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post #31 of 3103 Old 09-01-2002, 12:57 AM
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Kevin,

I did a Google search and came across the following links. The "fringe" for DTV reception appears to be (typically) between 40 and 70 miles, and can be greater if you are willing to go to great lengths.

David


COFDM vs . 8-VSB
CBS DTV/HDTV Field Test Report
KYW-DT, Philadelphia, PA
http://web-star.com/hdtv/8vsbcbstst.html

"The outdoor testing in Philadelphia shows that if even a marginal analog NTSC picture was viewable, then a perfect DTV service was available. The field measurements of over 100 sites indicated a 99% success rate. Perhaps more important, when testing indoor reception, if even a marginal NTSC picture was viewable, DTV service was available 94% of the time."

Here is an ADVERTISEMENT for an "HD-8200 Deep Fringe Antenna":

http://www.skyvision.com/store/mi1531010.html

"Even if you live 50 to 80 miles from the nearest TV transmission tower, you can receive high definition off-air signals. This antenna's 71 active elements trap as much available signal as possible for greater picture quality. 110" wide."

Wineguard makes a claim for their CA-7084 for "40 to 70 miles".

Broadcasting & Cable indicated the FCC requirement for DTV is (or was originally proposed to be) 55 miles.

One person in a forum claims he can receive a DTV signal from 80 miles away with a parabolic antenna mounted in his ATTIC:

http://www.hdnut.com/comments.php?op...er=0&thold=0#9

From the Home Theater Mag archives
http://www.hometheatermag.com/printarchives.cgi?7

"Depending on the terrain, the fringe area can easily be 60 to 70 miles. There are those who take extreme measures to get signals as far away as 134 miles! I know one fella who has a Channel Master Parascope parabolic UHF antenna with an 85-foot tower and a 7-foot diameter. Yes, 7 feet!"
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post #32 of 3103 Old 09-06-2002, 12:18 AM
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Good news of sorts. I found KAKE's digital feed. I tuned to 21-1 on my Hughes DirecTV HD receiver and up popped color bars and a legend "KAKE DT" in the bottom right corner confirming that this is in fact KAKE's digital feed. Another thing - even though I punched in 21-1 on my remote, the channel displayed is 10-1. This fits with my experience with WB, whos digital channel is actually 34 but which shows up as 33-1. 33 is WB's analog station.

I found channel 21 by going into the signal strength menu on the sat box and selecting "local digital" and scrolling through the channels. I found singal on channels 21 and 31. Channel 21 is obviously KAKE, but what the heck is 31? It must be WB since there there is no signal on 34 where I expected to find WB. Hmmm.

David
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post #33 of 3103 Old 09-19-2002, 10:29 PM
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OK..I finally broke down and found a open box dtc-100 at CC today for $300. I could not pass this deal up. I hooked it up to my Infocus LP500 and man it looks great. I was wandering what type of antenna to install on the roof now. I know a cheap uhf antenna should work but didn't know if anybody had any deals out there. Let me know.

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post #34 of 3103 Old 09-19-2002, 11:05 PM
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Determine how far you are from the antennas NW of Wichita and this will tell you what "zone" you are in which will determine what size antenna you need. The Radio Shack where I bought my antenna had a map with the zones on it, which told me I didn't need a very large antenna at all since I am NW Wichita myself in sight of three of the towers. I ignored the recommendation and installed the biggest one I thought I could get in my attic, since I just KNOW the HOA would cry bloody murder if I put an antenna on my roof. I know about the "right to access" law or whatever it's called, I just elected not to provoke a fight.

Really the upshot is though that since nobody is yet offering a true digital signal, nobody really knows what kinds of antennas will be needed. As soon as KAKE starts broadcasting something besides color bars maybe we can start figuring this out.

The Radio Shack antennas are cheap, but don't look like they will survive a strong breeze. They (and others) offer special HDTV antennas but this is almost totally marketing - you don't need a special antenna. I think you are right about needing just a UHF antenna, but its actually rather hard to FIND one - most are combination units unless you order one.

