Unlike other RV satellite domes, the X2 can access both Eastern and...
Where we park at the cabin gives the satellite dome a perfect...
This booster improved the signal from the WIFI router in the cabin.
The blu-ray and satellite receiver are mounted under the bedroom television.
The Dish receiver needs to be reset when we relocate. This remote...
If we'd had our new X2 dish, we could have used the...
Dish Network provides high definition on many of the channels.
Our old analog television antenna power supply has been replaced.
We replaced our old AM/FM radio with this XM-Sirius satellite receiver.
Our 1992 Fleetwood Southwind 30' Class A motorhome came from the factory with a 13" color television in the dash, and wiring for another back in the bedroom. We replaced the original Winegard crank-up gull wing antenna with a newer high-definition model with an improved digital signal amplifier, after I forgot to crank it down one morning and drove 220 miles down windy and winding highways until it finally came crashing down on the roof. Not a single passing motorist honked and pointed.
Shortly after buying this RV from a friend in 2016, I added a 32" flat screen in the bedroom, and bought a digital converter for the analog set in the dash. That little television has an amazing picture on it, and it still works.
A year later, I added a 32" flat screen up front, across from the sofa. This time, I bought a "smart TV", with Netflix, Amazon, and other internet channels, and this 2017 blog entry tells the story.
RV’s of the 1970s were things of beauty: thick lustrous burnt-orange shag carpeting, miles of wood paneling, and the gaudiest upholstery the decade had to offer.
In 2017, we'd added a Winegard satellite dome, going with the model that would fit on a platform attached to the top of the ladder on the back of the RV. In case we ran into a situation where we could not get a clear view of the satellites in the southern sky, I also bought the optional tripod, enabling us to remove the dome from the ladder mount and set it up farther away from the motorhome, also buying some additional coaxial cable to make the connection. It wasn't long before we had to use that tripod, when our assigned camping spot at Big Bend Dam in Fort Thompson, South Dakota had a wonderful big tree shading us, but it also was blocking the satellites.
What we've done lately: .
Our 30 foot motorhome home is parked directly in front of the lake cabin, the front license plate is about 20 feet from the cabin, where the WIFI router is just on the other side of the wall, below the window. The front television in the RV is then about 30 feet from the router, and works well to capture Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and other internet related connections. This is the "smart Vizio 32" television, also connected to the Winegard gull-wing antenna on the roof, and to Dish Network using a Wally receiver. It is very seldom we have any problem connecting to whatever we want, the Twin Cities television stations come in well on the antenna, and because we opted for "local channels" on Dish Network, we also get them, and can record shows on the terabyte hard drive in the Dish system. Hazel likes to record "Jeopardy", and I occasionally will do the same with a movie I like or a major television event. Our daughter Sarah is an attorney with the Screen Actors Guild in New York City, and was at the "SAG Awards" in Hollywood this spring, Hazel was gone that night, and I recorded that show for her. Pretty handy technology, not new, but that terabyte hard drive has amazing capacity.
The television back in the bedroom, i.e. "Captain's Quarters", is another matter. Televison is fine using the roof antenna and when things are just perfect, Dish Network (more on that later), but it seems to be a little far to capture a good WIFI signal from the cabin, being about 50 feet through a couple of walls from the cabin router. I went to Amazon and found a recommended WIFI amplifier promising to cure those "cold coverage spots" in your home for $18.
An unused 120 volt receptacle above the dinette is almost exactly in the middle of the motorhome, and the perfect place to plug it in. Suddenly, the Amazon Prime movie channel began working back in the bedroom, as did "Pandora" for music, YouTube, and several other internet features. That television isn't "smart" like the one in the front, but the Blu-Ray player is.
The Dish Network system is great, except for ...
UPDATE July 4,2019: We've updated our satellite dish from the Winegard Pathway X1 to the larger Winegard Pathway X2 model, which, we believe, provides several advantages to us. First, our location is in Minnesota, far north and away from those western Arc satellites in orbit near the equator. Lately, it seems the signal just isn't strong enough for the X1's small dish, and we seldom are able to access all three of the Western Arc birds, especially if the weather interferes.
