Channel 49

I got rid of cable over fifteen years ago. When we moved into the apartment, cable was included in the rent payment, although I had to pay for internet. Then in March 2006 a strong F-2 tornado ripped through my neighborhood.
There was no electricity for a week, and no landline phones, cable, or internet for a month. When internet and cable came back, there was no cable included in the rent. I havenít had cable since.
I bought a digital to analog converter for the TV I bought back in 2002, and never got 14, 17, or 49. The converter went out and I bought a new, more expensive one, and sometimes 49 would come in.
Then two years ago I bought a new 55 inch 4K TV, and 49 would come in far more often, and 14 and 17 occasionally came in.
The window behind the couch is rather leaky, so I keep a space heater by the couch to keep my feet warm. A couple of months ago it broke. I replaced it with a radiant heater that uses less than half the electricity and is more than twice as warm.
One evening I was watching something on channel 49, and it was coming in perfectly. My feet got a little too warm so I turned it down to low. The picture on the TV started getting colored squares and ribbons. Could the heater be interacting with the television? Maybe the 60 Hz EMF radiation was putting off a harmonic that matched channel 49? Maybe it strengthened it?
I mulled over it for a few days, and wondered if the table lamp had any effect. I turned the TV on to 49, and reception was unwatchable. I turned the heater on high and it got a little better. I shut off the lampóand a second later it was a crystal clear picture! Itís a three way LED, so I turned it to low. Colored squares started appearing. Medium and it was worse. High and it was unwatchable again! Shut off again, perfect reception.
I wondered about the other lamp. The two lamps are identical except the bulbs. The one where I sit that interferes with channel 49 is a three way LED, the other is a three way CFL.
The CFL bulb had no effect at all on the reception. That leaves two possible reasons: either there is a bad connection with a wire in the LED bulb, or the bulb itself is emitting interference.
My guess was the three way bulb. The CFL works similarly to an incandescent; an incandescent has two filaments, the CFL has two tubes. I suspect that there are electronics in the LED to give it three brightnesses, rather than having a different number of elements electrified.
I hadnít tested it. That would simply entail swapping bulbs and seeing which one interfered, but theyíre on all the time except when Iím in bed, so theyíre too hot. I couldnít do it before I turned the lamps on because I canít function before coffee.
About a week later when I turned on the lamp with the LED bulb, there was something strange, but I donít remember what; I had just gotten out of bed and hadnít had my coffee. At any rate, it convinced me that it was the socket, not the bulb. So the next time I was close to the hardware store (itís near the liquor store) I stopped in and bought a new socket, then put off changing it.
A few days later I got up in the morning, and when I turned the living room lamp on, it flashed rapidly on low. A very annoying flashing. I shut it off and traded bulbs.
Channel 49 came on flawlessly. It was the bulb, after all. The LED bulb is still in use in the other lamp; it only flashes for a few minutes before lighting normally, but still interferes with 49.
The lesson here is if youíre having reception problems in any radio device like a TV, radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or anything, start shutting electrical things off until the reception improves.
 


 

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