13/10/2010
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In21Now

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If you are still persevering with your old caravan aerial, your digital television reception will be extremely erratic.

Unfortunately for caravan and motorhome owners, some of the most attractive campsites are in the worst reception areas, so a satellite dish seems the obvious answer.

You’ve probably seen those impressive automatic systems at shows.

They lie flat on the roof of a (usually very expensive) motorhome, then raise themselves automatically and begin searching for the satellite of you choice – all at the touch of a button.

There is of course a snag – they cost in the region of £2,000 and in any case, you might not want to go drilling holes in the roof of your caravan.

The obvious answer is a portable system, but up until now, they could be so fiddly to set up, that portable AV specialist In21Now refused to stock them. This has all changed with the introduction of a new system called EasyFind – the name provides a clue about its benefits.

I’m not a habitual TV watcher and have always managed quite happily with terrestrial Freeview. However, when I had the chance to see a demonstration, my curiosity got the better of me.

My tutor was Ollie Gwilt, the Operations Director of Proactive Products, which supplies the dish to In21Now.

We met up at Proactive Products stockists Grantham Caravans, where they kindly allowed us the use of one of their caravans and a slimline Avtec television. 

in21now demonstrationOllie brought along the entire kit, although In21Now will sell you the components separately if you are upgrading from previous equipment.

The first task was to assemble the tripod stand and mount the Triax dish, to which is attached the folding Easyfind LNB (the bit on the front of the dish that looks like a microphone).

Ollie then plugged in the Micro Electronics Free-to-Air EasyFind Satellite Receiver, which plugs straight into one of the caravan’s 12v outlets (you will probably require a double adapter if you also need to run the TV on 12 volts).

Back to the dish for what used to be the tricky part. To pick up the Astra2 satellite, all you first need to set the angle of the dish.

This is easy in the UK, because merely setting it at 90 degrees to the horizontal will do the trick. Now you have to find which way is south, for which a compass might be required. Imagine a clock face with the dish facing south at 12 o’clock.

You then need to rotate the dish on its mounting pole to about 11 o’clock, but here’s the neat bit. When facing south you will see small red light on the end of the LNB; rotate the dish slowly to the left and watch the light change from amber to green. When it remains green you are locked onto the satellite. It’s as easy as that.

the cable is flatThe 54cm dish we used will receive all UK channels throughout the UK (including your favourite regional programmes) and will also work in Ireland and North-West France.

If you travel outside that area you will require a larger dish. We set the receiver scanning and it immediately picked up hundreds of channels, including some weird and wonderful ones I wasn’t expecting.

When it is time to move on, you can leave the dish on the tripod if you wish and the LNB folds into the dish to make it easy to pack away.

In21Now sells a neat little extra, called the Magic Cable, which includes a ribbon section that  enables allows you to close and lock the window with the cable still attached.

What you will need:


Triax 54” satellite dish £39 (65” £49; 60” £59)
TPLW Tripod £49
Micro Electronics EasyFind
Receiver inc LNB and remote control £104.58
Optional Magic Cable £24.

IN21NOW
Tel: 01335 344544
Web: www.in21now.co.uk/acatalog/Satellite_Kits.html

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