OTA Digital TV, Where is CBS

S

St. John

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Jul 23, 2007
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Hello, a few weeks ago I learned of OTA DTV. I finally started to partake in free HD, I even found a site for viewing channel listings in my area (TitanTV.com). I live 26 miles west of Chicago so I started small and set up an indoor antenna, I get all channels through a Samsung set top tuner that are in the yellow zone on antennaweb. My wife and I occasionally watch CBS (red zone) unfortunately CBS has a very weak signal. There are two CBS channels, one digital and they are both VHF. My Terk antenna has a set of VHF poles, I'm not sure if I have a proper setup. I was wondering, since the reception is so poor do I need to get a roof top antenna for the (red zone) or am I missing something?
I have one more question, will CBS join the UHF band when analog is stopped and why do they have such a weak signal?
Than You, Clay
 
voomvoom

voomvoom

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Hello St. John and Welcome to Satellite Guys. I don't live in your area, so I'm probably not going to be any help. But, I remember reading about WBBM in another thread, and I found this old thread here:
http://www.satelliteguys.us/hd-over-air-ota/87131-wbbm-cbs-2-chicago.html

Hope it will give you an idea of what you're up against, before you spend to much money. And, if you post your question in that thread, you will probably get a quicker response. Good Luck!

Al
 
Hall

Hall

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Feb 14, 2004
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From the link voomvoom gave, it appears that the CBS station is operating at very low power. You can get a bigger, outdoor antenna and probably take care of the issue or you can wait ... they will crank the power up eventually.
 
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texasbrit

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Apr 12, 2006
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The CBS station in Chicago is infamous, most people can't receive it successfully, even much closer than the 26 miles you are at and with a decent outside antenna. They broadcast on 3.1 which is VHF-lo and needs a very large antenna for successful reception.

Here's a great thread on WBBM reception (look at post #5) Chicago, IL - OTA - AVS Forum
 
rad

rad

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Highly recommend the AVS thread posted above. As a former Chicago area view I can feel your pain with WBBM-DT, whoever came up with assigning them channel 3 for their digital station ought to be shot! The good news is that in February 2009 WBBM-DT has been given the OK to switch to channel 12 and move from the Hancock to the Sears tower which should make things up there MUCH better for all. Good luck in the mean time.
 
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Tower Guy

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Nov 1, 2005
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I live 26 miles west of Chicago so I started small and set up an indoor antenna, I get all channels through a Samsung set top tuner that are in the yellow zone on antennaweb.

WBBM is not at low power. It takes less power to send a signal to a rooftop antenna on channel 3 than it does on UHF. Relatively speaking, VHF takes more power to reach an indoor antenna than UHF.

Many channels work OK with an indoor antenna, but not Low Band VHF. WBBM-DT is also bothered by WWMT analog on channel 3 in Kalamazoo. A rooftop antenna has directivity that can tune out WWMT. Indoor antennas have little or no directivity on VHF.

This $22.99 antenna will solve your problem.
AntennaCraft Y5-2-6 Lowband-Broadband VHF Yagi Channels 2-6 (Y5-2-6) | AntennaCraft [Y5-2-6] YAGI LOWBAND BROADBAND 2-6 VHF LOW LOW BAND 5-2-6 Y2-6 Antenna craft
 
T

texasbrit

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Highly recommend the AVS thread posted above. As a former Chicago area view I can feel your pain with WBBM-DT, whoever came up with assigning them channel 3 for their digital station ought to be shot! The good news is that in February 2009 WBBM-DT has been given the OK to switch to channel 12 and move from the Hancock to the Sears tower which should make things up there MUCH better for all. Good luck in the mean time.

Actually they selected channel 3 themselves in their "first round" channel elections. I don't know why it has taken them this long to wake up to reality and ask for a different assignment - it's way after the FCC's deadline.
 
rad

rad

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Actually they selected channel 3 themselves in their "first round" channel elections. I don't know why it has taken them this long to wake up to reality and ask for a different assignment - it's way after the FCC's deadline.

Sorry, didn't know that. The impression I got from Chuck deCourt (chief engineer at WBBM back in the bad old days) was it was the hand they were dealt.
 
B

bidger`

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Apr 6, 2006
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Many channels work OK with an indoor antenna, but not Low Band VHF.

Absolutely. The local NBC transmitter is 5 miles from my house and I get their analog feed @ ch. 18 fine, a little ghosting, but it's tolerable. Their HD channel and digital sub-channel @ 18.1 and 18.2 with frequency of 2 making it low band VHF were a no go with the powered indoor antenna, but I get a signal strength of 98 with a chimney-mounted UHF-VHF outdoor antenna. Fought doing it for awhile, but I can't take another Season of Sunday Night Football in SD, plus I really wanted to see "My Name Is Earl", "The Office", Conan, and SNL in HD. It was worth it.
 
C

cdecourt

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WBBM Channel 3

Sorry, didn't know that. The impression I got from Chuck deCourt (chief engineer at WBBM back in the bad old days) was it was the hand they were dealt.

WBBM had no choice at the time but to accept the proposed HD channel 3 assignment from the FCC. Any station that wanted to be guaranteed a future HD channel had to make a selection using the FCC timetable. The FCC allocated channel 3 to WBBM. With no options at that time we accepted the allocation. Our desire was to continue to work with the FCC and engineers to find an alternative to channel 3.

Another requirement during the current transitional period was stations had to build out their HD facilities as assigned in order to keep their HD channel. As of today all but a small handful have met that requirement.

