How can I pick up your station? - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

How can I pick up your station?

Problem: I just got a new TV and antenna, and I cannot pick up your station.

Make certain that the antenna you purchased (either an indoor or outdoor antenna) is capable of good reception on both VHF and UHF channels. WWBT is the only area station that was assigned a VHF channel by the FCC at the time of the full switch from analog to digital. If the antenna does not have good VHF capability, then you will experience problems with reception. Many antenna marketed as “digital” or “digital ready” antennas either have no VHF or compromise VHF capability.

After testing many different types of antenna, we have found that for indoor antennas, the type that has separate “rabbit ears” for VHF and a round loop, or rectangular loop, style UHF portion generally work better than a single flat antenna. (see Figure A). Making each “ear” approximately 13 inches long, and laying them flat out to the sides, or making one horizontal, and one vertical, will tune the “ears” to WWBT’s channel 12 frequency. However, we have had viewers report good reception with some of the newer types of flat antennas, especially if the antenna is located in a window, away from objects. Due to the ever changing availability of various models, types and new designs, we cannot make specific antenna brand or model recommendations. Each location is different, but the important thing to remember is that the antenna MUST have good VHF reception capability.

For outdoor or antenna mounted antennas, the older style antennas with long elements for VHF, and a separate section with much shorter elements for UHF are best. Antennas that are a flat screen mesh with either a “bowtie” style or ring style element in front of the screen are UHF only. Some manufacturers offer an add-on rod section that extends out to the sides of that type antenna to give some VHF capability.

Problem: I receive your station, but there are times when the picture either freezes, or there are large blocky artifacts on the screen.

This generally indicates a marginal signal, or some form of interference. With analog reception, you could see the weak signal as it became snowy, see the interference noise in the picture or hear noise in the sound, or see ghosting. With digital, it’s hard to determine exactly what’s happening. With a good strong signal without interference, the picture is perfect. As the signal gets weaker or the interference stronger, the picture still remains good until the signal gets to a certain level at which the picture will start to freeze or pixelate, and then “drops off a cliff” to nothing. It’s unfortunately very hard to adjust an antenna while watching for picture quality. Most TVs have a signal strength or quality meter you can turn on for help in adjusting the antenna or looking for interference. While adjusting the antenna, make very small changes and wait a couple of seconds. It takes several seconds for the TV circuitry to evaluate the change and display it. Rapidly rotating, moving the antenna from side to side or changing its location will not give the TV time to properly evaluate the new signal.

Weather and other atmospheric conditions can also play a large roll in reception issues. There are times of day and times of year when reception strength can be quite variable. In addition, foliage on trees and bushes can attenuate TV signals during the late spring, summer and fall.

Problem: I’ve been receiving your station fine, but I suddenly stopped picking it up. I receive other stations fine.

There could be many reasons for this happening. If the station itself is not having broadcasting problems, then try some of the following simple suggestions.

Make sure the antenna cables are all tightly connected.

If using an outdoor antenna, visually check to make sure the antenna was not re-oriented or damaged by the wind or ice.

If using an indoor antenna, make sure the orientation or location of the antenna has not changed. If the antenna has a separate power cube plugged into an AC outlet, make sure the power cube is still plugged in and the outlet has power.

It's also possible that you are experiencing some form of local interference that is affecting only certain stations. We've had reports from viewers of problems from game consoles, wireless routers, AC and heating control units. In some cases where there is also cable TV in the house, a poor connection in the cable causes RF interference to TVs in other rooms with an antenna. If you recently installed a new device, it's worth checking out.

We recently also helped a viewer narrow the problem down to some new LED track lights he just installed. The same thing goes for fluorescent bulbs. If you have recently added another electronic device in close proximity to the TV or antenna, try unplugging the power to the device to see if your reception comes back. You might try relocating the antenna or relocating the device if unplugging the device fixes your reception problem.

You may also be experiencing a known problem that can happen with TVs and converter boxes. Here's a little trick to try. It's a way to reset the TV (or converter box) channels table which stores information about the station. Sometimes these data tables can get corrupted by power bumps, interference, or a problem at the station itself that causes the tuner to get confused, and the problem will remain in the tuner’s memory and disrupt proper reception. No amount of normal re-scanning will get rid of the bad data. What you need to do is something called a double-rescan. First, completely disconnect the cable from the antenna to your TV and do a scan for channels like you normally do when setting up the TV. It will find no channels without the antenna, and clear out the faulty data in memory. Next, reconnect the antenna, and do a second scan for channels, and the antenna table should repopulate with correct data. This has fixed countless reception problems with many stations. If you have a converter box attached to an older TV, you would remove the antenna from the converter box, but leave the cable from the converter box to the TV attached. Then do this re-scan method on the converter box, not the TV.

Problem: Loss of audio on some stations or some programs, but not on all.

You may have inadvertently hit a button on your remote control that has changed the audio from the main channel audio 1 to a second audio channel.

As there are so many different TVs and converter boxes in service, it’s hard to say what exactly you will need to do to fix the problem. Look for a button on your remote control marked something like "MTS", "SAP", "Audio Mode", "Audio" or something similar. Pushing the button should cycle you through several options, and the one you want should be either "Audio 1", Audio Main" or perhaps on an older box or TV "English". If you are using a converter box, you may have to try this setting on the converter box first, then on the TV.

In some cases this has to be setup in a menu, but generally not.

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