Our wide-area 2-meter FM repeater W3FT is the meeting place for the weekly CATS ATV Net, each Wednesday evening at 9:00 pm. and frequently at other hours for informal contacts. Amateur Television (ATV) began in use by radio amateurs even before actual network television broadcasts. While much of ATV is NTSC analog video signals with FM audio sub-carriers, digital television is taking over. In the United States, both the ATSC and European-based DVB-T formats are in use by hams. ATSC is handy since that is the current US digital standard while the DVB-T format captures weaker signals and is less impacted by interference caused by structures.
ATV activity is essentially ham-to-ham communications with the benefit of video. That old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” remains true. Typical viewed signals include still pictures, motion video, and video clips. Some ATV repeaters carry NASA television feeds such as space launches. Analog signals are rated by the P-scale where P0 is the weakest , showing just sync bars and P5 represents a perfectly clear picture. Digital signals are either there are they aren’t; can’t be simpler than that. As seen with home television, ATV has benefited greatly from digital formats. Further, area tests have shown increased range using digital ATV over analog ATV.
All are welcome to check into (or just listen) the weekly CATS nets with voice on 146.67-. Video capability is not required. Of course, ATV activity is not on all the time, just like 2-meter activity. If one lives in the general Towson area, a cable-ready analog television set tuned to cable channel 57, but with an external antenna used in place, can receive the CATS Towson ATV repeater directly. In addition, the British Amateur Television Club website features streaming of various world-wide Amateur Television repeaters. CATS is streamed at https://batc.org.uk/live/w3bab?forcehtml5=true . CATS https://www.qsl.net/w3bab/index.html