Repairing and Upgrading a Winegard Sensar RV Antenna.
Winegard Sensar Antenna with UHF Wingman add on.
This us a two part project. I had intended to upgrade the Winegard Sensar antenna with a UHF antenna, but I discovered a wiring problem. So I had to fix the antenna (Part 1) before upgrading it (Part 2). I discovered that when I raised the antenna fully, I'd lose signal. But if I lowered the antenna just a bit, the signal returned. There is most likely a coax issue at the antenna.
To test, I disconnected the coax at the antenna jack and hooked a DC voltmeter between the center pin and sheld of the coax. I then turned on the antenna's amplifier controller (Sensar Pro). The controller sends 12VDC up the coax to the antenna which is what powers the amplifier located in the antenna itself. As I monitored the voltage, I wiggled the coax around, and sure enough, I was getting voltage fluxuations - even to the point of nearly no voltage. This pretty much confirms bad coax.
Simplified Antenna Wiring Diagram.
After pulling off the old lap sealant from the coax at the antenna, I found that not only had there been a splice in the coax, but RG6 and RG59 coax was mixed together. RG6 is a high-performance/low loss coax, while RG50 is the cheap stuff. Sadly, neither the use of a splice or mixed coax types are sound practices, and can result in impedance mis-matching and loss of signal. The best practice is to avoid splicing whenever possible, and use the same type of coax for the entire run.
Spliced and mis-matched coax.
Since we bought the coach used (it is a 2011 model that we bought in 2013), I cannot say for sure if this was a factory job or a dealer fix. My bet though is that the dealer did it as there is no reason for the factory to use multiple coax pieces when they installed the coax. But as shoddy workmanship in the RV industry seems to be the norm, it could have come from either place. I would not be surprised if the factory had two short pieces of coax that they spliced to minimize their costs.
Completed Coax Repair.
I have to say that I am not all that happy with the coax orientation on the roof. The coax is not supported very well, and it seems like I'll be back up on the roof in a couple of years replacing the coax again. Unfortunately, the coax cannot be located in the intended feed through location on the antenna mount (shown by the yellow circle) as the designers of the coach did not allow for an entry spot at this location from the inside of the coach. I might have to work on this a bit more and see if I can improve things.
This is a quick and easy install. There are no wires to connect. You simply have to remove the three rubber feet at the base of the antenna and mount the Wingman to the feet-holes with push-on connectors. It takes all of 30 seconds to install the Wingman.
Cool Centerpoint F-Connector Video.