RECEIVE AMATEUR TELEVISION THE EASY WAY by Ron Cohen, K3ZKO
In strong signal areas (ten miles radius from the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia), it is possible to receive the P.A.R.A. ATV repeater W3PHL by using a cable-ready VCR or Television. To do so, tune to cable channel 57 (i.e. Cable mode not over the air UHF channel 57). Then disconnect the cable from the back of the VCR or Television and connect an outside UHF or VHF antenna to the receiver. When you are using the outside antenna but set to CABLE CHANNEL you pick up the 421.250 MHz. repeater output. Several of the small portable television receivers that have thumb-wheel tuning will receive the ATV repeater by tuning on the UHF band and going down below channel 14 on the dial.
The best way to receive ATV is to use a down converter which will take the 421.250 Mhz signal and convert it to channel 2 or 4. The test pattern is brought up by using a touch-tone #1 on 147.435 Mhz (please identifiy your station when doing this). Best way would be for you to try and contact one of the ATVers on 147.435 tvIhz (K3AFK, K3ZKO, W3HVX, N30WM, WB2PTH, K2SMZ) and have them bring it up for you or put a signal on for you to watch, this way you would be sure that the ATV repeater is putting out a signal before you start looking.
Your antenna would be horizontal like the broadcast television antennas. The audio is also like the broadcast stations and will come out on your television receiver. If you move into ATV seriously most of your expense should be placed into the antenna and feedline. At these UHF frequencies you must use a good antenna, low loss coax and good quality connectors.
There is activity almost every night with Friday night being the official net night. When the shuttle is up we broadcast the NASA channel with live video.
ATV is one of the cheapest modes to operate, even two-meters. Give it a try by receiving first then getting into transmitting.
We will have future articles that will go deeper into the ATV mode.