TUCoPS :: TV, Cable, Satellite :: chicable.txt

Chicago Cable System by Dr. Ripco

                 A Guide to the Chicago Cable System Part 1
                               by Dr. Ripco

         Rather than starting things off with a desciption of what is really going on out there, here is a quick and easy way to start saving money off of your monthly cable bill. This of course only applies if you already have the basic service and your 
cable company is Group W of Chicago.

         In future parts we will be discussing the Scientific Atlanta which is being used on the south and eastern parts of the city. For the first few parts most of the info contained applies to the Jerrold 450 system which Group W is using throughout th
e remainder of the city. It should be noted that in some areas Group W is using a decoder made by Pioneer which for all practical purposes is the same as the Jerrold 450. Why they are doing this will be covered in a future installment.

         now onto the good stuff......

How to really get something for nothing (almost).

         Group W is no different than the other 1000 cable systems across the country. It, like them, are run by a bunch of money hungry bastard executives who do little else than come up with ways to charge you more for less service.
One of the 'high level' services is the FM broadcast service which allows the consumer (sucker) to get simulcasted audio of the premium movie channels over his/her fm stereo.Along with them you get a handful of the local fm/am stations that unfortunetly a
re not where they are supposed to be. (see chart at end).

         To explain the simulcast theory, the best way to do it is to bring up other examples. If you go back awhile, one of the first proven attempts was the old ABC-TV series call "In Concert". You would tune your tv to channel 7,turn the sound off and 
tune your fm stereo to what was then WDAI (94.7). More recent examples are several specials shown on WTTW (ch.11) and the audio on WFMT, along with the first year of "Friday Night Videos" shown on WMAQ-TV and the audio over WLUP (97.9).

         Over the air simulcasting isn't done much anymore with the advent of the "MTS Stereo Decoder" but the pigs at Group W think differently. Why should they allow the sucker (consumer) to get free stereo with his stereo ready tv/vcr when they can cha
rge extra for it? I mean whats the point in allowing someone who paid probably $200 extra for the feature get a free ride on the cable system? Bear in mind that only WMAQ and WTTW are full time stereo locally but almost all of the 'premium' station are.

         Well here is the bad news, Group W doesn't put in (or allow to pass) the MTS stereo signal needed for the stereo ready tv and vcr's to work. They have a 'better' alternative. (even though the jerrold 450 is capable of passing the signal).

         The Optional FM hookup is how they sell it. Its only $2.50 extra on installation ($30 if commercial) and $2 a month ($10 if commerical). Yes thats right, for only $24.00 extra a year you can kick yourself in the ass for paying for your cable read
y stereo tv only to find out neither the cable tuner nor stereo decoder is worth squat.

         This mod won't help you fix a mistake, but at least in 10 years or so you can recover the expense. And for everyone else this might prevent you from spending money without good cause. To do this right, you will need the following items:

                        1- 2 way 75 ohm cable coupler
                        1- 75-300 ohm matching transformer
                        2- pieces of coax cable with ends,one
                           short (about 2 feet or so) the other
                           long enough to run from the decoder
                           atop your tv to your fm stereo.

         If you have no idea what any of the above items are, simply print this file out and bring it to your local Radio Shack dealer. I find they are most helpful when it comes to aiding cable consumers (suckers).

         All you have to do is follow the next diagram. In words all you are going to do is unscrew the cable coming from the wall to the 'cable in' jack on the back of the decoder, screw the cable into the input of the 2 way coupler, run the short coax f
rom one of the outs of the coupler back to the jack on the decoder where you unplugged it, then take the longer piece of coax and run it from the other output of the coupler to the 75-300 transformer which in turn will go on the fm-ant screws on the back 
of your fm stereo radio.

                      ______     short cable     --------------|
                      | out|--- _______________ | cable in     |
---------------      _|    |---                 |              |
cable from wall---  |_in   |                    |              |(decoder)
---------------       |    |--- ______          | to tv        |
                      | out|---        \        |(leave alone) |
                      ------            |       |---------------
                   2 set coupler        |
                                        | <--- longer coax cable
                                       | |
                            .         |   |
                                      |   |
           75-300 ohm matching --->   |   |
                transformer           |   |
                                      |   |
                                      /   \
                                     /     \
                                    /       \
                                   /         \
                                 ^^^         ^^^
                                  \          /
                           attach these to ends to the fm
                           antenna screws on the back of
                           your fm stereo. (300 ohm inputs)

         Thats about all there is to it. The total cost is about $3-$5 depending on the lenghts of coax you get. The cost to Group W is about a dollar for the same stuff. Well worth the $2 a month they charge extra for. Now that you have things attached h
ere is a run down of the stations in case you don't have the offical list:

standard radio stations-

WIND 89.3          WTAQ 89.7           WCEV 90.3           WEDC 90.7
WCRW 90.7          WSBC 90.7           WGN  91.3           WMAQ 91.7
WBEZ 92.5          WXRT 93.7           WLAK 94.5           WLS  95.3
WMET 96.1          WLS  96.5           WBBM 96.9           WNIB 97.7
WLUP 98.5          WFMT 99.3           WUSN 100.5          WLOO 100.9
WKQX 101.7         WCLR 102.5          WBMX 103.3          WFYR 104.1
WJMK 104.9         WOJO 105.7          WCKG 106.9          WGCI 107.3

Note that many of the stations are AM foreign language.

stereo simulcast stations-

VH-1      (video on 40)   audio on 92.9
Showtime  (video on 18)   audio on 93.3
TMC       (video on 46)   audio on 94.1
TNN       (video on 37)   audio on 94.9
Bravo     (video on 68)   audio on 95.7
SPN       (video on 66)   audio on 97.3
MTV       (video on 42)   audio on 98.1
HBO       (video on 17)   audio on 98.9
Cinemax   (video on 44)   audio on 99.7
Disney    (video on 48)   audio on 100.1
HTN       (video on 63)   audio on 101.3
Gala      (video on 50)   audio on 102.1
BET       (video on 52)   audio on 105.3

         All ya have to do now is tune the decoder to the channel you want, turn the sound off, turn on your fm radio and tune it to the matching frequency for the audio. Of course if you are not paying for any of the 'premium' channels you aren't going t
o get a picture, but that will be covered in one of the next parts. (hehehhehehe).

         A few notes... First off if you are already paying for the fm service, you can cancel it and do the above to re-attach it. They will explain to you that if they send one of their highly qualified techs out to disconnect it, it will cost you $25 f
or the service call. If you ask them if you can do it yourself, they will tell you yes and to disconnect the 75-300 ohm transformer from the radio and bring it into the office on Milwaukee ave. Since you are leaving the 2 way coupler and coax cable, on th
e way back from the office drop by Radio Shack and pick up a new transformer. You won't need anything else.

         Another thing is don't lose any sleep about them catching you with an illegal tap on the line.Unless you are stupid enough to let them in to inspect the wiring there really is no other way for them to know. The system they installed so far is not
 setup for "line testing" so it is next to impossible for them to detect it from outside of the house. Also note that the fm-service cannot be cut-off like they do if ya have a non-authorized remote control.

         Well have loads of fun and enjoy.......

                                                 Dr. Ripco

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