Video: Ivan’s Airborne TV DX catches

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW), who writes:

A while back I shared a short story about FM reception from commercial jetliners. I do that regularly on my flights but I also gave “Airborne TV DX” a try.

My equipment is as follows:

  1. Windows laptop
  2. Hauppauge USB dongle receiver WinTV-HVR-955Q
  3. 3-inch stick antenna

The receiver comes with its own WinTV software for tuning, scanning, watching and recording TV programs. It is one of the few USB dongle size receivers for North America’s ATSC digital TV standard. A have posted a video of my reception recordings from a roundtrip flight Miami to St Louis.

The video is located here:

Click here to view on YouTube.

My notes regarding this activity:

Reception from commercial airplanes is possible as far as 400 miles with the simple unobtrusive “stick” antenna.

Channel scanning is pretty slow and it is possible that by the time you detect a signal, save it, and tune to it you are 50 miles away from the point where you detected it.

Many times signals are detected but no video can be shown due to weak signal. Users in Europe may have a different experience as the availability of DVB-T USB dongles and software is much wider.

TV DX can make a coast to coast flight a much more interesting experience!

No doubt, Ivan! Thanks so much for sharing.

Ivan is quiet adept at logging and recording FM and TV DX while in the air and at sea. Click here to view his previous posts.

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5 thoughts on “Video: Ivan’s Airborne TV DX catches

  1. Ivan NO2CW

    Thank you. I clock 100 000 flight miles per year due to my IT consulting field of work. TV DX is a bit of a challenge but FM DX signals are stable enough to sit back and enjoy the many signals coming in. Here is another example of TV reception from a flight Atlanta to Miami:

  2. Mario


    What an interesting post, and what a great idea, to watch TV while aboard an aircraft. Did not know that there are dongles for watching digital TV in the US. Thanks very much.

    By the way, heard that airlines will eventually eliminate in-flight movies and other types of on-board entertainment due to the use of wireless media by the public.

    1. Thomas Post author

      I agree, Mario. I think this is quite a creative way to do a little TV DXing!

      You’re right: many legacy airlines, in an effort to compete with the low-cost carriers, are cutting all “extras”. Many now even charge for a carry-on bag.

      No in-flight entertainment? No problem for Ivan–he’s got plenty of in-flight entertainment!! 🙂


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