Back to my main point. CBS recognized that channel 3 was a problem but had no where to turn. Finally, CBS got a break with Channel 12 and a deal was done.

PS. I have not been with WBBM since 2002 so this is not an official CBS/WBBM response.
 
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rad

rad

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WBBM had no choice at the time but to accept the proposed HD channel 3 assignment from the FCC. Any station that wanted to be guaranteed a future HD channel had to make a selection using the FCC timetable. The FCC allocated channel 3 to WBBM. With no options at that time we accepted the allocation. Our desire was to continue to work with the FCC and engineers to find an alternative to channel 3.

Another requirement during the current transitional period was stations had to build out their HD facilities as assigned in order to keep their HD channel. As of today all but a small handful have met that requirement.

Back to my main point. CBS recognized that channel 3 was a problem but had no where to turn. Finally, CBS got a break with Channel 12 and a deal was done.

PS. I have not been with WBBM since 2002 so this is not an official CBS/WBBM response.

Thanks for the response Chuck, I thought that was the way it happened.
 
T

texasbrit

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Thanks for the response Chuck, I thought that was the way it happened.

Depends on your perspective. WBBM did have a choice - they could have abandoned channel 3 and asked the FCC to allocate a digital channel but they did not want to move to UHF (for good financial reasons no doubt, but it was WBBMs choice, no-one forced it on them). So as a VHF-lo station, they were allowed to miss some of the deadlines imposed by the FCC while they sought a better (meaning VHF-hi ) solution. Then WBBM did a deal with another station (WTTW) to allow them to use channel 11, and it looked like that was going to happen. But when the FCC did the modelling that predicted each station's interference effect on others, they told WBBM that their transmitter power would have to be limited. Only this year, two years after the original filing, did WBBM come back to the FCC and propose channel 12. (Their channel 12 proposal to the FCC is dated January 2007)

And it's all in the FCC documentation, if you care to wade through it...
 
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rad

rad

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Depends on your perspective. WBBM did have a choice - they could have abandoned channel 3 and asked the FCC to allocate a digital channel but they did not want to move to UHF (for good financial reasons no doubt, but it was WBBMs choice, no-one forced it on them). So as a VHF-lo station, they were allowed to miss some of the deadlines imposed by the FCC while they sought a better (meaning VHF-hi ) solution. Then WBBM did a deal with another station (WTTW) to allow them to use channel 11, and it looked like that was going to happen. But when the FCC did the modelling that predicted each station's interference effect on others, they told WBBM that their transmitter power would have to be limited. Only this year, two years after the original filing, did WBBM come back to the FCC and propose channel 12. (Their channel 12 proposal to the FCC is dated January 2007)

And it's all in the FCC documentation, if you care to wade through it...

Sorry, not going to wade through documents from back in the 1990's, I lived in the Chicago area during all this time and was there for all of this happening. WBBM was trying anything they could to get out of ths situation there were put in, including trying to pay WYCC to swap their digital assignment, which is UHF for their channel 3 but WYVV wanted millions of dollars more then CBS was willing to pay. The deal with WTTW was a failry recent development, as in the past couple of years, not something that was going on back in 1999/2000. Another item from this mess, WBBM wanted out of the ch 3 assignment since the local cable company had tons of leaks on their system which caused WBBM to have to wait until late 2001/early 2002 (don't remember the exact time) before they could even fire up WBBM-DT since when they did it wiped out most of the downtown cable customers. The only folks in the entier Chicago area that could get CBS in high def were some folks on upgraded cable systems that carried a fiber feed from WBBM, everyone else was left in the dark.
 
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texasbrit

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Sorry, not going to wade through documents from back in the 1990's, I lived in the Chicago area during all this time and was there for all of this happening. WBBM was trying anything they could to get out of ths situation there were put in, including trying to pay WYCC to swap their digital assignment, which is UHF for their channel 3 but WYVV wanted millions of dollars more then CBS was willing to pay. The deal with WTTW was a failry recent development, as in the past couple of years, not something that was going on back in 1999/2000. Another item from this mess, WBBM wanted out of the ch 3 assignment since the local cable company had tons of leaks on their system which caused WBBM to have to wait until late 2001/early 2002 (don't remember the exact time) before they could even fire up WBBM-DT since when they did it wiped out most of the downtown cable customers. The only folks in the entier Chicago area that could get CBS in high def were some folks on upgraded cable systems that carried a fiber feed from WBBM, everyone else was left in the dark.

OK, I only know about what happened since the FCC asked stations to elect a digital channel. There were quotes supposedly from the WBBM engineering staff about why they did not want to move to UHF (more power needed, more expensive etc etc). It looks like they did not do their homework on the proposed move to channel 11 (or the FCC did not do a good job at explaining the interference issues). . Since then they seem to have done a better analysis job and their channel 12 submission was based on a very detailed analysis of potential interference levels which survived FCC scrutiny.
The Chicago area is one of the most problematic areas for OTA. There are so many stations in the midwest, and in Canada, that the spectrum is very crowded. Add to that the propagation issues across the lake and it's difficult to find a frequency where you can use a decent power level and not interfere with someone else.
 
F

firefighterva

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Aug 13, 2007
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hello all i am new to this group and have a couple of questions. After 3 years of constant price increases from cable company i have switched to satelite tv, but i am unable to get locals. do i need a hd tv to be capable to recieve digital ota tv? and what type of antenna does the group recomend for a rural area? my closest tv station is about 30 miles away. any help would be greatly appreciated
 

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