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The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

The technical side of broadcasting. Think IBOC is a sham? Talk about it here! How about HDTV? Post DX reports here as well.
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Otter Mii-kun
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by Otter Mii-kun » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:34 pm

Arthur Mometer wrote:MANY MORE OTA TV stations, especially Channels 2-6, and even 7-13, and even UHF where you had just a near line of sight, were available off air with a modest outdoor antenna, to a distance 10 miles or so beyond the Grade B outer contour on Channels 2-13. We're not just talking DX, but REGULAR SERVICE reliable 90-100 percent of the time.
That's probably the one thing I miss most about analog broadcasts. I still think it was better that a picture with a less-than-excellent signal had snow and "sparks", and the audio full of static, than to have the picture break up repeatedly and the sound "stutter".
mtburb wrote:If WTVG's eventual owners in the late 80's/early 90's didn't modify their transmitter so that it was able to provide usable signals in all directions, I presume Mickey Mouse did the job when he owned it until 2010 because currently I am able to receive WTVG with a second-story indoor antenna placed in a closet.
I remember being a kid in the mid-to-late 1990s, that I would often go through the channels on living room TV after a thunderstorm, and often would get Channel 11 out of Toledo (WTOL) and the channel 13 out of Grand Rapids (WZZM) among various others that my mom and I couldn't normally get with our rooftop antenna (65 miles north of Detroit). Eventually, I started getting WTVG out of Toledo thinking it was WZZM out of GR (since 'TVG was also an ABC station), but noted that the logo was completely different. Keep in mind that all this time our antenna was pointed towards Detroit all this time. Now I know why I got one Channel 13 via DX at one point only to get a completely different 13 some years later under similar conditions.
MWmetalhead wrote:What I remember most during the analog TV days were annoying diagonal silver or yellow lines dancing across my TV screen when tuned to WWMT, channel 3, in the Grand Rapids area. If I turned the rabbit areas in the direction needed to null out these lines, the signal of the intended station became snowy.
Piggybacking what I said above, I would've tolerated those diagonal lines on a low-band VHF channel than trying to get anything in digital 8VSB on that same band (RF 2-6). Just ask viewers in the Philadelphia area with antennas that have had trouble getting WPVI-TV 6, which leads me to...
SolarMax wrote: Also to blame for reception problems is the 8-VSB modulation scheme, picked over far more robust COFDM (a variant of which will be used when ATSC 3.0 is finally rolled out).
I can only hope that ATSC 3.0 signals will be at least somewhat more reliable than existing 1.0 signals (though I do remember reading somewhere on here (probably since pruned) that DVB-T in Europe and Australia, which uses COFDM, is quite the power hog compared to what we have in America with 8VSB-based ATSC.), but, to be fair, things might be much more complicated now that the UHF band is being cut down to RF 36 due to the BS spectrum auction that promotes how much better data-capped mobile broadband will be over broadcast TV or even high-data-allowance fixed-line (wired) connections.


Isn't it nice how deregulation has brought us such oversized and dangerously overleveraged broadcast owners? (Yes, I'm looking at YOU, Sinclair, Nexstar, Cume-U-Less, and iFart!)

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SolarMax
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by SolarMax » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:22 pm

MWmetalhead wrote:
Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:53 pm
Definitely wasn't co-channel interference; this was a constant occurrence. All three examples were on TV sets with indoor rabbit ears.
Could there have been devices like VCRs or set-top boxes nearby that had their outputs set on Ch. 3 or 4?



Arthur Mometer
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by Arthur Mometer » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:14 pm

MWmetalhead wrote:
Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:40 pm
What I remember most during the analog TV days were annoying diagonal silver or yellow lines dancing across my TV screen when tuned to WWMT, channel 3, in the Grand Rapids area. If I turned the rabbit areas in the direction needed to null out these lines, the signal of the intended station became snowy.

Ran into this problem in three completely different houses of family members spaced several miles apart.

Anyone know what caused this issue?
In Genesee County there was a similar issue with WNEM-TV Channel 5. Their tower in Indiantown is almost as far from Central Genesee County as WDIV-TV, and is not LOS from many locations due to distance and hills, which attenuate the signal even at Low VHF. For years, people mainly used an "Area Special" that had a 2 Bay High-Low Inline, with two VHF High directors per Bay, pointed at Southfield for 2, 4, and 7, and supposedly 9. It was supposed to pick up 5 off the back of the antenna, but always had diagonal lines. I heard at one point that it was caused by carriers in the 72-76 MHz band. Because of the interference, for many years people watched Channel 4 for NBC, which although somewhat weaker, had no diagonal lines. The Area of Dominant Influence for Channel 4 extended for many years into Genesee County for that reason, and WDIV-TV still reports Weather Alerts for Genesee County.

