Double Hop

This afternoon, I got back to some of my roots — long distance TV viewing.

I noticed that the local channel 2 was being clobbered by something — I never did figure out what. With us having a channel 2, 4 and 5, that leaves only channel 3 to play with for any Es openings. I quickly tuned to channel 3, and started seeing an informercial for some housing communities that had all kinds of southwestern names. I spun the antenna around, and watched most of the infomercial.

And, as the program ended, and the station slide was expected….. it was gone. Twenty minutes of great viewing, and then it was toast. That’s the nature of Es though. I started doing some research, and found the program listed on the schedule for KTVK, channel 3 from Phoenix, AZ. I believe that’s what I was seeing, but without an ID slide, it’s just a guess. However, Phoenix is at double hop range from here, and that’s the first time I’ve caught some of that kind of action.

Unfortunately, in a couple of years, analog TV will disappear, and everything will be digital. Most of those transmitters are currently up in the UHF band, which means Es will be a thing of the past. Tropo will become king, and the lower channels will be the homes of a very few stations broadcasting VHF digital signals. I suppose that will be interesting, but somehow, some of the magic will be gone. There’ll be no CCI, no pictures fading in and out of the snow, and little to go on to figure out where the openings are coming from. When that chapter of American broadcasting closes, so will a chapter in my life, as I’ve been doing this since I was a kid!