What's wrong with Channel 3?

A reader would like to know why the WWMT (Channel 3) over-the-air signal is so difficult.
Mark Brooky
Nov 22, 2013

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."

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THAT explanation (in Engineer English) is unintelligible to the average person.(at least to me) Please translate to dumb-guy English.

Tri-cities realist

The signal that WWMT transmits is not strong enough to reach our area clearly.


The atsc tuner is what converts the (over-the-air) analog signal to digital HD. This is mostly needed if you have an older analog tv, and it should be purchased when you buy your antenna. On this converter you will need to do a channel scan often to update the channels you receive at any given time.

We went to antenna tv and will never look back. We have a small antenna purchased at a local box store. Does anyone have the 100 mile radius one from Menards? I see it only costs one month of cable. Wondered if something like that works any better than mine. We too are at 20 stations give or take. Sometimes we pull in Wisconsin stations. Never channel 3. CBS Sunday Morning, a staple in our house for many years now is watched online, after 10:30 of course. Also, we never miss a show we can't get on TV- we use Project Free TV online. Cable fees suck! Cut the cord and FREE yourselves!

Tri-cities realist

I thought the over the air signals are now broadcast in digital not analog.


My bad, they are. We have an old analog tv which needs the converter.


they are broadcast in digital now. you have to get a converter box if you have an old non-digital type tv.


I gave up on the converter box. In Detroit I got all the stations. Here, I got Fox17, PBS and 2 ABC stations. This was after an upgrade in the box. Sometimes Milwaukee stations would come in clearly, so I could watch NBC. CBS, Channel 3, was never. I know I would watch less TV if I chucked the satellite, but I don't want to deal with the crappy odds of it all.
I do watch Project Free TV, but only for season 4 of Downton Abbey!


We decided to switch over to antenna about 2 years ago. We bought the 43 element antenna from Menards that does 100 mile radius. We also purchased a booster. We pick up channel 3, 8, 13, 17 and PBS. A few other ones. Although some days we have to turn the antenna toward another direction to pick up a better signal, we installed a motor to control from inside of the house. Best thing we ever did switching over to antenna. We were paying way to much for cable. Think we spent about $120 for our antenna s et up.


my tv is less than 2 years old and has digital built in, no need for a converter, i had my cable turned of and went free also, when the cable guy came to shut it off and collect equipment, he asked why i am shutting off, i get FREE TV, he looked puzzled but i liked the expression on his face !!!


A good explination for the channel frequency thing is at


Our household also recently dropped satellite TV in favor of a $60 rooftop antenna, and Netflix. It was a fabulous decision; $8 a month instead of $65, and it suits our needs perfectly. We get channel 3 clear as can be, along with about twenty other local channels.

Of course, it has now been two month of arguing and I still cannot get the satellite company to send a box for the return of our equipment. I believe they think I will change my mind and want their service back. That's certainly not happening!

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