I came across a few web sights that were considerably more helpful than anybody I found in Wichita. I looked up antennas in the yellow pages and called some numbers, but nobody had a CLUE about what was needed for DTV. I don't remember the URL's but they shouldn't be hard to find if you do a Google search for "HDTV antenna" or "DTV antenna" and then start narrowing it down from there.

David
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post #35 of 3103 Old 09-19-2002, 11:13 PM
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I read in the paper where Al Buch, General Manager at KSN, got fired. If you look up toward the top of this thread you will see I've given Al a hard time, but by golly, he answered my emails and was willing to have a dialog, and he earned my respect. I was sad to hear this news. I'm sure "the new guy" will be far too busy for awhile to answer an emails, but that won't stop me from trying. They were already going to be the last to broadcast a DTV signal and I'm pretty sure that's not going to change with the new management, but it's worth asking.

Channel 10 is still broadcasting color bars on channel 21. No clue when they will start broadcasting something, but with new shows starting this week or next, one would THINK that now would be a pretty good time. I started getting a daily eNews thing from them, so I assume there will be something in there when they start transmitting something. ???

David
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post #36 of 3103 Old 09-20-2002, 06:05 AM
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haysdb - put up any antenna for LOCAL reception you want - the HOA can go pound sand - see my sig..

BTW, I grew up in Hutchinson.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

Being A Beacon of Knowledge in the darkness of FUD
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post #37 of 3103 Old 09-20-2002, 09:27 AM
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I live in park city so I know that HOA won't fight about the antenna but I have to get it past my wife though....Well I will pick up an antenna and try it out in my attic I am sure that I would not have much of a problem since I am not very far. I did read and find the site where it tells me that I need a med. antenna. Hopfully all the stations will come online soon. I put my sat-c kit on so now I have showtime in HD too. Thanks for all the info guys..
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post #38 of 3103 Old 09-20-2002, 08:08 PM
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Hessman,

Did you buy the Sat-C kit or did DirecTV send it to you for free? Are you subscribing to Showtime or is it "in the clear"?

David
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post #39 of 3103 Old 09-21-2002, 10:59 AM
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I really appreciate that someone started and maintains this thread.

I live in Goddard and I'm really on the fence regarding whether to wait for Cox to offer HDTV or whether to abandon them and go with DirecTV or DISH.

Any thoughts?
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post #40 of 3103 Old 09-21-2002, 02:12 PM
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XRay,

I went with DirecTV several months ago because I had an HD-Ready TV and at that time there wasn't even a HINT from Cox that they would be offering DTV any time soon. Some of their sales people thought they already DID! What Cox calls "digital cable" has NOTHING to do with "Digital Television" as defined by the ATSC (Advance Television Standards Committee, the folks who defined the U.S. Digital Television standard). It's not High Definition. It's not even 480p (480 line progresssive), which is what FOX is (incorrectly) calling Widescreen High Definition. 480p is considered Standard Definition. No, digital cable is just good old 480i NTSC, TRANSMITTED digitally. Digital cable is more-or-less what you get from DirecTV or Dish. THEY have nothing to do with DTV EITHER, except for the FEW High Definition channels they offer.

But to specifically answer your question, here are the pros and cons of each.

. The picture quality on all channels of DirecTV is better than my regular (analog) cable was. In fact, I still have Basic Cable and the worst looking channels by far are THE LOCAL STATIONS! I looked into digital cable and specifically asked whether I could expect better quality. The answer was "We have 200 channels". In other words, they are promoting CHOICE, not quality.

. I have an antenna in my attic for picking up the local DTV signals, but it doesn't do a great job with the existing analog channels 3, 10, and 12. If it did I would just drop cable TV completely. On ON roof antenna would probably do a great job. Antennas in attics are not good for picking up analog broadcasts, but I didn't have a lot of choice.

. With DSS you will need a box for every TV, and each extra box will cost you $5 per month. On the other hand, it's the same with digital cable, so there's really no advantage here either way. To receive HDTV, you will need to buy a ~$500 HD receiver for DSS. Cable will rent an HD cable box for probably around $10 per month.

. I HEARD somewhere that Cox was planning on rolling out HDTV service locally by the end of the year. For some reason I remember them saying it would be available to 10% of their existing digital cable subscibers by the end of the year, but I am unable to find where I heard or read this. That's 10% of something way less than their full customer case, and I simply have no clue how long it will be before any particular household might be able to get it, especially if you do not subscribe to digital cable now.

