Tip Improving COAX cable connectivity in your RV or Motorhome

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Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
3,376
Location
Midlothian, VA
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Newmar
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2017 Chevy Colorado
I was at a campground earlier this year and had issues with the cable TV as they are all digital cable. I struggled in my 2017 Newmar Ventana to get a good picture on all TV's and there number of channels being detected in the channel search was inconsistent. It was time to investigate.

There were a couple of issues going on and I'll keep this post brief as this is a very simple situation. First thing is to find your coax splitters if you have any. In my coach there is a 1 in 4 out splitter in the bay just forward of the pegboard. There is a 1 in 2 out under the kitchen sink on the back wall.

Issue 1: Unused ports were not terminated. I bought terminators from Amazon to terminate the unused ports

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AAN76Y/?tag=rvf01-20

Issue 2: The coax splitters used had a narrower frequency band that likely did not play well with digital coax and 4K signals. I swapped both splitters out

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0077QMDGY/?tag=rvf01-20

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0054EILOE/?tag=rvf01-20

Notice these are 5-2000 Mhz vs. what's printed on yours.

After the above my coax issues went away and the picture and channel scans were dramatically improved.
 
Joined
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Right on, @Neal! It is very important to properly terminate unused ports. If you don't, the impedance (resistance to RF in simple terms) goes way up and signals get attenuated.

We had to terminate some open ports in our coach too, I didn't check the frequency range of the splitters and will do that soon as a result of your post. Maybe Newmar uses better quality splitters in the Mountain Aire, but I doubt it. My guess is that there's a huge box of them somewhere in Newmar's production facility where everyone gets their splitters.

TJ
 
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@Neal … thanks for positing this. I am having similar issues in my coach so you have given me some hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

FLSteve
 
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Joined
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@Neal … just checked and I have two (2) that look like this. Getting ready to order new parts. The one on the wall behind the kitchen sink will be a bugger to get to!

FLSteve

IMG_4034.jpg
IMG_4035.jpg


FLSteve
 
Joined
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Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
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Newmar
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Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Yep, no good. Notice the frequency spectrum of 5-1000? It looks like what I used matches your orientation so they should work for you too.
 
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Joined
Nov 18, 2019
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Fort Myers, FL
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2018 JL Rubicon & 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk Elite
@Neal … yes I actually ordered what you linked yesterday from Amazon and they should be here today. To get to the one on the back wall behind the kitchen sink I think I might need to remove the plumbing pipe off the bottom of the sink to make enough room for me to reach back there.

FLSteve
 
Joined
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40' 10"
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2017 Chevy Colorado
To get to the one on the back wall behind the kitchen sink I think I might need to remove the plumbing pipe off the bottom of the sink to make enough room for me to reach back there.
I was able to crawl under the plumbing. Removing that would be concerning but if you're comfortable with doing it go for it. The most important one is the one forward of the pegboard bay so if the plumbing is a concern try changing that 1 to 4 first and see how things go.
 
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@Neal I was able to crawl under the counter like you suggested. Had to wait until we got to a campground with cable to test it so we’re here at Disney’s Fort Wilderness and everything works perfect. I’m so glad you posted the fix to this because I was kind of at a loss of what it could’ve been. Thanks again.

FLSteve


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Interesting. So the fix was the swap of splitters from 5-1000Mhz to 5-2000Mhz and not just terminating the open ports on the existing splitter? I may have to look at that on the home setup and replace those old splitters.
 
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I just received my new 5-2000 MHz splitters today. Ordered the ones @Neal used. After the holidays, I'll get busy and replace mine too.

TJ
 
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Interesting. So the fix was the swap of splitters from 5-1000Mhz to 5-2000Mhz and not just terminating the open ports on the existing splitter? I may have to look at that on the home setup and replace those old splitters.
Yeah, you should terminate all unused connectors in your home so you're not blasting out RF everywhere.
 
Joined
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2014 Honda CR-V
Actually, terminating the unused ports simply maintains the characteristic impedance of the circuit and prevents attenuation of the RF. The 75-Ohm characteristic of RG-6 (and similar) coaxial cable changes significantly if there are open connections at some of the ports. This cuts signal strength and results in poor picture quality and failure of the TV receiver to pick up weaker signals.

TJ
 
Joined
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Midlothian, VA
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2017 Chevy Colorado
I think the biggest problem is we are now in a world of digital cable and the splitters Newmar uses is still in the land of horse and buggy cable. Coax/Cable is likely broadcasting in a spectrum that the installed splitters can't handle. I sure sound like I know what i'm talking about but quite frankly don't have a clue :unsure:
 
Joined
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Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Mountain Aire 4047
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
@Neal, the cable TV channel frequencies run in the 50-550 MHz, well within the 5-1000 MHz range of the splitters Newmar uses. After looking into this a bit, I suspect the primary problem we are facing is two-fold; cheap splitters with poor isolation between ports and unterminated ports that mess up the characteristic impedance of the circuit and eat up signal.

Changing out the 5-1000 MHz splitters with the 5-2000 MHz version likely gets us a better quality unit with much better port-to-port isolation. And, terminating the open ports restores the proper impedance so the circuit doesn't attenuate the signal as much.

Just my $0.02 worth based on 40+ years of messing with amateur radio coax and associated stuff.

TJ
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Midlothian, VA
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2017
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RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
I wonder if the problem is coming from them sourcing their cable from a Satellite system? Read towards the bottom of:


High and Low Frequency Splitters
Splitters for coaxial cable (the cable used for TV signals) are made to work with the 5-1000 MHz band used by modern digital cable signals, or the 5-2300 MHz band used by satellite TV signals. You can use high frequency splitters for low frequency cable signals, as their range includes the whole low frequency range. Low frequency splitters, however, can't be used for satellite signals.
 
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Fort Myers, FL
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Dutch Star 4018
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40'
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2018 JL Rubicon & 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk Elite
Interesting. So the fix was the swap of splitters from 5-1000Mhz to 5-2000Mhz and not just terminating the open ports on the existing splitter? I may have to look at that on the home setup and replace those old splitters.
@Buster ... not sure which item is the main issue but I did both and mine went from "bad to good". If you go through the trouble of getting under that sink I would sure do both.

FLSteve
 
Joined
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St. Charles, IL
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I think @TJ&LadyDi hit the nail on the head. Terminators are always a good idea as a splitter is also a combiner. Unused ports on a splitter in theory can take in stray signals and cause picture degredation but is practice this is usually not the main problem.

Unless things have changed recently, the mainstream cable companies transmit signals in the 50-1000Mhz range these days. The 50-550MHz range was the standard 20+ years ago prior to the explostion of channel options. The 5-50Mhz range is used for the return path back to the cable companies (i.e. send info back on Pay Per View purchases). Cable TV in an RV park should operate similarly although they could in theory be their own cable company and transmit differently - i.e to @Neal 's point above.

Either way, the new splitters and possibly terminators solved the problem for multiple people which is the goal.

P.S. If you ever want to see how cheap a splitter is made, just open one up and you'll wonder how you even get a signal in the first place.
 
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