DTV Reception Issues and Questions

Below is some DTV reception information that may help explain reception problems and assist you in improving reception.

Note, If you are receiving WITI FOX6 by cable or satellite, you should contact your provider for assistance.

For Over The Air Reception:

This link will allow you to put your address in and show you what reception quality you may be able to obtain and indicate what antenna type you may need.

You can put in your zip code to see what is estimated signal level and coverage in your area.

Your distance from the towers is a factor. If you had snow or ghosts in the analog UHF reception previously, you will likely have problems in DTV reception.

Try to adjust the antenna position for the best signal level & most stable picture.

Putting outside antenna on the roof would likely improve reception, if the antenna is in an attic the roof & shingles will reduce the signal level.

Sometimes moving the antenna to a different location may help. I have had viewers move antenna 4 ft and improve signal level & stability.

Digital is all or nothing, unlike analog where the signal would get snowy as signal level is reduced.

Once the signal drops below a useable level a DTV receiver will show nothing. Although when the signal is right on the edge you may see freezes or blocking in the video. This would indicate you are at the edge of what we call the digital cliff.

If your previous analog reception was marginal or with some snow, then you will likely have difficulties with digital reception.

Anything you can do to improve the signal level will help stabilize reception. Here and below is some info that may help improve reception.

  • Higher gain outside antenna – will have more elements = higher gain- Be sure to check UHF gain as all Milwaukee stations are on UHF band except PBS on VHF)
  • Increase the height of antenna – at least roof mounted or if possible higher (may require a tower.)
  • Antenna amplifier
  • If more than one TV on antenna use an amplified splitter

Here is some additional info that may be helpful:

Try a rescan of channels on your TV or converter box. This will usually restore reception if the signal level is adequate.


Occasionally the receiver or converter box may lose the channel information of one or more channels.

There are five simple steps to a double rescan for a converter box or digital TV, which are as follows:

  1. Disconnect the antenna from the box or digital TV.
  2. Rescan the box or digital TV without the antenna connected. As with any scan follow the on-screen instructions or owner’s manual for your device.
  3. Unplug the box or digital TV from the electrical outlet for at least one minute.
  4. Reconnect the antenna to the box or digital TV and plug the unit into the electrical outlet.
  5. Rescan the box or digital TV one more time.

Another factor at this time of the year is that leaves on trees are coming out and if there is a lot of trees between your antenna and the transmitting tower, this will reduce the signal level to your antenna, possibly causing reception problems.

Below is some general information that may be of help.

Reception problems:

Fix Reception Problems

Note: Now that the DTV transition is completed and all stations have changed to their final DTV channels, be sure to scan for channel changes as convenient.

Consumers having difficulty receiving certain television channels following the June 12 transition to digital TV should try these tips for better reception: “double rescanning,” and double-checking and relocating their antennas. Meanwhile, local broadcasters are working to resolve those issues that originate with their signal.

Double Check & Relocate Your Antenna

You must have a VHF/UHF antenna. “Rabbit ears,” rods, or other elements are needed to pick up channels 2-13 (VHF), and a circle, bow-tie, or other element is needed to pick up channels 14-51 (UHF). Some antennas marketed as HDTV antennas don’t perform well on VHF channels; some antennas are VHF or UHF-only.

For the best reception of channels 2-6, extend the rods all the way out. For the best reception of channels 7-13, reduce the length of the rods to 12-18 inches.

Location, Location, Location

The location of an indoor antenna is key. And one of the most popular spots for indoor antennas – on top of the TV – may not be the best. Consumers having trouble with digital TV reception should try moving their antennas to one of these locations:

  • Near a window
  • As high as possible
  • Away from other electronic equipment, including computers, VCRs, DVD players, converter boxes, and the television itself
  • Change the direction the antenna is facing
  • Rooftop antennas may be needed in some instances

If you are using an antenna, depending on your distance from the tower you may need to use an outside rooftop-mounted antenna for best reception.

Below I have included some info & tips on reception issues.

Antenna position is critical as it affects signal strength.

Unlike analog where the picture would get snowy, in digital it is all or nothing. Your description indicates your signal is marginal which is likely reason for intermittent freezing or loss of picture & sound.

  1. More than one TV connected to antenna reduces signal for all sets.
  2. Antenna location may affect one channel more than other channels as TV towers are located away from each other. In Milwaukee TV towers are relatively close but still enough distance where receiving antenna location can be a factor. We recently had a viewer that couldn’t get good reception of Ch 6 and antenna company moved antenna 4 feet which corrected the problem.
  3. Your outside antenna- what is age? If more than a few years old, weather & time take their toll on antennas reducing signal strength.
  4. Does antenna have a rotor to allow you to turn antenna from inside? If yes, try to adjust for the best signal level reading on TV & most stable picture. If you don’t have a rotor, then it is more difficult but the same technique applies.
  5. Getting antenna as high as possible generally improves signal level.
  6. If you look at the amp (link below) are there obstructions between your antenna and TV towers? The relocation of the antenna to another spot on the roof may help.

here is a useful signal coverage map that may help.

You can put in your zip code to see what is estimated signal level and coverage in your area.

More info below:

All the Milwaukee stations are on UHF except for PBS which is on VHF. 14-69 is UHF and 2-13 is VHF band, WITI is on UHF channel 33 but will display as Ch 6 when tuned in by a digital TV or converter.

You can get a combo VHF / UHF antenna or use separate VHF & UHF antennas.

An antenna with a rotor may allow better reception by allowing you to turn antenna position.

Things you can try:

  • Roof-mounted antenna, make sure it has good UHF gain as all Milwaukee stations are now on the UHF band except for PBS which is still on VHF, your current antenna for analog reception was using VHF for Ch 4, 6, 12 which are now UHF channels.
  • Adjust antenna for best signal level, if the antenna has a rotor makes it much easier. As you can see from the map, the direction the antenna should be pointed. Wind can sometimes move the antenna which could now be pointing towards the lake. Visually check antenna position, you will see it is V shape with a narrow end should point towards Milwaukee.
  • Make sure the antenna is in good condition if older may have been damaged or bad connections to age & weather. Could need repair or replacement.
  • Add an antenna amplifier, may or may not help but could try.
  • Increase antenna height if possible. The higher the antenna the better reception will be.

Also, the antenna position or direction is important. Adjust antenna direction while looking at the signal meter level on your receiver for the highest level and most stable picture. Antenna with the best UHF gain is important. You may want to try a higher gain UHF antenna or separate UHF only antenna.

here is a useful signal coverage map that may help.

It appears to take terrain shielding into consideration for the calculations. You can enter either an address or Lat and Lon coordinates; just use a – sign for W Longitude. If you want you can drag the balloon symbol to a different location and it will recalculate the data.

For more antenna information:

Here are some DTV websites for additional information.