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Here comes the sun; there goes your TV

Hydroplane boat racing fans tuned to ESPN might see a genuine wipeout at 3:47 p.m. today.

That's when the sun and the ESPN satellite line up, and the much more powerful sun causes a cable TV "sunspot" of solar interference for eight to 13 minutes.

The TV transmission probably will black out or go fuzzy, said Dale Obracay, marketing manager for TCI Cablevision, which serves about 57,000 homes in west Pasco County.

The phenomenon occurs every spring and fall on every channel transmitted by satellite. It's not the fault of the channel or the cable operator.

This season's sunspots, which started Saturday, will affect transmissions daily through this Saturday.

Because stations are transmitted from several satellites, stations experience interference at different times. Those are:

3:47-3:59 p.m.: Disney, CNN, TBS, WGN, ESPN, CNBC, HBO, TNT, TNN, USA, MEU, CNN Headline News, and Arts and Entertainment.

4:20-4:35 p.m.: C-SPAN, QVC, the Weather Channel, Showtime, TMC, Comedy and DMX.

4:30-4:45 p.m.: Encore, EWTN, Cinemax.

4:45-5 p.m.: American Movie Classics, Nickelodeon, Lifetime, MTV, Request I and II, Discovery and VH1.

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