. Cox raised my cable bill TWICE this last month, once by $10 and AGAIN by $5 just two weeks later. They will argue that they didn't raise my cable bill by $10 but that they raised my Internet bill, but since they are no longer giving the $10 discount for Basic Cable subscribers, it's a little hard for me to make the distinction.

. On the other hand, DirecTV isn't cheap either. I don't think either has an advantage on price.

. There has been talk for a way long time about local channels being offered on DSS, but that's all it has been is talk, and even if and when they do, it will NOT be in High Def. The ONLY ways you will get local channels in HD is from an antenna or cable.

. There are currently only three HD channels on DirecTV, and two of those are "premium" (extra pay) channels HBO and Cinamax. Only HDNet is free. Dish offers Discovery in HD for an extra fee but does not offer HDNet. I don't know what happens if they merge, but I would HOPE it would mean some extrea capacity and the ability to start offering more HD channels, but I don't know that for a fact.


TODAY, the only choice for getting anything in HD is DirecTV or Dish. And what's there does look spectacular.

Picking up local DTV broadcasts SHOULD be easy for most people. There are no mountains or tall building to cause any problems.

When Cox starts offering DTV over cable, if YOU can get it, I think that will be the way to go. At that point DSS will offer no advantage over cable, asumming cable offers as many channels in HD, which they should.


Here is a link to the HDTV info on Cox' website. I haven't read every line but what I have read seems pretty fair without much of a "slant" or "spin".

HDTV information page from Cox

David
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post #41 of 3103 Old 09-21-2002, 05:50 PM
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Thanks for the info, Dave.

This is a subject I've been researching for a while, and as much as it pains me, I think I'll stay with COX in hopes that they will begin HDTV broadcasts at some point.

I've had the same experience as you with the Cox representatives. I say, 'When are you going to start offering HDTV?" The response is "We already do! We have over 200 channels!" Oh, man is that frustrating. You know, if I was a customer service representative, even if I wasn't being paid much, I make it a point to know what I was talking about, but hey, that's another story.

I tried 'Digital Cable' in hopes that the picture on my 53" widescreen would improve. I did a split screen comparison with straight analog on one side and the same channel out of the set top box on the other. They were exactly the same. Needless to say, I took the set top box back. (I kept the T-shirt from the self-install kit, though.

I've been pondering satellite and an antenna, or satellite and keeping Cox limited basic just for local channels. I've seriously considered building an HTPC to use as a decoder. I have enough parts laying around to build a really nice HTPC, I'd just have to pick up an ATSC decoder card for around $400.

In the end, with the limited availability of HDTV in our area right now, the return-on-investment just doesn't get me there yet.

Anyway, I guess Cox is testing the HDTV waters in Phoenix and D.C. as we speak. Maybe if that goes well they'll educate their folks in Wichita as to what HDTV actually is.

Thanks again. I'll keep checking back. Jay.
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post #42 of 3103 Old 09-21-2002, 07:14 PM
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Jay,

An antenna capable of pulling in the local HDTV broadcasts is cheap. The chief engineer at WB (Warner Brothers) told me he could pick up their feed with RABBIT EARS.

Of course, as of this moment there are NO local broadcasts is HD. WB is purely upconverted NTSC and KAKE is still broadcasting color bars. However, within the next couple of months we should go from nothing to having SEVERAL channels available. WB is supposed to have some HD this fall, KAKE should be up any WEEK now, and UPN and FOX were expected to be broadcasting in October, although I have never talked to anyone at those stations directly.

In other words, "Cable or DSS" aren't the only options. Picking up the off-air broadcast signals is also an option.

Stay tuned. I promise to keep this thread updated with my experiences in picking up the local stations. I may even buy a second smaller antenna, just to see what I can get away with up here in NW Wichita.

David
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post #43 of 3103 Old 09-24-2002, 11:59 AM
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From Dave Travert, General Manager at KAKE, in an email reply I received this morning.
Quote:


We expect to launch this Sunday evening, so you should be able to see the premier of Alias and The Practice in HDTV.

