View Full Version : FCC To Repack Channels


kf4rca
02-09-2017, 08:37 AM
All channels above 36 will be required to shift down. While the transmitters are frequency agile to some extent, the antennas are not. Many stations may simply not be able to afford the shift. Is this part of the government's conspiracy to drive OTA broadcasters out of business?

user181
02-09-2017, 12:37 PM
What is the article or reference regarding this?

jr_tech
02-09-2017, 01:05 PM
Old thread here with some info:

http://www.videokarma.org/showthread.php?t=266888

jr

kf4rca
02-09-2017, 02:49 PM
Heard it on the Glenn Hauser World of Radio broadcast on WBCQ (shortwave) yesterday afternoon.

Findm-Keepm
02-09-2017, 04:08 PM
FCC Commish speaks after the reverse auctions that started the spectrum repack:

STATEMENT OF FCC CHAIRMAN AJIT PAI ON FOSTERING AN ORDERLY POST-AUCTION TRANSITION
WASHINGTON, February 6, 2017 – Today, we are taking an important step to facilitate a rapid and orderly repack of television broadcast stations following the close of the incentive
auction. Specifically, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is waiving the rules prohibiting communication between parties of any incentive auction applicant’s reverse auction bids or bidding strategies. Broadcasters have asked for this waiver in order to make it easier for television stations to engage in planning and coordination for the post-auction transition. I look forward to working with broadcasters and wireless carriers going forward on further steps to ensure a smooth post-auction transition.

The folks above channel 37 sold their spectrum, and now will find their home at/below channel 36.

Repacking
What is repacking and why is it so important to the outcome of the auction?

Repacking is one of three major components of the incentive auction, along with the reverse and forward auctions. It refers to the process of reassigning broadcast TV channels in order to free up spectrum for other uses. Repacking plays a role in the reverse auction. It will help us identify which bids we should accept in order to free up the most spectrum, consistent with interference and other constraints.

Only winners are the Telecoms. Here comes gigabit cell service....

Jon A.
02-09-2017, 04:15 PM
WARNING: Prolonged use of this device will cause rapid loss of brain cells.

Surely this is a cash grab for the bureau as well. Can't imagine why they would have done it otherwise.

Electronic M
02-09-2017, 04:47 PM
Given that TV resolution has been consistently doubling since NTSC became depreciated, I find this spectrum reduction and repack to be a dangerous and short sighted move. the TV bands may end up becoming jammed, full of same channel interference between markets, etc, plus aren't they trying to implement ATSC 3.0?...They don't want 1 and 3 sharing channels so new/empty channels are needed to keep a station from being stuck on one or the other, or the networks crowding sub-channels off the air on remaining 1.0 transmitters. smashing a already densely packed TV band into having perhaps 0 empty channels in some areas seems EXTREMELY foolish presently....Maybe after the 1 to 3 transition it would be called for, but why now?...Greed/buying market share through paying the fed to legislate away your competition sure seems like the answer (that or blatant relative devaluing of TV relative to cellular as a public service in the eyes of the fed).

DavGoodlin
02-09-2017, 05:17 PM
I just saw an AP article in the paper saying in effect: More homes getting TV reception OTA, increased from 9 to 15 percent in a year or two. The cord-cutting trends have helped this along with availability of antennas from such ubiquitous outlets as Wal-Mart.

Findm-Keepm
02-09-2017, 06:55 PM
Just wait for the next ATSC standard (after 3.0) a few years later - gigabit downstream internet OTA (upstream will be via cell or cable) and TV (not streaming video...) that is tuneable/viewable on a cell phone, independent of a cell tower. There would be one channel (actual) per metro area, and 36-72 subchannels in the metro area. This is probably a dozen years off, but the testing is starting....

The E-waste that ATSC 3.0 is gonna create may get some pushback....

Robert Grant
02-09-2017, 09:42 PM
All channels above 36 will be required to shift down. While the transmitters are frequency agile to some extent, the antennas are not.

There are broadband UHF antennas out there.

WBGU in Bowling Green, OH, has one.

They used it to transmit channel 27 analog and RF channel 56 digital at the same time.

For analog shutoff, they disconnected the analog 27 transmitter from the antenna and retuned the digital transmitter to channel 27.

Titan1a
02-09-2017, 11:12 PM
I question why FM is still using the same technology developed in the '50's. Why not go full digital with 5.1 using frequencies in the 900 Mhz to 1 Ghz range? Why not convert standard AM to DRM (digital radio mondial) reducing channel allocations and providing high fidelity stereo sound? Once you've heard DRM you'd wonder why it isn't in wide use. I'd also increase transmitter power.

Jon A.
02-10-2017, 01:31 AM
I question why FM is still using the same technology developed in the '50's.
Perhaps it has something to do with what David Sarnoff's infamous greed did to Edwin Armstrong.

jr_tech
02-10-2017, 02:28 AM
I question why FM is still using the same technology developed in the '50's. Why not go full digital with 5.1


Have you heard IBOC digital on the FM band? I think that it is capable of 5.1, but most stations use the digital signal to broadcast multiple programs, just like the TV sub-channels.

jr

MadMan
02-10-2017, 03:59 AM
Change is scary.

kf4rca
02-10-2017, 08:11 AM
DRM is used by some SW broadcasters in Europe. VOA found it was easier to jam than analog.

