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The opinions expressed in these blogs are solely those of the people who wrote them, and do not represent the views of WPSU or Penn State University.

Tech Talk

Tips for Optimizing Your Digital Reception

Posted by Jeff Luck on 04/22 at 02:05 PM

WPSU’s digital broadcast is a little different from the old Channel 3.  Here are some tips to help you get and keep a quality picture over the air….

NOTE:  There’s no real way to know if you can receive WPSU’s digital signal without trying it.  So, we recommend taking the least-expensive path to determining whether it is an option for you.

1)  WPSU broadcasts via UHF Channel 15 (even though we’re called 3.1, 3.2, etc.).  So, you’ll need to use a UHF-capable antenna.  If you’re current antenna is VHF/UHF, you’re set.  If not, we suggest you use a cheap, UHF (bowtie) antenna.  You may need to purchase a flat-wire to BNC converter cable to connect it to your box (the antenna and converter cable should cost less than $10 at an electronic store).  We do NOT recommend purchasing an expensive “HDTV” antenna.

2)  Mount the antenna on top of your television (clipped to the rabbit ears or on a stand).  Run the auto-scan on your converter box (or your television if the converter box is built-in) and see if it picks-up WPSU (3.1, 3.2, etc.).  If you can receive one of the channels, you can receive all of them.

3)  If you still can’t receive WPSU, manually add channel 15 to your box following the manufacturer’s directions.  Although we’re identified as 3.1, 3.2, etc., we’re actually transmitting on UHF Channel 15.  After adding channel 15, activate the signal strength option (usually a button on the remote) and rotate the antenna until you get the strongest signal.  This is the optimal antenna orientation to receive WPSU.

4)  If you can receive WPSU intermittently, you may want to explore an outside UHF antenna to get a clearer picture.  If you still can receive no trace of WPSU, you may not be able to receive our digital signal at all.

{name} Author: Jeff Luck
Bio: Digital Guru/Phlip Glass fan


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
04/27 at 09:16 AM
Port Allegany, PA McKean County

We have always received the analog WPSU TV over the air, but as of April 22 at 12:00 pm when it switched to digital, it is a total blank. Purchased a Winegard UHF antenna, and a signal meter, but due to the hilly terrain, our area is completely devoid of any signal. Is there any plans to build a repeater or TV translator for the dead zones?


Jeff Luck

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
04/27 at 09:23 AM

Bill - Unfortunately, UHF is less forgiving of terrain than VHF was and we have lost some people who previously were able to receive our analog broadcast.  I’m assuming you added channel 15 manually and tried re-orienting your antenna(?).

We don’t currently have plans to install more repeaters but it would help us with our discussions if you could let us know where you are located.

Thanks, Jeff

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
06/19 at 10:11 AM
Port Allegany, PA McKean County

I’m located approximately 3 miles north of Port Allegany on Dolly Brook surrounded by mountains. I am currently receiving an occasional extremely intermittant signal of WPSU 3.1 from the antenna 200 feet from the house and 30 feet up in the air. I purchased a digital signal strength meter and scouted our property. I found a strong signal on top of the mountain in back of our house, but that location is approx. 1200 feet from the house. I need info on installing long cable runs and long electrical runs for a rotor. Presently, I’m using a Channel Master 1160A VHF/UHF antenna with a rotor and a Wineguard Amp/preamp. I plan to use a better antenna, a low noise preamp, and RG11 cable to try on the mountain, but it will be a costly project. If you can help me out with info on maximum cable and electrical runs, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
06/19 at 03:23 PM
WPSU Engineering

Good afternoon, Mr Blaser:

I have done a bit of research to help you with your questions.
Standard Belden RG 11 has a signal loss of 2.65 db per 100 feet, meaning that the cable loss alone will be over 30db for a cable ran from the hill top to which you make reference.  A booster amplifier, mounted on the antenna end, could help, but it would need to provide at least 30 to 35db of gain.

That being said, your receive point is over 50 miles from our Clearfield transmitter, so it is impossible to guarantee a 100% reliable feed to you even then. Your rotor controller actually feeds dc voltages to the motor.  The voltage loss on a circuit of 1200 feet would be considerable, and would likely not work. So, I think from a realistic standpoint, you may be able to get a reliable signal on the hill top of our signal, and select a booster that could nullify the signal loss over the length of the cable. But, if that is your intention, I would suggest that you not consider using a rotor. 

We here at WPSU share your frustration in regards to the difference in the reception characteristics of our analog ch 3 and digital channel 15. Please feel free to call me at 814.863.5493 if I can answer any further questions you may have.

Russ Rockwell
WPSU Chief Engineer

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
06/22 at 11:13 PM
mills, pa (northwestern potter co.) 16937

hi, i was also dissapointed to hear that wpsu is not considering putting up a translater/repeater to cover the nothern tier area. so far no signal on digital channel 15 with large uhf antenna and booster. it would really help out, as digital seems to be more of a problem in fringe areas with dropouts, etc. and apparently a strong signal is required. with the area terrian, receiving a strong signal is a tough job. wpsu is about the only pennsylvania based station one can hope to receive in the area., and is not carried on the dish lineup in potter co. thanks , jeff

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
10/24 at 10:02 PM
marienville, pa

we were receiving your signal just fine after the switch to digital, and were excited to be getting 3.2 and 3.3 in addition to the regular 3 we always received with our antenna on the roof. a few weeks ago however, we lost your signal completely, and now receive no channels at all. wondered what happened and can we fix it from here? thanks

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
10/28 at 03:35 PM

Hi Tammy - I just heard of someone who said that they suddenly started receiving WPSU, so I went to talk to the engineers about both situations.  They don’t believe that anything has changed on our transmission side, so there’s nothing obvious there. 

I’m assuming that your converter box or tuner hasn’t been reset unexpectedly (by a power outage or such) and that it’s still attempting to connect to Channel 3 via the same settings it had when it worked.  You might try the usual procedures - rescanning for channels, checking the wiring, etc.

On of our senior engineers said that we do periodically have reception issues during rapid temperature changes and that we even had this problem with analog transmission.  As the weather rapidly changes, a few people lose their reception but it returns as the weather stabilizes.  I obviously don’t know if this is your issue.

If you could email me and let me know specifically where you are trying to receive WPSU, I would appreciate it.

Thanks, Jeff

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
05/22 at 07:43 PM


I live at an apartment complex on Pebble Lane (located in Zion, PA, adjacent to Fieldstone Lane and Chadham Court) just northeast of Bellefonte.  I have a Channelmaster 4228HD UHF antenna and a Channelmaster titan 7777 preamplifier.  My antenna is inside on the second story of a building, and unfortunately, cannot be mounted outside.  I was surprised that I could not pick up channel 15 when I recently moved here.  Any suggestions on how I could pick up this channel?  Any advice would be great appreciated.  Thanks.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
05/23 at 07:14 PM
Port Allegany, PA

Dan—I found this info online, and figure this is the problem. Bill

The old 4228, made in the US (like the one in the picture) was an excellent antenna. Sadly, Channel Master company sold out and moved their factory to china. The “new” 4228HD is a different design, it is poorly made and measured gain (per other testing sites) is much less on many channels than the old tried & true design. Avoid this junk antenna.

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