An excerpt from Wind in the Willows

Nice? It's the ONLY thing, said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolute nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, he went on dreamily: messing - about - in - boats; messing----'
From 'Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Television and the (not so easy) Digital 'revolution'

I have always struggled with TV reception on the boat unless the signal is very strong and then it is fine but as we probably all know we don't always moor in areas of great signal strength.

The Status 315
I have had a Status 315 aerial for quite some time and have failed on innumerable occasions to get a decent signal - a signal yes but not one that doesn't break up.  It seems the height of the aerial above the boat made little difference. Those around me with other aerials types were receiving excellent reception with a huge choice of channels.

My friend Brian on Orion's Wey had much the same issue but his aerial was a bit useless and it was analogue.  He bought an Omnimax aerial from Abingdon Boat Centre and his viewing was transformed.  I struggled on with the Status; when relaxing in the evening I spent far more time watching DVDs than live TV - probably at a ratio of 1 hour of TV to 25 hours of DVD (over a long period of time I hasten to add!). Also friends Mick and Suzanne on Aqua Vitae have recently changed their aerial from the Status to the Omnimax with, I understand, great success.

On a trip up the Basingstoke recently I noticed one of our number was using an Avtex aerial so I asked if I could try it out.  I just plugged it in (no retuning) and managed to receive over 80 channels (spoilt for choice) whereas my Status received nothing viewable.  I borrowed the Avtex (STH2000) for a couple of days whilst I stayed on the Basingstoke and the owners of the aerial went home.  I ordered an Avtex on line the first night.

The Avtex
It helps that my TV is also an Avtex and the TV can send an electrical  booster signal to the aerial.  

I suppose it is possible that I just bought a dud Status aerial but talking to others they too have struggled with them. The only issue with the Avtex is that it is not multi-directional and you do have to rotate it but as it is less than half the price of the Omnimax I'll take that risk for the time being. Also the cable (F-Type and one end and Co-ax at the other, could, for me, be a little longer).

There's some interesting information on digital aerials for boats here.

22-April: Just back from a weekend on the boat - the Avtex aerial was fantastic.  Small issue when the boat next to me moved up and down and their chimney went past my aerial and I lost reception - easily fixed by moving the aerial.  I stupidly left the pole mount at home so only had the suction mount but still managed 130 Digital stations - such choice.  That number needs to be balanced with the huge increase in power output from the transmitter (Crystal Palace).  Still very happy though.


  1. You should have tried mine first! Had this a few months now and had nothing but success nearly everywhere with it.
    On the mooring it receives brill pics from Crystal Palace in digital since well before Christmas. Recommended by Dave on Rasa Sayang.
    I also bought this:- which is a TV signal direction finder. It has to be used with a multi element aerial though and won't work with the compact digi aerial. At £25 it was a bit expensive and cheaper ones are available. I suppose you could use a small indoor aerial for use with that device - might just try that.

  2. Also available on Amazon at less dosh, but with reviews at:-