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Old 01-26-2016, 03:39 AM   #1
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Low Profile Jack TV Antenna

OK, so what can you all say about these antennas. I want one, but I want to make sure it works as described. I like the idea of a lower profile, that way it won't shade my solar panels during different times of the day. So again, what can you all say, especially if you actually have one.
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:58 AM   #2
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I have two. One is on the RV, and one is still in the box.

The RV one is the model that replaces the Winegard antenna but uses the Winegard mechanism. I originally bought that one because I figured it was a non-intrusive installation as it replaces the Winegard Sensar antenna, but retains the Winegard mounting tower so you don't have to replace that part.

It's a retrofit kit for a Winegard system that just upgrades the antenna.


Photo of the Jack antenna installed on a Winegard mounting base.

When I installed it, I did see some improvement. I seemed to get about 20% more stations. As well, the directional tuning does not seem as critical.

However, during long term use, it has failed for exactly the same reason the Winegard antenna failed - busted coax. The culprit is the Winegard mast as it wraps the coax around all the time, which eventually causes the coax to fail. Each time you raise or lower the antenna or rotate it, the coax is in movement.

So I have a new one in the box. I am going to replace the Winegard mast with the OEM version of the Jack (the only difference between the OEM and aftermarket versions of the Jack antenna is the mounting). The OEM base of the Jack antenna does not move the coax nearly as much. And if you ever have to replace the coax (the part in movement) it is a lot easier to do.

I bought it last year but ran out of time before I could get it installed. My difficulty is that the roof must not slope more than 3 degrees from vertical. If so, you need to add a "wedge" (that you have to make yourself), to keep the slope less than 3 deg.

If you use a slope greater than 3deg, the antenna's turning shaft protruding into the inside will be at too much of an angle to properly line up, and will result in binding. I am sure some RV manufacturers have exceeded this limit as I have seen some of these antennas at quite an angle (either that or the owners installed them that way).

But when has an improper installation that would bind the rotating mechanism stop a manufacturer/dealer/owner from attempting such an installation.

Next spring. when I have access to my wood shop again (it becomes a garage in the winter time), I plan on making a wooden wedge, then fiberglassing over it.

Jack makes an optional mounting base for the OEM style antenna to cover up all of the holes of the removed Winegard antenna base, but it does not have any slope to it.
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Old 01-26-2016, 01:33 PM   #3
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installing a wedge

So, your telling me that the new version, the one that replaces the Winegard and is about 14" tall, still has to rotate. I was hoping that it was static and just did it's job I can still deal with that I guess. Let me ask you this, instead of putting the "wedge" on top of the roof, do you think it could go inside on the ceiling. You could either paint it or stain it that way make it look nice. It seems on top, now you have to waterproof it and it's an extra part to make sure it's weather proofed and sealed properly as well. Just thinking outside the box here.
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Old 01-26-2016, 02:07 PM   #4
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Yes, both versions (Winegard aftermarket or OEM) still rotate.

But the OEM version doesn't need to be raised or lowered. Here is a photo of the OEM version.



The cable attached to the yellow connector still rotates. But being smaller, it should be less stress on it when it rotates. And if the cable gets damaged, it should be easier to replace.

That black shaft is what rotates the antenna. When installed, it goes onto a dial mechanism.

You can buy non-rotating antennas such as this one:


Robot Check


But being omni-directional, their gain will probably be less than the directional antennas like the Jack or WineGard Sensar. I had the Shakespeare version of that type antenna on my last boat... but it was not very good.
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Old 01-26-2016, 02:17 PM   #5
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The Winegard replacement version has a bracket that installs on the Winegard mount:



Otherwise everything still works like the Winegard version. The nice thing tho is you simply replace the old antenna by removing a couple of shafts and E-Clips and that's it.



It's literally a 10 minute installation. And since they don't cost much, they are an easy fix. I think I paid around $45 for mine. But I ended up having to replace the coax, so the 10 minute job ended up taking a couple of hours.

I was able to use the existing Winegard 12V power adapter, so I didn't have to replace or rewire that.

One other thing I had to do though is to put a 45deg coax adapter on the Jack antenna as the orientation of the antenna output connector resulted in the coax rubbing on the roof when the antenna was lowered.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:00 PM   #6
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I'll have to check out the omni directional antenna, I need to delete the raising mask. It shades the solar panels, and that means so much less solar power.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:25 PM   #7
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Just to clarify, the OEM version of the Jack antenna does not raise either. It rotates, but it doesn't raise up.

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Old 01-27-2016, 02:22 AM   #8
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I don't like the multi directional, but after seeing your picture above, it has a better mount to the roof. That will work for me. Thanks.
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:42 AM   #9
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You can also buy this mount adapter plate to cover up your old antenna's hole pattern on the roof. That way, you don't need the mountain of caulking as shown in the photo in my previous post:


The thing I don't like about the adapter plate is you have to assemble it prior to mounting on the roof, so if you ever have to remove the antenna (base) for maintenance, you would have to remove the adapter plate as well.

I suppose though it is no worse than directly mounting the base on the roof OEM style.

The adapter plate is plastic. $30 is a lot of money for a piece of plastic.

When I custom build my plate, it will be wood encapsulated in a fiberglass skin. And I will use blind nuts in the wood so I can remove the antenna without having to take the plate off.
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Old 01-27-2016, 02:15 PM   #10
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I will get a piece of quarter inch aluminum large enough to cover and tap it for the screws and then seal it all. Thanks for the additional information
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW28z View Post
You can also buy this mount adapter plate to cover up your old antenna's hole pattern on the roof. That way, you don't need the mountain of caulking as shown in the photo in my previous post:




When I custom build my plate, it will be wood encapsulated in a fiberglass skin. And I will use blind nuts in the wood so I can remove the antenna without having to take the plate off.
Do you happen to know the size of that plate (plastic) not thickness I don't care about that.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:20 PM   #12
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I measured my plate. It's `11" square.

I am liking your idea about making an aluminum plate. I might have to look into that. I could probably bend one side down so it sits level on the roof.
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:23 PM   #13
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Thank you sir, I had ordered 12 x 12 x 1/4 so was really hoping that would work. Cost me 25.00, for 6061 T6 aluminum.
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:10 PM   #14
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THOR #3916
I replaced the Winguard one with the Jack. removed everything except used the hole/tube thru the roof.
The Jack has LED signal strength lites, really handy when searching direction for best/strongest signal..
Works like a champ!
And don't have to remember to lower the tower... said towers are NOT compatible with Elm trees (don't ask)
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:05 PM   #15
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i've always figured the reduction in elevation (what is it about a foot or a bit more) might offset some of the improvement in antenna function.
I know it's prob negligible, but out in the boonies that 1 foot of elevation means approx 0.2 miles of line of sight
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