How to Tune In Asheville’s WLOS Channel 13 in Western North Carolina
Being frustrated with spending enough to pay for an international getaway… every year… on satellite TV, we ‘cut the cord’ awhile back. We now rely on FREE, high quality, over-the-air broadcast HDTV. But Western North Carolina has always had challenges with over-the-air TV reception – especially WLOS TV Channel 13.
What’s the big deal with WLOS Channel 13? It’s the only Asheville-based local news, and the only local ABC affiliate. And for over 3 years, without high speed internet being available (another topic all together!), we’ve been stuck without local news or reliable ABC network.
Why? In a nutshell, without getting into a technical discussion, there are 3 groups of frequencies allocated to over-the-air broadcast TV by the FCC… Low-VHF, High-VHF, and UHF. Because of how different frequencies propagate, VHF band, specifically High-VHF, isn’t particularly suited for mountainous terrain with dense foliage. Locally, it seems WLOS Channel 13 in Asheville is notorious for being difficult to tune with any reliability, if at all. Our house would fall in the ‘not at all’ category.
After trying to find a local company to help us (we couldn’t, they all do Satellite or internet TV, not OTA!), we tried dozens of antenna combinations, boosters, amplifiers, other devices ourselves. Some, like the Mohu Leaf, didn’t work at all – perhaps good in the city or more flat terrain, but useless here. At our elevation – about 3000ft ASL – an omni directional antenna worked well on the roof. We bought this Elechomes 70 Mile Omni TV Antenna, and it works great for most channels. But not Channel 13. We tried Xtreme Signal HDB8X-NI 8-Bay VHF/UHF HDTV Bowtie Antenna, which also worked okay, but still no 13, no ABC. I even contacted WLOS who replied but basically said their engineering team didn’t know. I guess they don’t handle reception, only transmission – wonder if WLOS advertisers know their message is difficult to receive, and there is nobody to help consumers?! Seems maybe their advertising team should get in the loop, maybe they could get a reception team. LOL. In any case, we love our WLOS.
More research found we needed a separate antenna, specially made to receive High-VHF signals. But it was hard to find one… not many still manufacture antennas for OTA TV, especially for High-VHF, there are few markets where it’s necessary. No, just any ‘big antenna’ laying around will work – it needs to be designed specifically for High-VHF. We found it… Stellar Labs Deep Fringe Directional Antenna Vhf-Hi HDTV 174-230MHz, and paired it with Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT HDTV Preamplifier. With the help of TV Towers USA app, within minutes we had Channel 13!! (TVfool is also great in finding direction of your signals.) Clearly, without any pixilation or troubles. Finally ABC and local news… but…
How do we get the rest of the channels? This new High-VHF antenna also picked up a few channels, but most were missing. I tried a simple TV splitter/combiner to join our Elechomes Omni TV Antenna with the Stellar Labs High-VHF Antenna, but it only seemed to make things worse. What I needed to do was separate UHF from VHF, then combine into one cable. Clipsal Datacomms UHF/VHF Combiner/Separator did the trick. I connected Omni antenna (either Elechomes or Xtreme Signal worked good) to UHF, VHF antenna to VHF, and combined output to my TV. Channel search – score, still have 13… and all my other channels!!!
Be sure you’re using RG6 coax, not some old stuff laying around. Read the cable, existing but unused Satellite or cable TV lines might be okay. If not, get yourself RG6 – avoid RG59 (thinner, more signal loss). You’ll need a few 3-foot RG6 coax extensions. MOST IMPORTANT: Stay safe, properly ground your OTA HDTV antenna!!!
If you have same problem, or this article helped, let me know below. Stay tuned, I’ve also found another great OTA DVR, the Tablo Dual 64… will write more soon.
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