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TV Signal Finder

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Watching off-air (broadcast) TV has improved dramatically since the Feds pulled the plug on analog signals. Major local network affiliate stations can be received in many areas with towers in close proximity to RV parks. This gives RVers with digital TVs or converter boxes an opportunity to keep informed of local events and news, and take advantage of crystal-clear HD network reception, all for free.

Finding a strong signal is no longer simply a matter of tuning in a channel and rotating the antenna until the picture is clear. Exact antenna positioning is crucial in order to accommodate your TV’s channel scanning function. This is the way your TV loads the channels into the system so they can be recalled by the remote. King Controls’ SureLock makes that process much easier and precise.

SureLock is a signal finder that locates local digital TV towers, which eliminates second-guessing on how to position the rooftop antenna and the time spent going through multiple scanning sessions after rotating the antenna.

Installing the 3 x 31⁄2 x 7⁄8-inch device is simple and takes only minutes once you have access to the coax cable. The signal finder can be connected to the TV output of the wall plate or A/V distribution box used in motorhomes with multiple TVs. It’s powered by a 9-volt battery, and you might have to use a splitter on some configurations. You’ll also need a length of antenna coax; two slide-on coaxial connectors are supplied with the signal finder. The only caveat is getting access to the cabling, which could take some time and searching, depending on how well the coach’s manufacturer concealed the components and cabling.

Once the device is installed, the operation is very intuitive. After turning on the signal finder, the antenna is rotated until a maximum number of lights is illuminated. You then turn the attenuator (adjustment knob) counterclockwise until the fourth LED goes out and adjust the antenna until the light comes on again. From there, the meter is turned off, and the TV scanning process begins.

We found SureLock invaluable in locating digital signals. The process definitely speeds up the tedious task of finding suitable channels. In the areas where we tested the device, the signals for most of the stations were consistently strong. The only exception was one channel that required a slight tweaking of the antenna in order to sharpen the picture.

SureLock retails for $39.95 and works with any antenna designed to receive digital signals. We like using the signal finder as a portable device, but it can be mounted to a wall or shelf using the provided hook and loop mounts.

King Controls, 952-922-6889, www.kingcontrols.com

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