Buying a Caravan Antenna

Buying a caravan antenna is very, very different to buying a household antenna. In the household situation, you are attempting, with one antenna, to get the TV transmission that is coming from one transmitter. In the caravan scene, you need to consider one antenna for 7,000+ transmitters. Therefore, there are more things to consider when purchasing a caravan antenna.

The points to consider can be broken down into these categories:-

  • VHF and UHF
  • Horizontal and vertical
  • Amplifier
  • Storage
  • Mounting
  • Cost


The first thing you need to consider is the type of reception that you are going to encounter while travelling in Australia. Without getting too technical, TV transmission comes on two types of frequency – VHF and UHF. The VHF frequency is the predominant frequency used in each of the capital cities. The best antenna for these frequencies is a very big antenna. Some of the broad-ranging transmitters like Canberra, Coonabarabran, Bundaberg/Maryborough also transmit on VHF because it travels long distances better than the UHF frequencies.

Generally, the smaller towns that have their own repeaters use UHF. The best antenna for UHF is a much smaller antenna. Whether we are discussing analogue OR digital, the considerations are still the same. There is still VHF and UHF since Australia went all digital.


Then to confuse the traveller even more is the fact that TV reception is transmitted on the vertical and on the horizontal. Most of the broad coverage transmitters in country areas have vertically polarised TV reception because it travels further with less break up of reception. Another reason for the use of reception on the vertical is so that it won’t clash with reception from another transmitter that is reasonably close e.g., the Noosa transmitter has UHF frequency vertically polarised so that it doesn’t clash with the Sunshine Coast UHF horizontally polarised reception. As you can see, there is much to consider if you want to research the topic thoroughly.


Many caravan parks are situated low down beside the sea/creek/dam and have shady trees. TV reception is challenged by hills, buildings, trees and distance. To overcome these challenges it is possible to add an amplifier (booster). Some antennas have the amplifier built-in. And here is another decision point – to boost or not to boost. So for the caravanner that wants the best antenna maybe these quick facts will help with the research.


  1. 45% of reception is vertically polarised – nearly half of these use horizontal polarisation AS WELL.
  2. 87% of reception is UHF.
  3. Most caravan parks are in areas where you need an amplifier.


If you have stuck with the reading so far, congratulations on your committment to researching the topic thoroughly. Here is a checklist for you to use when considering a number of antennas that will meet your needs. Before you fill in the checklist, answer these questions:-

  • Is it vitally important that you watch your favourite programs?
  • Or do you want just the news and weather and maybe something else?
  • Do you go to the same place each year? (Do your research on what antenna suits that place)
  • Or do you go to many different places?
  • Do you want the cheapest?
  • Or do you want one that gives value for money?

Hope this has given you food for thought when considering which antenna you will purchase for your travels.

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Satellite FAQs

What kind of picture is the satellite TV reception?

The satellite reception is crystal clear everywhere in Australia. The digital reception is perfect – no snowy pictures, no ghosting, nothing but a perfect digital picture and sound every time no matter what type of TV set you have.

Will any TV work on the satellite reception?

As long as the TV has AV sockets (red, yellow, white) because the VAST satellite receiver comes with an AV lead.

Will this kit work in a 12volt setup?

The satellite receiver is sold as a 240volt box only . All good satellite companies include the  12volt power supply – some charge you extra for it.

How “FREE” is the Free-To-Air TV?

There are no monthly fees to pay at all.

I have poor TV reception, will this free-to-air satellite TV kit solve my problems?

Yes, you will receive perfect television and radio reception from all the satellite TV channels no matter where you are in Australia.

What size dish do I need?

There are many systems that supply a 65cm dish. Our system comes with an 80cm dish because that is what is required for reception at the top of Cape York, top of WA and SW corner of WA.

How do I know where to point the dish?

That’s the easy bit, just look up the list which we provide and point the dish using the compass provided in the kit.

Do I receive all the free to air channels just like at home?

Yes, you will receive all the digital channels that are available in the city including the HD channels.

Can I use this equipment at home?

Yes. The same equipment can be used whether you are travelling or at home. If at home you can erect a dish on your roof, pole or tripod on the ground.

It sounds so easy, is it really?

Yes it is, that’s why so many travellers in caravans, motorhomes are buying our satellite TV kit.

Can I use the kit to receive pay TV channels?