When people got better, more directive antennas and rotators, for Color signals, the Desired to Undesired Ratio eliminated the diagonal lines, and WNEM-TV finally came in better than WDIV-TV for NBC. By that time, people began to get cable, though at that time, all the VHF stations except Channel 9 came in better with a good antenna than the thin weak signals provided by cable distribution.


"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

"Those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do."

"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

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mtburb
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by mtburb » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:29 am

Arthur Mometer wrote:
Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:14 pm
In Genesee County there was a similar issue with WNEM-TV Channel 5. Their tower in Indiantown is almost as far from Central Genesee County as WDIV-TV, and is not LOS from many locations due to distance and hills, which attenuate the signal even at Low VHF. For years, people mainly used an "Area Special" that had a 2 Bay High-Low Inline, with two VHF High directors per Bay, pointed at Southfield for 2, 4, and 7, and supposedly 9. It was supposed to pick up 5 off the back of the antenna, but always had diagonal lines. I heard at one point that it was caused by carriers in the 72-76 MHz band. Because of the interference, for many years people watched Channel 4 for NBC, which although somewhat weaker, had no diagonal lines. The Area of Dominant Influence for Channel 4 extended for many years into Genesee County for that reason, and WDIV-TV still reports Weather Alerts for Genesee County.

When people got better, more directive antennas and rotators, for Color signals, the Desired to Undesired Ratio eliminated the diagonal lines, and WNEM-TV finally came in better than WDIV-TV for NBC. By that time, people began to get cable, though at that time, all the VHF stations except Channel 9 came in better with a good antenna than the thin weak signals provided by cable distribution.
And I find that ironic that although those same diagonal-line issues may have affected WNEM reception south of Genesee County until WBXD-LP came to the scene (and even then very limited to a small area around downtown Detroit at best), to this date the Alden Park Towers MATV cable system on the east side of Detroit still carries WNEM (and alongside, incidentally, WTOL and WWJ!).
Last edited by mtburb on Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.


For three days in January 2017 (15th, 16th, 19th) and one night in September 2017 (22nd), I managed to receive KDKA Pittsburgh from 202 miles away indoors!

My tropo station reception reports: https://www.rabbitears.info/dxlocation.php?id=403

Arthur Mometer
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by Arthur Mometer » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:39 am

Probably the 72-76 Mhz signal was lower power and nearby. Unless the antenna was on a high building, I can't imagine WNEM 5 being pulled off air even in analog on Low VHF in Detroit, with a decent head end signal, let alone on 22 in digital. Was it and is it relayed with microwave links? Otherwise it would have to be on the Renaissance Building, or Penobscot maybe. I know that it was LOS to the WFUM site.


"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

"Those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do."

"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

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RingtailedFox
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by RingtailedFox » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:34 am

22 wouldn't work, since they''d end up picking up CIII-DT-22 from Leamington... they must have a microwave link or direct connection to WNEM...


~ The Legendary Raccoon-Fox has spoken!

Arthur Mometer
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by Arthur Mometer » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:55 am

They could use a tower in the Rattallee Lake Antenna Farm area to pick up TV signals from the FSB area, and use microwave relays to send them to the Detroit Area. That area is around 1100-1200 feet AMSL, and is 400-500 feet higher than either the Flint or Detroit Areas. I've always wondered why nobody put a transmitting tower up there, although WJRT-TV wanted to in the 1950s, and had their microwave relay tower there. WFUM-FM and WCMZ are about eight miles North, but way down the North side of the ridge at 920 feet AMSL (1849 feet AMSL at the top of the tower, according to FAA charts). I guess WHNE-LD operated from the I-75 near Rattalee Lake Rd. tower for a while, but the lower ERP and DA, particularly in the South directions between 90 and 270 degrees, were unfavorable and were digital.

Here's a link to the online Aeronautical Chart Sectional. You can play with the Zoom Levels, 7-11, and zoom in to other areas easily at 7. Nothing above 11 works. You could also put in different coordinates by editing the link, or entering the three letter airport code.

http://vfrmap.com/?type=vfrc&lat=42.965 ... 45&zoom=10

As you can see, some of the towers along the white line near Holly are on land that is 1100-1200 feet AMSL. The high number is the top of the tower AMSL, the lower number is the tower height, and the difference is the site AMSL. But a DXer or engineer could figure this out.


"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

"Those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do."

"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by Arthur Mometer » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:08 pm

Arthur Mometer wrote:
Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:26 pm
WTVG went nondirectional at least several years before they went digital on Channel 13. The effect was great in my direction, generally North of Oregon, OH. Wouldn't it have been strange if I lived in Washington, MI, North of Oregon, OH? It was usually about the same quality signal as WTOL 11.
It looks like WTVG officially went to 316 kW analog nondirectional in 2004. The application was filed in 2001. It looks like they knew they were going to use the new antenna for digital on Channel 13 anyway, and they wanted their analog facility maximized. The planning for this probably went back to when they were bought by ABC because of the threat of losing WXYZ-TV as an ABC affiliate, and the plan to serve Detroit Metro with WJRT 12 and WTVG 13. One of the TV allotment software engineer developers confirmed that WJRT 12 was still fully spaced from Clarkston at that point, although ABC played their cards very close and didn't mention this when buying WJRT and WTVG. His response when I mentioned my suspicions was "of course".


