Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Rabbit Ears Report - Revisited

Looks like there have been signal strength problems with WHDH, as well as with other stations nationwide. I sent them a link to my previous post "The Rabbit Ears Report", and they sent back a great explanation of what was going on. Here it is in part:

“WHDH is experiencing signal difficulties following the transition that took place on June 12.

The signal difficulties we are experiencing are a result of post-transition power allocation assigned by the FCC that is not sufficient to maintain the signal strength that we had prior to the transition. We are petitioning the FCC to adjust the technical parameters so that we will be able to improve reception. In the meantime, we will continue to simulcast on Channel 42 (our pre-transition digital channel) so that viewers will be able to receive our signal. We appreciate your patience as we resolve this matter.


Bravo for stepping up and acknowledging problems to your viewers, channel 7, and true to their word, a rescan last night brought back both 7-1 and 7-2.

As a long time technology guy, I know that in any large scale transition there will be unexpected problems. Dealing quickly with those problems and making a “spectacular recovery” is the real measure of success in such a large project.

So, last night’s rescan brought a total reversal of fortune for both 7 and 5, changing my color coded reception chart (black/good, blue/decent, red/difficult) like this:

5-1 WCVB-DT Boston, MA ABC
7-1 WHDH-HD Boston, MA NBC
7-2 WHDH-SD Boston, MA This TV

The rescan also added 9-1, 27-1 and 27-2 to the mix.

There’s a good article about the broadcast power issues on today, the highlight of which is the “double rescanning” info from the FCC at the very bottom, which recommends that with all the hopping around that the stations are doing right now, you should basically wipe your box by disconnecting the antenna and rescanning, then power cycling it, then hook it back up and do a second rescan.

This is excellent advice that I think I would take a step further by recommending a weekly double rescan until all this shakes out.

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