Yes, provided that you have a legal pay TV subscription card.

Can I install it myself?

The kit is designed for a handy person to install it themself.

How much power does the satellite receiver need?

Very little, in fact less than 2 Amps per hour. This amounts to less than half of what your TV set uses.

How do I connect the satellite dish to the satellite receiver?

We supply 15mts of quad shielded cable to fit onto an external wall fitting.

What type of cable connectors are used?

We only supply top quality crimped F-connectors. Cheap push-on or screw-on connectors are useless and will work themselves loose in no time at all.

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Saturn versus Winegard


There will always be conflicting reports on ANY antenna for caravan or boat or even the house. So I cannot give you a guarantee that the Saturn antenna will ALWAYS outperform the HORIZONTAL Winegard. In some areas, the reception will be the same. BUT, we would NOT be selling the Winegard conversion kit with the Saturn Antenna for the last 14 years if the Saturn did NOT outperform the Horizontal Winegard in most areas. Consider these facts when comparing the Winegard and the Saturn:-
  • ** 45% of transmitters send the TV reception in a vertical pattern (needs a vertical antenna) – Saturn has a vertical antenna – Horizontal Winegard does NOT.
  • ** 87% of transmitters use the UHF frequency for the TV reception – Saturn has a UHF and a VHF antenna – Horizontal Winegard has a VHF antenna ONLY.
  • ** digital TV reception is more particular about having everything perfect. The closer to the transmitter you are the less the need to have the ‘perfect’ antenna. The more challenges in the way (hills, distance, buildings) the greater the need to have the best antenna – UHF, VHF, vertical, horizontal.
Saturn – UHF, VHF, vertical, horizontal
Winegard – VHF, horizontal
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Saturn Antenna with Phone Aerial

Staying in touch with friends and family while people are travelling is always a little tricky. Both phone contact and email contact can prove difficult.

Telstra has made it a bit better than some of the other phone companies. The NextG network covers a much larger area of Australia than either the 3G or GSM networks.

Go directly to the Telstra Website to find out the area coverage. There you will find maps that show where the NextG phones will work + where you have to have an external antenna + where satellite phones are needed.

On the website they discuss phone selection  best suited to location. The need for an external antenna is also discussed on the web page.

The Saturn Antenna with a phone aerial gives you this external phone antenna that Telstra advises. For more information visit the Saturn Antennas website.

The Saturn Antenna can come with the phone aerial built in OR can be installed into a customer’s existing Saturn Antenna.

• 5dB phone aerial
• suit NextG phones and internet devices for a laptop
• comes with 4mts low-loss cable (RG58) + wall connector + 1.5mt cable for inside vehicle
• phone connector (separate plug)
• patch lead for mobile phone/internet device Saturn with phone aerial

For more information contact our friendly team for advice on 1800 443471 or email

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Australian Made for Australian TV reception


…….That the SATURN ANTENNA is the ONLY travellers antenna that is made in a fringe TV reception area. ALL other antennas are made in the CITY or OVERSEAS.

How do these manufacturers/importers know if their antenna will work on the edge of a TV reception area? SATURN ANTENNAS KNOWS because each Saturn Antenna is made and tested 120kms from the Bundaberg transmitter.



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With the advent of digital TV reception, it is becoming more important for the traveller to have a TV antenna that will cater for the vertical reception.

The old analogue signal was a very ‘forgiving’ transmission – ‘near enough was good enough’. If you were close enough to the vertically polarised transmitter, a horizontal antenna would get the reception OK. Of course, the further you went from the transmitter, the worse the reception became.

With digital reception, you either get it or you don’t. Close to the transmitter, it may pixellate (break into squares). On moving away from the transmitter, the picture will drop out entirely.

The Saturn Antenna is gaining popularity with the discerning traveller because it has 2 aerials inside the shell – one on the horizontal and one on the vertical. For those with the roof-mounted antenna (Winegard, Antenna Tec, Signal Commander) that winds up from inside, there is a conversion kit for the Saturn Antenna that can fit into the mechanism on the roof. Then the Saturn Antenna can be wound up from inside.

Travellers, these days, are demanding the ‘best antenna on the market’. The Saturn TV Antenna turns the Winegard antenna into a usable caravan antenna.

Wendy Davey found out the truth about the Saturn versus the Winegard when she stayed in Port Neill (80km from Port Lincoln, SA).

