let its magic smoke get out. In its dying gasp it locked on to 101 West. That was fine because we could watch TV. What was not fine was that the antenna was deployed (up) and the box was fried and unable to stow the antenna. I had to get up on the coach roof and dismount the antenna assembly.

What I'm looking for is as near to a direct replacement for the Datron as possible. We do not need or want high definition or in-motion capabilities. We do want the antenna to automatically find DirecTV 101 West. It needs only one output. The Winegard MiniMax looks like it might fill the bill technically but I'd really prefer the non-dome configuration. Something like the Winegard RM-DM46*Crank-Up Satellite Antenna but in an automatic, motorized configuration. The more surface area on the parabolic dish, the better, to a point. Don't want the large elliptical antenna. The lower profile domes look better but would theoretically be more susceptible to rain fade and partial obstructions.

So, in summary: "Pizza Pan", fold down, automatic, stationary, DirecTV.

Suggestions?

Cross posted on Monacoers.

TIA,

Dave M. 2003 Windsor

Perhaps this would meet your needs:

Crank-Up Satellite Dish with Digital Magic - Winegard

Good luck & Safe travels
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:50 PM   #3
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Thanks, Jim. I have seen those, on line, and the antenna part is just what I'm looking for. However, DW would like to push a button and then go do something else while the antenna finds the satellite. While she's doing that I'm going about hooking up the utilities and organizing the site outside.

I'm afraid the crank-up model will send more of the camp making work my way.

The Trav'ler is a bit much in size and price but coach harmony may be worth it.

Thanks again,
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:01 PM   #4
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If in motion is not on the "must have" list then I believe the Trav'ler is excellent. I grab the 211k (DISH) from bedroom for major trips and it does an great job linked to the Trav'ler. bill
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:03 PM   #5
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Oh Heck, it's only money. Go with the Winegard SK-SWM. That is their latest and greatest Fully automatic sat antenna. You may not need it right now, but sometime in the future you may want to upgrade to HD Television. At least you will be ready.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindsorDave View Post
Thanks, Jim. I have seen those, on line, and the antenna part is just what I'm looking for. However, DW would like to push a button and then go do something else while the antenna finds the satellite. While she's doing that I'm going about hooking up the utilities and organizing the site outside.

I'm afraid the crank-up model will send more of the camp making work my way.

The Trav'ler is a bit much in size and price but coach harmony may be worth it.

Thanks again,
Hi Dave, you're most welcome

Our 2000 coach came with the manual crank-up sat antenna which we used until our 2012 trip to Quartzsite AZ we ran across a shop selling and installing the automatic dome type antennas.

We considered an in-motion unit but then decided on the stationary automatic unit and had a Winegard Roadtrip MiniMax unit installed.

So far we've been pleased with it's operation. Here's a link to the Winegard site:

Winegard RoadTrip MiniMax Satellite TV Antenna

Let us know what you wind up with, OK??

Best of luck and safe travels

Jim
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:53 AM   #7
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Do you want HD with Directv and automatic operation? Only one antenna will do that - Wingard Trav'ler. Yep, it's expensive but it works well.

We use ours with the Dish Hopper/Joey system and love it.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:08 AM   #8
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Crank-Up Winegard RM-DM46 W/Elevation Sensor

Quote:
Originally Posted by LVJ58 View Post
Let us know what you wind up with, OK??

Jim
Thanks to all who responded. What we decided to do is buy the Winegard RM-DM46 Crank Up from Amazon. $304.49 delivered to our coach here in the RV park.

Winegard Crank-Up This is the one with the optional Digital Magic Sensor electronic elevation read-out which really simplifies finding the satellite.

Then I called Cactus Satellite. Cactus Satellite Gary came out to the coach and installed the new antenna for $325.00. Excellent, professional, high-quality work. On time and on budget.

So turnkey, all-in deal to replace the former Datron DBS3000 was $629.49.

As stated in the original post, we have no need for high definition or in-motion capability. Yeah, it's not automatic as I'd originally hoped. But we did not want a dome and the only practical automatic alternative was the Trav'ler at $2,350 installed. TV is not worth that much to us. We have it mainly for TiVo'd cable news. Were it not for that, we'd just do over-the-air.

The upside is that this is faster than the Datron. Most of the time is taken by waiting for the TiVo (DVR) to spool up. We already had Satellite Finder Pro installed on the smart phone to help position the coach with respect to potential satellite signal obstructions. If you don't have a smart phone then Dishpointer.com works just as well for this purpose.

Now I set a pointer to north, look at the smart phone, dial in the reported elevation on the electronic elevation read-out, swing the antenna around to the phone-displayed azimuth and Bob's-your-uncle. That is to say you're there depending on how good your aim is. I don't find aiming difficult so I had the antenna dialed in before Gary climbed down off the roof to show me how to aim it. Since we're not looking for multiple satellites aiming is simplified and more forgiving.

All-in-all, this turned out to be the ideal solution to our requirement. It was serendipitous that we happened to be near Phoenix, AZ, where Cactus Satellite operates since we did not have to move the coach and Gary did a great job at a fair price.

FWIW
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:03 PM   #9
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Sounds as if you wound up with an antenna that best suits your needs.

Best of luck and travel safe.....

Jim
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:16 AM   #10
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We used the crank-up with elevation sensor for many years with only two issues. The first was that the plastic tube that goes up thru the roof for rotating the dish was not quite long enough. This caused us to shear off the plastic teeth and not be able to rotate the antenna. After a couple of false starts, we added the extension tube making it sufficiently long to fully mate the pieces. Problem solved.

The other issue we fought with was the wind. Even though locked down, if there was any strong winds at all, we could depend on losing the picture. Wouldn't you know that we were usually in high wind areas such as Key West, the Outer Banks, etc. After many years of easy setup when arriving at new campsites, we finally had our fill of losing picture due to wind, and switched it out for a Roadtrip. Problem solved.

Only wish that i'd seen your comments earlier. Still have the crank-up in storage and would gladly have sent it for the shipping costs. Oh well, maybe someone else needs a good used one.
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:59 AM   #11
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Only wish that i'd seen your comments earlier. Still have the crank-up in storage and would gladly have sent it for the shipping costs. Oh well, maybe someone else needs a good used one.
Thanks, Dick. I too wish we could have worked out a deal.

I hear you about the wind. Not having a sample Winegard crank-up to touch prior to ordering I assumed, based on appearance, that the Winegard RM-DM46 Crank-Up was similar in construction to the Datron DBS3000 in construction. Having used the Datron without trouble for two years which included the occasional windy day, I did not think wind would be a problem.

Now having installed the Winegard RM-DM46 Crank Up I can see that it is not as robust as the Datron. So it is possible that we will experience signal loss due to wind. Time will tell. We've had a couple of windy moments - enough wind to cause me to pull in the main awning but not enough to effect the satellite signal. But again, time will tell.

Like yours, our antenna's plastic tube is not long enough and I ordered and received an extension from Winegard free of charge.

Thanks for your insights. Hopefully our collective experience will help others with their decision making.
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