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Monday, August 3, 2009
A lot has changed after the DTV transition concerning reception of OTA television signals. There are several things that have “come into play” that weren’t issues back in the analog days. My experience with antennas is pretty diverse. I have been playing with them since I was a kid growing up in Middle Tennessee. We were about 75 miles to the east of Nashville, so pointing our antenna wasn’t that big of a chore. As long as you got pretty close to due west, you got a good picture on analog televisions.
Now, my parents tell me that after the DTV transition, they don’t get WTVF (channel 5) anymore. That brings me to my “ponderings” about antenna pointing. I wonder if two antennas would be beneficial in receiving all programming from one direction. Of course then, a person has to start using traps etc. to combine those two antenna feeds into one (which is very tricky).
Let me go a step farther with this: At my house in Gibson County, Tennessee, I have a 70 foot tower. I have an antenna pointed towards Memphis which yields most all of the programming from that city. But, like my parents, I rely on channel 5 (WMC-TV) for some programming. WHBQ (channel 13) is also on the VHF band in Memphis. With my Memphis antenna pointed in that direction, balanced to receive the best picture from all affiliates in Memphis, I couldn’t get Channels 5 and 13 after the DTV transition. So, I put up another antenna (on a rotor on top the tower so I can play and experiment) to see what could be done about it. I found great reception on both by turning my antenna more to the south! And to tell the truth, looking at the way that antenna is pointed, it would appear that I wouldn’t be getting any signal from Memphis whatsoever! I’m going to try and help my parents out by adding a rotor and another antenna to their rig to see what happens. When I do, I will post the results for everyone to see.
I wonder why turning an antenna that far away from the source (and let me add here that I am using Channel Master and Winegard VHF/UHF antennas (top of the line, but I can’t remember their model numbers now) would yield nearly perfect reception! Is there something “deflecting” the signal (similar to ghosting in the analog days)? This far out (80 miles from Memphis) I wouldn’t expect any ghosting to be an issue. But, I think what has happened is the engineers don’t know what exactly happens (yet) to a digital signal broadcasted on the VHF band. The technology is relatively new, and even though we have been broadcasting in digital for several years, we haven’t broadcasted full power on the low VHF band! This is just my opinion, I’d like to hear yours! Also, Jake reports (see website below) that WTVF in Nashville has been granted permission by the FCC to build a DTV translator station on channel 50 to help folks in that part of the world who can’t get a good digital signal on channel 5. I’ve looked at the projected “Grade B” signal coverage path of this translator and it is amazing! We will have to see if this helps or not! Could this be the engineer's way of saying "Uh oh...."
Finally, I will conclude by thanking Jake of Jakes DTV blog for inspiring me to start this project. If you have stumbled onto this blog from somewhere other than HIS blog, please take some time to go visit him at www.jakesdtvblog.blogspot.com!