Here's the main portion of what I received Friday:
Thank you for contacting us. I will be happy to address your concern with getting channel 8.2 through the AM21.
First, I wanted to let you know that your feedback is of great value to DIRECTV and the services we offer. I want to assure you that the information you have provided has been forwarded to the appropriate department to review and handle accordingly. While this may not have an immediate impact, it will provide us with critical information to make the AM21 device more effective. Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.
As you may know, that AM21 is only compatible with ATSC stations. In some cities, you may get more channels if you run the antenna cable directly to the TV. This is most common in small cities, like Palm Springs, CA, where there may be a lot of low-power analog stations (NTSC).
At this point, I would suggest trying to re-scan for all of the ATSC digital sub-channels. Once the scan is complete, all of the available channels should appear in your on-screen guide. You can periodically repeat these steps to check for new digital sub-channels. If this still doesn't work, you can also run your antenna cable directly to the TV and disconnect the AM21. This may allow you to see that channel, but of course you won't be able to record to your DVR.
Here's most of my response: (As I mention below, I apologize for my ignorance of the the technological terms, specifics, etc. - please feel free to offer corrections)
Thanks for your response. Let me see if I can clarify the situation...
When using the AM21, channel 8.2 scans and appears in the program guide just as it should. The problem is that there is no picture reception. I've corresponded with a half dozen or so people in the local area, all of whom have the same problem, either using the AM21 or a receiver with built-in ATSC tuner. (As I mentioned earlier, I'm guessing that, if there are 6-8 people communicating online, there are dozens that have the same problem are are unconnected to us.)
As best we can tell, the problem is on DirecTV's end. Pardon my potentially poor understanding of the terminology in the following explanation, but the main suspicion has to do with WGHP changing frequencies. For decades, WGHP was analog channel 8. As I understand it, it also started out as digital channel 8 but later switched to digital channel 35. They kept the '8' for marketing purposes but the frequency isn't attached to the one for channel 8 at all. Our thinking is that DirecTV still has something in the system pointing 8.2 to the frequency for digital channel 8 and, since there's nothing to find there, the picture is blank even though the correct program guide is filled in (from a different source).
I can appreciate the generic customer service responses, but several of us have been writing in for months and the solution is not to rescan the local channels, reboot the system, etc. NO ONE has been able to receive 8.2 via DirecTV, including one of the engineers from a local station. As I mentioned, using the same antenna, I can receive the station crystal clear via my TV's tuner. I'm about 25 miles from the tower, and the others are spread all over the area, so the idea of it being a tuner sensitivity issue seems unlikely as well.
I hope this added information is helpful. On the one hand, I'm sure that the inability for a group of subscribers to view a digital subchannel is likely a low priority repair. But, considering the number of times I know that it's been reported, it's increasingly frustrating. As I mentioned, I got the AM21 for the express purpose of adding the local subchannels to my DVR-able stations. Having 8.2 unavailable gives me only 50% of the stations for which I bought the unit in the first place. We had cable for 30+ years until a year ago. As a relatively new subscriber, the inability to have this satisfactorily addressed is worrisome as well.
Thanks again for your attention to this. My hope is to not be a nuisance but to apply the adage of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. In my ignorance, this would seem to be a simple fix - just a matter of the right person becoming aware of the problem so that a switch can be flipped or a line of code can be fixed. I'm hoping that I - and maybe the others - can squeak enough to have this box checked as completed by someone on the technical side of things.
I just checked and have a reply from a couple of hours ago. I'll post it separately. It appears that I got someone who knows even less than I do. If that's not the case, I can declare my optimism to be severely diminished...