Raycom viewers: Are you ready to try an antenna?

AntennasDirect's CS4, one of the many antenna models
available for those who would rather get their local programs
over the air for free.
It's day five of no 14WFIE, KFVS12 and WAVE 3 for Dish Network customers, and as the stalemate between the stations' parent company (Raycom Media) and the satellite provider drags on, frustrated viewers have been venting their displeasure on the stations' Facebook pages.

I don't blame you for being upset, but at this point, maybe you're ready to try an alternative ... perhaps an antenna? If you have an antenna, in many cases you can get all of your local channels (as well as subchannels not offered by Dish) for free.

If you don't have one, they're available at many stores such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, RadioShack and others, as well as online from AntennasDirect and many other companies. And they come in many shapes and sizes. (You can even build your own, if you're so inclined.)

Will an antenna work for you?  That's a question many readers ask me, and fortunately there is a resource I trust more than any other: TVFool.com's mapping feature. (You can try it by clicking here.)

What you'll do is type in your address and click Enter (if you know your coordinates, you can use those, too); the map will come up with a default antenna height of 10 feet.  You can adjust height for your own situation and it will show you the channels you should be able to pick up.

I've found that it's accurate, easy to understand and quite handy.

The closer you live to the transmitters, it's likely that you'll only need a small antenna.  Larger ones would be needed as you get farther away; that's where the color coding on the maps comes in real handy.

Check it out!


Phil L. said…
Since the digital transition in 2009,available stations by antenna have decreased by one on WNIN and WEHT has dropped programming on 25-2. Channel 47 hi-def low power transmission leaves the surrounding tri-state with difficulty trying to receive it. For instance,I have relatives in Mt Carmel with a Winegard 7084p antenna and pre-amp at 25 to 30 height rooftop and the TV Fool report has a signal strength of -4db. At best, night reception is occasionally possible.
So questions bode as follows,
Why do we need two Me-TV stations? Why not have a different retro-channel on the other one?
Why can't WEHT pick up another subchannel? Is it that expensive? Why can't 47 boost their power for all of the tri-state to receive hi-def Fox? Is it cost prohibitive to have common cable channels such as CNN, HLN,FOX news as subchannels?
Jacob Newkirk said…

The lost channel on WNIN was the FM radio side, which of course is still available on the radio. WEHT's owners saw the writing on the wall with Wazoo Sports and dropped it just before that operation turned toes up. That's where the two you cited have gone, and, quite honestly, while the sports programming is missed, I think WEHT/WTVW has done well in making up for it with the sports programming they have fit into their existing schedules.

That said, you do make valid points. We DON'T need two Me-TV stations. I'm given to understand they are looking for other programming that can be placed on one channel or the other, but I think action will have to wait until after the FCC determines what will happen to lower-powered stations after next year's "incentive auction" to free up spectrum for wireless.

Under current FCC rules, 47 could be increased in its power, but I don't know how much. Maybe to 15kW (same as WTSN/WYYW), maybe not. There's a reason it is where it is now, power-wise, and I am not privy to that.

As far as offering cable channels OTA, that would never happen, not just from a cost perspective, but the cable companies would raise absolute hell if a station tried, I'm sure.
Phil L. said…
I believe 25-2 initially had RetroTV prior to Wazoo sports. With more subchannel offerings in other tv markets, I am surprised and disappointed it is a blank screen. Glad to hear that there is a possibility of 15 and 20 not duplicating.

Many thanks!!
Jacob Newkirk said…
You're right. RTV, however, is a shadow of its former self. Antenna TV would be a better fit for any station willing to try classic TV again ... Me-TV does a great job.
Is weht over the air on 25-1 still IM air. Not getting it like other channels
Jacob Newkirk said…
Yes. It is somewhat more difficult to pick up because of its position on the VHF dial, unfortunately. You will need to get your antenna as high within (or outside) your house and away from anything electrical (fluorescent lights and so forth, particularly) which might interfere with the signal.