Okay, here’s some updated information from our chief engineer, Jarrett Liddicoat.
“First off, we ARE on the air, and many are getting us now on VHF channel 7 for digital that were never getting us before. However, we have traded that success for a lot of issues with viewers that use indoor antennas. The lower the channel number, the better it travels, but that also means it can bounce around more and create something called “multipath”. In the analog world, those would show up as a ghosted image, but in digital, these tend to freak out DTV tuners. The early boxes from a few years ago had big issues with this, even in UHF, and they improved things as time went on. In fact, these latest converter boxes should do a better job at rejecting multipath than some TV’s with built in tuners, since those old TV’s use the older chipsets still.
Despite those advances though, we are struggling with callers with simple indoor antennas, including those with VHF rabbit ears, that can not lock onto KWWL-DT now that it is a VHF signal. The issue is that our signal is bouncing around inside their home more and confusing things. We have found a couple things that may help, although everyone’s situation may be a bit different:
-First, have the viewer do a complete SYSTEM OR FACTORY RESET on their converter box or tuner if possible. Most of them have that option in the settings page, and that helps clear our some information that is hanging these systems up. You can make sure that they have done a complete RESCAN… not just a channel addition.
-Second, the rabbit ears should only be extended about 17” or so (about half way). All that rabbit ears do is try to match the ¼ wavelength of of the frequency. We are measured at 16.996 inches. Having the ears the correct length so that they are a match to our frequency helps matters.
-Third, antenna position. You want them like a “V” typically facing the Rowley area. Ideally, you should place it right against a window or even outside if possible to see if you can lock it in. This gives the antenna one really strong signal to better lock on to instead of having the extra noise confuse it.
-Fourth, if you antenna (indoor or outdoor) does not have an obvious VHF antenna, like rabbit ears, it may not have one at all. We have found some very misleading marketing out there with antennas that claim to handle both UHF and VHF, when in reality, they are only UHF antennas. We are still researching some recommendations for good antennas to do the job. One indoor unit that claims to reject multipath well is the Winegard SS-3000. Unfortunately, it is really only available online or through an antenna retailer (not at the major retailer).”
On that note, Winegard Antenna has graciously agreed to help some of our viewers. They are local antenna experts and can help guide you through the confusing process of choosing and installing the correct antenna. Their number is 866-454-7566.
Feel free to leave tips or ideas as comments here. Or you can e-mail me.