Frequencies and Reception Tips
KQED Television Transmission Information
KQED-TV transmits on DT channel 30 (virtual ID: 9) from Sutro Tower in San Francisco. The tower's geographical coordinates:
Latitude: 37.45.19 N (Decimal: 37.75556)
Longitude: 122.27.06 W (Decimal: -122.45139)
DT-9 Effective Radiated Power (ERP): 777kW
Frequency: 566-572 MHz.
Antenna height: 879' AMSL (above mean sea level).
KQED-TV is carried on most cable companies in Northern California. Contact your cable company for the local channel.
KQED-TV is carried on satellite (DBS - Direct Broadcast Satellite), on DirecTV, and Dish Network (Echostar).
KQED-TV is also rebroadcast by some translator TV stations in Northern California. These Translators are usually placed on mountain tops and pick up KQED-TV with an antenna and then translate KQED to another channel for LOCAL ONLY reception. These translator stations are extremely low power and have a very short range, but do allow people in these immediate areas to receive KQED with an antenna without paying a cable company or satellite company for the service. These translators are licensed to, operated, and maintained by the organizations listed below.
Television Improvement Assoc.
Yosemite Concession Services
KQED-DT is our digital service.
It transmits from the same location (Sutro Tower) on TV channel 30. Viewers find it on digital channels 9.1, 9.2, etc. depending on how many program streams we're transmitting. The PSIP (program system information protocol) we're transmitting with the programs tells the TV: "We're channel 30, but the viewer will know us as channel 9.1, etc."
At the time of this writing (6/09), KQED-DT's digital and high definition TV programming is carried by cable systems including Comcast Cable, Astound Cable (Concord area and vicinity), Alameda Power and Telecom (Alameda), RCN Cable (Peninsula and southern part of San Francisco), and San Bruno Cable (San Bruno). Only the flagship channel (9.1) is carried by satellite companies or translators.
At this time, to receive our digital programming Over The Air (OTA), one must live inside the hills surrounding the San Francisco Bay and either have an almost unobstructed view of Mt. Sutro (which may get you a picture with an indoor antenna) or an outside antenna. Unfortunately, even then, reception is not guaranteed. "Multipath" may cancel reception at a specific location.
Off Air Reception
Television signals do not go through hills. However, many different things manage to get the signals over and around hills so that you do not need to have a direct line-of-sight to our TV transmitter in order to receive its signal.
Weather conditions can affect how well the TV signal is propagated to you. If you live in a marginal or distant receiving location, changes in weather can change your reception. The signal can change with time of day and time of year. In the Bay Area, typical weather conditions in September, October, and November bring the worst reception.
Most viewers are not affected by weather changes. When a TV signal gets up to a certain minimum strength, an increase does not cause much perceptible change. As long as the signal stays above this minimum value, the viewer is not aware that the strength of the signal is changing.
The off air TV signal is somewhat like light. It can be reflected by objects such as hillsides, buildings, automobiles, and by people. The TV receiving antenna picks up both a signal directly from the transmitter and simultaneously a number of reflected signals. These reflected signals may interfere with the direct signal. This condition is known as multipath reception. On analog TVs, it shows up as "ghosts."
Because the wavelengths of different TV stations are not the same, the multipath situation is different for each individual channel. The location of the antenna will also affect the amount of multipath interference. An area such as the San Francisco Financial district has a very strong KQED-TV signal present. However, all the reflections from buildings can make reception difficult.
A better quality antenna will minimize reception of unwanted reflected signals to reduce multipath interference.
A good outdoor antenna will provide the best reception. "Consumer Reports" magazine periodically rates TV outdoor antennas. A copy should be available at your library.
A better resource available to people with internet access is the non-profit organization, AntennaWeb. They have a database based on zip code that rates reception areas by a color code. The consumer electronics industry, and specifically the antenna manufacturers, have agreed to use this color code on their products.
In general, you want a directional antenna which receives signals from one direction only. Do not use an omni-directional antenna which receives signals from all directions.
An outdoor antenna should be aimed for best reception. In most cases, best reception will occur with the antenna pointed at our KQED-TV transmitter on Mt. Sutro. In some cases, best reception will occur with the antenna pointed in a different direction. Experimentation is the key.
Outdoor antennas deteriorate with age. Metals corrode. Wind can flex the lead-in until metal breaks. An outdoor antenna should be inspected for damage annually.
No indoor antenna is as good as an outdoor antenna. However, landlords, deed restrictions, temporary housing, and other conditions may hamper your use of an outdoor antenna. As a compromise, some folks put an outdoor antenna in their attic. That gives better reception than an indoor antenna and avoids some of the roof problems.
However, in the late 1990's, Congress passed the "Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act." This established a federal law that overrides any and all state, local, condo association, landlord, etc. rules against outside antennas, including off-air broadcast antennas, as long as the installed antenna does not interfere with any neighbor's view. If the landlord entity making the rule does not wish to acknowledge the federal mandate, the individual or group may need to get a lawyer to fight this out, but will eventually win. Many apartment managers and condo associations have come into compliance with the law and established areas on their buildings for antennas.
"Rabbit ears" antennas may work in strong signal areas. Find a dealer who will let you try the antenna on a money-back agreement. The antenna may or may not work at your location.
Some indoor antennas have a built-in RF booster amplifier, which increases the strength of the signal before it goes to the TV. The instruction sheet for the antenna will tell if it includes an amplifier.
Coaxial cable (RG-6 or RG-6U) can be used to connect the TV antenna to your receiver. A matching transformer, known as a balun, may have to be used on both ends of the cable. See your antenna and receiver instruction manuals for more information. Connect coaxial cable only to the terminals marked "75 ohms." If the terminals are marked "300 ohms," a balun must be used between the cable and the terminals. The dealer who sells the antenna can advise you.
Also on KQED.org this week ...
We Need You!
Volunteer during our current on-air radio fundraising drive. It's a great way to support KQED Radio with your time. You can really make a difference!
Enter the New "ImageMakers" Screening Room
Enjoy films from present and past seasons of KQED's short independent film series, divided into Animation, Comedy, Drama, and Suspense.