teddog: (Is Nance gonna have to slapabitch?)
[personal profile] teddog
I've told this story a lot recently, since it keeps coming up. Might as well make it public...

...although, for all I know, the black helicopters will come after me. ;)

It was the mid 1990s. Our local Fox station, based out of Grand Island, New York, would air Sonic the Hedgehog during the early hours of the morning. I was quite the fan of Sonic back then and I really wanted to watch the show.

So, being the resourceful nerd I was, I programmed a VCR and taped the show. I was awesome! I could tape it without waking up!

Except, this only worked for a week. One sweet, blissful week of Sonic cartoons kidnapped from the early hours. After that, the recordings became unwatchable. The audio was garbled - the audio wasn't the audio from the cartoon, but a woman saying random words and numbers.

I was, naturally, confused. My first thought was that it was ghosts, but this didn't seem likely. My second thought was that something was wrong with the VCR and maybe I had to start up the VCR manually.

So, I set my alarm clock to wake me up. Surprisingly, it worked and I stumbled out of bed and downstairs to watch my TV show...

... only to discover the the problem with the audio existed in the broadcast as well! There was no way to watch the cartoon! After that, I never woke up early to record again.

So, what was it? It beats me, but my current theory is that somehow, the TV station ran afoul of a Numbers Station:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_station

Got any better ideas? I'd LOVE to hear it. This has haunted me for quite some time.

Date: 2009-04-01 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pyat.livejournal.com
I suspect it most likely you had poorly shielded speakers on your TV, and it was getting interference from police band or a Ham radio. I had a set of stereo speakers that would periodically pick up passing truckers when we lived in an apartment - just a few seconds at a time, but it would happen anytime they were plugged in, even if the stereo was off.

Later, when we moved to the East End, they were connected to my TV through an old amp. Every evening (and sometimes early in the morning) we'd get a few minutes of Ham radio chatter coming over them. Once, I went downstairs on a sleepless night, and heard the sound of creepy laughter drifting from the back room... even though the TV and amp were turned off.

That all said, Buffalo 29 had a notoriously weak and interference prone signal, at least according to the station manager at Cable 14 Stoney Creek, where I interned for a couple of years in high school.

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