He didn't say, but I would expect announcements this week on KAKE news and in the Wichita Eagle.

David
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post #44 of 3103 Old 09-29-2002, 09:09 AM
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David,
That is great about KAKE. The ABC affilate in Topeka already applied for another extension. Now they are saying May or June of 2003. I will have my MyHD card tomorrow and hopefully my new antenna, the Televes DAT-75, which I have heard reports of everyday reception of 90 miles consistantly, by next week. Now I will try KAKE and the WB station there.

Is your WB still just send a 480i signal?? I am assuming KAKE is passing HD? Do you have any updates on KSNW, KSAS, or KSCC? Our CBS affilate will be up by the end of the week, so I will not worry them.

Thanks for the help,

tim
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post #45 of 3103 Old 09-29-2002, 12:01 PM
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WB (KWCV) has been off the air since at least early last night.

I have seen nothing in the media about KAKE beginning DTV broadcasts. As of this moment they are still showing color bars.

I haven't heard anything new from KSNW, and don't really expect to since they have a new GM.

I have never heard anything from KSAS or KSCC, but I will try to find something since these two stations were reported to be next, along about mid October, according to an article in the Wichita Eagle back in early August.

David
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post #46 of 3103 Old 09-29-2002, 02:41 PM
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KAKE's website reports that the will go live at 8:00 PM tonight. Give us a report.
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post #47 of 3103 Old 09-29-2002, 11:08 PM
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KAKE-DT went live sometime before 8:00 and was ready to ROCK AND ROLL at 8:00. The intro and previews to Alias were in 4:3 and not in HD, so I thought it was going to be a bust, but the instant the show started, it was in glorious 16:9 HD. During the next two hours there were (only) a couple of 2 second glitches where the picture scrambled, then resolved into blocks, then back to a good signal, but other than that, both Alias and The Practice went without a hitch. I noticed no lip sync problems or problems with the sound. Excellent job KAKE.

I watched the first 10 minutes of the 10 o'clock news and while not in HD, the quality was a noticeable step up from their cable feed. I'd call the news "DVD quality" and that ain't bad.

They did pitch their new digital channel on the news, but it was a bit comical the way they did it. They showed a regular TV with a High Definition TV sitting on top of it, so viewers could see the difference...

Folks, High Definition is no longer a novelty. You no longer need a satellite dish to get it. It's here, today, and it looks fabulous. I look forward to more Wichita stations getting those transmitters installed, and passing along those 13-14 hours per week of High Definition offered by the networks.

David
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post #48 of 3103 Old 09-30-2002, 10:26 AM
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post #49 of 3103 Old 09-30-2002, 10:48 AM
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I emailed Kathy Mohn, General Manager at KWCH, the Wichita CBS station, asking for an update on their schedule.

Quote:


Thank you for your interest. KWCH TV will be up and running in High Definition by November 1st. The final stages of tower adjustment are being done as you read this. We here at the station share in your anticipation! So, stay tuned!

I assume "tower adjustment" means their transmitter has been installed and they are adjusting it for maximum coverage. This would make sense since it was about a month after KAKE installed their transmitter that they went on the air. If true than I would expect to start seeing color bars on channel 19 in a week or two.

HDTV info at KWCH.COM

Here is the list of shows on CBS in High Definition:
  • US Open
  • CSI
  • CSI: Miami
  • King of Queens
  • Yes, Dear
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Still Standing
  • JAG
  • The Guardian
  • Judging Amy
  • Presidio Med
  • Without A Trace
  • Hack
  • Robbery Homicide Division
  • Touched by An Angel
  • The District
  • The Agency
  • Bram & Alice
  • Becker
  • The Young and The Restless
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post #50 of 3103 Old 09-30-2002, 11:12 AM
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One other short note:

My analog reception is not that great since my antenna is in my attic, but the digital reception last night was perfect. That's one major benefit of digital.

David
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post #51 of 3103 Old 09-30-2002, 01:53 PM
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Great report David. Glad to see KAKE up and live with good results.

