What is Happening to my PBS SoCal Signal?
Don’t miss your favorite shows!
PBS SoCal is upgrading its antenna to provide wider coverage in Southern California. If you watch PBS SoCal using an antenna and notice a change in your signal, you may need to attempt to resolve the issue by following a few steps.
For more detailed instructions, see below. If you are a cable or satellite viewer, you do not need to follow these steps.
I. WHY are you moving your antenna?
New & Better Technology. We are changing our antenna location and upgrading the equipment to replace aging antennas that had come to the end of their useful life. We took this opportunity to construct a future facing facility to coincide with this move. The new operation will not only expand the coverage area for PBS SoCal viewers, but it will also be capable of supporting ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV (which you can read more about below) which is on the forefront of broadcast technology and is coming soon.
More Viewers Will Have Access to PBS SoCal. As we move our signal from Mt. Harvard to Mt. Wilson, PBS SoCal will increase our coverage area to where we were broadcasting to prior to the June 19th 2018 channel share which includes gaining viewers in the Southern Counties of our region as well as the Beach Cities like Palos Verdes. Also, with this new state-of-the-art Polarized Antenna, we have the capability of reaching viewers on the other side of Mt. Wilson as well.
II. WHEN are you planning to make this change?
We are making initial changes at the end of July. Weather such as wind can impact the crew’s ability to work on our tower to finalize the installation. We also plan to make the “switch” during a timeframe where we have the least number of viewers (weekend/ late night).
III. I Am Now Not Receiving the Station. WHY is this happening? And WHAT can I do?
Potential Loss of Signal in Some Communities. While this move will increase our signal area, there is the potential that current viewers may be impacted with signal degradation. If this is the case, viewers can attempt to resolve the issue on their own with a few steps to improve reception. Our current viewers experiencing this issue are then separated into two groups:
- Viewers who had been receiving signal, but now cannot – SOLUTION: Adjust Antenna
- Viewers who previously had NOT been receiving signal and are now receiving a low-grade signal – SOLUTION: Adjust Antenna and Channel Scan
We do not anticipate any loss of service as a result of this move as our location and Effective Radiated Power are both improved over our existing transmission facility. However, if you do experience a loss or drop in signal strength, following the procedure we have outlined should yield positive results for most viewers.
Technologically speaking, there are differences in transmission patterns within the antennas themselves that are a result of the mounting location/position. In any case, our signal from the new antenna is there and even stronger than that of the old antenna. If you lose the signal entirely, we recommend adjusting your antenna and possibly running a new channel scan (instructions below in IV. THE FIX).
With the LA Market being so vast and multiple terrain variations, it is sometimes difficult reaching everyone in the market. Rest assured, we are not off the air, and we are broadcasting at our full FCC allowed strength.
We apologize for any inconvenience. While we work to resolve the matter, please know that our streaming services are still working at pbssocal.org and you can watch on the PBS App as well.
IV. THE FIX. If you have trouble receiving the PBS SoCal Signal on your Antenna you can adjust your antennas' position. Here is how:
This process described below is something that we always encourage viewers to do before they run a channel scan. A channel scan is a way to update channel information stored in the receiver or if certain channels go away for unknown reasons that antenna adjustments can’t resolve. Viewers may also find that running a channel scan after fine tuning their antenna may allow them to receive new channels they might not have been able to receive prior.
(A) If the antenna is indoor, one person can use the same process as he/she can look at the signal strength meter at the same time the antenna is being adjusted.
(B) If the antenna is rooftop-mounted, this is better done with 2 persons, one safely at the antenna and the other at the TV set. Please use the utmost caution and we recommend consulting a professional before attempting to do so yourself.
- Tune the TV to 50 and leave it at 50
- Turn on the "signal strength" meter on the TV's tuner and use this as a guide to adjust antenna's position. (This is normally found in the "Setup" or "Maintenance" sections in the TV's menu"
- If viewers currently not receiving 50, this meter's indicator probably hoovers between 0 - 40%.
- Ask the person at the antenna to start turning the antenna (though bolted down at the roof, usually there should be enough slack to turn. Viewers don't have to unbolt anything)
- As the antenna is being turned, say clockwise, if the meter's level indicator decreases, turn it the other way, counterclockwise.
- At some point, the indicator would max out and start decreasing. This is the best position for this particular channel, or 50 in this case.
- Leave the antenna at this position and cycle through all other channels which viewers watch regularly.
- As you can see, as the antenna is tuned to a channel, other channels might be knocked off during the process.
- Viewers need to do the same for any channels that were lost. As they go through this process, they will soon find the best position for the antenna where they can receive most of the channels they watch regularly at an acceptable signal strength. To have a stable signal of a channel, the minimum signal strength level of that channel when tuned to should be at least 70% or better.
- IF NECESSARY – Try a channel scan. Please keep in mind that no channel scan or rescan should be needed as there is no frequency change. This usually takes a long time and leaves viewers more frustrated if it does not help. While each television is a little different, here are the basic steps to take to rescan available channels on your TV to ensure you are still receiving PBS SoCal:
- Make sure you have a dual-band (UHF/VHF) digital antenna connected to your TV
- Select the MENU button on your television’s remote control
- Select “Channel Setup” (or similar option)
- Select “Antenna” and/or “Air”
- Select “New Scan” (or similar option like "auto-tune, "channel search," or "auto-program")
- That’s it! This process should take about 5-15 minutes.
V. WHAT is NextGen TV and why is this change necessary?
Next Gen TV, also known as ATSC 3.0, offers 4K ultra high-definition video quality, theater-like sound, mobile reception and innovative new features to enhance and expand your broadcast viewing experience. Next Gen TV lets local TV stations better personalize their broadcasts with information and interactive features so you can get the content and features most relevant to you. For broadcasters, this means a more compelling and interactive way to tell our stories, whether it is breaking news or your favorite drama or documentary program.
This broadcast technology can also enable warnings about impending storms and alerting you to other emergencies, with targeted public announcements that are interactive and mobile as we live up to our commitment to inform our community on regional news. Here are some great resources for anyone wanting to learn more: https://www.atsc.org/nextgen-tv/ and https://www.nab.org/innovation/nextgentv.asp (The NAB -National Association of Broadcasters- is a both nationally and globally recognized authority on the broadcast industry.
NOTE: The current work to prepare PBS SoCal for this new standard, will not affect viewer’s ability to continue receiving your Over the Air Television using the current DTV ATSC 1.0 standard. We are NOT changing to ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV at this time. The timeline for adoption of ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV in the Los Angeles Market is yet to be determined.