I have been getting a lot of questions about people experiencing poor channel reception recently. Many of my readers have complained about weak signal strength on certain channels within the last year. I have also experienced similar problems with a few stations. The FCC repack has been taking place this year and has been causing issues with some of the broadcast towers around the United States. Some of these towers are still in the process of upgrading equipment. They are behind schedule and are not broadcasting at full strength.
The FCC repack or rebranding is a process of moving existing channels to new frequencies. This will allow the FCC to reclaim the old frequencies to be used for other purposes like wireless broadband. About 1000 channels will be moved so depending on where you live you may not be affected. Check these resources below for more information.
- FCC Website – Offical FCC website for information on repack areas.
- RabbitEars – Great website to search by location and markets affected.
Broadcast Antenna Issues
Some of the broadcast towers are not transmitting at full power or are using a backup antenna until their main antenna is fixed. While others are also transmitting from a temporary location. This can cause weak or dropped signals. I am having this problem with a few of the stations I watch. I did a little research and found out that the station was using its backup antenna and not broadcasting at full power.
Other areas are experiencing construction delays due to permitting issues, lack of money, and weather. Many of the broadcast towers are owned by different companies. Several stations could have their antennas on one tower that is owned by a third party like American Tower. The tower owner is responsible for the maintenance. Affiliate stations are at the mercy of the tower owners.
As the FCC moves frequencies around this can also cause interference with existing frequencies. Some bands are now closer together and will cause issues. If a station was rebranded and someone or a business is using a similar frequency to broadcast a wireless signal you are going to have reception issues you did not have before. The FCC did similar rebranding years back with wireless microphones. Many of the older VHF wireless mics are illegal to use today because the FCC reclaimed those frequencies. With more and more demand for wireless devices and limited frequencies, there are bound to be reception issued.
Image Credit: NECART
If you are curious where some of the broadcast towers are and what they look like NECART has an interesting website that focuses on images of each broadcast tower around the country. You can also see pictures of the equipment used to broadcast the channels. It’s a great way to get a better idea of how this process works. Some of these towers are quite impressive.
In some cases, if the broadcast towers decide not to increase their signals it may be time for you to get a larger antenna. This could help to improve those weaker signals. In many cases just repositioning the antenna can also help to improve the signal. If you are looking for a good quality larger antenna please visit some of our articles below for more information.
- Best Places to Buy an OTA Antenna
- How to Choose an OTA Antenna
- How to Mount an OTA Antenna
- Combining Two OTA Antenna for Better Reception
- Antop “Big Boy” Antenna Review
Some reception issues can be fixed with some simple tweaks and products. We have written several articles to help alleviate common reception problems. If you want more information on how to correct reception issues please read some of our articles below.
For those looking for information on OTA antenna products and technical help please visit our forums. The Over The Air Digital TV forums is for those that are having technical issues with OTA antenna setup, hardware, or general questions. Please use this forum to ask questions and share your experience related to over the air products, streaming devices/services, and associated topics. If you are having some of these problems share your story on our forums page. This could help the OTA community.
If you are having poor channel reception issues recently it might pay to be patient. Some of these broadcast issues could resolve themselves over time. Once broadcasters fix their technical issues signal strengths should go back to normal. Calling your local broadcast affiliate to file a complaint about reduced broadcast power might also help them step up to fix the problem.