Campers and caravanners may find that they constantly struggle to get a better TV signal and reception when on the road. It's possible that they don't understand the importance of signal polarity.

What is Polarity?

Transmitters and antennas must be able to efficiently communicate with each other according to the electromagnetic waves. These waves are "polarised" by restricting their electromagnetic field to one direction. Therefore both "sender" and "receiver" must be oriented in the same manner, so the electric field transmitted "points" in a direction that the antenna is able to detect and receive. Hence, a vertically polarized antenna will receive vertically polarized fields.

Why is This So Important?

Understand that polarisation variations are crucial when you are caravanning or camping, because your antenna location will be variable at different facilities. Your setup at home has been configured once and does not need any more attention. When you arrive at a new caravan park, however, you need to determine what polarity is going to work best in your new location.

Horizontal vs Vertical

The best type of signal originating from any transmitter is polarised horizontally. The majority of the population in Australia receive their television channels at home as a result of these horizontal signals. Alternatively, vertically polarised signals are much weaker and usually intended only for local broadcasts. Fundamentally, your antenna needs to be rotated to the horizontal position to receive the best signal and the most choice in terms of your available channels. Most antennas can be adjusted from inside the caravan. 

How Do You Determine Polarity?

The good news is that there is a free app provided by the Australian Government for Android or iPhone users. You can enter your location address and find the nearest transmitter. This will then give you all the information including frequency, channel number and the all-important polarisation.

You should use this app in conjunction with a commercially available signal finder. This device tells you what direction is going to work best according to your exact parking location. It plugs into the antenna cable and then you simply need to rotate your antenna slowly until you get a full display of LED lights on the device.

The Importance of Good Maintenance

Always ensure that your equipment is in good condition. The cables and connections should be checked frequently, especially those that are outside of the vehicle. It's worth your while replacing these on a regular basis, as they have a great bearing on the quality of your output.

Finally, consider investing in a telescopic extension in order to give your antenna additional height. This extension may enable you to clear any surrounding trees or buildings, which might dilute a signal. For more information, contact Happy Wanderer Caravan Accessories.