Reception Skip on the Analog!

#1
I was picking up something on channel 8 (analog side) last night. No idea what it was but it was covered in snow. Nobody in this market is using channel 8 so it might have been Maine or Rhode island. This was last night now it's gone again.

Anyone remember getting reception from other states on analog channels at night?
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#2
Isn't there some construction on adding repeaters through out the US going on right now. I think it'll only improve digital though.

hmm I've never received analog signals outside of LA, but nothing is really close to us over here other than say, Yuma, AZ
 
#3
I used to get AM radio stations on the landline phones way back when, maybe you're getting radio or TV interference or a co-channel signal which is on or about that number?
 

TonyT

DTVUSA Member
#4
I used to get AM radio stations on the landline phones way back when, maybe you're getting radio or TV interference or a co-channel signal which is on or about that number?
LOL I remember that when I was a kid! Wonder why that is? I just searched on google but couldn't find a answer, looks like people are picking up AM on guitar amps too. Could be worse, at least we're not picking up AM on our teeth fillings.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#5
I was picking up something on channel 8 (analog side) last night. No idea what it was but it was covered in snow. Nobody in this market is using channel 8 so it might have been Maine or Rhode island. This was last night now it's gone again.

Anyone remember getting reception from other states on analog channels at night?

I think it's called e-skip and yeah, it's happened here before. Usually the signals came from tv stations in Louisville, Lexington, and Hazzard Kentucky. Sometimes Indianapolis, Ind. and Wheeling, Wv. All channels are 100 or more miles away from where I live. They'd usually start to fade out around 9:30am and by 10:00am they were pretty much gone.

Whenever you see something like that on analog, do a re-scan on your dtv box because it may pick it up. Just this past friday morning I did a re-scan (I do that most every morning) and picked up WPBO channel 42 out of Portsmouth, Ohio and it was crystal clear on digital but barely viewable on analog. By 9:30am their digital signal was gone. Didn't check their analog signal after that.

Either that was e-skip or the station had their power cranked up to the max.
 
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Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#7
Ol' Mr. Skippy came to pay another visit here this morning. This time he brought back both pbs stations from out of Portsmouth, Ohio and much to my surprise, he brought channels 4.1, 6.1, and 6.2 from Indianapolis, Ind. I'm surprised because neither of my two antennas are pointed to the west. One is pointed east and one is pointed south.

Thing that I liked is that 6.2 is a 24 hour news channel. Hope we get one of those here too. That's better than the two 24 hour weather channels we get now.

Screen capture from WRTV 6.2.

 
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CptlA

DTVUSA Member
#8
Ol' Mr. Skippy came to pay another visit here this morning. This time he brought back both pbs stations from out of Portsmouth, Ohio and much to my surprise, he brought channels 4.1, 6.1, and 6.2 from Indianapolis, Ind. I'm surprised because neither of my two antennas are pointed to the west. One is pointed east and one is pointed south.

Thing that I liked is that 6.2 is a 24 hour news channel. Hope we get one of those here too. That's better than the two 24 hour weather channels we get now.

Screen capture from WRTV 6.2.

lol. what's the approx distance on the channels? what were the weather conditions?
 
#9
Did they fade out? Night time is a mystery. I always grab these pixelated channels with blocks in them and then they die out in the morning.

Something at night pushes those waves OUT THERE, lol.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#10
LOL I remember that when I was a kid! Wonder why that is? I just searched on google but couldn't find a answer, looks like people are picking up AM on guitar amps too. Could be worse, at least we're not picking up AM on our teeth fillings.
Simple if you know a little electronics. AM modulation can be decoded by simply putting a diode between something that acts like an antenna and something that acts as a ground. Then placing any earphone or speaker across the diode and you can hear the AM station.

Now something maybe not as well known. Any bad connection between two pieces of metal, often wire, normally from corrosion, will form a natural diode.

In the case of the old telephones it's maybe a little easier to understand.
The old phone wire were mainly on poles and not underground. So think, wires in the air between poles act like an antenna. Now also know that local laws have long required phones be grounded.

So we have 2 of the basic requirements to pick up AM broadcasts. A wire antenna and a ground. Now the phone line is not one long wire to your house but has lots of places it's connected to the next length of wire to come in your home. Back then an aerial telephone wire was connected at the pole to the main wires. Then again on that wire as it entered your house. If one of these connections corroded or wasn't tightly made, it acted like a diode and decoded the sound on the AM radio signal. Even inside the phone moisture and other problems caused back connections in the phone that could be diodes.