Electronic M
02-10-2017, 10:15 AM
I question why FM is still using the same technology developed in the '50's. Why not go full digital with 5.1 using frequencies in the 900 Mhz to 1 Ghz range? Why not convert standard AM to DRM (digital radio mondial) reducing channel allocations and providing high fidelity stereo sound? Once you've heard DRM you'd wonder why it isn't in wide use. I'd also increase transmitter power.
I hope this never happens, my collection of working antique radios will become doorstops if it does. I prefer analog audio wherever possible...My ear can average away analog noise, but digital breakup/dropout can not be averaged away so easily...
Audio quality has a lot to do with RX design. There is analog AM HiFi stereo, and it's audio quality can approach that of a decent FM RX. Most newer AM radios don't bother to design for good audio quality since they assume AM is talk only and need only sound as good as an 80's POTs phone line... Many modern FM tuners are rather halfassed too...If you listen to a high end tube or early SS rig from the years when top 40 AM was king, and classic music audiophiles were the FM market, and demanded that FM sound perfect you will never want digital.

jr_tech
02-10-2017, 01:28 PM
Couple of repacking updates:

"UHF Channels 38 thru 50 will soon belong to Cell Carriers. The FCC will be putting out a list soon of the upcoming changes."

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/fccs-incentive-auction-end-after-stage-4/162589

http://repackready.com/spectrum-repack-news/

jr

Jeffhs
02-10-2017, 10:11 PM
What will happen to TV stations below channel 36 after the channel repack? Will the repack render streaming video players such as the Roku boxes obsolete? I watch almost all my TV via streaming video instead of OTA, and use a Roku 2 with the Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) app to receive local stations. I still have cable, but I don't use it; the only reason I have cable at all (the cable is connected to my VCR) is so the Spectrum app will receive my area's local TV stations (chalk that up to a crazy quirk in TWC's billing system, which has been there since long before their merger with Spectrum). My favorite channels are the DTV subchannels of channels 5, 8 and 19 from Cleveland (COZI TV, Antenna TV and MeTV, respectively); will these channels be affected at all by the repack? Since these channels are well below channel 36, I don't think it will have any effect at all; the repack only seems to be affecting channels from 36 to 51 (except channel 37, of course), if I understand correctly what I have been reading about it. The VHF stations and channels 51 and up won't be affected at all, so existing VHF channels and their subchannels will almost certainly be exempt from this action.

OvenMaster
02-10-2017, 10:53 PM
Change is scary.
And often unnecessary.

lnx64
02-11-2017, 04:04 AM
I question why FM is still using the same technology developed in the '50's. Why not go full digital with 5.1 using frequencies in the 900 Mhz to 1 Ghz range? Why not convert standard AM to DRM (digital radio mondial) reducing channel allocations and providing high fidelity stereo sound? Once you've heard DRM you'd wonder why it isn't in wide use. I'd also increase transmitter power.

I'm sorry, but I just half a year ago, built a software defined radio on my own, that picks up anywhere between 40MHz and 1.7GHz. It only has about 3MHz bandwidth (2MHz without any skipped "frames"), and I really don't want to have to redesign it to pick up some silly digital signal it probably can't decode anyway. I like FM as it is, and all of my radios in the house already support it.

MadMan
02-11-2017, 04:14 AM
I honestly don't think radio's gonna change much anytime soon. Tv, on the other hand... well, we'll always have converter boxes and adapters and stuff.

jr_tech
02-11-2017, 12:22 PM
I'm sorry, but I just half a year ago, built a software defined radio on my own, that picks up anywhere between 40MHz and 1.7GHz. It only has about 3MHz bandwidth (2MHz without any skipped "frames"), and I really don't want to have to redesign it to pick up some silly digital signal it probably can't decode anyway. I like FM as it is, and all of my radios in the house already support it.

Is there presently available software for SDRs that will decode the digital signals already in use in the FM band? I suspect that you have noticed the IBOC "sidebands" attached to many analog FM signals, and *perhaps* are already decoding them.
Or perhaps not?

jr

Dude111
02-12-2017, 05:43 AM
Change is scary.They keep getting rid of more OTA channels and yes ITS SCARY! (I guess it doesnt matter because they arent analog anyway)

Next it will be all channels above 13!!

kf4rca
02-12-2017, 08:08 AM
They want to sell that spectrum. Basically they're getting something for nothing. Spectrum is just a natural resource. They don't have to maintain it. The really scary part is they could sell us the air that we breathe.

user181
02-12-2017, 09:29 AM
...The really scary part is they could sell us the air that we breathe.


Just like from the song "Taxman" by The Beatles.

centralradio
02-12-2017, 05:30 PM
Feel sorry for the pros in the biz that will get let go when some stations close up shop or merge with other stations.

centralradio
02-12-2017, 07:54 PM
Check this broadcasting forum out.I've been a member for years there and its very informative with info on these topics with the current DTV outlook.

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?700396-Spectrum-Auction-thread

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/forumdisplay.php?658-FCC-News-and-Policy-Debate

bgadow
02-12-2017, 10:59 PM
Central, thanks for those links....quite a bit of interesting reading I'll be doing over there!

centralradio
02-13-2017, 03:28 AM
Central, thanks for those links....quite a bit of interesting reading I'll be doing over there!

No problem Bryan. Enjoy.

jr_tech
02-15-2017, 01:27 PM
Looks as if we should have info on station moves in April.

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/101536/fcc-to-announce-auction-winners-in-april

Blog on Rabbit Ears has some early info.

http://www.rabbitears.info/blog/

Stay tuned!
jr

Electronic M
02-15-2017, 01:57 PM
As someone who operates VERY low power analog transmitters to feed signal to the tube sets in my collection I worry about more stations crowding into the VHF band...Most of my modulators (several are fixed channel, and all my TX antennas are fixed) are running on VHF...If VHF fills up it will be hard to wirelessly send signal to all my pre-1964 VHF only sets. I don't use channels that are occupied by DTV stations in the area since I don't want to interfere with reception, and also since DTV carriers can interfere with my system.

jr_tech
02-25-2017, 03:51 PM
More on repacking:

http://www.tvtechnology.com/resources/0006/repack-complexities-abound/280362

jr

centralradio
02-25-2017, 08:20 PM
Thanks Jr_Tech .Nice read. If I was one of those struggling stations with ratings in the toilet and wondering if I can pay next months electric bill and other bills.I will take the buyout option and close up shop for good.

