Dear Sun Spots: For several weeks now, I haven’t been able to access either Channel 35 or 51. I’ve tried both analog and digital reception to no avail. Can you find out what happened? Their programs are still listed in the TV Preview booklet. – R.G.M., No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: I’m hoping that you can find some information for me. About two months ago channels 51 and 35 stopped broadcasting on analog and started broadcasting on digital.

After hooking up my converter box and turning on channel 51 and 35 all that comes up on the screen is “no signal.” By some chance did these two channels go under like many other companies have? Thank you. – Karl W., Greene.

Answer: Sun Spots corresponded with Doug Finck, general manager of WPXT-TV (channel 51) and station manager of WPME-TV (channel 35). He provided us with a few reasons you both may be having trouble receiving the signal and some tips to resolve the problem.

He first explained that TV signals need a pretty unobstructed “line-of-sight” path from the transmitting antenna to the your antenna. If there is something between the transmitting antenna and your home, such as a large building or hill, then it will be hard to get a decent picture.

Second, analog broadcasts are stronger in the sense that a poor signal can still be watched. Finck notes that you’ve probably seen weak analog signals that are “snowy” or have ghosts. With digital signals, there’s no such thing as a weak signal. Digital signals either come in perfectly, or don’t come in at all. One of the surprises that the FCC is discovering about the switch from analog to digital broadcasting is the fact that people living on the outer edges of analog signals can’t necessarily pick up any digital signal.

Third, it’s all about the antenna. It used to be that viewers had rooftop antennas, usually on a pole mounted on the roof. One or more antennas were attached to the pole, sometimes using a rotor to turn the antenna toward the transmitting antenna. Inside antennas don’t work anywhere near as well as an outside antenna. Some of the issues that cause problems with inside antennas include aluminum siding on the exterior of the home, aluminum studs in the home, aluminum foil-backed insulation, and the number of interior walls between the TV and exterior of the building. Also, the location of the viewer’s antenna and its height all impact signal reception. A good antenna will cost anywhere from $50-$150. There might be additional costs for a rotor and a pole. Finally, viewers need to know where the transmitting antennas are located. All of the stations are located in different directions and the most powerful viewer antennas are very directional and need to be pointed in a specific direction. The transmitting antennas for WPXT and WPME are located in Gray; WGME is located in Raymond; WCSH is located in Sebago; WMTW is located in Baldwin and WCBB and WPFO are located in Litchfield. Knowing where to point an antenna is critical

If these tips don’t help, Finck would be happy to send one of the station engineers to your home to help analyze the problem and try and get a positive resolution. He may be contacted at (207) 774-0051, ext. 155 or e-mail [email protected]

Dear Sun Spots: I have some older Christmas albums and I would love them on a CD. Would you know anyone who would be able to transfer these albums to CDs for a reasonable fee? Please call Terry 375-8083. – Terry, No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for a recipe for old-fashioned pea soup like our parents used to make. I have checked in many recipe books but have found none. I would really appreciate it if someone could provide one. – No Name, Lewiston.

Perhaps readers may be willing to share their favorite family recipes with you. In addition, Sun Spots’ mother found the following recipe from the third annual Festival de Joie supplement that ran in the Sun Journal on July 31, 1995. The “Festival Pea Soup” recipe is for the soup served at the festival that year.

Ingredients: 1 pound whole yellow peas; 1 medium onion, 2 tablespoons salted herbs, rinsed; ½ pound salt pork; salt and pepper to taste.

Method: Parboil peas for 30 minutes. Drain water. Add three quarts of water and the remainder of the ingredients. Cook for 2½ hours. If soup thickens too much, add cup of water as needed.

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