The vast majority of boats floating out there do not have digital TVs for reasons I discussed earlier, so I thought this would make a good subject for a DYI project that could be done by boat owners. When the project is done, you will have transformed your boat into an on air wonder with many crystal clear digital channels. Right now, most of you don't get on air channels at all since the digital change over. You need a few reasonably priced items, and some patience. The picture below is from a late model 44’ Searay Dancer, and this is the starting point for the project. If you look to the left side of the cabinet, you will see the Glomex TV signal amplifier. This is an ideal place to put the gear we are going to use. You can click on the picture for a closer view.
You are going to need some bits and pieces such as the following items. The first is an A/B switch shown below. This is used to switch the cable input between the dock, and the on air antenna. These run from about $10-$20 and can be found online, or at Radio Shack
The next item is a LXXR extender. This cool small flying saucer shaped gadget will take the digital converter’s infrared remote control and will convert it to a radio frequency remote control. This will work with any infrared remote control that uses AA, or AAA batteries. This means you won’t have to open the cabinet door to change channels. This is available online for about $75.00. You can only use one per boat. Additional units hear each other.
The digital converter I like the best is the Apex unit available from Best Buy. This costs about $60.00, and is a nice compact unit with remote control.
Step one is to locate the boats coax splitter. This is often located somewhere behind the Glomex controller. This most likely means opening the electrical panel, and looking behind for a bunch of coax cables terminated into a splitter. One is the input, and all of the others are outputs, and all are clearly marked. The input to the splitter is the center cable of the Glomex box. This cable needs to be disconnected from the Glomex box, and moved to the "To TV" center connector of the AB switch (it may have to be stretched with an additional cable). A new short cable is installed from the center connector of the Glomex box to the "Antenna in" of the digital converter box. The Glomex box only has the "Antenna In" cable, and the center cable now connected. The dockside cable, that was the third cable to the Glomex, is attached to the "B" connector of the AB switch, and the digital converter "To TV" cable attached to the "A" connector. Look at the diagram if I have confused you.