DTV update

February 18, 2009 17 Comments

First off – I’m sending out a plea for information. Send me your constructive (and polite) experience. What’s working and what isn’t working beyond the normal rescan. I’ll compile that information here.

Unfortunately at this point, the people still struggling to see KWWL are probably not going to find an easy fix. In most cases, it’s a problem with their antenna. I get a lot of people saying, “I saw your digital signal before, why can’t I see you now?” I’ll try to make this as simple as possible.

Before the switch, we were broadcasting our analog signal on VHF channel 7 and our digital signal on UHF channel 55. Yesterday, we ended our analog signal and moved our digital signal to VHF channel 7.

If you have scanned and rescanned and you still can’t find us, the first thing you should check is your antenna. Is it a VHF antenna? A lot of callers say they bought a top of the line digital antenna. Unfortunately, that “digital” title is a bit misleading. Many of the digital antennas are set up to receive UHF and VHF signals. But, our engineers have identified at least 15 “digital” antennas that either don’t receive a VHF signal or are built in a way that they can’t receive a strong enough signal to broadcast. Here’s the list of the antennas we’re getting negative feedback about:

RCA Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna (several models)
RCA Indoor HDTV Antenna (several models)
Antennas Direct Clearstream 4 Outdoor Long-Range Digital Antenna
Antennas Direct Clearstream 1 Indoor/Outdoor Long-Range Digital TV Antenna
RCA Indoor Smart TV Antenna
Terk amplified Indoor Antenna
Antennas Direct Outdoor Multi-directional HDTV Antenna
Antennas Direct Clearstream 2 Long-Range HDTV Outdoor Antenna
Terk – Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna
Terk – Outdoor Amplified HDTV Antenna
Antennas Direct Multidirectional Outdoor HDTV Antenna
Antennas Direct Multidirectional Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna

This list is based on viewer feedback so far. Some of these antennas may actually work depending on where you live and how much interference there is.

Another great resource is Basically, you put in your street address and it will tell you the ideal type of antenna to receive the best signal. It takes into account geography, interference, and proximity to a tower.

If you have simple rabbit ears in your home, these are a VHF antenna, but are very finicky when it comes to picking up a signal. Our signal strength is actually stronger now than it was before, but that’s adding some complications because in some cases there is something called ghosting happening. The signal is so strong it’s bouncing off surrounding buildings or even the walls in your home and isn’t making it to the antenna. Make sure your rabbit ears are extended as far as possible (preferably about 20 inches), and set them near a window that faces towards Rowley, IA (where our tower is located). In some cases, people have literally walked around their living room until they see something.

This is all the tips I’ve got for now. I’ll update with more when I get a note from our engineers or see something helpful show up in my inbox.


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Comments (17)

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  1. D. Murphy says:

    I have two Philips VHF/UHF antennas. I have an amplified Philips antenna connected to my 32″ Westinghouse HDTV with digital tuner. Now before the switch I was receiving Channel 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 clear and with no problems with what they call the “cliff effect”, the point at which your signal wants to freeze and go black. I receive all other digital channels with no problem at all and that includes the not hdtv set with convertor box and non amplified philips vhf/uhf antenna. Both antennas have poles and the circle antenna. The amplified antenna is on an enclosed porch on the south side of the house and that porch has nearly 10 windows in it. Why were some people receiving the signal on 55.1 and some receiving the signal on 7.1, prior to the switch?

  2. D. Murphy says:

    Why is the digital signal working on 7.1 before and not now? I was receiving high quality HD signals on 7.1 prior to the switch.

  3. D. Murphy says:

    I rescanned my 32″ Westinghouse HDTV with digital tuner and it picked up Channels 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3, but without video. Why would it find these channels, but not give me video?

  4. J Wirthlin says:

    You blog has been very helpful in explaining my loss of your digital signal after almost a year of reasonably good reception all the way here in Kalona. However, I would suggest that with all the effort made by the NAB, your station and others, for many months on trying to educate the public on the switchover, I don’t remember hearing anyone explain that some stations would revert from UHF to VHF channels. It would have helped avoid complete signal loss for those of us who believed advertising for “digital ready” antennas that are only UHF.

