Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Rabbit Ears Report

Well, they finally pulled the plug on analog broadcasts, and I’ve been ensconced in my little ramshackle pool house ever since, testing and tweaking. Initial reports are good, and I’m now sure of 3 things:

1. I should have cut over sooner.

2. The old rabbit ears with the bow tie UHF add-on work better then the RCA amplified HDTV antenna that I had picked up a while ago.

3. My wife thinks I’m certifiably insane, and has suggested that perhaps I should live out there.

While I’m tempted to take her up on the offer, I’m gonna have to pass for now. No heat, no fridge, no NESN.., no berry.

Ok, time to get down to business. On the antenna front, I truly got much better results with the “stock” rabbit ears that came with the TV. As a matter of fact, the powered RCA imparted a small amount of noise, evident in a slight but annoying screen shimmy that increased as I turned up its gain. Perhaps with a longer cable this wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m limited for space in the old pool house (think walk in closet). I actually considered trying it up on the roof, but then I realized a.) I’d really have a hard time adjusting it, and b.) If I didn’t fall off the roof, I’d probably fall through it, so I gave up and went back to the bunny ears.

Below is my new station list, color coded to indicate the amount of effort involved in getting a clear picture with an indoor antenna. Black indicates little or no manipulation was required. Blue indicates some fiddling and diddling required. Red indicates that you really have to work the antenna to get a glimpse of anything, and what you get isn’t exactly watch-able. Note: this result was after numerous repositions and rescans, you won’t get them all registered on the first pass.

2-1 WGBH-SD Boston, MA PBS
2-2 WGBH-HD Boston, MA PBS
4-1 WBZ-TV Boston, MA CBS
5-1 WCVB-DT Boston, MA ABC
7-1 WHDH-HD Boston, MA NBC
7-2 WHDH-SD Boston, MA This TV

25-1 WFXT-DT Boston, MA FOX
38-1 WSBK-DT Boston, MA Independent
44-1 WGBX-DT Boston, MA PBS
44-2 WGBX-DT Boston, MA PBS World
44-3 WGBX-DT Boston, MA PBS Create
44-4 WGBX-DT Boston, MA PBS Kids
56-1 WLVI-DT Boston, MA CW
66-1 WUTF-DT Marlborough, MA TeleFutura
68-1 WBPX-DT Boston, MA ION
68-2 WBPX-DT Boston, MA qubo
68-3 WBPX-DT Boston, MA IONLife
68-4 WBPX-DT Boston, MA Worship

One oddity I noticed is that when I first tested digital reception last weekend I got 7-1 and 7-2 as clear as a bell, and didn’t get 5-1 at all. This weekend, after the cutover, just the opposite is true. Hmmmm… interesting. Perhaps WHDH hasn’t gone full power yet, or maybe they were already at full power, and other stations are drowning them out now. Oh well, I can live without them for now, but I’m curious to hear what others have found, so be sure to chime in with your own results. I’m sure I’m not the only nut job out there.

At least I hope I’m not…

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