We haven't been able to leave the lake cabin in Minnesota lately, but when we do travel it is often on the east coast, visiting friends and family from Florida up to Virginia, New Hampshire, and have driven through Maine, where access to the western arc satellites is nearly impossible, on our way to Nova Scotia to catch the ocean ferry to Newfoundland. On our last trip east to visit our son just outside of Washington, DC, we could not get those western arc satellites wherever we were staying. Sometimes I could see them with the smartphone app, out in the clear, but not enough signal, and sometimes they were blocked by trees and other obstructions. Using that iphone application, I could always see the eastern arc birds, but our X1 dome, as are most domes on the market, is set for western only. (Internal switches can be set for the eastern ones, but that involves more than you would want to do for a short stay.)
Winegard offers a FREE satellite and television station finder program for your smartphone. Check it out here.
After spending a lot of time rebooting, with limited success, I made the decision to improve our situation with a bigger and more powerful dish, the Winegard Pathfinder X2, capable of locking on to all six Dish Network satellites, both eastern and western, with a dish 50% bigger. This was, I thought, a good option as it used the same tripod base, shared by our motorhome ladder mount, rather than go with another manufacturer or style dish that we had no experience with, and the price was right on the X2. Jumping into Amazon, the purchase was made, and two days later a big box arrived. . Installation was simple, a trip up the ladder (a second Installation was simple, a trip up the ladder, ((not the ladder where the dish was attached, I carry a 7' folding ladder in the motorhome basement) , to remove our X1, and replacing it with the new X2. Coaxial cables were attached, and back in the motorhome, I turned on the television and the Dish Network "Wally" receiver, sat down and watched it go through the installation automatically. In a few minutes, it was done, and I scrolled through the program directory of a couple hundred or more stations and they all worked. Amazing.
I think we're going to win "the largest satellite dish in the RV park" award.
Comments on this page prior to July 4, 2019:
We have the Winegard Pathway X1 satellite dome, advertised as the smallest and fastest dome on the market, and I am sure that is right, it is remarkably compact, and fast. It will accommodate two Dish Network "Wally" receivers, and that is what we have, one for the front and one back in the bedroom. The front receiver is fully functional finding the three "eastern" satellites and giving us a full range of the Dish channels. But, the second Wally back in the bedroom is a slave of sorts to the front one. Back there, you can only see channels that are on the same satellite that the front receiver is currently on. And, that can be a problem. Hazel will be in back watching something, I'll turn on the front one to watch something, not what she is watching, and if those two channels are sharing the same satellite out of the three available, fine. If not, I will hear "Ron, the TV just went out!".
The other problem is that those satellites can't always be found. Maybe it is weather, rain is a real killer for domes, whereas the larger open "dish" systems are not usually bothered, the rain just runs off. I read an article somewhere that using "Rain-X", a product for your windshield, helps get that rain off the dome, and I will be giving that a good test as we get into April showers that bring May flowers. Dish actually has, I believe, 6 satellites up there, one in what is called the "eastern orbit" of three birds, that I what I have, and what most other models use, and a "western orbit" of three, and Winegard does offer a more sophisticated dish called the "Pathway X2" that covers both.
We seem to have to "reboot" the back receiver more often than the front one. For whatever reason, the ON/OFF button on the Wally turns the unit off, but not completely. And, to reboot the system you need to get up there behind the television where the plug-ins are, and unplug the receiver for 10 seconds, plug it back in, and go through a lengthy rebooting process where it finds the satellites again (or maybe not) before you can back to watching your shows. After how many hundreds of times doing this over the past two years, I finally ordered a remote control ON/OFF 120 volt plug-in with a wall mounted switch, and that helps a lot. Again, from Amazon for not much money, see the photo.
My friend Steve from West Virginia doesn't have these problems. He grew up without television, had a fairly simple upbringing, and picks and chooses which modern conveniences are necessary, and television isn't one of them. "I don't like furniture that looks back at you", he says.