February 25, 2009

This Week in Tech Reminds Me of Home

I listened to most of this weeks episode of  TWIT on the way down to the office today on my iPhone.   I didn't listen to it all because I wanted to hear some of the coverage of the President's speech last night.

The panel on the podcast talked about the conversion of television signals from analog to digital that has been the center of national attention for awhile now. Doesn't effect my family directly, we are on satellite TV that now offers local channels, but we are watching local commercials again after probably 10 years.  The quality really hasn't changed much over that time. 

The conversation did however take me back to when I was a kid living in rural West Virginia. (Those of you who know me, probably are saying, "You are still a kid living in rural WV.") Anyway, my dad put a tall television antenna at the top of the hill behind our house. My guess is that is was over a quarter mile from the house to the top of the hill, so we had to run two wires back to the house and connect them to the TV to get a signal.

I don't remember the actual creation of the wiring system, but what I do remember was that sometimes, probably due to weather, the antenna would get moved and the signal to the TV would turn poor or even go out.  This meant that the antenna needed to be adjusted to once again get a clear signal. In order  to make such a fine adjustment it required that my two siblings and I be strategically placed at points along the path, so when someone at the top of the hill adjusted the antenna, someone at the TV could tell if it was an improvement or made it worse. The two people located somewhere on the hill in between the two key locations just need to relay the message accurately.  As a dad today, I can only imagine how my Dad must have laughed through such a family activity.

It was quite an event to tune the TV. And what did this gain the Kraus House in terms of high quality entertainment in the later 1970's and early 1980's?  Usually the ability to see the picture on channel 5 and hear the sound on Channel 12.  We thought it was great.

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