Hello. Welcome to another edition of Caravan Friday. And today, we're going to be looking a Caravan satellites for your touring caravan.
The two systems we've got to look at today are the Maxview free stander [SP] and the Maxview VuDome 2, which is the mounted unit or can be used as a free stander with the optional feet.
Start off with the Precision 65 cm. portable dish. It comes with its own tripod and full kit. Now, when using a satellite dish, it's important you select the right one. A 65 cm. is perfect for use in the UK. If you're to go any further away into Europe, you'll need to start using an 85 cm. dish. General rule is the bigger the dish, the further away you can go. And also, the bigger the dish, the easier it is to tune.
Now, Maxview have made it relatively easy to tune this one in. They've included Sat-Finder and also a rake [SP] meter on the back so you can tell what you're doing as far as setup. So just a highlight from here, for example, we need to point it south southeast at a 26 degree rake to catch the Astra 2 satellite. With the use of these, you can do that relatively easily.
The Maxview Precision System also comes with its own carry bag to allow for easy storage and easy movement. It also adds a little bit of protection to the unit. It is also available in twin or single LNB. Now, single LNB is fine for Freesat. If you want to use it with Sky+, you will need the twin LNB unit.
The next product we're going to look at is the Maxview VuDome. This is available as a roof mounted product or you can have it as a separate standalone unit and use it portable. You can get a foot kit so you can mount it to a table, inside your awning or possibly on top of the car. The big benefit with these is they're full auto-tune. So whereas this sort of thing you actually have to tune it into satellite; with this, you switch the box on inside the caravan. It takes up to 10 minutes to find the satellite, but once it's on it, it'll stay on it.
This is designed primarily for use in the UK. If you wanted to go further afield, possibly into Europe and down to Portugal, you'll be looking at a larger unit. So possibly something that looks a little bit like this or an 85 cm. dish, but again, auto-tune.
If you have any questions regarding caravan satellites or anything else to do with caravans, please feel free to leave any questions you've got in the comments box, or alternatively, give us a call here at Salop Leisure
Further information about caravan satellites
Beautiful as the surroundings of many caravan sites may be, they aren't always in the best place for picking up TV signals, particularly now we're in the digital age where a poor signal means a blank screen rather than just a snowy picture. Satellites are one way to ensure you can pick up a signal - and get a wider range of channels - in most locations.
Caravan Dish types
As so often, choosing a dish for a caravan comes down to cost vs convenience. The absolute cheapest options can sit on a table top inside the caravan and point out of the window, but these are hugely unreliable and easily affected even by a little rain. For most cases you need to choose between:
• A portable dish which you have to put up on the roof and align to the relevant satellite on every trip;
• A fold-down dish which remains permanently mounted on your roof, but you still have to put up and align each time you reach a site; or
• A fold-down dish which can automatically erect itself and turn round to face the relevant satellite dish.
• A dome which automatically seeks but is less durable than foldable.
Some dishes are semi-automatic. This means they automatically rise to the correct height elevation for your location, but you need to manually turn them round horizontally until you get a signal.
While cost is a big factor (the four categories range from a few hundred pounds to potentially a couple of thousand), you should also take into account your pattern of caravan use. If you tend to visit one or two sites a year for long-term stays, manual adjustment is going to be a lot more tolerable than if you make a trip every day.
If you have a manual-alignment dish, make sure to try setting it up at home first so that you known how to use any controls and alignment guides.
Most but not all dishes come with an LNB (Low Noise Block downconverter), while with many you can buy a replacement model. The LNB is the tiny box on an arm pointing into the satellite; the signal bounces off the dish and onto the LNB, from which it travels to the TV. Replacing or upgrading an LNB can sometimes be the cheapest way to improve reception.
Satellite dishes need a clear line of sight to the sky, so watch out for pitches with overhanging trees. If you've got a choice of location, remember that in Britain and Europe, satellites will always be somewhere to the south, so this is the general direction in which you need the clear line.
Getting "free" satellite used to be a confusing situation where you had to understand the difference between "free to view" and "free to air" (which depended on whether you have a viewing card.) Today, while you can still get subscription services, the easiest option is Freesat, the satellite equivalent of Freeview. As long as you have a Freesat receiver, you can pick up around 200 TV and radio channels without any costs.
Things change if you go to Europe a lot. Until 2014, even the smallest dishes could pick up British channels across most of France and Spain. Today you'll need a larger dish anywhere past northern France and the Benelux countries (usually a 'portable' one that takes up valuable space while travelling), and in southern Spain, it may be completely impractical.