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If at First You Don’t Succeed…

WASHINGTON: The feds are telling folks who lost TV reception in the great DTV transition of 2009 to try another channel scan, or two or three, and maybe walk around with the rabbit ears.

“Consumers having difficulty receiving certain television channels following the June 12 transition to digital TV should try these two tips for better reception: ‘double rescanning,’ and double-checking and relocating their antennas,” the Federal Communications Commission suggested in a consumer advisory released late yesterday. “Meanwhile, local broadcasters are working to resolve those issues that originate with their signal.”

The FCC first suggests running multiple channel scans. Indeed, at TVB’s Marina del Rey, Calif., office, CBS and NBC disappeared after the first scan and reappeared after the second, though ABC and Fox remained unreceivable with the TerkHDTVa, as they were before Friday’s transition. If multiple channel scans don’t do the trick, the FCC suggests using the double-rescanning technique. I.e., clearing the memory of saved channels by disconnecting the antenna, rescanning without the antenna connected, unplugging the converter box or DTV from its power source for at least a minute, hooking everything up and rescanning again.

Antennas, the FCC reminds, must have both VHF and UHF reception capabilities. “Some antennas marketed as HDTV antennas don’t perform well on VHF channels; some antennas are VHF or UHF-only,” the advisory said. It also recommended futzing with antenna placement… near a window, as high as possible, away from other electronics gear. Though TVB still could not get ABC via the time-honored method of holding the antenna near a window with outstretched limbs while wearing an aluminum foil hat. Thus, the FCC advised, “Consumers may need to run the ‘scan’ function again on their converter boxes after moving the antenna.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams