Madison & DTV

This is a cross-post of something I posted to the Madison, WI LiveJournal group.

I should have posted this Tuesday, but will now, since I noticed in the other thread that there were a bunch of people who are having issues with DTV reception now that most of the stations in Madison are now only running DTV. Currently, the only over-the-air stations NOTrunning in digital-only are WHA-TV, analog channel 21, and WMSN-TV, analog channel 47. WISC-TV, analog channel 3, is running what is called “enhanced nightlight” service. Basically, they’re running a loop of information about DTV, as well as local news and emergency information, for the next 60 days.

Currently, this is what you should receive on your DTV tuner, be it a TV with an ATSCtuner or DTV converter box:

3.2: WISC-DT/MyMadisonTV
15.2: WMTV-DT/AccuWX
21.1: WHA-DT/WPT Digital
21.2: WHA-DT/WIS Channel
21.3: WHA-DT/Create Channel
27.2: WKOW-DT/Retro TV Network
47.1: WMSN-DT/Fox Digital
57.1: WBUW-DT/CW

Depending on your set-up, you might also get the 3 previously mentioned analog stations, or the 2 low-power stations in Madison. Also, if you’re outside of Madison, you might get stations from Rockford, Milwaukee, LaCrosse or Wausau.

If you’re not able to currently receive DTV, and you have a proper TV or converter box, there are some things you can try:

1. Do a channel scan. Even if you have done one previously, for some reason, this has been helping a lot of people get their TVs/Boxes working again.
2. Make sure your antenna is a UHF antenna (commonly a loop or bowtie, though, Ihave one that looks like the Enterprise) and not the “bunny/rabbit ear” style telesopic antennas. Those are VHF antennas. Currently only Fox 47 digital is broadcasting on VHF(digital channel 11, virtual channel 47.1). They, post national transition in June, will be movng to UHFdigital channel 49, at which point, all Madison stations will be UHF.
3. Make sure your antenna is pointed towards the towers. All of Madison’s stations transmit from the west side. 15 &57 are on a tower that is behind 15’s studio building, right off the beltline between the Whitney Way and Gammon exits. The rest of the stations, 3, 21, 27 & 47 transmit from the “Community Tower” which is near the intersection of Mineral Point Rd. and Junction, over by Target &Menards. DTV is much pickier than analog broadcasts over the orientation of your antenna. I could get into a technical explaination, but the gist of it is that it needs a much stronger and cleaner signal for the box to decode the 1’s and 0’s.
4. Get the antenna as high as you can…and outdoors if possible.

If none of those worked, there are a few place you can turn for help. As part of the agreement for early shut off, the stations have to provide some assistance in this. The best time to call them is during business hours. You can find contact info on their websites. Another place is the FCC’s national hotline, 1-888-CALL-FCC. And I can also try to answer questions, as I have been doing in the previous thread.