Gail of Grand Haven asked, "Several years ago, we became upset with the ever-rising cost of satellite television. We switched back to antenna TV, and for the most part receive a rather large amount of (about 19) channels clearly. On many occasions, however, we are unable to bring in Channel 3 (WWMT). What is the reason for this? Does the station deliberately cut back on their signal?"
You're not alone, Gail. I, too, am a throwback antenna TV person. And I also have the most trouble with Channel 3 reception.
However, my attempts to reach the engineering department at WWMT for an explanation have been fruitless.
My antenna is pointed to the Kalamazoo station. It's often a decent signal, but it drops out quite a bit.
I contacted the manufacturer of my antenna, Channel Master, and they've been of little help to explain it.
A friend of mine who lives in Spring Lake, Lou, said he and his wife watch CBS programs (Channel 3) the most and are also frustrated by the signal drops. Lou said he reached a WWMT engineer a few months ago, and was told that they are operating at about 80 percent power with the anticipation of installing a new digital transmitting antenna.
Interesting to note that WWMT switched to broadcasting on the Channel 2 frequency early on in the digital revolution, but has since switched to broadcasting on the Channel 8 frequency. WOOD-TV (Channel 8) actually broadcasts its digital broadcasts on the Channel 7 frequency. How does that work?
An article on engadget.com explains it: "To ensure that viewers can find the right channel while the broadcasters move around, a technology called terrestrial virtual channel table (TVCT) was included into the Program and System Information Protocol (PSIP). This enabled the broadcasters to send specific data like programming information, but more importantly it supports channel mapping information. The key here is to realize that when you do a channel scan your TV will automatically know that when it discovers channel 24, that you expect to find this station at channel 10. As the digital transition is completed and broadcasters move frequencies — either away from VHF so other services can use it, or are simply moving back to their original channel assignment — most ATSC tuners will require users to rescan in order to update the table."
Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to email@example.com, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on grandhaventribune.com three times a week: at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.