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Friday, September 11 2020

New Feature - ATSC 3.0 Listing

I won't promise the code is 100% correct yet, but it should be relatively close. The long-awaited and much-requested ATSC 3.0 listing page is now available:


Let me know if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

Thursday, June 4 2020

New Feature - Historic Allotments

Once upon a time, I started RabbitEars (with Bruce's help) with a goal of providing information on stations' technical operations, their programming, as well as their history. While the first two have been well represented, the third has been... lacking, to say the least. I never really made any in-roads with it.

That changes now. I'm pleased to announce a new feature on RabbitEars, Historic Allotments. You'll find this in the Listings drop-down menu. It contains a record of every TV allotment that ever existed in the analog TV table of allotments, stretching from 1945 through the end of the digital TV transition. You can watch how the allotments changed over time, see what changes happened on particular dates, and even plot the allotments on a map.

Already, I'm considering adding another function to it beyond the current Table, List, Changes, and Map functionalities, but I think this is enough to launch it with. Be sure to read the documentation if you have questions. I look forward to hearing feedback!

Sunday, May 3 2020

Network Grid Updated

I've overhauled the code that supports the Network Grid as well as the layout and content.

For the layout and content, I've changed the pages so there are more networks included overall, and they are spread across more pages. That means there are now 8 pages of networks instead of 4, but fewer stations per page, so hopefully it's easier to read. There are now five pages of English-language networks, two pages of Spanish-language networks, and one page of other foreign-language networks.

On the code side, suffice it to say that it's much neater and tidier on the back end, and it means updates to the layout and content should be a LOT easier in the future. To give a sense of the improvement, the size of the code shrunk from 76KB to 25KB, even with more networks included overall and double the number of available pages of networks.

Additionally, a few weeks ago, I did an optimization that improved the load time on the Network Grid from 15-90 seconds (depending) to about 1 second. Suffice it to say I'm a lot happier with it now than I've ever been.

Let me know if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

Monday, March 30 2020

Upgrade to PHP 7.4!

It's long overdue, but RabbitEars has now been upgraded from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.4, the latest version. If I've done everything right, nothing should be different except for one feature I disabled on the Mobile RabbitEars page pending an overhaul. If you spot anything broken, please let me know. I spot-checked a number of features and don't see anything obviously broken right now, but there's a lot of stuff on RabbitEars, so I could have easily overlooked something.

Wednesday, December 11 2019

New Rush Quotes

I'm sure this is the update everyone was waiting for--I've added three more Rush quotes to the rotation at the bottom of the pages.

For those who want to see the full set, here they are.

"Bright antennae bristle with the energy..." - Rush "The Spirit of Radio"
"Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand..." - Rush "Witch Hunt"
"If I could wave my magic wand, I'd make everything alright..." - Rush "Presto"
"Everybody got to deviate from the norm..." - Rush "Vital Signs"
"In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big!" - Rush "Caravan"
"Cruising in primetime, soaking up the cathode rays...!" - Rush "Between the Wheels"
"Art as expression, not as market campaigns, will still capture our imagination." - Rush "Natural Science"
"If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice!" - Rush "Freewill"
"He picks up scraps of conversation, radio and radiation..." - Rush "Digital Man"
"And the knowledge that they fear is a weapon to be used against them..." - Rush "The Weapon"
"The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect..." - Rush "The Garden"
"Clockwork angels, the people raise their hands... as if to fly..." - Rush "Clockwork Angels"
"Invisible airwaves crackle with life..." - Rush "The Spirit of Radio"

Monday, September 2 2019

Doug Lung Shout Out to RabbitEars Search Map

Doug Lung wrote an article on Phase 4 of the repack for TV Technology, and in doing so, highlighted the RabbitEars Search Map as a tool to use for resolving reception issues. Thanks, Doug!

Link is here: https://www.tvtechnology.com/repack...

Tuesday, August 13 2019

Away from Keyboard

This is a note that I will be out of town and away from my keyboard until the middle of next week. I may find a bit of time here and there to work on things, but spent yesterday on a plane and am now several time zones away from home. Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a while.

Sunday, July 21 2019

RabbitEars Search Map Enters Public Beta

I'm pleased to launch the RabbitEars Search Map into public beta. I mentioned in my previous site update that I wanted to do it, but it stuck in my head and I decided to buckle down, dedicate most of my evenings and weekends to it. It's paid off, and I think it will work out really well.

So here's where to go see it: https://www.rabbitears.info/searchm...

