URBANA — DirecTV customers have had problems receiving WILL-TV for the last month and a half as a result of interference with the station's signal.
But what's causing the interference has yet to be determined, despite the involvement of the Federal Communications Commission.
Station manager Bob Culkeen said the problem seems to be a digital signal in Springfield that begins after 5:25 p.m. and ends about 6:25 a.m. each day.
The problem "could come from another legal signal that has drifted, an unlicensed source or a broadcast pirate," he said in a posting on the station's website.
One possible cause has been ruled out. The FCC thought a bank of electrical capacitors near the DirecTV receiving site in Springfield might be the source of interference.
But the capacitors were removed Monday, and the interference continued.
"We were hoping for a clean night of viewing (Monday) night, but that was not the case," Culkeen said.
"We fully understand the frustration of the DirecTV subscribers," he added, noting they're the only ones experiencing the problem. "WILL is using every means available to us to correct this situation."
The FCC will continue to search for the interfering signal, and the station's chief engineer will do more testing, he said.
If the source is identified, he said, the FCC will ask the responsible party for "corrective actions."
Culkeen said the station is considering using fiber connections to deliver its signal to DirecTV. But based on past experience, putting fiber in place could take "upwards to six weeks," he said.
DirecTV receives WILL's signal over the air through the satellite company's antenna in Springfield. A switch then converts the signal to a fiber network that goes to DirecTV's uplink, he said.
DirecTV customers make up an estimated 17 percent of viewers in WILL's designated market area, or about 65,000 viewers, Culkeen said.
In the meantime, DirecTV subscribers in the Champaign-Urbana area can get WILL programming on channels 12.1, 12.2 and 12.3 by using a digital antenna, he said.
Those living within 20 miles or so of WILL's transmitter site near Monticello should be able to pick up the signal with an indoor antenna, but those living up to 40 miles away may need an outdoor antenna.
Those needing information on how to pick up WILL with a digital antenna can call the station, 333-7300, and speak with its engineers, Culkeen said.