Double Vision

Rene Etherton of Chicago, Illinois, asks:

“When we’re anchored out my audio system works fine, and we get great reception on our HD LCD TV. But back in our marina we get a loud hum on the audio system, and TV reception from several stations is always breaking apart. Why does this happen?”

Gordon West replies:

I’m almost certain that the hum in the audio system is coming from the battery charger. If your batteries are fully charged, an easy fix is to switch off the shore power charger. A more permanent fix is to run the audio system off an isolated battery, perhaps one that can be charged by a solar panel.

Your poor TV reception, on the other hand, is a common problem in marinas, because TV signals bounce off buildings and masts. When that happens the signals will “freeze.” With the old analog TVs, you’d get a faint ghost or snow on the screen. But with a digital TV, multiple signals that are out of phase overwhelm the converter, which then freezes the picture for a few seconds and sends a “no signal” message to the screen. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this. Your best option, if you want good TV reception, is to get underway and go cruising again!

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