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The Thumper Amendment

"What? You're getting rid of my ears?"

We thought that we were all set for today’s switch to Digital television. We bought a new digital flat-screen TV last winter, but I figured out just this week that we might not have the right antenna.

The DTV signals broadcast at higher frequencies; almost all of them are in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) range. The traditional Rabbit Ear aerials pick up the Very High Frequency signals (VHF), which means that they will be useless in our area. So I ordered a brand spanking new DTV, UHF “Donut” antenna; when it arrives we’ll hook it up and stick the Rabbit Ears in the closet for now.

Until then, we will just have to manage (such privation!).

Thanks to Government regulators, we can not just throw the old antenna away.  A little-known requirement buried in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (S.652) mandates that all House Rabbit owners possess at least one set of “functional dipole Very High Frequency (VHF) antennae” (Rabbit Ears) at all times; even if they are not hooked up and even if the rabbit owner(s) has/have a subscription for cable television.

The rule is sometimes known as “The Thumper Amendment”.

No provision was made for enforcement, though,  nor did the regulation make any mention of potential sanctions for violators.

Still, just to be safe, and for the sake of our bunny, we’ll keep the old one for now.

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