Thursday, June 5, 2014

TV antenna upgrade - Hi, Jack!

I decided to do an upgrade from my original Winegard antenna with the Wingman attachment.  I was getting pretty good reception getting over-the-air channels in most places, but I wanted a little more range and clearer channels.  So...   Hello, Jack.

John, whom I met last year at Bluewater Lake State Park, is here at Storrie Lake - he's our Camp Host in the South Circle - and he said he wanted to know how it worked when installed because he was thinking about getting one, too.  We talked about the installation, and he agreed to help when it arrived at the campground by UPS.

The Jack Antenna arrived on Tuesday, and that night I attached the brackets to the Jack Antenna so it would be ready to go.  The next morning, John walked over and while I was getting my camera, he climbed up on the roof, removed the old antenna and laid it on the roof.   He then attached the new antenna, and that was it. Easy, peasy.

I was getting all three broadcast channels, ABC, NBC and CBS and also PBS.  But ABC wasn't coming in well - it was pixilated and came and went.  After the Jack was installed I went down and checked the channel, and it was super clear and constant, so the new antenna was a success.

I'm putting the link on my right sidebar, and also into The Palms Store.  If you buy one, I'd love it if you'd go through that link to - check prices, though.  John found it on sale elsewhere.

Below are the photos of the install with explanations of what was done - and some great photos of John.  Well, actually he didn't want to be the star of the show, so I didn't get too much of him.  :)

This is the box it came in:

It comes with more hardware than we needed, because we just replaced the top of the antenna.  We didn't need to do any re-wiring, and placed the Jack on the existing antenna mast.  I think there is other hardware here that would be used to mount the Jack directly on the roof.

Here's the old antenna, it actually did a good job for me, but I wanted to get a little more coverage:

Here John is holding the cotter pin rings he removed from the old antenna.  They were in good condition, so we re-used them, as well as the cotter pins.

The Winegard Antenna with the Wingman attachment have been removed from the antenna mast:

For some reason, the two "poles," I think they are called the mast, were different heights:

See how the one on the right is right up to the top of the plastic thingie, and the left side is shorter?  The cotter pins are also shown:

If you get one of these and the mast is different sizes, don't worry, the Jack will still fit.  The metal bracket that is attached to the Jack has two rows of two holes, and the taller mast fits in the upper hole, the lower mast fits into the lower hole, so the Jack is level and attached securely with the two cotter pins and rings.  Here John is lowering the Jack with the attached bracket onto the existing mast:

 The package comes with this grease to put into the coax cable ends:

John filled the coax cable end with the grease, and then screwed it back into the new Jack Antenna:

I went down to check out ABC on channel 7.1 and the picture and sound were 100 percent clear, no pixilating, no losing the picture and sound intermittently, etc.  So I considered the upgrade a success and decided to keep the Jack Antenna.

This is how it looks:

Two other things that are better with this antenna than the older Winegard - it's very light and takes up less area, so it shouldn't have a problem in the wind.  I used to bring the antenna down flat on the roof in high winds because I was worried it might break.

The other thing that I like is that the Jack is installed with the "arrow" side pointing toward the front of The Palms - the rear, flat side points to the TV stations.  It's set so that the notch on the ceiling turning mechanism with the handle inside The Palms is the same directional setup as the Jack.  The notch points toward the kitchen, and so does the flat side of the Jack, so I'll always know the notch points to the stations - I don't know if that makes sense...  Maybe you have to see it to understand what I'm trying to say.

Before, with the Winegard, it wasn't situated that way, and I had labels showing the dinette, couch, kitchen and cab stuck on the ceiling around the mechanism with the directional handle.  The antenna was 90 degrees off from the inside mechanism notch.  So...  for a person like me who can never remember which way the antenna is pointing, I can now take down my labels.

And here is moi - showing off my new Jack Antenna (excuse the sloppy camping clothes, it was hot, and I was comfortable, as usual):

And that's it.  Thanks, John, for helping. (Actually John did all the work and figured it all out while I took the pictures.  That's fair, right?  LOL)  It's fun to do these little upgrades from time to time.

I've seen a lot of RVing friends while here at Storrie Lake.  Of course I see Jeanne (and Riley) every day for our walks, and this morning Jeanne invited me over for home-made scones.

I didn't think I liked scones until I tasted these.

