ABC, FCC Working on DTV Reception Issues
Network, commission addressing low power signals from WLS Chicago, WPVI Philadelphia
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/14/2009 10:17:09 PM
ABC will be working with the FCC to try and fix the reception problems at WPVI Philadelphia and WLS Chicago, said a spokeswoman for the ABC-owned station group.
Both stations have been experiencing reception problems following the shutoff of analog broadcasts on June 12. WLS was having difficulty reaching high-rise and downtown buildings, while Philadelphia viewers complained they couldn't find WPVI's new digital VHF signal.
"We always believed that we were given an insufficient power allocation, and we will work closely with the FCC to aleviate the situation," said WLS-TV President and General Manager Emily Barr. Julie Hoover, a spokeswoman for the ABC station group, said the situation is the same in Philadelphia.
FCC staffer Bob Radcliff said at a press conference Saturday that the FCC was aware of WLS' difficulties. He did not cite WPVI but said the FCC was doing some field analysis of how VHF stations "are experiencing problems in big cities." He said he has talked with stations and the commission is trying to figure out how to "adjust the technical parameters of these stations to improve their service in the cities."
I'm trying to move my family away from cable and just purchased and installed an Antenna. Placing the Antenna in my attic I am able to clearly receive 35 Digital and 3 Analog channels... unfortunately ABC (channel 6.1)is not one of them. According to Antenna Web I am 13 miles from the broadcast antenna and should have no problem accessing this broadcast.
I've been blogging about my transition from cable to broadcast tv at www.cheapter-tv.com and plan to link back to this article. Thanks for reporting the problem... it's good to know I'm not alone.
Chris Garriga - 1/5/2010 4:28:20 PM EST
Some days the signal comes through fine,other days the picture is distorted and then it cuts out with caption that signal strength is low. Since the change I have bought a new digital TV and put a new antenna on the roof top. It hasd helped somewhat but it still cuts out at times. I have followed the scan and rescan instructions several times, but it has not helped. Sometimes I just have to change channels.I hope you can fix this problem.
Will Broertjes - 12/24/2009 10:57:01 AM EST
In Wyndmoor, PA (19038)
Zero WPVI reception, after the recent launch in June
I did have it before June
Amadeira - 6/27/2009 8:46:36 AM EDT
There are several potential reasons why reception of WPVI-6 is problematic.
First, make sure your antenna is sufficiently large enough (and resonant) in the low VHF band. I've found at least one installation where reception issues were traced to a UHF-only antenna system.
I'm located about 22 miles from the Roxborough antenna farm, over the side of a slight hill, and can pull in WPVI-DT with no problems using both roof and attic-mounted Channel Master 2016 antennas. I do have Titan 2 dual-band mast-mounted preamps in both locations, used so I can DX from New York City (64 miles over 2 hills) and Scranton - Wilkes-Barre (71 miles over 2 hills).
WPVI was quite strong on my spectrum analyzer on both antennas before raising power.
Second, the proximity of channel 6 to the FM broadcast band is, as other posters identified, going to overload the low-cost DTV converter boxes and some better-built DTV set-tops, not to mention quite a few TVs. By all means, use an FM trap if your antenna has one. If not, an in-line attenuator may help.
Third, the low VHF band is especially prone to interference from impulse noise from motors, compressors, lamp ballasts, etc. These can raise the noise floor high enough to impact the ATSC 15.3 dB minimum carrier-to-noise ratio. Add in multipath and if any portion of the signal waveform drops below 15.3 dB C/N, bye-bye signal.
Only a spectrum analyzer can really diagnose what's going on here. The problem could be one, two, or all three of these factors. But WPVI should have stayed clear of a low band VHF assignment in the first place.
I'm hearing from folks in other TV markets who are having similar problems with low band Vs and impulse noise. One DTV station on channel 5 in West Virginia comes and goes when the retail store below the TV antenna opens up and shuts down for the day.
hdtvpete - 6/22/2009 4:19:47 PM EDT
David R Lippold - 6/19/2009 9:16:48 PM EDT
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