If his television continues to blank out during the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert H. Bork, Takoma Park resident Ron Collins said he will be pushed over the edge from dissatisfied cable customer to disconnected customer.

Collins said he and his wife ordered the Montgomery County cable service after moving to Takoma Park in early June so they could receive news programs. But it's been nothing but a big headache.

Collins, a law professor who commutes to Syracuse University, said he has devoted 15 to 20 hours since moving waiting at his home for service technicians. He and his wife have complained in numerous calls to supervisors at Cable TV Montgomery and the county's office of consumer affairs, Collins said.

"I have no reason to believe . . . that we are unusual," Collins said. At the neighborhood ice cream parlor, he said, the dominating topics of discussion are children and cable television problems.

Indeed, Collins is not alone. In June, Cable TV Montgomery received 9,588 calls for service. Although this is a record number of calls for Cable TV Montgomery, county officials said it doesn't match the complaints received in previous years when the franchise was held by another company.

"The problems are not going to get better until the technology {used by the old company} is replaced," said George Rose of the county consumer affairs office. "Cable TV Montgomery is doing what they can."

The saga of cable television in Montgomery has left county officials angry and embarrassed. After a lengthy review of applicants, the franchise was awarded in 1983 to the Chicago-based Tribune-United Cable Co., which promised to wire the county with a state-of-the-art system that would provide 120 channels.

But the firm quickly ran into technical problems and fell behind its construction schedule. In 1985, Tribune-United asked for county permission to scale back the number of cable services it would offer. In October 1985, the company halted construction after wiring less than 10 percent of the county.

The county sued the company for defaulting on its franchise agreement and finally agreed to a sale of the franchise to Hauser Communications last fall. Cable TV Montgomery is the Hauser affiliate.

Robert Hunnicutt, a spokesman for the county office that oversees the cable operation, said the high number of complaints this summer has been caused primarily by the technical problems inherited from the Tribune system. Of those, 2,247 were resolved over the telephone by explaining to customers how to use the system; service crews were sent out on the remaining 7,341 complaints, Hunnicutt said.

The hot, humid weather this summer is interfering with the outdoor equipment called TRACS -- a system the county did not want installed in the first place, officials said.

The traditional cable system has a converter box, which unscrambles the cable signal, placed inside the house near the television. But TRACS equipment sits on telephone poles or inside a box in the customer's yard and thus is susceptible to humidity and electrical storms, Rose said.

Hauser officials have pledged to replace all the TRACS equipment with in-home converter boxes by the end of 1988.

Hauser set up a detailed timetable for construction, starting with the southern end of the county. County officials said last week the company is running on schedule, and they are satisfied with the progress. "There don't seem to be any indicators of problems," said Kay Stevens of the county cable office. "They're still in the beginning stages {of construction}, and we'll know a little better in a few months."

Stevens said the county learned a lesson with Tribune-United and has begun a vigorous inspection program with technical advisers to make sure Hauser will deliver.

Hauser began construction in Bethesda in May and will be wiring Takoma Park, White Oak and parts of Silver Spring and Wheaton within the next three months, according to Peter Alden, president of Cable TV Montgomery. The company has agreed to wire about 96 percent of the 250,000 households in the county by late 1990.

"I'm aware that we have problems," Alden said. "But the real measure is the number of satisfied customers."

The number of disconnections is quite low, he said. At the end of July, there were 27,854 customers -- 6,163 more subscribers than last July, according to Stevens.

The basic subscription package cost $14.95 for local and government channels. Usually people pay $29 a month for the basic channels, one paid movie or sports station and a remote control option, Stevens said.

In Bethesda, where the TRACS equipment is being replaced, there have been only two complaints, and the picture quality is good, Hunnicutt said. For the people in other areas, Cable TV Montgomery added more telephone lines to handle complaints and hired more technicians for repairs to try to reduce the week-long backup for service.

The county meets with Cable TV Montgomery weekly to monitor construction progress and discuss service problems, Hunnicutt said. Any construction delays by Hauser would bring a $5,000-a-day fine.

Hauser has sent an apology to customers with their bills to explain the technical difficulties. Alden said he believes that subscribers are aware that the problems originate from the TRACS equipment installed by Tribune-United.

But Collins said he did not know of the troubled history of the system when he subscribed.

"At the very least, they should tell consumers up front what they're in for," he said. "It's not the exception, it's the rule. They should say, 'You're likely to have real problems.' "