How to watch WGCU and other channels ‘over the air’

If you remember wrestling with “rabbit ears” to get at best a fuzzy reception with an antenna, you may be very pleasantly surprised at the number and quality of channels that the right antenna will get you today. Among other channels, you’ll be able to enjoy WGCU HD at 30.1, WGCU World at 30.2, WGCU Create/Encore at 30.3, the Florida Channel at 30.4 and WGCU PBS Kids at 30.5.

“The right antenna” is not the old rabbit-ear model. It’s one that you put outside, or inside at the highest point in your home that you can.

If you’re in the market for one, don’t choose an “omnidirectional” antenna, generally shaped like a dinner plate. What you want is a “directional” antenna, which you will point to focus its energy in a particular direction. Look for one with the highest number of miles for reception, say 50 or 60 miles, and it should include an electrical cord which boosts its power when plugged into an outlet. This type of antenna can cost as little as $20.

In his home, WGCU Associate General Manager for Technology & Operations Kevin Trueblood has a directional antenna that has suction cups. He places it on a window at the highest point in his house. Some people with restrictions imposed by a homeowners’ association have placed their antennas in attics.

When you are figuring out where to put your antenna, take into consideration that you should avoid physical obstructions between the antenna and our tower as much as possible.

The WGCU tower transmits from along State Route 31 between Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. If you live in Lee or Collier county, aim the antenna north to northeast, depending on how far you are from the tower. If you’re in Charlotte County, aim more east to southeast. Here are two websites that can help you aim your antenna and choose the best one for reception based on your location: www.antennaweb.org and www.tvfool.com. Both sites are interactive; plug in your address and find out how many channels you’ll be able to receive.

WGCU recently began transmitting at a higher power level. So if you live in Collier County and have tried to tune in and been unsuccessful, you may want to try again.

If you have additional questions about our WGCU signal, email Kevin Trueblood at ktrueblood@wgcu.org.

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