So the wire into your house was the antenna, the ground wire was the ground. Bad connection decoded the AM broadcast and your handset was the speaker that picked up the audio signal made by the diode.

You can try this if you can even find the parts anymore. You need a very high impedance headset and a diode. Hook the head phone wires, one to each side of the diode. Then attach as long a wire as your can also to one side of the diode. You can actually hold the other end of the diode in your fingers, as you will act as the ground. If you live near a station (mile or so) you will hear it. If you go up near their broadcast towers you will definitely hear it.

When I was a kid, I lived right next door to WHOO AM. Daytime 50KW station, full power. I used to make radios for the kids around me. We were so close to the station, we didn't even need an antenna. We went to the radio store, bought a Crystal ear piece, soldered the wires to either side of any diode they had for sale cheap. The wires in the ear piece were actually the antenna and you just put it in your ear and listened to WHOO. You put the other end of the wire in your pocket.

It blew minds when we were asked as kids where did you get a radio and showed them the other end of the ear piece wire. Most thought it was magic, cause it looked that way.

===

The same in guitar amps. Back in the 60s and 70s many transistor guitar amps were made with silicon transistors. Which is just two diodes back to back. So the amp itself became an AM Radio and was amplified. Normally the guitar cord acted as the antenna. Old cords were always corroded back in the day, or even corrosion inside the guitar itself. If you remember if you unplugged the guitar cord the station went away in most cases unless you had a really bad amp or lived right under an AM tower.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#11
I think it's called e-skip and yeah, it's happened here before. Usually the signals came from tv stations in Louisville, Lexington, and Hazzard Kentucky. Sometimes Indianapolis, Ind. and Wheeling, Wv. All channels are 100 or more miles away from where I live. They'd usually start to fade out around 9:30am and by 10:00am they were pretty much gone.

Whenever you see something like that on analog, do a re-scan on your dtv box because it may pick it up. Just this past friday morning I did a re-scan (I do that most every morning) and picked up WPBO channel 42 out of Portsmouth, Ohio and it was crystal clear on digital but barely viewable on analog. By 9:30am their digital signal was gone. Didn't check their analog signal after that.

Either that was e-skip or the station had their power cranked up to the max.

What you are seeing is not e-skip but normally called tropo which means it's bending of the radio waves within the troposphere.
Troposphere - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hot and cold layers of air can cause a stable barrier between them. When the radio waves strike them, they are bent back to Earth rather than traveling out into space.

Not hard of an article on it exists here Tropospheric propagation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

E-Skip is properly called Sporadic E Skip. It is skip off the ionosphere. It generally is noticed due to the distance of 500 miles or more. Also it tends to happen more in the middle of the day, than at night when tropo is more common.

Here is an article on tropo TV and FM DX - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

===

The fact to what you are seeing happens at night and "burns off" by 9:30 am, and is about 100 miles is definitely some form of tropo skip.

Tropo can get quite long at times. Just a few months ago from North Central FL, I picked up a station in Huntsville AL, which I think was about 300 some miles. But most of the time you will find tropo on TV to be more common at about 100 to 150 miles.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#12
I also heard that some baby monitors are picking up CB signals from the truckers and parents are angry at their infants hearing their 'chatter'
This is a case of maybe a diode receiver like my other post or just overload into the baby monitor. It indeed does happen. However it's the fault of the baby monitor per FCC rules, as the baby monitor is not designed to pick up radio waves on other frequencies. In other words, yes a cheaply made baby monitor will pick up CB transmissions.
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#13
A natural crystal radio. That reminds me of when I was a kid. I used a length of romex wound around a toilet paper tube. A diode from an old broken piece of electronics and a earphone with an alligator clip on one side. I would tune different channels in by moving the alligator clip from one side of the toilet paper tube coil to the other. When I found my favorite station I'd clip it on and enjoy. My favorite thing was to hide in a cardboard box with my crystal radio during a power outage. Rain, thunder and lightning couldn't touch me.
Simple if you know a little electronics. AM modulation can be decoded by simply putting a diode between something that acts like an antenna and something that acts as a ground. Then placing any earphone or speaker across the diode and you can hear the AM station.

Now something maybe not as well known. Any bad connection between two pieces of metal, often wire, normally from corrosion, will form a natural diode.

In the case of the old telephones it's maybe a little easier to understand.
The old phone wire were mainly on poles and not underground. So think, wires in the air between poles act like an antenna. Now also know that local laws have long required phones be grounded.

