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New member located in New England; a couple of questions about OTA DTV DX

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  • New member located in New England; a couple of questions about OTA DTV DX

    Greetings, all:

    I hope to at some point soon begin working on DTV DX, and then later on, FM broadcast DX. However, for the moment I want to do some DTV DX. I am located in Southern Maine.

    However, search as I might, I cannot find a "Beginner's Guide to OTA DTV DX." I know that DTV DX is a little tricky due to a number of factors, such as the way modern TV's tune, and I assume that things have changed dramatically since the recent "repack efforts" to change OTA TV frequencies were started a few years ago. I am aware of these things generally, but not sure how they apply specifically to OTA DTV DX currently.

    Has anyone at WTFDA considered writing up such a "beginner's guide," particularly one that would incorporate the recent changes noted above? I note that WTFDA is encouraging new members, since this portion of the forums is devoted to new folks. With this effort in mind, I wanted to ask if anyone has thought of drafting a "beginner's guide."

    BTW are there any OTA TV stations which have simply given up on their OTA service, and are only available via cable/internet? I realize this question now blurs the distinction between something like HBO (cable/internet only) and a local NBC affiliate, for example, but I was curious....

    Keep up the great work promoting TV and FM DX!



    Best regards,

    Patrick

  • #2
    Patrick,

    I’m sure that you’ll get many responses right here, so keep checking.

    The club’s site www.wtfda.org should give you hints on what’s needed....I will say that if you are located along the Atlantic coast in Maine, you got it good for the hobby.

    Be sure to read all the recent info on what was caught over the summer, ESPECIALLY from members in Massachusetts. I am referring in this instance to FM, but believe me, you aren’t that far off from good stuff.

    cd

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi CD,

      Thanks for your note. The first place I checked before posting here, was the WTFDA Website, but could find no guide to how to do OTA TV DX. That's why I posted here. If there is such a guide, I could not find it.

      Best, Patrick

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pjeff890 View Post
        Hi CD,

        Thanks for your note. The first place I checked before posting here, was the WTFDA Website, but could find no guide to how to do OTA TV DX. That's why I posted here. If there is such a guide, I could not find it.

        Best, Patrick
        Welcome, Patrick! I'm an OTA TV DXer from the Pacific Northwest, and I think I can help guide you in the right direction. OTA TV DXing is actually quite simple equipment-wise, all you need is a TV capable of supporting ATSC (even better if you have one that supports NTSC in addition) and an antenna. Most modern TVs have support for ATSC so all you'd need then is an antenna to connect to the TV. From there, just switch the mode from HDMI or whatever you use to OTA TV (or DTV), then go into the settings and scan for channels. Once you scan, you should be able to just enter channels manually without having to rescan every time.

        If you do not have a ATSC supported TV, Amazon is the best place to check. I have 7, 9 and 13 inch TVs all with ATSC/NTSC support.

        For TV DX listings, I highly recommend https://www.rabbitears.info/

        ATSC = Advanced Television Systems Committee - aka HDTV or DTV --- used in the US, Canada and Mexico
        NTSC = National Television Standards Committee - aka analog TV --- completely shut down in the US, but some analog stations still exist in Canada, Mexico and Cuba (especially Cuba).
        Kyle / DX Sphere
        Moses Lake, WA (DN07hc) - Home
        Ellensburg, WA (CN96rx) - Secondary
        https://kaylonsphere.neocities.org/

        kingcobra333@gmail.com
        The DX Sphere (YouTube) | kaylon_sphere (Twitter / Instagram)

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Kyle,

          Thanks for your note. I am chuckling, because what you refer to as ATSC I just know as "Digital TV," and what you refer to as NTSC I know as "analog TV." Indeed, my two TVs are recent buys (modern HDTVs are pretty cheap these days), so are all ATSC compatible. However, it might be fun to get a small (13" or so) TV that ALSO has ATSC support, just in case I want to try to get Cuba. Not sure if I can get that far, but who knows?

          However, I could not figure out what TVs on Amazon ALSO have ATSC support. I welcome hearing which 13" model you have. Thanks for the tips. However, I still think there is a lot to learn about how to find stations, between "hooking up a TV," and pulling in the DX, and that's what I think would be helpful for someone to write up.

          Thanks for getting in touch.

