Yearly Archives: 2009

Nov
23

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The art of the antenna

Additional validation that ClearStream antennas transcend purpose and are revered by some as art. We have long had a following of the ClearStreams due to their amazing performance, but now we have followers that are focused solely on the messages their design convey. So maybe its not such a surprise to find them showing up at art galleries.

Objex Design in conjunction with the Abstrakt art gallery held an exhibition on design, which featured the entire Clearstream family as well as the soon to be available Micron. People in attendance commented on their clarity of design and the sense of order and harmony they impart upon a space.

Is gratifiying that people’s lives are just a tiny bit happier after being in their presence. Buy one for your sculpture garden – you don’t even need to connect it.

Oct
27

Posted in Industry Update | Comments

WLS Chicago ABC 7 is making changes

For those of you who have been having problems with WLS Ch 7 in Chicago, things may be getting a lot better.

WLS has announced the following:

Their UHF transmitter on 44 is scheduled to come online by this weekend.(Oct 30) It will be operating at a temporary power level of about 350 kW with a directional antenna while the permanent, higher power facility with its omni-directional antenna is constructed (no ETA indicated).

In conjunction with the powering-up of UHF 44, the temporary authorization that allowed them to double power on VHF-7 will expire at midnight Saturday and they will be dropping back to only 4.75 kW on that signal.

This means that deep fringe viewers who have been getting WLS on channel 7 may lose that signal. It will be necessary to re-scan (with the attendant problems that may bring) to see if you can pick up the UHF-44 signal with their UHF antenna when it is activated. At only 350 kW, the temporary UHF signal might not quite make the trip leaving some without service.

Don’t forget the “double re-scan”.

Service Contour maps:

4.75 kW VHF-7 http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/FMTV-service-area?x=LD1327455.html < after Saturday night

9.5 kW VHF-7 http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/FMTV-service-area?x=DS1318692.html < last several months

346 kW UHF-44 http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/FMTV-service-area?x=DS1339344.html < coming this week

473.3 kW UHF-44 http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/FMTV-service-area?x=DT1335680.html < under construction

Oct
22

Posted in Industry Update, Uncategorized | Comments

If selling crappy antennas is a crime, Wal-Mart is getting the death penalty

Not only don’t these things work very well, now it can land you in hot water.

In California a lady buys $10 amplified rabbit ears; Amp starts to oscillate and interferes with Verizon cell service. FCC investigates and the lady is cited for: “The operation of an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator”

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-292933A1.html

It gets more interesting, she could be subject to real penalties:

“Action may subject the violator to substantial monetary forfeitures, seizure of equipment through forfeiture action, and criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.” (emphasis added)

There is going to be more and more of this. Several things are converging. You have overall antenna usage skyrocketing and big box discounters trying to address the market with the cheapest methods possible. With the explosion of smart phones, the spectrum is getting more crowded and as the value of the licensed spectrum becomes more valuable, wireless carriers are gettting more protective of their properties.

Antenna buyers; not a good time to go for the low bid.

Sep
6

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Antennas Direct to captivate next generation of wide eyed college students

Coming to a college bookstore near you.. We have been informed the ClearStream 2 to be featured in an upcoming edition of Mass Media in a Changing World by George Rodman. Our plan is nearly complete…

Step one: Build world’s greatest antennas

Step two: Mesmerize wide eyed college students

Step Three: Create new world order centered around TV antennas

Jul
30

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Today, we release the C5 to the masses!

The Clearstream 5 is finally shipping! Today, we release the C5 to the masses. It has taken years of work from all parts of Antennas Direct. First marketing, then feng shui consultants, design, engineering, tooling and manufacturing. Countless evolving designs, innumerable meetings, frequent all-nighters to make every part of the C5, from its custom-made, high efficiency balun to its hand welded aluminum elements, absolutely perfect. To those on the team, yes you have been taken away from your spouses, your children, your transgender domestic partners. In some cases your dedication has cost you your marriages. You’ve sacrificed a great deal for this. But has it not been worth it? For the rest of your life, you’ll be able to say that you were here when the C5 was introduced. You were here on the day when the course of human history was changed forever. Plus, you’ll get a free Clearstream 5, a $119 value. Not bad, right?

Already, around the United States, thousands are waiting breathlessly for their C5s to arrive. This afternoon, we received a report that customers are also lining up outside retail stores around North America, even though those stores do not have the C5 and will not have them for months, maybe years. The response is, in a word, stunning. To those people suffering outdoors, just so they can receive a low power VHF station, I say: Thank you, you are special, and you deserve to be among the first in the world to obtain an antenna that offers high VHF, Lilliputian size, amazing pulse fidelity, and the ability to get low power VHF stations at unbelievable distances.

The C5 stands for something very simple – emancipation. No longer will you be at the mercy of pay TV providers, indolent antenna companies or broadcasters who slash transmitting power. This is not some hyped up PR bluster, the first reports from pre-release customers are overwhelming and I am touched by the genuine outpouring of enthusiasm and excitement from people who have used the C5. I’m glad we could make a difference when no other antenna would help.

