These are the words of a colleague from work a few years back: "Try something until it works". I cannot tell you how often I have relied on these words, for all kinds of reasons.
The last couple days, they proved useful again in my efforts to receive better digital television reception from WXOW 19.1. On the day of the digital transition (June 12, 2009), the signal from this television station became significantly worse at my house, yet I had the impression from a story on their news programs that day that it should have been much better since a new broadcast antenna was installed. So, after a couple weeks of watching and waiting with no improvement, I decided to heed the advice of my former coworker and try something different myself.
Keeping in mind that WXOW, on June 12, moved from broadcasting on RF channel 14 to RF channel 48, I did a little internet reading and found a possible reason for my drop in signal quality: my antenna. According to a chart I found put together by HDTVMagazine, the Winegard PR-8800 UHF antenna I had been using the last year was great for lower channels (like RF 14), but not so great for higher channels (like 48). This seemed to match my poor reception experience with WXOW after they made their channel switch.
Reluctantly, I decided to pull down my big Winegard UHF and replace it with a similarly sized Antennas Direct DB-8 UHF antenna. I say reluctantly because I had done the reverse a year ago, precisely because the Winegard was better for long range, directional reception and pulled in a much stronger signal. Stronger that is in the low range. As it turns out, the DB-8 multidirectional is better at the high range.
No surpise, after making the swap, WXOW 19.1 has a much stronger signal for me now. Surprisingly, WLAX 25.1 is also stronger. I didn't expect that since WLAX is really broadcast in the UHF low range on RF 17; in fact I was fearful it would suffer. My fears were needless though as the WLAX signal is even better than before. Unfortunately, WHLA 31.1 (on RF 30) took a hit in signal strength for me and is nowhere near as strong as before with the Winegard, but still good and stable.
As a secondary goal, I also wanted to improve reception for WKBT 8.1 (on RF 8) as well as WEAU 13.1 (on RF 13), so I opted to raise the VHF antenna to the highest position atop my rooftop's 10 foot antenna mast. And, as an experiment, I aimed both UHF and VHF antenna's using the compass directions for the broadcast towers suggested by TV Fool for my zipcode. (I would have used AntennaWeb but it has become so conservative in its reception predictions that it thinks I should get nothing now). With all the hills in our valley, I have found aiming a little left or right (of an intervening hill) of these recommended compass directions is preferable, but I thought I'd give them a try again, just to be sure.
The result so far? I am now getting all local La Crosse television channels expected for my viewing area near Coon Valley: WKBT, WLAX, WXOW, and WHLA. The signal strength for most is "good", not strong, but stable (so far). And surprisingly, WLAX is very good---quite a switch from a year ago. Even WEAU from distant Eau Claire is OK and stable, if on the weak side. So...try something until it works. Free TV is there for the taking, but it might take a little effort on your part. Hey, the view from the roof is great, so go for it!