It gives multiple means of choosing a location, the results have a handy link to a page that anonymizes the results, it's a ton faster than the existing search code, and there are nifty maps and diagrams to help understand what is going on in specific situations. Please feel free to provide as much feedback, good and bad, as possible. I want to know what I got right and what I got wrong. If I got things wrong, I can probably adjust them.

Beyond that, there are a few things I want to note about it.

First, if you have questions, please be sure to read the instructions. If they're not clear and/or don't answer your question, please let me know. I want them to hold the answers to all the questions people have, if possible.

Second, the terrain path profiles remain under construction. If at some point you look at it and it looks wrong or doesn't work, wait a few minutes and try again. I'm probably working on it. If it lasts a long time, let me know as I may not have noticed that I broke it, or you may have found a corner case that I need to investigate. But the key thing I'm still working on is trying to make it possible to either adjust the height of the display or, preferably, automate the resizing of the height. It's proving more difficult than I expected, and I decided not to hold the release of the whole tool over that one item.

Third, unlike other things on the site, the underlying database is a snapshot of the RabbitEars database as computed each morning. This was done to help speed things along; by dumping the database once into a simplified format, rather than having to parse all the LMS tables each time a search is run, the speed was drastically improved. Additionally, in the interest of consistency, these rows are stored along with the results for a study, so the information in the result link should remain consistent even if the database changes. The only exception is the repack data column; that is tied to live data because it may provide an insight into what's going on for someone who is confused about the current status of things.

Fourth... I feel like I'm forgetting something. I may update this post in the next few days if I think of more comments I wanted to make.

Finally, I'd like some people to check behind me on some of the math. I'm reasonably confident in it, but having additional eyes on it would make me feel a whole lot better. There are three things, specifically, that I am concerned about.

1) The formula for converting from dBuV/m to dBmV in the unit conversions. (The dBmV is then converted to either dBm or dBuV if necessary--those conversions are fine.) I derived the formula from two other formulas with common elements, but I'm not entirely certain I applied them correctly or even that my result makes sense. I don't do a lot of these types of conversions. My end result was:

20 * LOG10 ( ( POW ( 10, ( s.field / 20 ) ) / ( .021 * s.freq ) ) / 1000 )

Where s.field is the field strength in dBuV/m, and s.freq is the center frequency of the station in question. If someone has a different formula that is more correct, please let me know.

2) The formula for earth bulge as used in the terrain path profiles. I already changed it once.

( ( 1000 ) * ( 1 / ( 2 * 6370 ) ) * ( $dist * ( $terrain_len - $dist ) ) ) / ( 4 / 3 )

Where $dist is the distance from the beginning of the profile, and $terrain_len is the total length of the profile.

3) Also in the terrain path profile, I'm a bit concerned that I am oversimplifying the geometry. I'm just applying the earth bulge formula to the terrain path profile and that's it. Does anyone think it makes a significant difference whether or not I factor in the full geometry at the transmit and receive ends, or is this good enough?

Tuesday, July 9 2019

FCC Database Conversion and Site Usage Questions

While I moved most of the underlying FCC database-driven things on RabbitEars from CDBS to LMS about a year and a half ago, the CDBS facility table had remained in place rather than the new LMS facility table. That has now been remedied. It's not 100% finished, as particularly the Network Grid and the Statistics pages need a lot of work that I've yet to do. I'd say I'm more than 80% there, across the board, on the move to LMS. Some things definitely need some more polish, and if you come across something that doesn't work properly, please either comment here or e-mail me with a link to the page in question and a brief description of what's wrong. (I'm aware of the problem with the TSID page, just haven't done anything about it yet.)

I'm also working toward a new TVFool-like search function. I've shown a few people a new map-driven search page, and after some thought, I've decided to rewrite the actual search code as well, in an effort to speed it up. I don't know how long this will take, but I have the basic code design figured out, and it should help. I just need to implement it, which is of course the hard part.

On a semi-related note, are there people who use the Statistics page, or the various Advanced pages? I'm trying to figure out if there are things I can discontinue, as some of the maintenance is pretty hard on some of these things, and I don't really use them. So if nobody else does... (For the record, I am definitely keeping the Network Grid, just that it needs a complete overhaul as it is one of the slowest pages on the site. I want to do a complete overhaul and upgrade at once rather than upgrade it and then overhaul it.)

Friday, December 7 2018

Leave of Absence

My father-in-law passed away on December 2. I've been away from my e-mail since November 30 and do not know when I will return to it. I'm still making occasional minimal website updates. His obituary is here, an acknowledgment from the Virginia YMCA is here, a link to a single on which he played guitar in his youth is here, and the eulogy I gave at his funeral is below.

Continue reading...

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