"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

"Those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do."

"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

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mtburb
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by mtburb » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:46 pm

Arthur Mometer wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:08 pm
Arthur Mometer wrote:
Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:26 pm
WTVG went nondirectional at least several years before they went digital on Channel 13. The effect was great in my direction, generally North of Oregon, OH. Wouldn't it have been strange if I lived in Washington, MI, North of Oregon, OH? It was usually about the same quality signal as WTOL 11.
It looks like WTVG officially went to 316 kW analog nondirectional in 2004. The application was filed in 2001. It looks like they knew they were going to use the new antenna for digital on Channel 13 anyway, and they wanted their analog facility maximized. The planning for this probably went back to when they were bought by ABC because of the threat of losing WXYZ-TV as an ABC affiliate, and the plan to serve Detroit Metro with WJRT 12 and WTVG 13. One of the TV allotment software engineer developers confirmed that WJRT 12 was still fully spaced from Clarkston at that point, although ABC played their cards very close and didn't mention this when buying WJRT and WTVG. His response when I mentioned my suspicions was "of course".
There's another reason as to why WTVG was bought by ABC: there was also the threat of losing WEWS; and WTVG's grade A contour extended as far east as Sandusky and it's grade B extended a bit into Lorain County (western Cleveland metro), both of which are in the WEWS DMA, so the plan was to at least serve the far western end of the Cleveland metro through WTVG.

This may also explain how Toledo is often mentioned on the Cleveland-set The Drew Carey Show.


For three days in January 2017 (15th, 16th, 19th) and one night in September 2017 (22nd), I managed to receive KDKA Pittsburgh from 202 miles away indoors!

My tropo station reception reports: https://www.rabbitears.info/dxlocation.php?id=403

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rugratsonline
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by rugratsonline » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:07 pm

mtburb wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:46 pm
There's another reason as to why WTVG was bought by ABC: there was also the threat of losing WEWS; and WTVG's grade A contour extended as far east as Sandusky and it's grade B extended a bit into Lorain County (western Cleveland metro), both of which are in the WEWS DMA, so the plan was to at least serve the far western end of the Cleveland metro through WTVG.
At the time, most of the Cleveland area also got ABC through WAKC channel 23 in Akron, which primarily served the southern portion of the Cleveland market through Canton. The station became Pax (Ion) station WVPX in 1998 (new owners Paxson dropped ABC for infomercials in 1996). If WEWS had lost its ABC affiliation, there might have been some incentive to keep WAKC in the ABC chain.



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mtburb
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Re: The Good Old Days Of Full Analog TV Station Coverage

Post by mtburb » Fri May 25, 2018 1:33 pm

Bumping because...another thread in this section got me into thinking about something I'm surprised was never brought up until now in this thread: what could've been possible back in the analog days if all of your local then-analog stations were off for one night.

Here's what I would've been able to pick up from my current location in Wyandotte back then:

VHF:
WJBK 2: CTV Sault Ste. Marie, WGRZ Buffalo, KDKA Pittsburgh, WDTN Dayton, WBBM Chicago, WBAY Green Bay
WDIV 4: WTOM Cheboygan, WIVB Buffalo, WTAE Pittsburgh, WCMH Columbus, WTMJ Milwaukee
WXYZ 7: Midland, Ontario CIII satellite; WPBN Traverse City, WLS Chicago, WHIO Dayton, WTRF Wheeling, WKBW Buffalo
CBET 9: WWTV Cadillac, WGN Chicago, WTOV Steubenville, CFTO Toronto

UHF (though more rare):
WMYD 20: Most likely WYCC Chicago, more rarely WFYI Indianapolis or WOUB Athens, Ohio
CIII 22: WSBT South Bend, WKEF Dayton
WPXD 31: Most likely WUHF Rochester
CICO 32: Most likely WFLD Chicago or sometimes WACY Appleton
WADL 38: WCPX Chicago
WKBD 50: WPWR Gary
WTVS 56: WYIN Gary
CHWI 60: WXFT Aurora, Illinois
WWJ 62: WJYS Hammond, Indiana


For three days in January 2017 (15th, 16th, 19th) and one night in September 2017 (22nd), I managed to receive KDKA Pittsburgh from 202 miles away indoors!

My tropo station reception reports: https://www.rabbitears.info/dxlocation.php?id=403

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