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Friday, 17 December 2010 11:58



By:  John Westbury

Sitting back and observing new arrivals at caravan parks sometimes brings a smile to me as I observe the procedure they take in setting down the van or motorhome and then attending the necessary comforts such as installing the television aerial. I often wonder what we all did when there was no TV and instead we had the comfort only of the transistor radio. I admit that while travelling my wife has to have her "fix" of TV shows such as McLeods Daughters, Home and Away and more recently Master Chef. Equally I have also found the blokes have to have their "fix" of AFL footy.

Getting a good signal to the TV set can take time and I grin when I hear the good lady instructing her husband with "no turn it left; no, now right; try up a bit dear". I've been there, done that but have now found there is a great solution to this problem meaning that us blokes can set up the TV with a good signal in no time at all and get on with important things such as fishing, lawn bowls, golf or a good book.

While travelling around Queensland we stayed at Rainbow Beach and I couldn't help but notice vans and motor homes and even houses with an odd looking TV aerial. This is where I discovered the SATURN TV aerial which is manufactured locally by Peter & Margaret Grant. Peter, who has 45-years experience with TV antennas in country areas, designed and started manufacturing the SATURN antenna in 1998 for travellers who had problems with TV reception. So, why is this TV antenna better than any ordinary one? To find out, I road tested the SATURN Omni 3000 for the rest of our trip around Queensland and back through N.S.W with great results.

This antenna, specifically designed for the traveller, has two aerials inside the fibreglass shell (VHF & UHF) which is in the shape of the planet SATURN with one aerial on the vertical and the other on horizontal with an amplifier included to correct size for country reception (34dB). So, what's the difference with VHF & UHF TV transmissions are sent on both frequencies. VHF (low band frequency) is used mostly in country areas to send TV signals to a large area. UHF is used mainly in local town areas, and, how far the transmission is sent depends on the power of the transmitter. For example, Canberra transmission is sent 130-kms, but at Barcaldine in Queensland, the transmitter sends it 11kms. UHF transmission/reception can change as the atmosphere warms and cools throughout the day, and the main advantage is the physically short wave that is produced by the high frequency as the UHF antenna is stubby and short. The only disadvantage of UHF is its limited broadcast range and reception, mostly referred to as "line of sight" between the TV station's transmission antenna and your reception antenna, as opposed to VHF's very long broadcast range and reception which is less restricted by line of sight.

OK, what's this mean to you the traveller?? It simply means you get the very best reception because you have both UHF and VHF antenna combined all into one! A great example of this is at Wellington in N.S.W. Nearly every house has two TV aerials! This is ideal for the SATURN antenna as reception comes from Mt Canobolas near Orange and has 2-channels vertical and 3 horizontal. So, for transmitters that need to cover a large area the VHF frequency transmitted  on the vertical plane travels longer distances with less loss of picture quality, thus transmitters at Orange, Canberra, Coonabarabran, Bundaberg, Shepparton and many more places have vertical transmission as well as horizontal.

Please remember that remote areas of Australia can pose the odd reception problem and also that not all areas are yet digital. You will find that when Analogue is switched off in an area then there will be a "power up" in digital. A classic example of this is at Mildura in Victoria which was first to go digital.

Finally, some handy hints / advice with your SATURN antenna. If you have an antenna with a booster you must make sure power is getting to the booster to make it work properly. So how do you know if power is getting to your antenna? It's simple with the SATURN Omni 3000 as there is a small inspection hole in the front, and, if you can see a green light in this hole then you have power; if not then there is no power to the antenna. It's then only a matter of tracking back as to why there's no power to the aerial.

Can you use the SATURN antenna with a generator?  No problems at all! It also works perfectly on 240 & 12-volt.  Can the SATURN antenna be roof mounted? Yes, it can and has been roof mounted when requested since 2004 and is now recognised as the leader in roof mounted TV antennas in Australia. What are some of the other benefits? There is no pointing to the transmitter, no adjusting horizontally / vertically, it's digital ready for new FreeView, and you can get a Next G phone aerial as an optional extra. SATURN also has a freecall phone number for after sales service and inquiries.

SATURN antennas can be contacted on 1800 443 471. You can also visit their website www.saturnantennas.com.au and register for their FREE montly newsletter, or have a look for some great information on their blog site caravantravellingwithsaturnantennas.wordpress.com

Here's your chance to win a SATURN Omni 3000 for your van or motor home valued at $420 (RRP) with special thanks to Margaret and Peter Grant of SATURN antennas. Just tell us in 25-words or less why is this antenna called SATURN and why you would like to have one for your travels downunder.

Good luck and watch our website to see if you are a winner!!

By:  John Westbury

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