Despite advances, television will still find a way to go out

Published 9:22 pm Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday’s change from analog television transmission to digital transmission was expected to cause problems for millions of viewers. I was not one of them.

My son, Shane, talked me into changing from problematic cable television reception to a dish on the top of my house some time ago. The system has worked well except in bad weather when the satellite signal is interrupted. And, I didn’t have to worry about the big change from analog to digital interrupting my viewing.

Believe it or not, I am not addicted to television. I really don’t watch network television and spend much of my limited television viewing on the History, Discovery and Outdoor channels. I know. I know. The stations old folks watch.

When I first moved to Chilton County, I installed a regular antenna that allowed me to receive decent reception on three stations from Montgomery and three or four stations from Birmingham. Friends later explained that I needed to upgrade my antenna by buying a 40-foot telescoping pole, a signal booster and a rotary unit that would change the pick-up direction of the antenna.

I did all the above and still received decent reception to the three stations in Montgomery and three stations in Birmingham.

Later, when cable became available where I live in Clanton, I was quick to subscribe and believed my trouble with bad reception was over. In most cases when the cable was working I had good reception but too many times I found myself talking to the cable company asking why the cable was off in my area. Apparently limbs (on a regular basis) had a tendency to fall through the transmission lines that brought service to my home.

Later still I believed all my trouble was over when the small dish was placed on my roof — no more transmission lines to fall during bad weather. But wait. Now when there is sufficient rainfall or even cloud cover, the dish can’t pick-up the satellite signal and the system shuts down.

I’m not complaining however because even with the interruptions of service, watching television at my home is easier now than it was when I had to go outside in all kinds of weather to turn the antenna by hand to pick-up a certain station.

If you are old enough to remember doing that, I’ll bet you watch the History and Discovery channels too.

– Mike Kelley’s column appears each Weekend. You can reach him at