Help me dial in digital TV in Portland
September 21, 2008 10:37 AM   Subscribe

I canceled my cable and switched to OTA digital using a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1950 tuner and a cheap amplified antenna. I'm getting great reception on all channels except KPTV, where there are enough dropped frames and signal interruptions to make the station unwatchable. Can you help me watch the Seahawks this afternoon?

In Portland, all of the broadcast towers are placed on a hill just to the west of the city. I live in Northwest Portland, about two miles from that site. I'm getting strong signals for KOIN and KATU, and the signal for KGW is weaker but good enough. KPTV is the only station I need that I'm not getting. I live on the third floor of an apartment building, and I've got the antenna on a six foot high shelf. By the looks of it, I just need a little bit more signal. The Hauppauge software has a signal monitor that shows a signal to noise ratio of about 19 on KGW, and on KPTV I get about 13 to 16. Thanks for your help.
posted by chrchr to Technology (2 answers total)
In such dire situations I begin looking for the local cable splice and see what it takes to reenable my old cable.

Perhaps you need a better antenna? An outdoor mounted thingymajig?
posted by SirStan at 11:17 AM on September 21, 2008

This problem indicates a weak broadcast signal, or a station that is too far away to be received easily -- even an amplified antenna can't amplify bits of the signal that the antenna can't pick up. You may have a directional reception problem. For station broadcast antennas that are a little further away, you need to point your receiving antenna in the right direction.
Visit, enter your zipcode (including the 4 -digit extension) and answer a couple of questions about the type of house/apartment you have. The site will display a list of stations that you should be able to receive, with the compass setting of each station. This will allow you to point your amplified antenna in the right direction. You will probably find that most of the stations in your area are mainly in one direction and the KPTV station antenna is in a completely different direction. (If you don't have a compass, work out which way is North and wing the setting).
One more tip: walls, especially steel-reinforced concrete or walls with steel joists, tend to block a weaker TV or radio signal. You can try moving your TV-antenna to a window that faces the direction of the broadcast antenna (you'll need a longer aerial-lead). Or just move it to the nearest window and turn it around until you get a stronger signal.
posted by Susurration at 1:23 PM on September 21, 2008

« Older Activities for a four-year-old who has to be up in...   |   Indentify The Subjects of a Picture Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.