So we have 2 of the basic requirements to pick up AM broadcasts. A wire antenna and a ground. Now the phone line is not one long wire to your house but has lots of places it's connected to the next length of wire to come in your home. Back then an aerial telephone wire was connected at the pole to the main wires. Then again on that wire as it entered your house. If one of these connections corroded or wasn't tightly made, it acted like a diode and decoded the sound on the AM radio signal. Even inside the phone moisture and other problems caused back connections in the phone that could be diodes.

So the wire into your house was the antenna, the ground wire was the ground. Bad connection decoded the AM broadcast and your handset was the speaker that picked up the audio signal made by the diode.

You can try this if you can even find the parts anymore. You need a very high impedance headset and a diode. Hook the head phone wires, one to each side of the diode. Then attach as long a wire as your can also to one side of the diode. You can actually hold the other end of the diode in your fingers, as you will act as the ground. If you live near a station (mile or so) you will hear it. If you go up near their broadcast towers you will definitely hear it.

When I was a kid, I lived right next door to WHOO AM. Daytime 50KW station, full power. I used to make radios for the kids around me. We were so close to the station, we didn't even need an antenna. We went to the radio store, bought a Crystal ear piece, soldered the wires to either side of any diode they had for sale cheap. The wires in the ear piece were actually the antenna and you just put it in your ear and listened to WHOO. You put the other end of the wire in your pocket.

It blew minds when we were asked as kids where did you get a radio and showed them the other end of the ear piece wire. Most thought it was magic, cause it looked that way.

===

The same in guitar amps. Back in the 60s and 70s many transistor guitar amps were made with silicon transistors. Which is just two diodes back to back. So the amp itself became an AM Radio and was amplified. Normally the guitar cord acted as the antenna. Old cords were always corroded back in the day, or even corrosion inside the guitar itself. If you remember if you unplugged the guitar cord the station went away in most cases unless you had a really bad amp or lived right under an AM tower.
 

TonyT

DTVUSA Member
#14
Simple if you know a little electronics. AM modulation can be decoded by simply putting a diode between something that acts like an antenna and something that acts as a ground. Then placing any earphone or speaker across the diode and you can hear the AM station.

Now something maybe not as well known. Any bad connection between two pieces of metal, often wire, normally from corrosion, will form a natural diode.

In the case of the old telephones it's maybe a little easier to understand.
The old phone wire were mainly on poles and not underground. So think, wires in the air between poles act like an antenna. Now also know that local laws have long required phones be grounded.

So we have 2 of the basic requirements to pick up AM broadcasts. A wire antenna and a ground. Now the phone line is not one long wire to your house but has lots of places it's connected to the next length of wire to come in your home. Back then an aerial telephone wire was connected at the pole to the main wires. Then again on that wire as it entered your house. If one of these connections corroded or wasn't tightly made, it acted like a diode and decoded the sound on the AM radio signal. Even inside the phone moisture and other problems caused back connections in the phone that could be diodes.

So the wire into your house was the antenna, the ground wire was the ground. Bad connection decoded the AM broadcast and your handset was the speaker that picked up the audio signal made by the diode.

You can try this if you can even find the parts anymore. You need a very high impedance headset and a diode. Hook the head phone wires, one to each side of the diode. Then attach as long a wire as your can also to one side of the diode. You can actually hold the other end of the diode in your fingers, as you will act as the ground. If you live near a station (mile or so) you will hear it. If you go up near their broadcast towers you will definitely hear it.

When I was a kid, I lived right next door to WHOO AM. Daytime 50KW station, full power. I used to make radios for the kids around me. We were so close to the station, we didn't even need an antenna. We went to the radio store, bought a Crystal ear piece, soldered the wires to either side of any diode they had for sale cheap. The wires in the ear piece were actually the antenna and you just put it in your ear and listened to WHOO. You put the other end of the wire in your pocket.

It blew minds when we were asked as kids where did you get a radio and showed them the other end of the ear piece wire. Most thought it was magic, cause it looked that way.

===

The same in guitar amps. Back in the 60s and 70s many transistor guitar amps were made with silicon transistors. Which is just two diodes back to back. So the amp itself became an AM Radio and was amplified. Normally the guitar cord acted as the antenna. Old cords were always corroded back in the day, or even corrosion inside the guitar itself. If you remember if you unplugged the guitar cord the station went away in most cases unless you had a really bad amp or lived right under an AM tower.
Wow, a wealth of information you are Piggie, thanks for the explanation. FYI, i just thought it was magic. ;)
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#15
lol. what's the approx distance on the channels? what were the weather conditions?
Indianapolis is right around 110 miles from here. Weather wise it was a bright sunny morning but chilly for May which seems to fit with what Piggie said about the warm and cold air layers.