          Best, Patrick

          Comment


          • #6
            Patrick,

            I will say that I think that with a good outdoor antenna*, Cuba should be doable, despite the extra long distance. Now. IF you live near Bangor, channel 2 is OUT for Cuba, due to WLBZ TV using the same RF channel. Sporadic-E (aka E-skip or Es), signals bouncing off the ionosphere, start at the lowest frequency for TV (ch 2 being 54-60 MHz; you will have to start with ch 3, 60-66 MHz).

            As far as tropospheric TV DX, indeed, the FCC repack has pretty much killed TV DX for me. I have had only one new TV station logged via tropo (not counting two new local Miami ones) in the last 12 months! Such is life.

            [*If and when you get an outdoor antenna, BE SURE it’s an “all-channel” antenna. Most newly made outdoor antennas are only designed either for UHF, or hi-VHF & UHF. A good preamp might help too. SolidSignal.com & channelmaster.com have been helpful to me.]

            My email address is cd050659 (at) gmail (dot) com

            cd

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pjeff890 View Post
              Hi Kyle,

              Thanks for your note. I am chuckling, because what you refer to as ATSC I just know as "Digital TV," and what you refer to as NTSC I know as "analog TV." Indeed, my two TVs are recent buys (modern HDTVs are pretty cheap these days), so are all ATSC compatible. However, it might be fun to get a small (13" or so) TV that ALSO has ATSC support, just in case I want to try to get Cuba. Not sure if I can get that far, but who knows?

              However, I could not figure out what TVs on Amazon ALSO have ATSC support. I welcome hearing which 13" model you have. Thanks for the tips. However, I still think there is a lot to learn about how to find stations, between "hooking up a TV," and pulling in the DX, and that's what I think would be helpful for someone to write up.

              Thanks for getting in touch.

              Best, Patrick
              Whoops, I apologize, I was confused on the dimensions. I have a 7, 19 and 22 inch TV.

              Here are the TVs I have:
              - 7 inch Tyler TTV701-1
              - 19 inch Element ELEFW195
              - 22 inch Sylvania LC220SS1

              All of them are capable of pulling in DX. The Tyler TV has a built in battery so I can take it out into the mountains.
              Kyle / DX Sphere
              Moses Lake, WA (DN07hc) - Home
              Ellensburg, WA (CN96rx) - Secondary
              https://kaylonsphere.neocities.org/

              kingcobra333@gmail.com
              The DX Sphere (YouTube) | kaylon_sphere (Twitter / Instagram)

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Patrick. Welcome to the club! You said you already bought two TVs for DXing purposes. I hope they are brands that have a MANUAL TUNING function. With manual tuning, you can go up and down the bands by RF channel and not have to deal with any remapping to virtual channels. I have an LG television just because of that feature. As "cd" has already mentioned, an all-band antenna is a must for proper DXing. Those long elements are needed for any e-skip on RF channels 2 thru 6. Tropospheric ducting, as you probably know, can happen on any TV channel.

                If you want to know more about tropospheric ducting and the conditions that cause it, you should visit the website www.dxinfocentre.com and click on the link "Tropospheric DX Modes." That page will give you a boatload of information about the phenomena. The site's main page is a ducting forecast based on weather reports. Keep in mind that even though most tropo events take place between sunset and sunrise, tropo over bodies of water can happen anytime. So if you have a water path between your place in southern Maine and the Boston TV stations, you could be the beneficiary of some good Maritime tropospheric ducting.

                Good luck with the hobby,

                Brian
                TV DXing from Fairfield, Connecticut since 1977.

                Comment


                • #9
                  All recently manufactured TV sets are required to receive both analog and digital signals. I want to say the digital requirement was enacted in 2003 but may be significantly off on that date.

                  Cable/satellite have lost significant market share over the last 5-7 years. Viewership of "linear" TV -- where a programmer provides a scheduled sequence of different programs -- is increasingly over the air. 25% in some markets (probably more now) and 15-17% in the USA as a whole. Now, that doesn't take into account "nonlinear TV" -- programmers who post single episodes of programs online to be streamed one at a time by viewers, at the time and in the sequence the viewer chooses. *That's* taking viewership from both systems.
                  Doug Smith W9WI
                  Pleasant View, TN EM66
                  http://www.w9wi.com

                  Comment

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