Jeffhs
02-25-2017, 09:28 PM
Since I don't bother with OTA television signals anymore (I watch all my TV via streaming video, DVDs and VHS, having cable on my account only so my Roku's TWC TV app will bring in local channels), the repack does not now and will not, ever, concern me in the least.

BTW, I've been wondering about channel 37. If this channel was never intended to (and in fact is forbidden to) be used as a TV broadcast frequency in this country, why do TVs still tune it? There should have been a way to block that channel somehow, whether by mechanically blocking the tuner at 37 (meaning the tuner would go from 14-36 and then 38-83, with a blank spot on the tuning dial on the front of the set where channel 37 would have been) or any other method so that the tuner would skip that channel. I guess the only reason those continuous UHF tuners even tuned channel 37 at all is due to the nature of continuous tuning; now that I think of it, it would be almost impossible to design any continuous TV tuner such that it would skip any channel. Even the old Zenith varactor tuning systems in their early 1980s TVs could tune to channel 37, and in fact there was a tab for that channel which could be inserted in one of the blank UHF channel positions (U1-U6).

The only other thing I can come up with is that broadcast use of channel 37 in Canada was in fact permitted, with stations on the air on that channel in some cities. I never saw one when I was still watching TV using an antenna, but of course that doesn't mean there might have been at least one channel 37 station north of the border.

I am only guessing at this, of course, since I don't know how Canada's TV broadcasting rules are set up. It could be, however, that use of channel 37 for TV in Canada in some areas near the US border would in fact be forbidden, if the authorities (Canada's "FCC") thought a Canadian station on that channel might interfere with U. S. radio astronomy operations.

benman94
02-25-2017, 09:45 PM
I just get an antenna design optimized with 4NEC2, physically constructed and mounted at my grandparents' place for 14-52, and they pull this garbage.... ugh, oh well, back to the digital drawing board.

old_tv_nut
02-25-2017, 10:31 PM
BTW, I've been wondering about channel 37.
...
It could be, however, that use of channel 37 for TV in Canada in some areas near the US border would in fact be forbidden, if the authorities (Canada's "FCC") thought a Canadian station on that channel might interfere with U. S. radio astronomy operations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_37

Besides the somewhat spotty ban, receiver makers probably found it easier to include the capability rather than explain to buyers that they didn't need it.

jr_tech
03-13-2017, 11:41 PM
Incomplete information now, but a searchable database from National association of Broadcasters:

http://www.nab.org/repacking/clearinghouse.asp

Check out your area, if listed.

jr

NowhereMan 1966
03-26-2017, 05:39 PM
Incomplete information now, but a searchable database from National association of Broadcasters:

http://www.nab.org/repacking/clearinghouse.asp

Check out your area, if listed.

jr

I checked my area, I live in the Steubenville/Wheeling area so no changes there, I jut get VHF channels 7 and 9, "that's it, Fort Pitt." ;) If I was on a hill, I might get some of the stations from ym old home, the Pittsburgh area but I live on a valley so I only get two channels, but at least one GOOD thing about the digital transition is we get Fox, ABC and MeTV on the subchannels along with CBS and NBC on the main. However, I did look at the Pittsburgh area changes as well as Youngstown and Johnstown area nearby and noticed some of the channels are on the same channel or adjacent to each other. I know Youngstown stations come into Pittsburgh quite a bit, us kids used to watch the "Money Movie" on WKBN 27 Youngstown when we were kids and teenagers during the summer when we were not outside. Given that, I had a thought at what "weisenheimer" thought of that idea to reband channels where you can have co-channel interference or adjacent channel problems. That's about s wise as the FRC (then Federal Radio Commission) putting all commercial stations on 360 meters and farm station on 485 meters in 1921.

Jeffhs
03-26-2017, 09:40 PM
I am 30 miles outside Cleveland, and some 35-40 miles from the city's TV towers.

I saw the FCC repack database as well; however, I found no listing whatsoever for Cleveland's CBS station on channel 19. I looked under all three options, but no luck. I was hoping I'd see it, with perhaps a move to a channel above 10, so that I could get the station using an antenna. As it stands, I do not get channel 19 on an antenna, almost certainly because of its DTV channel being channel 10. I am not certain by a long shot whether the repack will result in the station's DTV channel being moved to a channel above 10, or whether it will be moved to another VHF channel; only time will tell.

Oh well. I guess I shouldn't be concerned about the issue; after all, since I watch TV via streaming video (Roku, with the Spectrum TV app) and not OTA, it almost certainly will not matter to me where channel 19's DTV signal winds up after the repack. However, I will continue to follow the progress of the overall repack, just out of curiosity as to where the remaining TV stations not listed in this database will be moved in the RF spectrum. My best guess is most stations now on VHF DTV channels will be moved to UHF stations, in order to clear the VHF television spectrum entirely.

DavGoodlin
03-27-2017, 11:36 AM
This rearrangement of channels will affect some areas more. A few I can think of is Baltimore with two UHF at 40 and 46, and Wilkes-Barre Scranton with three of thiers at 41, 45 and 50.

I would be OK with expanding to more subchannels on the remaining allocated VHF and UHF-low freqs, but to shift frequencies to a crowded band should not be left to the FCC.

FCC already has worsened co-channel issues (Between NYC and Baltimore) when VHF DTV channels 11 and 13 were ALSO assigned to the other two Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stations that were on UHF pre-digital. Between Baltimore and W-B-S, I can select which pair of these I get with a rotator and a deep-fringe (big) antenna with amp.

Having one strong local and three other medium-strength VHF channels is hard enough to work around with in-home broadcast equipment.

KentTeffeteller
03-27-2017, 06:59 PM
I question why FM is still using the same technology developed in the '50's. Why not go full digital with 5.1 using frequencies in the 900 Mhz to 1 Ghz range? Why not convert standard AM to DRM (digital radio mondial) reducing channel allocations and providing high fidelity stereo sound? Once you've heard DRM you'd wonder why it isn't in wide use. I'd also increase transmitter power.