Tim
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post #52 of 3103 Old 10-02-2002, 08:05 AM
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David I have recently put up a UHF only antenna that I purchased from Radio Shack. I have put in on top my house with a 5ft mast and pointed it in the general direction of the towers in NW wichita. I cannot receive any DTV signals on my DTC-100. Should I take it back and get a VHF/UHF antenna. I am sure the bigger the better. I live in Park City and trying to troubleshoot. Let me know or I might give you a call tonight. Let me know what you think. Thanks.
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post #53 of 3103 Old 10-02-2002, 10:26 AM
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Hessman,

You might try going into setup on you HD receiver to the signal strength section and selecting local channel 21, then assuming you get any signal at all, rotating the antenna for greatest signal strength.

Beyond that I would do some searches on this forum.

And I suppose the obvious course would be to contact the chief engineer at KAKE and ask for his advice. I don't have his name, so if you do contact him, please post his contact info here for others. You'd be helping him out too since he's going to be fielding a LOT of these kinds of questions!

David
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post #54 of 3103 Old 10-02-2002, 10:58 AM
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Hessman,
Do you know for sure where the towers are? Most of the DTV staions will be UHF, so not really any need for a combo antenna.
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post #55 of 3103 Old 10-02-2002, 07:20 PM
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You will need a compass, but here is a web site that will tell you in which direction each of the towers is located:

Antennaweb.org

A side note, the table includes a column "Live Date" that lists "Now Live" for KAKE and KWCV (accuracy here lends credibility to their dates), and dates for five others

Nov 1 2002

KWCH-DT 19 CBS
KSAS-DT 26 FOX
KSCC-DT 35 UPN


Dec 1 2002

KSNW-DT 45 NBC

May 1 2003

KPTS-DT 29 PBS

The antenna type they recommend for me in NW Wichita is a "small multidirectional", which means I did not EVEN need to fuss with putting that 8' antenna in my attic. I could have gotten by with one of those dish mounted antennas.

The MAP button will show you a graphical picture of where the antennas are. If you need a directional antenna you will need to pick a compromise orientation where, hopefully, you will have adequate signal strength for all stations.

David
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post #56 of 3103 Old 10-02-2002, 08:55 PM
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I don't know about y'all, but I find the information on antennas confusing as all hell. AntennaWeb.org seems like great information, and then I read other credible sources who claim CEA's digital antenna recommendations are "optimistic", that small multidirectional antennas rarely prove satisfactory, that one of the most expensive antennas is total crap, and so on.

Read these comments and lots more at the link below. The guy is up in Alaska somewhere, but the information is applicable anywhere.

About TV and FM Antennas

What I'd like to come up with are recommendations for what works in various parts of Wichita, Southcentral Kansas, and even Northern Oklahoma, but it's just going to take time to accumulate that experience.

David
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post #57 of 3103 Old 10-03-2002, 12:18 PM
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Lots of good info in this thread. I saw their "comparison" on the news. We live in Wellington and I hope to get the new Samsung box shortly. Will keep everyone informed of what it takes to receive the stations being 35 miles south of Wichita. It is a good thing the shows my wife watches are mainly on ABC. Is there anywhere in Wichita that has a good HDTV demo? Sears?

TimG
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post #58 of 3103 Old 10-03-2002, 08:07 PM
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Yes, in fact, Sears at Town West and possibly other stores, is as good a place as any to see HDTV in Wichita. Midwest TV & Appliance has one TV with a DISH feed. Last I looked, Best Buy and Circuit City (West Kellogg stores) had none. I don't know about the East side.

David
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post #59 of 3103 Old 10-03-2002, 08:31 PM
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David,
Did you see the thread I posted about Cox HDTV in Kansas? I got an email from the VP of Cox Kansas and he said not in the plans this year, but *maybe* next year. I think it will be awhile before we get HDTV from Cox.
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post #60 of 3103 Old 10-03-2002, 08:49 PM
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Well I finally got enough signal to get in channel 10-1. After adjusting my mast a few times and putting on a 10db inline amplifier I was able to pick up the signal at 82-88. I think I will try the 25db amp that they had at radio shack and see if that brings my signal up. I am going to try to lower my mast a bit it just sticks up there a bit too high. I also put in a rotater so if I need it will be easy to just turn the antenna. Well hopefully wb will get back on the air so I can check out the programming.

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