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FAQ: How to receive WFAA on an antenna

WFAA recently added channel 8.8. In order to receive this new channel, you will need to do a rescan on your TV.
Credit: WFAA
Missing your WFAA news or your favorite ABC shows? You might need to rescan your TV.

DALLAS — With the proper equipment, the vast majority of viewers in the grade A and B signal area should be able to receive WFAA via an antenna.

Two channel choices are now available with the same WFAA content: 8.1 and recently added 8.8.

WFAA was the first VHF digital television signal in the Dallas-Fort Worth market signing on in 1998, and one of several operating today. 

After the transition from analog to digital on June 12, 2009, WFAA returned to Channel 8 from our digital position on Channel 9 (we began broadcast digitally in February 1998, and were America’s first station to broadcast HDTV on a VHF signal), and increased power from 19kw (kilowatts) to 45kw, then later to 55kw.

We also use a circular polarized transmit antenna to enhance rabbit ear reception.

We have added a UHF channel, 8.8 that mirrors the VHF 8.1 programming. To receive 8.8 specifically, a rescan will be needed on your TV.

RELATED: How to rescan your TV

WFAA is currently at full licensed power broadcasting on Channel 8. 

Thus, viewers must have an antenna capable of receiving both VHF and UHF to receive all of the DTV stations.

DTV can be finicky technology, and little things may sometimes result significant problems on the lower DTV channels in the VHF band.

RELATED: DTV reception maps: Check your address

Types of antennas

There are several variables that could affect the signal quality: the type of antenna makes a big difference. 

An old fashioned, large pole mounted antenna usually works best outdoors. They can also be mounted in the attic, but the reception is not as strong.

The smaller, square antennas -- often advertised as “digital” -- are not necessarily designed for VHF HD signals, and have been known to cause intermittent viewing issues. 

Unfortunately, “rabbit ear” antennas are probably the least effective way to receive a digital signal, however in some situations are may be a viewer’s only option.

If a rabbit ear antenna the only option, those with a built-in RF amplifier to boost the DTV signal would be preferable.

Which direction does you antenna face?

Direction is another critical element in receiving a quality signal. Where an antenna points can make a significant difference. 

In the case of receiving WFAA, antennas should be pointed toward our transmitter in the Cedar Hill area, south of Dallas.

Condition of your equipment

If the coax is in poor shape, moisture may have created a weak spot in the cable from the antenna into the house, lowering the signal strength. The connectors at the end of the coax can be problematic as well.

If you have an outside antenna it is a good idea to check and make certain the coax cable from the antenna is in good shape and protected from the elements (extreme sun, rain, etc.).

Is your wiring “split”? 

That is important because how many times the signal is split before reaching the TV/receiver may also result in low signal strength. 

Multiple splitters or anything more than a two-way split may cause issues. We recommend installing a signal amplifier splitter from the antenna before branching to other splitters, receivers, or a TV. 

This should boost the signal evenly to the devices.

Seasonal impacts

Every spring and fall we experience a phenomenon called Tropospheric Propagation, also known as "skip." This is when television signals will travel hundreds of miles away, and interfere with signals in other markets.

More resources

If none of these suggestions help, there are always experts who make house calls to troubleshoot, and fine-tune reception issues.

While we do not make endorsements of any specific products, most big box electronics stores offer assistance. Also, Channel Master has a website that can help viewers select the proper antenna for their location.

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