Did they fade out? Night time is a mystery. I always grab these pixelated channels with blocks in them and then they die out in the morning.

Something at night pushes those waves OUT THERE, lol.
Not sure if they fade or not since both times it's happened on digital I was away from the tv for only a few minutes and when I came back they were gone. If they fade they fade fast.

Years ago I recorded a wrestling show from out of Hazzard Ky via analog tropo. Great pic at 9:00am but as the show went on the pic got worse. By the end of it (10:00am) it was barley viewable.

Think the dtv cliff effect would cause the channel to go out all at once. Maybe some brief pixilation but that's it. I'll try to record it the next time around.
 
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#16
A Digital signal can in fact go half-out but it's annoying as hell to watch. satellite TV with a half-baked signal does the occasional pixelating but still watchable until it gets so bad the receiver boots to 'Acquiring signal' or in the case of DTV converters, the audio skips.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#17
A Digital signal can in fact go half-out but it's annoying as hell to watch. satellite TV with a half-baked signal does the occasional pixelating but still watchable until it gets so bad the receiver boots to 'Acquiring signal' or in the case of DTV converters, the audio skips.
Guess it all depends on the tropo. This mornings weather conditions were similar to yesterdays and some different channels came in.



That's from Huntington, WV and it's 128 miles from here. It came in great until 8:30am when it started to freeze up and pixilate. By 8:34 it was gone. About an hour later I re-checked for channels and it was back again along with those PBS channels out of Portsmouth and WOUB (PBS) ch. 20.1, .2, and .3 from Athens, Ohio.
Neither channel was coming in earlier when WSAZ first was.

Picking up these stations is a lot of fun. It won't last but I'm enjoying it while it does.
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#18
I love DX on both analog and digital. I've got a picture of then-WNPA-19 that came in clear as a local one morning. My picture was as it was starting to fade so it's not very clear, but considering where I live and that it was the only time I ever saw it, it was pretty awesome. I also received Cleveland that morning, I think. I had WQHS-61 I think.

I've also seen things from other directions. I've seen WJCL-22 analog from Savannah and WBKI-34 from Campbellsville and WCET-48 from Cincinnati. All only once, though.

On digital, my success has been more limited. I've seen WBOC-DT (but never any analogs from Salisbury), I've seen WSPA-DT from Spartansburg (but never WSPA analog), and a couple of other odds and ends but nothing on the level of my analog captures. At least not yet. =)

Tim58hsv, that picture looks pretty good, did you by any chance take that with a computer capture card? If so, which one?

- Trip
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#19
On digital, my success has been more limited.
- Trip
DX isn't the same as the analog days. First there were low band analogs that were the mainstay of Sporadic E Layer Skip. Living west of Gainesville, FL back in the 1980s and 90s. I could beam west and see Texas and Louisiana frequently with nothing but an old bent up Channel Master I found on a 50 ft pushup pole. Some amp I as given and into my TV of the month.

It was hard to figure out what you were receiving even with a call sign, as there wasn't an internet to look it up. Fortunately back then stations were into using their callsign, not things like CW18 or NBC12 as their logo. Often you could guess a region from the advertisements. I heard a lot of Spanish also, but only once did I see a callsign that started with an X, which is what Mexican call signs start with or did.

====

Now though between characteristics of digital, no one on low band to speak of (I know WBRA) so the other channels are crowded, often (I think this is true) blocking more distance DX.

Another thing is if I knew there was an opening coming from a certain direction, I would scan low, high and UHF to figure which band was skipping the best by shear number of channels and strength (clear picture).

Then I might sit on a channel until I figured out where it was. Then suddenly another station on the same channel would over take the one I was watching. Now on most digital receivers that won't work, as the decoder is set to the first station. So if you are watching station A, then station B on the same channel gets stronger, a lot of TV's just stop decoding unless you rescan or update scan that channel to see station B. If a station goes away on digital, you really don't know if it faded or another station got stronger and is now blocking it. All you can do sitting on a channel channels is to keep scanning over and over and over I have found.

So it makes DX a little more work, probably limits seeing things we did in the analog days.

And actually I have my antenna and still adjusting as low as I can keep them. This reduces other stations on the same channels from bothering the one I want to watch. So that limits my DX as well until it gets really strong. So I actually have my antenna set to limit as much DX as possible. The channels are so crowded now skip is more likely to ruin local reception than have much fun seeing what is coming in. Then again, if the locals are ruined, it is time to see what you can see!
 
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