Transmitter Power would be less, reception glitchy in cars. And sound quality would be horrible. And you'd have to replace millions of receivers. FCC went with backwards compatible HD Radio and 900 Mhz would be filled with interference from so many consumer wireless devices using the spectrum. Not all content is in 5.1 either. Not a good idea. DRM on SW broadcast channels I am in favor of as a means of reviving SW listening. On AM again, get rid of NRSC, ban HD and use full bandwidth and require quality tuner sections.

However, I would like to see a new added second FM band in some vacated TV spectrum post repacking. Then your DRM suggestion would make sense. And 5.1 capability could be built into that standard. It could be a second tuner add on for existing radio set owners. Digital radio still has downsides however, portable sets are battery eaters, and much more expensive to run. I would love to see the new DRM FM second band have adaptive bandwidth (and second or third channels) and narrow band channels for talk and voice content. A vacated TV channel or two would make spectrum sense for this. Don't abandon HD Radio on FM as the two coexist and existing tuners still function.

wa2ise
03-27-2017, 09:22 PM
...

However, I would like to see a new added second FM band in some vacated TV spectrum post repacking. ...

Well, how about 42 to 50MHz? Not much there nowadays. And I have a radio that can receive that all ready to go.
http://www.wa2ise.com/radios/em460.jpg

jr_tech
03-28-2017, 12:13 AM
New rule making from FCC will allow sharing of a TV channel by different station classes.

http://www.tvtechnology.com/news/0002/fcc-extends-channelsharing/280655

It will be interesting to observe the odd combinations that may occur as repacking will force a real scramble for "air space" in many areas.

jr

centralradio
03-28-2017, 02:48 AM
Since the stations now lack in power with digital signal.Maybe they can add some translators like we are getting all the clutter of FM translators lately.

I used too get all stations here .Some just only with the ant terminals .Not I get a 1/2 a station if I jump on the roof.Yes we got a screw job in 2009.

kf4rca
03-28-2017, 08:44 AM
Most station management were hoping the digital thing would just go away. They had all their equipment paid for and they were making money.
If you think you got screwed, think about the cost the stations incurred. In some instances the entire tower had to be replaced.
Many felt this was an attempt to cull the herd, driving some stations out of business. And some would cry for subsidies allowing the government to control them further.

WISCOJIM
03-28-2017, 12:51 PM
Yes we got a screw job in 2009.Yes, some got screwed, but I think a whole lot more benefited from the change. I had 7 analog channels, now I get 21 digital channels with better reception and picture than before. Gone is the snow, normal interference, and the flutter from the planes going to and from the local airport when I had the analog OTA. The digital OTA reception is far more reliable than the service I previously had from cable and satellite, with a far superior picture.

.

centralradio
03-28-2017, 03:09 PM
Most station management were hoping the digital thing would just go away. They had all their equipment paid for and they were making money.
If you think you got screwed, think about the cost the stations incurred. In some instances the entire tower had to be replaced.
Many felt this was an attempt to cull the herd, driving some stations out of business. And some would cry for subsidies allowing the government to control them further.

Got a point there.Yes stations suffer the cost of the upgrades.To bad the engineering design of DTV could not be multiplexed into the analog signal and we have a choice like Iboc on AM /FM radio.

They could find another band for the telecom and wireless communications instead of picking away of the current TV band.Leave it to greed and pockets filled with green grease and they can get away with it.Where is the emergency response channels as they were pitching when they were pushing for the switch over.No new emergency response channels here.
Probably mostly wireless it all went too.

Yes, some got screwed, but I think a whole lot more benefited from the change. I had 7 analog channels, now I get 21 digital channels with better reception and picture than before. Gone is the snow, normal interference, and the flutter from the planes going to and from the local airport when I had the analog OTA. The digital OTA reception is far more reliable than the service I previously had from cable and satellite, with a far superior picture.

.

Yes .You got a point there Jim.DTV has the sub channels and better reception better for some.It was great for 2 to 3 years of co-channel issues after the switch on cable before Comcast switched the all digital.Digital cable sucks here and its more out then on.I have to keep rebooting the cable boxes .I remember it was a complete mess when the New York channels co-channel with other stations.

benman94
03-29-2017, 10:13 PM
Got a point there.Yes stations suffer the cost of the upgrades.To bad the engineering design of DTV could not be multiplexed into the analog signal and we have a choice like Iboc on AM /FM radio.

There was an experimental system at RCA in the 80s that would have provided something akin to HD 16:9 (or something near it) in an all analog system that was backward compatible to boot. You could have flipped on a 630TS and watched a show being broadcast in "HD" with no converter box.

The FCC pissed away 70 some odd years of compatibility for a DTV system that won't work 10 feet from the transmitter... it's absolute bullshit.

old_tv_nut
03-29-2017, 10:50 PM
The RCA compatible system basically could not be made to work. It was the most technically competent proposal for a compatible system. It depended on adding additional resolution components in the "Fukinuki hole," as well as other places in the spectrum. The Fukinuki (Takahiko Fukinuki, at Hitachi) frequencies are interlaced with the luma similar to NTSC chroma, but with an opposite phase sequence. The result is flickering interference in both color and luminance on edges in existing sets, that supposedly could be integrated out by the eye - but they could never find an amplitude level that would both make the added resolution noise-free and keep the interference in existing sets to tolerable levels.

Once successful and superior digital picture quality was demonstrated, RCA and other analog proponents either dropped out of the running, or in the case of the Japanese 6 MHz MUSE system, were rejected even by the inexperienced viewers in subjective testing, who could plainly see the poor quality compared to digital coding.

Multiple organizations had put their best efforts into analog or hybrid systems (23 were proposed at the start!), but none of them turned out to be feasible - either they weren't compatible or they didn't provide sufficient quality HD pictures, or both. One or two from less-than-competent proponents tried to defy the laws of physics in some way, and of course failed completely.

centralradio
03-30-2017, 02:40 PM
There was an experimental system at RCA in the 80s that would have provided something akin to HD 16:9 (or something near it) in an all analog system that was backward compatible to boot. You could have flipped on a 630TS and watched a show being broadcast in "HD" with no converter box.