Jul
2

Posted in Industry Update, Uncategorized | Comments

KKTV, Colorado Springs, Requests Move from VHF to UHF

KKTV Requests Move from VHF to UHF

From TVTechnology.com:

” The proposed channel substitution will resolve significant reception problems inherent with high VHF digital channels, which have been experienced by numerous viewers throughout KKTV’s service area. On channel 10, KKTV is predicted to receive interference to 54 percent of its population and to serve only 959,551 people. The proposed operation on Channel 49 is predicted to serve 1,922,413 people. “

Moving to VHF cut KKTV’s coverage in half. Looks like another channel has learned the limitations of digital on VHF .

Jun
25

Posted in Antennas Direct, Industry Update | Comments

We are the Nintendo Wii of TV antennas

DTV converter boxes aplenty, but good luck finding an antenna.

Empty shelves in the antenna department. You need to shop early, people. Notice the lonely open box C 1 on a store shelf in New York. We are hearing from some store managers that customers are figuring out when the deliveries arrive so they can be first in line to get a Clearstream.

Thank you CNET for the photo

Jun
25

Posted in Industry Update, Uncategorized | Comments

WGHP, Winston-Salem, NC temporarily reactivates UHF transmitter

Viewers of WGHP are reporting difficulties in receiving the Ch8 signal after they reverted back to their VHF assignment and correspondingly reduced their power. They have temporarily restarted their UHF transmitter until they can figure out how to help their viewers.

When WGHP moved to Ch8 they also reduced their power to about 11Kw, which may be part of the problem. We have learned that a Clearstream2 was unable to receive the VHF channel at about 15 miles from the transmitter. Normally, the C2 has VHF capabilities up to about 20 -25 miles. There may be other issues, including interference from nearby FM stations or some of the general issues which plague DTV broadcasting on VHF such as noise in the band, issues with fractional bandwidth and interfering signals from adjacent markets.

The FCC came out and was unable to detect a signal using a C2 and a spectrum analyzer. In an interview the FCC representative suggested combination UHF/VHF antenna as a solution. But one of the things that is never mentioned is that combo antennas are inherently compromised designs; meaning by trying to cover the whole broadcast spectrum, you will end up getting poorer performance on every channel than from an antenna that is designed for a narrower range of frequencies.

So it’s entirely possible that if you are able to find an antenna that will lock Ch 8 reliably and consistently you may also lose reception on your other UHF DTV stations. And the suggestion to use rabbit ears makes us cringe, these are inherently narrow band antennas and may force to viewers to adjust the element each time you change channels. Rabbit ears also are more prone to multipath interference and have poor performance on the UHF band where the rest of the digital signals are being broadcast in this market.

There will likely be issues which cannot be solved with an antenna. We wish WGHP the best of luck and we are keeping our fingers crossed that they will be able to permanently stay on their UHF assignment of Ch 35.

Jun
16

Posted in Industry Update, Uncategorized | Comments

Philadelphia ABC station cuts power 99% – viewers outraged, FCC to investigate

WPVI Ch6 ABC in Philadelphia cut its transmitter power from 500,000 watts to about 1,700 watts ERP after the June 12 switchover. Some stations that have been have been offered UHF assignments declined the opportunity to maintain their coverage area, and instead were attracted by the lure of lower electricity bills on VHF.

Our phone lines have been filled with calls from customers who were getting reception on Ch6 last week and now have nothing. Philly viewers can try a V4 low VHF antenna and an FM trap, but since WPVI is at such low power, unless you live in the shadow of the transmitter, you may have issues.

Not surprisingly, stations which chose this route have found themselves in a storm of upset viewers and advertisers. Must .. resist..I told .you. so

Scroll down to view angry viewer comments here:

WPVI admitting there is a problem.. sort of. here

Engineer with misplaced confidence insisting that broadcasting at 1700 watts won’t be problem. here

Jun
15

Posted in Industry Update, Uncategorized | Comments

VHF Stations appealing to the FCC to increase power

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who lost some DTV channels on June 12th you may need to do a re- scan. Below is an article with some tips:

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/279392-FCC_Pushing_Double_Re_scan_.php

If that does not work, call the engineering department of the problem station or your local FCC field office. As we had warned earlier, after the June 12th switch , some stations cut their power by over 90%* , making reception nearly impossible. (Note: some stations were forced to cut power by order of the FCC.)

Quote from the article:

“The FCC says some stations in Chicago and Philadelphia may have to apply for power boosts and are in discussions with stations there about their various technical issues.

But for viewers still having trouble, the FCC is talking with stations about possible long-term solutions from their end. If stations have to officially ask for more power, the FCC will take that seriously, he said. But that will also include figuring out who the boosted power might interfere with, and what dominoes that might trigger elsewhere”

UPDATE 08-11-09: We have learned not all of the reception problems are solely related to the power reductions. We have been informed that many of the issues are with urban dwellers relatively close to the transmitting towers. This could be for a variety of reasons unrelated to a TV stations ERP such as:

Antenna issues

· Rabbit ear type antennas inherently narrow band

· Common, inexpensive amplified antennas prone to overload /poor IMD performance & noisy due to inexpensive components

· Pulse fidelity questionable with some indoor antennas (waveform distortion)

· Multipath interference from omni pattern antennas – like rabbit ears -(a problem the closer you get to broadcast source)

· Combination UHF/VHF antennas inherently inefficient

Environment issues

· Attenuation from building materials

· “Faraday Cage” effect from certain wall materials

· RF “haze” from surrounding electrical sources

· Antenna coupling with nearby materials

So reception problems on VHF will likely be a combination of issues including but not limited to the ERP of broadcaster

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