The Heat and Your Antenna’s Reception

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For those of us who view WDSE (Duluth area) or WRPT (Hibbing area) with an antenna, a stretch of hot days could mean a period of possible signal disruption. Every summer it seems that there is a stretch of days when the air temperature gets into the high 80s during the day with evenings that drop into the 60s. This cycle can create signal disruption for over-the-air viewers, particularly for those who are more than 40 miles away from the transmitter that sends out either the WDSE or the WRPT signal. 

"Atmospheric Ducting" is the name of this phenomenon. Picture a huge, thin cloud that forms above us in the atmosphere when it gets warm and humid for days on end. This thin layer can take parts of our signal and redirect them in unpredictable ways – like funneling it to other states and even Canada!

So how can you prevent this from affecting your viewing? 

  • Maintain your antenna system. Check for broken antenna elements, rust, water in the coax, or loose connections.
  • Replace your antenna and coax (RG6) about every 10 - 12 years. 
  • Ensure that your antenna is aimed correctly. Find your local broadcast towers here
  • Replace your preamplifier (if you use one) about every 5 - 6 years.

  

Please Note:

Do not rescan your TV set if you have lost a station. Scanning will not fix a reception problem. Scanning is merely a way for your TV to put the broadcast stations you receive in a logical order. If you rescan while your TV isn’t picking up on a channel, perhaps due to Atmospheric Ducting, it will completely skip over the channel and you’ll ultimately have to rescan at a later date to find it again.

Finally, remember that if you miss your favorite show, many programs are available to stream for free on pbs.org and the PBS Video App for a couple of weeks after their original air date.

We hope that this article was helpful. If you have other questions about your antenna or reception, please let us know at email [at] wdse [dot] org.