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Guide to TV antenna installation

WBBM Channel 2 CBS Chicago Reception Problems

Having trouble receiving channel 2 CBS in Chicago? Your not alone? It's not the stations fault it's likely the result of the antenna in use. Many of the today's antennas are designed to ignore the broadcast channel frequency of WBBM 2.1 CBS. Most TV station broadcast ultra high frequency (UHF) TV signals. However, nearly every TV market has at least one very high frequency (VHF) broadcast station. The Chicago CBS channel 2.1 is a VHF signal broadcast TV station.

Here's the problem. Small antennas look better than big antennas. The ease and simplicity of indoor antennas over outdoor antennas is appealing. However, antennas too small won't work for CBS 2.1 VHF signal reception. Most indoor antennas won't receive VHF signal nearly as good as they will UHF signals.

If your TV antenna doesn't receive the CBS 2.1 WBBM signal
but it receives most all other Chicago stations you likely have the wrong antenna.

Many of today's antennas are designed to ignore the reception of VHF signals and focus primarily on the reception of UHF signals. Antennas that ignore VHF signal reception can be smaller, cheaper, more appealing and in some cases be used indoors.

If the antenna you are using for CBS channel 2 reception is located inside you'll probably need to get an outdoor antenna. If the outdoor antenna is smaller than the EZ HD antenna it probably won't work well for CBS. If the antenna location is more than 40 miles from the transmitters you may need an even larger antenna such the HD Stacker. There are several good antennas for VHF and UHF reception available. Antennas designed to receive both VHF and UHF signals equally well can be found at Winegard, Channel Master and Antennacraft.

Get educated before you buy that antenna. Just because an antenna claims VHF and UHF reception capabilities doesn't mean the VHF and UHF reception of the antenna is equally good. Below are a few antennas that will receive VHF and UHF signals equally well. Unfortunately they're not flat, in a small plastic box or razor thin. They're kind of ugly but they work best for equally good reception of both VHF and UHF TV signals which includes CBS 2.1.  

Winegard HD 7694P

EZ HD TV antenna best small long range TV antenna

Channel Master 2018

Winegard HD 7694P
Short to medium range
35" W x 65" L

Denny's EZ HD
Short to medium range
35" W x 36" L

Channel Master CM-2018
Short to medium range
77.75" W x 60" L

Winegard HD 7697P antenna

       Hd Stacker antenna


  Channel Master CM-3010

Winegard HD 7697P
Long range
53" W x 131" L

Denny's HD Stacker
Long range
61" W x 70" L

Channel Master CM-3020
Long range
95" W x 152" L

The antennas displayed above will provide uniform VHF and UHF signal reception. If you want reliable quality reception of Chicago CBS channel 2 the antenna you choose must be designed similar to the antennas above. The top row antennas should be used when the antenna location is within 40 miles of the transmitters. The bottom row of antennas should be used for reception beyond 40 miles.

Below is a list of the Chicago area TV stations. The virtual channel indicates the old analog broadcast channel number prior to 2009. The real broadcast channel indicates the current channel in use to broadcast the current digital signal. As you can see WBBM is the only VHF channel in the Chicago market. See: Real vs.Virtual channels

Source: FCC

Call Sign Virtual Channel Real Broadcast Channels
WLS 7.1 Plus sub channels UHF 44
WGN 9.1 Plus sub channels UHF 19
WTTW 11.1 Plus sub channels UHF 47
WMAQ 5.1 Plus sub channels UHF 29
WCPX 38.1 Plus sub channels UHF 43
WGBO 66.1 Plus sub channels UHF 38
WBBM 2.1 Plus sub channels VHF 12
WFLD 32.1 Plus sub channels UHF 31
WCIU 26.1 Plus sub channels UHF 27
WPWR 50.1 Plus sub channels UHF 31
WYCC 20.1 Plus sub channels UHF 47