Monday, May 12, 2008

OTA DTV in Catonsville

I've been transitioning to over-the air digital TV with my $12 converter box (the feds paid $40 of the cost). As of the weekend I had mixed feelings because stations were coming in well when the antenna was oriented correctly, but the antenna had to be reoriented for different stations, and sometimes it wasn't easy. I spent maybe 90 minutes online tonight reading about and shopping for antennas, and came close to buying a new one. A reviewer at Crutchfield said that he got much better reception when he moved his antenna away from the TV. My antenna--a several-year-old amplified Radio Shack model--was sitting on the TV. Made sense--this was higher than most anything else in the living room I could set it on, and my dad always put the rabbit ears on top of the set, at least up till when we got cable in the early '70s or so. So I looked at the setup, and moved the antenna into my bay window. I also visited to get vectors to the various TV stations (most are at 56 degrees 5.2 or 5.3 miles, but a couple are at 291 degrees 2.1 miles, and MPT is at 174 degrees 19.7 miles. I can't say I used that info in a particularly deductive sense: my antenna's pointed vaguely NW and I'm getting good signal strength for every station I want. Stinking amazing. I'm getting the best picture I've ever gotten on that old RCA TV, and the lineup's pretty complete: ABC (2.1, 2.2, and 2.3), NBC (11.1 and .2), CBS (13.1), MPT (22.1, 22.2, and 22.3 in Spanish), Fox 45.1 and 45.2 CW 54.1 This is pretty good without cable, and with a clarity I'm not at all used to.

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