The FCC pissed away 70 some odd years of compatibility for a DTV system that won't work 10 feet from the transmitter... it's absolute bullshit.

The RCA compatible system basically could not be made to work. It was the most technically competent proposal for a compatible system. It depended on adding additional resolution components in the "Fukinuki hole," as well as other places in the spectrum. The Fukinuki (Takahiko Fukinuki, at Hitachi) frequencies are interlaced with the luma similar to NTSC chroma, but with an opposite phase sequence. The result is flickering interference in both color and luminance on edges in existing sets, that supposedly could be integrated out by the eye - but they could never find an amplitude level that would both make the added resolution noise-free and keep the interference in existing sets to tolerable levels.

Once successful and superior digital picture quality was demonstrated, RCA and other analog proponents either dropped out of the running, or in the case of the Japanese 6 MHz MUSE system, were rejected even by the inexperienced viewers in subjective testing, who could plainly see the poor quality compared to digital coding.

Multiple organizations had put their best efforts into analog or hybrid systems (23 were proposed at the start!), but none of them turned out to be feasible - either they weren't compatible or they didn't provide sufficient quality HD pictures, or both. One or two from less-than-competent proponents tried to defy the laws of physics in some way, and of course failed completely.

Too bad these system did not pull though.

Jeffhs
03-30-2017, 08:17 PM
I was all but dead set against DTV at first, but now I see it completely differently. I get a much better picture and more channels (even with basic cable) than I ever did with analog NTSC. I live in a semi-fringe area for Cleveland TV (35-40 miles from the stations), but that doesn't seem to matter with digital; however, with analog, I could only get one channel with a picture good enough to watch. I now get eight stations (somewhat more with their subchannels), with picture quality easily 100 times better than I ever thought possible.

I don't use my cable connection for anything but to be able to get local TV on my Roku Spectrum application, as a cable account is a must to receive local channels on this app; the cable need not be connected directly to the TV, but the cable company must at least have, for your service address, a cable account on file. This is so the cable operator can pay for carrying an area's local TV channels, and is a requirement on all Roku installations with the Spectrum app anywhere in the US that has an option to stream local TV. In my area, the cable operator is Spectrum, formerly Time Warner, which does stream the locals (eight stations plus their subchannels), but other cable companies may not unless their own version of the Spectrum app, if available, has this capability.

The only problem I have with DTV right now, however, is I cannot get two important network affiliates on channels 8 and 19, using an indoor antenna. I have been told with the latter channel, the problem is its DTV assignment on a VHF channel (channel 10); with the former, the problem seems to be my sheer distance from the station's transmitter. I could get the missing channels with an outdoor antenna, but since my Roku seems to work so well with streaming video, I don't feel I need it.

Robert Grant
04-02-2017, 02:03 AM
<snip>
The only problem I have with DTV right now, however, is I cannot get two important network affiliates on channels 8 and 19, using an indoor antenna. I have been told with the latter channel, the problem is its DTV assignment on a VHF channel (channel 10); with the former, the problem seems to be my sheer distance from the station's transmitter. I could get the missing channels with an outdoor antenna, but since my Roku seems to work so well with streaming video, I don't feel I need it.

Channel 8 (WJW/FOX) actually transmits on channel 8, which makes it a VHF-high station. It doesn't have as much power as its Detroit stablemate WJBK. It does benefit from having an omnidirectional pattern and infrequent co-channel interference.

Channel 10 (WOIO/CBS, and soon to be joined by ) is not as lucky. It is short-spaced to CFPL in London, Ontario. Worse, most of this path is over Lake Erie, which often causes serious interference (from tropospheric refraction) in the spring and summer. As a result, WOIO has less power, has a directional pattern with less signal to the north, and is prone to having its signal trounced by CFPL.

Robert Grant
04-02-2017, 02:20 AM
<snip>
The only problem I have with DTV right now, however, is I cannot get two important network affiliates on channels 8 and 19, using an indoor antenna. I have been told with the latter channel, the problem is its DTV assignment on a VHF channel (channel 10); with the former, the problem seems to be my sheer distance from the station's transmitter. I could get the missing channels with an outdoor antenna, but since my Roku seems to work so well with streaming video, I don't feel I need it.

Channel 8 (WJW/FOX) actually transmits on channel 8, which makes it a VHF-high station. It doesn't have as much power as its Detroit stablemate WJBK. It does benefit from having an omnidirectional pattern and infrequent co-channel interference.

Channel 10 (WOIO/CBS, and soon to be joined by WUAB's programs) is not as lucky. It is short-spaced to CFPL in London, Ontario. Worse, most of this path is over Lake Erie, which often causes serious interference (from tropospheric refraction) in the spring and summer. As a result, WOIO has less power, has a directional pattern with less signal to the north, and is prone to having its signal trounced by CFPL.

You may be able to get CBS with a modest VHF-capable outdoor antenna on the chimney, or, if that is not possible, in the attic.

In my case, the Detroit stations are fifty miles away*. The ABC affiliate is 1000kW ERP on channel 41, while the Fox station is 27kW ERP on channel 7. The ABC is the easiest Detroit station to get on the indoor antenna, but the Fox station is the easiest to receive on the outdoor antenna, despite the massive disparity in ERP.

*the NBC affiliate is 52 miles, while one independent station is 63 miles and on a short tower. The latter is only receivable when tropospheric refraction is in.

Jeffhs
04-02-2017, 02:51 PM
Channel 8 (WJW/FOX) actually transmits on channel 8, which makes it a VHF-high station. It doesn't have as much power as its Detroit stablemate WJBK. It does benefit from having an omnidirectional pattern and infrequent co-channel interference.

