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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Antsy RV Antenna

I have trouble with a Winegard crank up TV antenna. It seems to continue to work loose where it travels through the roof of my motorhome. I have had it tightened three times, and the main section replaced once. I still have the problem. Any suggestions?
Gerry, (Henderson, TN)
Gerry, You didn't mention the brand of your motorhome, or the type of roof you have, but many such problems can be caused by insufficient blocking support inside the roof cavity of the RV. There is usually no problem on RVs with a solid roof. With a soft roof, the antenna must be installed next to a rafter for support. In those instances when it is impossible or impractical to do so, insert a piece of 5/8" plywood, 18" x 18" square, between the mounting plate of the antenna and the roof. Have the plywood straddle two adjacent rafters. Secure the plywood to the roof first and be sure to carefully seal against water intrusion. Then, install the antenna to the plywood support piece. This will then distribute the stress of raising and lowering of the antenna to both rafters equally. Also be sure the gears on the antenna are lubed periodically.

In addition, there is a locking nut positioned up inside the mechanism. Since you've had the gearbox already replaced, I doubt this nut has worked loose. You can try reinstalling that nut using some thread lock solution if it has, however. It takes a 15/16" deep socket to remove and tighten that nut. Winegard does have a tool that can also be used if you do not have a deep socket of that size.

Update! From Mike (an interested reader): Regarding your reply to the question on the ever-loosening crank handle on the Winegard crank-up TV antenna; I had the same problem. The malfunction was caused by the end of the spring twisting the crank handle holding nut loose. The factory should have installed a washer between the spring and crank handle nut to prevent the binding. I installed this washer and also installed another washer atop the spring to keep it from eating into the plastic on top. After I did this, the problem was corrected. Additionally, I applied a small amount of petroleum jelly to the washers to reduce the friction. The handle also cranks much smoother now. Hope this helps others!

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