From: Darren Wendy Davey [email supplied]
Sent: Thu 17/03/2011 3:36 PM
To: Saturn Antennas Sales

We recently purchased a saturn antenna at Adelaide Caravan & Camping show. One of our aims at the show was to fix out tv problem. We have been staying in our caravan at Port Neill which is 80 km north of Port Lincoln S.A. Since the recent change to digital only tv we were not able to receive ANY channels using our winegard antenna.
We are pleased to now be able to watch tv with all of the available channels that are available to this area.
Thank you for your product.
Shortly we will be returning to Darwin where I work in reception at Lee Point Village Resort. I will be recommending your antenna to guests so you may like to forward some brochures when I arrive there. Happy to be able to help other caravaners who may experience similar problems with tv viewing.



1. Saturn Antenna has a more powerful amplifier (34dB) compared to the Winegard (19.5dB).

2. Saturn Antenna picks up the VERTICAL reception AS WELL AS the horizontal – Winegard is horizontal ONLY. With analogue, ‘near enough is good enough’. But with digital – perfect or nothing!!

Be part of the AUSTRALIAN REVOLUTION – change your American Winegard antenna for an AUSTRALIAN SATURN ANTENNA!!


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VHF and UHF TV Reception

This article covers VHF and UHF TV reception.

The transmission and reception of TV signals is affected by many variables. Atmospheric moisture, solar activity, physical obstructions such as mountains and buildings, and time of day will all have an effect on the signal transmission and deterioration of signal reception.

TV transmission is sent on two types of frequency – VHF and UHF. The VHF, low band frequency, is often used in country areas to send TV signal to a large area. The UHF transmission is used mainly in ‘local’ (one town) areas. How far the transmission is sent depends on the power of the transmitter (eg, the Canberra transmission is sent 130kms but the Barcaldine, Qld, transmitter sends it 11kms).

UHF transmission and reception can change as the atmosphere warms and cools throughout the day. The main advantage of UHF transmission is the physically short wave that is produced by the high frequency. The UHF antenna is stubby and short. The major disadvantage of UHF is its limited broadcast range and reception, often referred to as line-of-sight between the TV station’s transmission antenna and customer’s reception antenna, as opposed to VHF’s very long broadcast range and reception which is less restricted by line-of-sight.

Now what does that mean to the traveller? It means that to get the best reception, your antenna needs to have both a UHF antenna (small) as well as a VHF antenna (large).


* All capital cities have VHF reception needing a big antenna.

* Nearly 90% of transmission in Australia comes on the UHF frequency.

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Vertical TV Transmission

Maybe one of the hardest things for a traveller to have to cope with is the VERTICALLY transmitted TV signal. And probably even more frustrating is KNOWING when the TV signal is vertically polarised.

One of the easiest ways to find out how the TV transmission is being sent is to look at the TV antennas of the houses in the area or the antennas on the permanent cabins in the park. Not only do these TV antennas tell the story about the Horizontal or Vertical reception but also they show whether the TV reception is hard to pick up in the park. If the TV antennas are VERY high, you can be sure that the TV picture you may get is going to be very ‘hit and miss’ – maybe some places in the park will get OK reception while others will get next to nothing.

Some of the towns where you will encounter the VERTICAL polarisation of TV reception are:-


just to name a few.

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An amplifier is probably the most important part of the travellers TV antenna. Have you noticed that most caravan parks are low down beside a creek or the sea AND have trees? While these features are an attraction for the comfort of the traveller, they are certainly impediments to the receiving of good TV reception.

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Wet Weather and TV Antennas

WET WEATHER AND CABLES: For those of us that have had our travels disturbed by the wet weather, have you considered what effect the wet weather can have on your TV reception? For good TV reception, every component of the TV system has a bearing on the quality of the picture. In the wet weather the ends of the cable must be protected from moisture. For an antenna that has an amplifier, moisture on the ends of the cable is disastrous.

PROBLEM: If moisture gets into the connector, the power supply inside the caravan has a safety device inside it that stops power going up the cable. Without power to the amplifier, the antenna doesn’t work.

SOLUTION: Using electrical tape or self-amalgamating tape, you can confidently waterproof the plug that attaches the cable to the antenna. We, at Saturn Antennas, always include self-amalgamating tape with every antenna. Ensure that it is used to waterproof the connection for a trouble-free viewing.

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