Channel 10 (WOIO/CBS, and soon to be joined by WUAB's programs) is not as lucky. It is short-spaced to CFPL in London, Ontario. Worse, most of this path is over Lake Erie, which often causes serious interference (from tropospheric refraction) in the spring and summer. As a result, WOIO has less power, has a directional pattern with less signal to the north, and is prone to having its signal trounced by CFPL.

You may be able to get CBS with a modest VHF-capable outdoor antenna on the chimney, or, if that is not possible, in the attic.

In my case, the Detroit stations are fifty miles away*. The ABC affiliate is 1000kW ERP on channel 41, while the Fox station is 27kW ERP on channel 7. The ABC is the easiest Detroit station to get on the indoor antenna, but the Fox station is the easiest to receive on the outdoor antenna, despite the massive disparity in ERP.

*the NBC affiliate is 52 miles, while one independent station is 63 miles and on a short tower. The latter is only receivable when tropospheric refraction is in.


I live in an apartment building, so using an outdoor antenna anywhere is out of the question (as my apartment is on the first floor of a two-story building, I do not have an attic, and there are no chimneys easily accessible on the roof of the building). Moreover, I am not about to get into any kind of discussion with my landlord as to the FCC's rules regarding outdoor television antennas in apartment buildings; he probably wouldn't understand or care about them.

Channel 19 has 3.720 megawatts of power, so there is (or should be) no excuse for it not reaching my area, even today (although that doesn't concern me, for reasons I will explain at the end of this paragraph). I do not believe for one second they decreased their output when they went digital, but the fact that most of their signal goes over Lake Erie may have something to do with my reception problems. However, all of this makes no difference to me, as I watch TV exclusively via streaming video, not OTA.

BTW, your explanations of why certain Detroit TV stations do not reach your area went right over my head. I have an amateur radio license, but I have been away from the hobby so long, except for Echolink, an amateur radio linking app, and 2-meter FM (due to lease restrictions forbidding me to put up any kind of antennas, and the changes that have occurred in the hobby since I started in 1972), I have forgotten most of what I used to know about signal propagation or whatever it is. Since television went digital in 2009, I haven't the foggiest idea of how my flat screen TV works--all I know (or care about) anymore is that it does work with my Roku streaming video player, VCR, and DVD player.

If you have such trouble as you mention getting certain Detroit television stations at your home, why are you bothering with antennas at all? I'd suggest getting cable or satellite, unless your area of Michigan is so far out in the boondocks even these services won't work. Many cable companies do not provide service to extreme fringe areas, and satellite signals reach only so far.

I am leaving all the technical explanations to the experts and engineers (think wa2ise) on VK. I am beginning to think VK has changed so much since I joined these forums 15 years ago (with all the present or former TV technicians/dealers and engineers now posting here) that I don't belong here anymore. One VK member in Arizona told me, in a recent reply to one of my posts, he is about ready to stop reading my messages anyway, so maybe it's just as well.

old_tv_nut
04-02-2017, 04:33 PM
Displayed/Identified channel 3, WKYC, is on physical channel 17 with 868 kW ERP at 1007 feet height above average terrain (HAAT).

Displayed/identifed channel 19, WOIO, is on physical channel 10, 9.5 kW ERP, 997 feet HAAT.

jr_tech
04-02-2017, 09:03 PM
Jeffhs said:

"Channel 19 has 3.720 megawatts of power, so there is (or should be) no excuse for it not reaching my area, even today "

No! The transmitter that you are talking about was SHUTDOWN a few years ago when most analog TV stations were turned off. As indicated in the above post, WOIO now transmitts on channel 10 at much lower power, although it kept its channel 19 "branding" as its virtual channel.

73,
jr

Jeffhs
04-02-2017, 11:20 PM
Jeffhs said:

"Channel 19 has 3.720 megawatts of power, so there is (or should be) no excuse for it not reaching my area, even today "

No! The transmitter that you are talking about was SHUTDOWN a few years ago when most analog TV stations were turned off. As indicated in the above post, WOIO now transmitts on channel 10 at much lower power, although it kept its channel 19 "branding" as its virtual channel.

73,
jr

I don't know what you are talking about. I remember when channel 19 went on the air in Cleveland, in 1985; at that time the station had 3.720 megawatts ERP and came in just fine at my former residence in suburban Cleveland. I do not remember reading or hearing anything to the effect that the signal was being reduced to 9.5 kW ERP, but then again, I wouldn't notice it anyway if it had dropped by such a huge amount since I watch that station, and all other Cleveland TV stations, via streaming video on my Roku player. The only reason I can come up with for channel 19 having such a tremendous drop in ERP output is that the station's transmitter was hit by lightning six months after its initial sign on; the station's signal has not been the same since.

Channel 19's move to DTV channel 10 was a huge mistake, and the station is paying a high price for it since its OTA signal now does not reach anywhere east of the city of Cleveland; in fact, the further east of Cleveland you go, the worse the reception becomes until you get to my area (38 miles from all Cleveland TV transmitters) and beyond, at which point the signal simply disappears or is so weak as to be unwatchable. This means the station is losing fully half of its viewing audience; however, I do not believe the station's licensee or owner even cares. If they did, they would have put their DTV signal on a UHF station, not channel 10. They could have done the same thing channel 23 in Akron did when that station went digital--they simply put their digital signal on channel 23 and did not look back.

Why channel 19 did not do the same thing is beyond me. If they had, there would be no reception problems east of Cleveland. They put up a translator for the Akron area; why on earth didn't they do the same for the area east of the city of Cleveland? :scratch2: The station is operated by Raycom Media, which I am sure could have afforded to put up a translator for 19 to cover the dead zone east of the city.

Oh well. This just means more business (and money) for the cable and satellite providers, not to mention TV antenna manufacturers. The ones in the area east of Cleveland and the Akron area are probably getting more business these days than they can shake a stick at.

