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Aerials - why I do not sell them and which is best......

.....a personal opinion

(It should be noted this page was written in the days of analogue TV!)

"Which aerial is best to use on a boat, caravan, motor home....?" is a question I am often asked. The answer is none of them, and then perhaps all of them.....not much help. Let me explain.......

Step outside your front door and look at the houses around you (or if you live miles from anywhere, go to the nearest town) and look at the aerials on the houses locally. Chances are they are not all the same. It is possible they are not all even pointing in the same direction! Now ask yourself why is this the case?

OK. The basics. The signal comes from a transmitter and usually you will use the one nearest to your home, but sometimes you might aim your aerial at one further away if, say, there is a hill in the way. You do not need a direct line of sight, but it helps!

Transmitters are generally placed on top of a hill, and are generally tall (!) so giving lots of extra height. Put an aerial on the roof of a house (giving the aerial itself some height) and generally there is not a lot in the way of this line of sight. The signal will pass through some structures, but generally not metal!

So in a perfect world you have a small aerial (costing less) in the loft of a house (so getting height but not open to the elements) and get a cracking picture! Guess what - I live in this perfect world. BUT, some years ago I moved, in a straight line, a distance of less than 800 yards, and at my old house even with a large aerial outside on a mast I had a grainy picture. Why? Well because I moved up the hill, and my house is now more or less in the way of the line of sight for my old house, well, with the hill it is (that will teach them to ask for money off!).

So whilst some signal gets through, various things block it out a bit, the more bits in the way and the worse the signal....

Of course we have now moved on and grainy pictures are a thing of the past. Instead you either get NOTHING or a picture that "blocks" and freezes. Grainy WAS better, at least you could watch it!

There are, on the market, a very large range of aerials for boats and caravans, many of them different, and more or less all claiming to be "the best". The bottom line is that you cannot beat a large lump of metal with lots of elements like the type we have on our houses. If these fancy caravan aerials were that good why do people still put these ugly lumps of metal on the roof? Well the answer is they work! These fancy caravan things, despite claims, do not work as well.

Many claim to be "Omni directional" meaning you do not need to point them towards a transmitter. I have turned around so called Omni directional aerials and whilst doing so seen a change of picture quality! So they clearly are not! True, they might be less directional but they are not as good as they claim!

So, where does this leave you in your quest to find the best aerial?

MOST of the so called "super" aerials are much the same in performance, buy the one that YOU think is best, ask other people, ask in stores. If you can put up with setting it up every night get a directional one, they are better.

BUT, I will now let you in to one of the best kept secrets in the land of aerials.........

I used to use, on my boat, an aerial with a very strange name - a Bloomdean, invented by, unsurprisingly, a Mr Bloomdean! This aerial looks like it has not got a hope of working. A very odd looking indoor thing. Sadly you cannot buy a Bloomdean any more.....but you can buy the "new" version - The Magic Circle.

So buy anything you like (directional is best) but if you do nothing else, get a Magic Circle - they are, truly, brilliant!!


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