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RF Shorts - Aug. 20, 2009

Peter Putman posted a report Once More, Out to the Fringe on his Web site describing the antenna set-up he used to pick up TV stations from Albany NY, including WRGB on channel 6, over an obstructed 54 mile path at his brother's house in southwestern Vermont. One critical factor was orienting the antennas to take advantage of knife-edge refraction. Putman says, "I'm also amazed at how robust the 8VSB DTV system turned out to be, and how it's perfectly suited to unusual propagation paths like this one." He concludes, "The good news is, if you live in a "tough" DTV reception location, you may not be completely out of luck. It helps if the DTV stations you want to receive are co-located, because having only one antenna heading to deal with is a real blessing. But there's no reason why you couldn't succeed with a broader antenna pattern if DTV stations are spread farther part—you just need to get enough signal to the receiver, and you're home free."

See Tom Buckley's article W3XK: America's first television station on for a description of Charles Francis Jenkin's July 1928 TV broadcasts from his laboratory at 1519 Connecticut Avenue in Washington D.C. According to the article, Jenkin's broadcasts using a mechanical scanning system preceded the September 1928 demonstration of Philip Farnsworth's fully electronic system.

"Cash for clunkers" in the U.S. and similar programs in other countries gave owners of older, inefficient, polluting cars an opportunity to get a credit towards the purchase of a new car by turning in the old car to be scrapped. In Britain, Sony Corporation launched a similar program to encourage consumers to turn in an old TV for credit on a new one. According to the article Sony launches cash-for-televisions scheme in Britain, consumers could get as much as 150 pounds ($246) for their old TVs.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.