BTW, the PDF files showing channel 3's and 19's technical information are well over my head. Please remember, I am not a television engineer or television expert; in fact, my TV "repair" skills were limited to changing tubes, back when televisions were built using them. The beginning of the solid-state TV era, and later the flat-screen era, brought my limited TV "repairs" to an absolute, screeching halt. What is the use of knowing anything about how a flat screen television works, anyway? These things are designed to be throwaways when they develop the least little bit of trouble after the warranty expires.

jr_tech
04-13-2017, 04:13 PM
Repack plan on Rabbitears:

https://www.rabbitears.info/repackchannels.php

jr

FCC tally of the $$$$ involved:

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0413/DOC-344398A1.pdf

More from the FCC:

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-results-worlds-first-broadcast-incentive-auction-0

.

Jeffhs
04-14-2017, 11:03 PM
The repack auction is over, according to TV Technology. I found that the CBS channel in my area on channel 19 (VHF 10) is staying on that channel (which surprised me, as I thought they would have requested a move to a UHF channel), but the station's licensee, Raycom Media, has instead requested an immediate increase in ERP transmitter power. Whether this will improve reception of the station to the east of Cleveland (especially in the "dead zone" east of the Cleveland suburb of Euclid, where the station is received poorly or not at all), however, remains to be seen.

BTW, Cleveland is not the only city to have a TV station on a VHF DTV channel. There are several other cities in other parts of the US as well that have at least one station still on a VHF DTV channel after the transition, and which probably have the same reception problems Cleveland's channel 19 (DTV 10) has had since the digital transition.

Why these areas' TV stations have been assigned VHF DTV channels is far beyond me. It makes no sense, especially in Cleveland, where the CBS station is now on a VHF DTV channel that doesn't reach half the station's coverage area. CBS is America's most-watched TV network, after all (they announce this every chance they get (!)), so it makes no sense for any of its local affiliates not to reach all, as in every square mile, of their cities/areas of license; in fact, the Cleveland station is probably losing advertising revenue left and right because of the huge dead zone east of town.

Channel 19 in Cleveland has lost fully half its viewing audience due to its owner's wrong-headed decision to put its DTV signal on VHF channel 10, instead of moving to another UHF channel, as they should have done in the first place. Other cities may have been able to get away with putting their stations on VHF DTV channels without losing viewers, but this does not work well in northeastern Ohio due to the area's geography and the fact that most of the station's signal on channel 10 goes over Lake Erie, rather than being beamed to the east; another problem is co-channel interference six months of the year with channel 10 in Ontario, Canada, sixty miles directly across Lake Erie.

I thought (in fact, I was sure) Raycom Media would have seen this problem immediately, and moved its Cleveland station to a UHF channel right from the beginning; if they had, this co-channel and reception problems monkey business would never have become an issue. The reason they did not do this may be because Raycom's technical staff did not take Cleveland's proximity to Ontario, Canada into account when they were trying to find a suitable DTV channel. They could have left 19's DTV signal on channel 19 instead of moving it (a technique known as "flash-cutting"), as a TV station in Akron, Ohio did shortly after the DTV transition.

I don't know. Maybe Raycom figures the area east of Cleveland, for whatever reason they may have, is not worth the trouble to put a decent signal into. :scratch2: I would remind these people, if I could, that their station happens to be affiliated with a television network (CBS) which is presently America's most-watched television network, and that they absolutely cannot afford to lose viewers; no commercial TV station can.

Sheeesh. If they (Raycom Media) do not seem to care that their Cleveland station does not reach all of northeastern Ohio since the digital transition, perhaps, IMHO, they should sell it to a media group that does.

While there are ways available to viewers east of town to get around this problem, such as cable, satellite or streaming video, to name but three, the licensee and/or owners of channel 19 absolutely cannot ignore the over-the-air reception difficulties in Cleveland's suburbs and outlying areas east of the city. There are many people who cannot afford cable or satellite, some people cannot, for whatever reason, put up outdoor TV antennas, and the popular Roku player's cable app (in my area the Spectrum app) will not receive an area's local TV channels without the account holder having at least a cable account (the cable need not be physically connected to the TV); this is a function of their billing system, and is necessary so the cable operator can pay for the privilege of having local TV channels available via the application.

old_tv_nut
04-15-2017, 02:12 AM
There was a long, tortuous path to the VHF DTV problem, mainly due to the fact that the original coverage equations used by the FCC did not take into account the actual full amount of ambient noise in the spectrum at VHF, which apparently has only increased over the years. As a result, some stations chose VHF where they could because of the predicted wide coverage and the much lower transmitter power bill - the VHF signal does refract further over the horizon than UHF. So, signal levels at VHF are as predicted, but noise levels are higher than predicted. The solution would be for all VHF stations to increase power simultaneously, thereby overcoming atmospheric noise and keeping the co-channel ratios constant - BUT, since many of the stations were built to the predicted required power, such a simultaneous increase is just not practical. Hopefully this will be rectified with ATSC 3.0, both by coding gains and power increases; but with the need to co-exist with ATSC 1.0 for a time, the power increase may need to be phased in.

DavGoodlin
04-15-2017, 07:38 AM
Awesome analysis Wayne, I knew something was up when WHTM-27 in Harrisburg chose RF channel 10 and WCAU-10 in Phl switched to RF-34:thumbsdn: In fact WCAU reduced power on analog 10 (or went directional) when WHTM fired up the DTV transmitter, until the end of analog.

NowhereMan 1966
04-15-2017, 02:34 PM
I live in an apartment building, so using an outdoor antenna anywhere is out of the question (as my apartment is on the first floor of a two-story building, I do not have an attic, and there are no chimneys easily accessible on the roof of the building). Moreover, I am not about to get into any kind of discussion with my landlord as to the FCC's rules regarding outdoor television antennas in apartment buildings; he probably wouldn't understand or care about them.

Channel 19 has 3.720 megawatts of power, so there is (or should be) no excuse for it not reaching my area, even today (although that doesn't concern me, for reasons I will explain at the end of this paragraph). I do not believe for one second they decreased their output when they went digital, but the fact that most of their signal goes over Lake Erie may have something to do with my reception problems. However, all of this makes no difference to me, as I watch TV exclusively via streaming video, not OTA.

