KLRN-DT Reception Issues and Solutions
for Over-the-Air Viewers
Because of the increased public awareness of the Digital TV, viewers of over-the-air television have begun doing what they need to do to continue to receive television programming in the digital-only age.
Many viewers are purchasing DTV Converters for their existing analog televisions and some of those viewers are reporting that they are having difficulty receiving KLRN-DT though they have no problem at all receiving the local commercial DTV stations.
Other viewers have reported that they have been watching KLRN Channel 9 (analog) and receive a satisfactory signal, but are unable to receive KLRN-DT at all – using the same antenna. The current analog service operates at a much higher power level than the current DTV service. In addition, viewers are accustomed to a certain amount of noise in television signals (when it’s really bad we call it “snow) but digital receivers require a much cleaner signal for stable performance. This requires that you do all you can to provide a high quality signal to your receiver as you prepare for viewing in the Digital Age.
So, why is this happening and what can you do?
Your Antenna should be ALL Band: VHF and UHF
First of all, KLRN-DT is the only DTV station in San Antonio broadcasting in the VHF television band. Our “physical channel” is 8. The “physical channels” of the commercial DTV stations are all in the UHF band. KENS-DT is channel 55, WOAI is 58, KSAT is 48. Although your DTV receiver indicates that you watch KENS-DT on 5.1, you are actually receiving UHF channel 55. In order to receive both KLRN-DT and the commercial DTV stations, your antenna must be an “all-band” type. Many of the indoor “HDTV” antennas have very poor performance in the VHF band where KLRN-DT is located. They do well in the UHF band, but VHF reception requires larger elements than UHF and those “indoor” designs favor compactness.
A better alternative for receiving DTV (all the local channels) in the immediate San Antonio area is a simple set of “rabbit ears” which will work well in some locations. Avoid the design that has a UHF loop and a big knob on the base. What you need is a basic set of rabbit ears with two telescoping rods. Be prepared to adjust the antenna very carefully and experiment with the position that brings in the highest signal level from KLRN-DT. Once you have found that position, the commercial DTV stations should also be fine.
Outside of San Antonio
For viewers outside the central San Antonio area, an outdoor all-band antenna will be required. Such an antenna need not be expensive, but select one that has long elements for VHF and short ones for UHF. If the antenna doesn’t have a built-in transformer, you may need to add one to the antenna so you can connect the 75 ohm down lead cable to the antenna. Some antennas have a built-in amplifier, but an amplifier probably won’t be required if the antenna has enough gain in its design (bigger is better).
The most effective solution to this problem is an outdoor antenna – or even one located in the attic – will provide reliable reception at a modest cost. A basic antenna for the 20 – 30 mile reception range costs less than $50.
A final note about the VHF/UHF antenna issue: When KSAT converts their signal to digital, they will be moving their DTV channel from 48 to channel 12 and KLRN-DT will move from channel 8 to channel 9 - so there will be two VHF DTV stations in the city.
A note about KLRN’s Transmitter Power Level
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates broadcasters. One of the things the FCC controls is the transmitter power level at which stations may operate. DTV power levels were established to permit stations to cover the same broadcast area with their DTV services that they now cover with their analog broadcasts. Power level is also regulated to prevent interference between stations in the same region that broadcast on the same channels. Because of these regulations, KLRN-DT was assigned a lower level than the commercial UHF stations (and because it takes higher power to cover a given distance in the UHF band than it does in the VHF band.) The result for local viewers is that a VHF antenna works well for all the DTV stations, but a UHF-only antenna will not receive KLRN-DT.
We are very concerned that viewers are having difficulty receiving our DTV services, but as broadcasters our options are limited. We can – and will – petition the FCC for an increase in our transmitter power to improve our coverage.
In summary, the most effective solution to this problem is in the hands of viewers: install an antenna that has better VHF performance. An outdoor antenna – or even one located in the attic – will provide reliable reception at a modest cost.
KLRN is here to help you make the digital switch. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 210.270.9000 weekdays from 9am-4pm for advice on your specific situation.