And then she gave me a package of three scones to put in my freezer for another day.  :)

OMG, they were delicious, super flaky and "just right" sweetness - and now I have the recipe!  And three more in the freezer.  Yeaaaa,  thanks, Jeanne!

I've visited with John quite a bit, too.  He's usually out and about, either riding his bike throughout the park, or doing his Super Camp Host duties here in my loop.  He's got to be the best Camp Host I've seen, our area looks great.  He is always sweeping, raking, cleaning and hosing the empty campsites to get them ready for the next campers.  Nice!  I've enjoyed getting to know you better, John.

Last week I had a nice visit with Nancy.  She stopped over at Storrie Lake for one night on her way to another location, and came over for a visit.  We haven't seen each other since Quartzsite, so it was great to catch up.  Then she stopped over for a quick good-bye the next morning.  We always enjoy getting together, and of course, Nancy is one of Katie's favorite people so everyone was happy.  It was great to see you, Nancy.

The WINS were also here for a few nights, and I was able to catch up a little with Trish and Carol and Margaret while Jeanne and I were walking the dogs.  It was good to see them again, too, and see what they were up to.

Donna and Bob are also here, up at the other end of the campground; we met up with them while they were driving by and the next day walked up to their campsite for a visit.  It's always good to catch up with them - they like taking their Jeep out to see the local sights and find new geocaches; check out their website for some great photos of their day trips.

We have one more day here, then we're moving on.  I've sure enjoyed Storrie Lake this year and will be back before the summer is over.   I have more photos from the park, so I'll have another post or two from this area.

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday evening, everyone!  :)


  1. That looks like a pretty nice upgrade. I guess they've made some improvements since the old bat wing.

  2. It's always nice when we get something we've ordered that it works like we hoped it would.

  3. August 2012 Kathy and I were less that five hundred feet from the antenna and could only get two static filled channels on the television. On our way for groceries we spotted an RV dealer to see what they had. I had already heard good things about the Jack antenna and the dealer had them on sale so it was a no-brainer. As soon as it was installed we had 37 crystal clear channels with the antenna down on the roof. Raising it up gave us over 70 channels. Now the only time it doesn't work is if we forget to turn on the booster after watching cable TV.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. That is so nice to hear - I'm looking forward to seeing how mine does when I leave here, because the channels are pretty good in this area. I got them all clearly until I moved sites, then I basically lost ABC.

  4. That's kinda cool. And picture taking is really important too....

  5. We got the Jack in Arizona and really like it. When we were at Rapid City, after I lowered it when the lightning hit so close to us, it had just as good of reception down, so I never put it back up.

    1. Whoa... that's really nice to know - I'm going to try that today. Thanks.

  6. That's a great explanation of the antenna and the install. It will help a lot of people thinking of upgrading their antenna. Like me!! I may have to get one. We put one on my prior rig and it worked well. John is a great camp host, and nice of him to help with that.

  7. I've read about the Jack and was curious how it worked. Sounds like a winner to me!!

  8. Antenna looks good, and so do those scones! Looks like your having a great time overthere. Take care

  9. I'm glad the Jack works so well for you. I often read of the troubles other folks have trying to install something and it can be so frustrating. It's also great that you had help installing it.

  10. Sweet! I'm likin' the new antenna. Now, when somebody tells you that you don't know Jack, you can tell them that you do! ;)

  11. After your photo review and encouragement, I purchased a Jack through your Amazon link. Will be here soon and am looking forward to an upgrade from my old analog antenna. Thanks!

    1. Hey, gumo, thanks for using my link! I'll bet you LOVE the new Jack! :)

  12. Glad you got your Jack. We had Camping world install ours and are kicking ourselves after reading how easy it was to install.

  13. I'm looking forward to checking into your reception and hearing about your experience with Jack!

    1. I'll be there soon, and you can see for yourself. I'm curious to see how it does in Bluewater, too. I don't remember getting all three broadcast channels there, so now I'm hopeful. :)

  14. Thanks for the informative post...I see one of these in my future and now
    I love scones when some one else makes them.. I have tried several time
    without luck...they sure do look good!

  15. Winegard actually launched the “Rayzar Air” this week, which is the more advanced and sleek version of the Sensar. They sell a retrofit option for only $50 which is simply a conversion kit from the Sensar (it works with the same boom and lift assembly). The Rayzar Air is multidirectional, receiving signals from both the front and back of the antenna head, which offers a much greater coverage area in situations where the broadcast towers are geographically spread apart.

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