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DTV problem in Chicago tonight?

500 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  --Sclaws
Right now, on CH. 5, 7 and 32, I'm seeing alot of image breakups/green flashes and huge pixels intermittently. This problem is not occuring on WGN Ch. 9...anyone else seeing these problems?

I have the Dish6000, and signal strengths on all affected channels are still well above 90%. ??? Odd.
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I didn't watch tonight, but I get this all the time with ABC 7. I don't know if they are broadcasting from a different location but their signal is always weaker than the others. I seem to pull everything else in at 100% while ABC oscillates between 60 and 70 which seems lead to intermittent breakups...
I also see this behavior most of the time. ABC is usually around 70% and NBC, WGN, FOX, and PAX all lock in at 100%. I live about 30 miles southeast of the city, and have a Radio Shack outdoor antenna on the roof with a Hughes E86 HD Receiver.

Maybe Kal Hassan from ABC could shed some light on this as to broadcast tower locations of each of the networks, and some potential adjustments we could make to improve our ABC reception.

Thanks in advance Kal, if you're listening.
I think it was mentioned by someone with one of the Chicago affliates that they all are using a backup transmitter tower until the new one is placed on the top of the Hancock building. I'm not sure if all or some of the local affliates used the old transmitter on the hancock or just the ones that are having problems at the moment. I think early november was the target date for the new transmitter tower to go live!
WMAQ-DT is coming in great, Jay Leno is on. Heather Locklear in high-definition in just a few minutes -- oh, life is good.
Dan Burgess - What DT receiver are you using for HD OTA reception?

FrankS - Do you remember if this backup transmitter switch happened recently?

I just got home and the problem is still there on NBC, ABC and FOX...signal strengths are all 90%+, even when the image breaks up. I've been receiving OTA DTV for over a year now, and this is the absolute first time I've had any reception problems :(

I sent an email to Ken Jackson at NBC in hopes of finding out if they've changed anything...this is wierd.

Also I just checked the tower location for these channels..all the networks I'm having trouble with are transmitting from the Sears Tower. WGN is on Hancock. Hmph.
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Weird. Up until some time ago (3-4 months) ABC was always clear for me. Since then it has always been completely unwatchable. The signal always oscillates between 80% and 20%. Sometimes WGN does too but not always. NBC is always clear. FOX is always clear. PAX is always clear (but for the life of me I cannot watch anything on that station!).

I just thought it was multipath from the planes at O'Hare (since O'Hare is directly between Streamwood and downtown).

I live in a rental community so I can't mess with the attic antenna to see if that is it. But maybe it isn't based on this thread.


DTV transmission facilities for ABC7, NBC5,FOX32 and WGN are located on top of Sears Tower. CBS's DTV facilities are on top of the John Hancock Center. However, since their allocation is an unenviable Ch3 ..they tend to blow out all AT&T cable set top boxes in their vicinity whenever they transmit. That is why CBS is not on air in Chicago...even though they have probably the most extensive DTV lineup. Please don't blame their Chief Engineer!

As far as reception problems with our DTV channel 52, I was looking at the date of the posting and can only think of rain attenuation. We have been broadcasting at our full allocated power.

Thanks for the feedback.

Kal Hassan
Hi all,

The first 1/2 hour of Dharma and Greg at 7:00P tonight will be in HD on WLS-DT. However, the second 1/2 hour of Dharma and Greg show tonight at 7:30P is a repeat and will NOT be in HD. Also NOT in HD will be the repeats of Dharma and Greg and Spin City on 10/23.

Kal Hassan

Thanks for posting. It's great to have local broadcast engineers participate in the forum, and I'm delighted that WLS is represented here. I have put November 6 on my calendar to see NYPD Blue -- the 5.1 sound on ABC is just wonderful.


I'm using the Mits SR-HD5 with an attic antenna. My home is about 18 or 20 miles as the crow flies from the Sears Tower. All the locals usually come in at 97-100, except for WSNS, for which I need to rotate the antenna -- I still haven't figured out why yet. Lately, WCPX (43) is coming in at 65-72, which seems to be a recent development. I recall it being 90+ before.

I'll try to keep my eye on WCPX and see if it changes.

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Originally posted by Kal Hassan

As far as reception problems with our DTV channel 52, I was looking at the date of the posting and can only think of rain attenuation. We have been broadcasting at our full allocated power.

Thanks for the feedback.

Kal Hassan
Kal, add me to the list of folks that gets breakup's on WLS-DT. When I first got my receiver WLS-DT was rock solid but then about three months ago I started to see a lot of breakup's in the early evening, sometimes it went into later parts of the evening. This usually happens when my signal inidcator on my Dish 6000/8-VSB drops into the low 70's. Any chance that some other station that's also on channel 52 fired up around that time in the area and it's causing the problem since signals tend to go a bit farther in the evenings???
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WSNS-DT and WCPX-DT also have transmission facilities at Sears.

All these DTV channels are in the UHF band. For example ABC-DT is Channel 52 UHF and NBC-DT is channel 29 UHF. So get a high gain UHF channel antenna, point it at Sears and enjoy! As a rule of thumb, if you can get a decent analog UHF reception eg CH32, CH44 or CH50 then you should also be able to get good DTV reception.

I suppose it might be rain attenuation, but this is the 2nd night I've had these problems and the weather doesn't seem that dense. Strange thing happening now also..both NBC and ABC are remapping themselves when I select their channels(ex., ABC remaps to 52-1...I click off the channel and back to it, then it remaps to 7-1). Yargh!

WGN remains rock solid.

If the problem persists, I may try re-aiming my antenna this weekend..but (as I mentioned above) since my signal strength readings are quite high, I'm not convinced that its an aiming problem.

A side note- my analog reception is quite strong. I'm about 18 miles due west from the city.
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