Channel Freaking 2

I’ve lived in the Chi-town 'burbs all my life. (Not as glamorous as it sounds.) I’ve recieved television signals via the air in the old days, and via cable in the medium days, and again through the air in the todays. What the exact hell is it with channel 2?? The signal is barely recievable, as it always was, and I don’t live that far away.
Is it just me, or has it always been this way? I usually wouldn’t care, but tonight there’s a Bears pre-season game on Ch.2, and I’m not even gonna bother.

When the final cutover to DTV was made, all of the stations in Chicago were changed to different frequencies. WBBM is the only full-power station left on the VHF band. (WLS broadcasts the same signal on both physical channels 7 (VHF) and 44 (UHF).)

A little bit of background: With the DTV transition, the station number that a TV station advertises is a “virtual” channel. It is no longer necessarily the physical channel on which the station broadcasts. To do the transition, it was necessary to rearrange the channels. Broadcasters who spent years developing a brand loyalty to a certain channel number protested when they were told they would have to switch channels, so the FCC came up with the virtual channel number scheme.

This is why your TV tuner needs to do a “scan” when you set up your TV or fiddle with your antenna. It needs to figure out what physical channel number corresponds to each virtual channel number.

In any case, WBBM Channel 2 is on physical channel 12.

As an experiment, try to tune to Channel 12.1 and see if you get any better reception. I have a converter box for my old Series 2 Tivo that “forgets” channel 2 and turning it to Channel 12.1 gets virtual Channel 2 back into its memory.

Have you gotten a new antenna in the last several years? The reason I ask is that around the time of the DTV transition a lot of hucksters were advertising that you need to buy a new “HD antenna.” There is no such thing as an HD or digital antenna. What they were selling were cheap UHF-only antennas (at inflated prices). Make sure you have a UHF/VHF antenna. Go to antenna web for help in selecting an appropriate antenna.

And here’s a tip: If you want to fiddle with your antenna to see if you can improve reception, leave your TV tuned to Channel 12.1. That way you won’t have to rescan after each time you move your antenna a bit.

As far as my reception goes, before the DTV transition, the reception on Channel 2 was going downhill. It became almost unwatchable in the final days of analog. But when they switched to digital, it became great for me. I still have a few days here and there where I get some digital dropouts, but they are few and far between.

Some additional information: WBBM has received approval to install a digital translator on physical channel 26. The new channel will also map to virtual channel 2.

Their original application to broadcast from downtown was denied by the FCC, so they changed their application to broadcast on physical channel 26 from the old WXRT studios on Belmont Avenue on the northwest side of Chicago.

They are hoping to have channel 26 going by the end of 2012.
Depending on where you live, this might help your reception.