So Simple Any TV Fool Can Use It
August 18, 2008 12:21 PM
I have been made aware of a most useful Web site for calculating the possibility of receiving digital television stations. TVFool.com contains a lot of useful information interpreting and analyzing just how much signal strength there will be near ground level at any address that is input to the search engine.
TV Fool will create a list of all stations that it computes are receivable at any address that is entered. A list can be created for analog signals, digital signals or a combination of the two. The list can be further configured for stations before or after the digital transition.
The list will include the station’s call sign, the actual broadcast channel, the virtual broadcast channel for digital stations, the network affiliation, the effective radiated power of the transmitter, the estimated signal strength near the ground at the input address, the distance to the transmitter, the true compass direction to the transmitting antenna, the magnetic compass direction to the transmitter for ease of aiming the antenna, the height necessary for minimal useful signal strength and the antenna height needed for “line of sight” reception of the signal. This very detailed chart is a good estimate of the anticipated successful signal reception.
Go to TV Fool’s signal locator page to find stations available for any given address.
Be aware that the signal strength values are listed or given in negative numbers. This means the lower numbers are actually the stronger signals. For an example: A station with an expected signal strength of -30 Db would be a stronger signal than a station with an expected signal strength of -85 Db.
I find that the listing of stations is more current that those listed on the Antenna Web site, although I did find that TV Fool lists only stations that are licensed or have approved applications, and not those that have applications pending.
Along with the signal locator, TV Fool offers the most detailed coverage maps I have found anywhere. The coverage maps give a color-coded overlay of estimated signal strength onto a Google map, a Google satellite image or a hybrid of both. Any station call sign can be input for a search of the coverage of the station’s signal, and you can choose analog or digital signals for the station.
The color codes can be interpreted as follows: White: Watch out for signal overload if using an amplifier. Red/Yellow/Green: Generally stronger signals that may be received with an amplified indoor or medium-gain attic or outdoor antenna. Cyan: Weaker, but still usable signals that may require a high-gain outdoor antenna and possibly a signal amplifier. Purple: Signals that are quite weak and may take some effort to receive.
I have found TVFool.com to be a fun and informative Web site, and I believe a lot of good information can be extracted from it if you are having difficulty receiving digital signals.