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Old 11-17-2008, 08:51 PM
13 posts, read 59,282 times
Reputation: 21


Mark your calendars for February 17, 2009. That's the day that analog signals on all major broadcast stations will shut off. Here in Anchorage, we have unique issues that will make this transition somewhat painful.

Unlike most markets, Anchorage's major channels are in the VHF range. Instead of broadcasting on channels 14-51 like most markets, ours are on 5, 8, 10, and 12. This means that a typical "HDTV antenna" that is sold at most electronics stores will not work.

Additionally, the transmission towers for KTUU, KAKM, and KIMO are located across the Knik Arm and are difficult to receive from Anchorage due to being in the shadow of the downtown skyline or other buildings, trees, and structures. There are no plans that I'm aware of for these stations to either move their transmitter to a more optimal location or increase their power output.

So what it comes down to is three major channels operate in a frequency range not covered by most antennas and transmit from a location that makes the digital signal difficult to receive. Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, and Best Buy do not carry the antenna necessary to boost the signal.

One electronics outfit here in the frigid regions of the north does carry such antennas. Unfortunately, they have a policy that prevents you from returning any TV antenna under any circumstances. In other words, if you spend $200 on a rooftop antenna that is supposed to improve your reception and take it home only to find that it does not work, you have thrown the dice and lost. This store will not even accept a return for store credit, as confirmed by a conversation with the general manager.

My advice is to go online. There are several online retailers that will ship to Alaska via UPS Ground and have a 90-day money back guarantee.

Your other option is to contact the brick-and-mortar store here in Anchorage and demand that they observe the practice of proper customer service.
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