  5. Dean says:

    I have a Antennas Direct Clearstream 4 Outdoor Long-Range Digital Antenna that gets analog 2 and 9 fine, but not digital 7. I think that means it handles high VHF.

  6. Bradford Harris says:

    Thank you for posting this information. I’m sorry to say that I will miss KWWL and RTN and such. I just can’t afford to keep buying antennas. I’ve got a good UHF setup now but can’t afford another antenna system upgrade.

    I recently bought a Lava 2605 and it’s fantastic for the area I live in (North Liberty). It does a great job with UHF but not such a great job with VHF. I guess I will just have to make due with what I can receive.

    Sorry to lose 7, but those are the breaks… The rest of the digital channels make dumping my cable bill a happy experience.

    Bye KWWL. I will miss you for now after 40 years of viewing. 🙁

  7. Gary Finney says:

    I have tried to help my mother-in-law with receiving channel 7. Here old antenna was bad so we went to Radio Shack and the sales personel told us that The store received an email from Kwwl engineers saying that there was a power problem and new antennas would not fix the problem. ” Just tell your customers to wait for a couple of weeks.” So far My mother-in-law can receive 17 channels with her new converter box and antenna but not Channel 7. The average signal level is 60% on the RCA converter indicator. What is the real story?

  8. John says:

    I have a Terk Indoor HDTV antenna and it currently powers (3) separate TVs in my home:
    1. 42″ Visio LCD HDTV – Currently receives 7-1/2/3 with perfect reception
    2. Windows Media Center on my personal computer – Receives every digital channel but 7-1/2/3.
    3. 13″ CRT TV with the use of a APEX Digital converter box. Receives every digital channel but 7-1/2/3.

    Befire the conversion I received 7-1/2/3 on all three devices.

    Any thoughts on why my Trek HDTV antenna provides perfect 7-1/2/3 signal to my Visio LCD TV but not to the other TVs.

    I am really going to miss “The Office”

    Any help would be appreciated.

  9. chris behrens says:

    I too have given up on channel 7. I have tried virtually every solution offered on this website. This includes multiple rescans, multiple VHF antennas, and multiple connects and reconnects not to mention the constant adjustments of the antenna. I quit. I will just learn to live without NBC programming and enjoy ALL of the other networks that I can pick up with no problem. I cant wait to see if KCRG channel 9 has the same problems when they move down into the VHF range.

  10. kevin says:

    ditto to the above. I did get ch 7 fine in digital but now, nothing. I live at a high point in CF near Greeh Hill Rd. Seems I should get a good signal. I get all the other channels fine – even Ch 2 which was always my worst.

  11. Alex Moore says:

    Are any antennas working?
    If so, which ones. I live in Mount Vernon.

  12. Steve Yoder says:

    I am receiving chanel & south of iowa city with a menards antenna & radio shacks best amplifier. I have my parents gettin channel 7 north of wellman with a 40 year old antenna (in the attic) with radio shacks middle of the line booster.

  13. Ken W says:

    Living in North Liberty, and using my ancient VHF antenna hung from the ceiling of my garage, I never lost channel 7 (KWWL).

    However, I don’t receive any KGAN stations, and I only get analog channel 9 (for the next few days). I suspect I’ll have to buy a VHF/UHF combo.

  14. Wayne Garfield says:

    When the digital change-over took place today, I did the channel scan.Every channel we were getting before came in beautifuly EXCEPT Channel 7. We were getting this channel before thru the conversion box, however, channel 7 would loose its signal quicker than any of the others. Why do we not get it at all now?? Where is your signal??

  15. Acer says:

    Channel 7 should be up and working now

  16. Robert Chittenden says:

    Location: Hudson, Iowa

    If you are still compiling a list of antennaes that won’t receive vhf:
    Terk indoor non-amplified

    It gets all UHF but no VHF. It claims to receive both signals but obviously, does not.

  17. Bradford Harris says:

    All is working now. I am so glad ’cause channel 7.3 is my favorite. They’ve corrected the weak signal issue in this area and now 7 is one of the strongest signals I receive. Thanks KWWL. I watch you and Fox most of the time and don’t ever plan to go back to cable.

    A happy viewer in North Liberty. 🙂

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