Wednesday, May 15, 2013

TV Come Home

We recently explained that we were having some issues with our KVH DirecTV antenna, which permits us to watch DirecTV from anywhere in North America without adjusting the antenna with the movement of the boat.  Really, there was just a single issue: the antenna stopped working.

Sea Gem has a KVH model designed for cars, not boats, which has a couple advantages.  First, the auto model is much shorter in height, which permits us to place it beneath our boom as well as reduce windage, as compared to the spherical marine model.  Second, because everything with "boat" or "marine" in the name for some reason costs two to three times as much to repair than the exact same product without those magic words, repairs to the auto model are much more reasonably priced.  When our antenna broke, however, we began to doubt the wisdom of the auto model.  Maybe it just isn't built to be exposed to the elements 24/7?

Fortunately, there is nothing wrong with the auto model, even when installed on a boat.  The antenna was broken, for sure, but that was our fault, not the antenna's.  As it turns out, we were omitting a key step in the operation of a KVH antenna--turning it off when we aren't using it.

KVH explained that they are able to determine how many hours of operation an antenna has.  The most they had seen was about 5,000 hours, which of course corresponds to a lot of television.  Our antenna, however, had logged 12,000 hours before it stopped working (due to excess wear and tear on the moving parts).  We didn't watch 12,000 hours of TV, of course.  But the antenna didn't know the difference because we left it on all the time.  A minor oversight that we won't repeat in the future.

The Antenna is Off!
In any case, our antenna has been repaired and reinstalled and is now better than new (they upgraded it while they were at it).  Our only hope that it lasts another 12,000 hours--and that it takes us a little longer to long those 12,000 hours than 12,000 hours from now. 

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