BTW, your explanations of why certain Detroit TV stations do not reach your area went right over my head. I have an amateur radio license, but I have been away from the hobby so long, except for Echolink, an amateur radio linking app, and 2-meter FM (due to lease restrictions forbidding me to put up any kind of antennas, and the changes that have occurred in the hobby since I started in 1972), I have forgotten most of what I used to know about signal propagation or whatever it is. Since television went digital in 2009, I haven't the foggiest idea of how my flat screen TV works--all I know (or care about) anymore is that it does work with my Roku streaming video player, VCR, and DVD player.

If you have such trouble as you mention getting certain Detroit television stations at your home, why are you bothering with antennas at all? I'd suggest getting cable or satellite, unless your area of Michigan is so far out in the boondocks even these services won't work. Many cable companies do not provide service to extreme fringe areas, and satellite signals reach only so far.

I am leaving all the technical explanations to the experts and engineers (think wa2ise) on VK. I am beginning to think VK has changed so much since I joined these forums 15 years ago (with all the present or former TV technicians/dealers and engineers now posting here) that I don't belong here anymore. One VK member in Arizona told me, in a recent reply to one of my posts, he is about ready to stop reading my messages anyway, so maybe it's just as well.

I only get WTRF and WTOV since I live in the Ohio River Valley. If I was on top of a ridge or hill/mountain, I'd also pick up some Pittsburgh channels on rabbit ears but being down in a hole, my choices are limited. At least I get METV. BTW, don't leave the forum, I like to read your posts, they are interesting.

NowhereMan 1966
04-15-2017, 02:44 PM
I see some stations are being reassigned "channel 0." Does this mean they will stop broadcasting and exist as a subchannel of another station?

jr_tech
04-15-2017, 03:28 PM
I see some stations are being reassigned "channel 0." Does this mean they will stop broadcasting and exist as a subchannel of another station?

Or possibly cease to exist entirely. But for sure, some deals will be made/money will change hands over subchannel space and perhaps even main channels... could get interesting to see how this all shakes out! The fat lady ain't singing yet!

jr

NowhereMan 1966
04-16-2017, 01:35 AM
Or possibly cease to exist entirely. But for sure, some deals will be made/money will change hands over subchannel space and perhaps even main channels... could get interesting to see how this all shakes out! The fat lady ain't singing yet!

jr


I know in the case of WKBN-TV, Youngstown, OH, they have a new channel assignment of 0. I know the same company who owns them also owns channel 33 in Youngstown as well so I ASSUME WKBN could end up as a subchannel there unless like you said, they are still waiting for their new channel. WKBN is Youngstown CBS affiliate so I really cannot see them going dark completely, then again who knows? I know here in the Ohio Valley, WTRF-TV on 7 is the local CBS station but they carry ABC on a subchannel since WTAE-TV from Pittsburgh is a tough catch, almost impossible here.

Jeffhs
04-16-2017, 10:35 AM
I see some stations are being reassigned "channel 0." Does this mean they will stop broadcasting and exist as a subchannel of another station?

The MyTV affiliate in Cleveland, WUAB-TV channel 43, is not going off the air, but it will become a subchannel of WOIO-TV 19, the CBS affiliate, probably by the end of this year. Channel 43 made a particular point of this when the change was first announced, probably to squelch rumors that the station would go off the air entirely. The whole thing started when channel 43 recently sold its spectrum space and transmitter after the recently-concluded spectrum auction; some people must have jumped to conclusions, thinking the station was leaving the air, never to return.

Channel 43 was Cleveland's first independent station, having initially signed on in 1968. It was followed by WKBF-TV (Kaiser Broadcasting, now Univision affiliate WQHS-TV) on channel 61 soon after, with a third independent station, WBNX-TV in Akron, signing on channel 55 in 1985.

The announcement that channel 43's spectrum had been sold was almost certainly what started the rumors of the station eventually going dark. Whomever started this rumor apparently did not realize the station would remain on the air, only on a subchannel of channel 19. A similar change will be taking place in New York and Chicago, where the NBC affiliates in those cities will share their RF and DTV channels with other local stations. In New York, WNBC-TV will be sharing its spectrum with WNJU-TV; in Chicago, WMAQ-TV will be doing the same, sharing its channel space with Telemundo affiliate WSNS-TV. Whether or not this means the shared stations will be on subchannels of the main one, however, remains to be seen, although it would not surprise me if the stations did move to subchannels.

Dude111
04-20-2017, 09:17 PM
Or possibly cease to exist entirely. But for sure, some deals will be made/money will change hands over subchannel space and perhaps even main channels... could get interesting to see how this all shakes out! The fat lady ain't singing yet!Indeed..... The govt doesnt offer to pay for anything UNLESS THEY HAVE AN AGENDA!!

NowhereMan 1966
04-23-2017, 10:22 PM
I know WKBN in Youngstown was assigned a "0" and on the www.pbrtv.com site (Pittsburgh area and surrounding areas for radio and TV), WKBN will be on channel 33's signal since both stations are owned by the same company. I suspected that much.

TV Engineer
05-02-2017, 08:40 AM
All channels above 36 will be required to shift down. While the transmitters are frequency agile to some extent, the antennas are not. Many stations may simply not be able to afford the shift. Is this part of the government's conspiracy to drive OTA broadcasters out of business?

The government is paying for our shift to the new channels.

Dude111
05-24-2017, 02:37 AM
Yes because they have an agenda..... They wouldnt pay for that otherwise!!!

Something soon will be apparent!!

centralradio
05-24-2017, 02:48 PM
I see some stations are being reassigned "channel 0." Does this mean they will stop broadcasting and exist as a subchannel of another station?

Sad to see the small people in the field will end up jobless after this DTV repack.The same goes for these big radio conglomerates as they fall apart.