[opendtv] FCC Moves on DTV Channel Changes

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 11:37:00 -0400

The WWAZ request was actually to go from Ch 44 to Ch 5, at 25 KW ERP,
contrary to the trend. And they will also use two translators to fill in
their coverage area.

In my case, just before analog shutoff, I had started to notice noise on
analog Ch 7, in the form of white diagonal lines on the analog picture.
Which had be concerned. But somehow WJLA managed to get their signal to
work on Ch 7. It took about 2-3 weeks at my location to get the signal
right, although there isn't a whole lot of margin. I don't know what
they did, because the improvement was gradual. No mention that it or the
other VHF station (WUSA) are asking to go back to UHF.



FCC Moves on DTV Channel Changes
From Doug Lung's RF Report
by Doug Lung, 08.13.2009.

The FCC is requesting public input on several DTV channel changes as
broadcasters and the commission continue to attempt to improve reception
post June 12.

In the past week the FCC has released two Notices of Proposed Rule
Making (NPRM) and one Report and Order for VHF-to-UHF channel changes.
As previously reported, WHDH-TV, which is operating on Channel 7 in
Boston, filed to return to its pre-transition UHF Channel 42 allocation.
The FCC found the WHDH-TV petition for the channel change complied with
FCC rules on coverage and interference and released a Notice of Proposed
Rule Making (NPRM) to substitute Channel 42 for Channel 7 in Boston

In requesting the channel change, WHDH said it "received numerous
communications from its viewers about difficulty or inability to receive
its digital signal on Channel 7, apparently consistent with digital
reception issues with Channel 7 in many other markets." WHDH-TV noted
that the proposed Channel 42 facility would serve more people than the
authorized Channel 7 DTV facility. If the NPRM is approved, the
allotment for Channel 7 in Boston would be replaced with one for Channel
42 with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 948 kilowatts and a center
of radiation height above average terrain (HAAT) of 288 meters.

Also this week, the FCC released a NPRM proposing substitution of DTV
Channel 44 for DTV Channel 7 in Chicago [PDF] . In its petition for
rulemaking, WLS-TV stated that "in the week after the DTV transition on
June 12, 2009, WLS received nearly 7,000 calls from viewers" with nearly
half of the telephone calls reporting reception problems.

The station also said that 47 percent of the homes visited by the FCC in
late June to assist WLS had inadequate indoor reception of the station.
The NPRM said WLS-TV also explained that its reception challenges on DTV
Channel 7 were exacerbated "by the urban canyon effect whereby tall
buildings limit coverage in urban areas" and by the fact that many of
the station's off-air viewers lived in high-rise buildings where indoor
reception can be "severely impaired" by attenuation from building walls.

WLS-TV said the channel substitution would increase the station's
service population by some 178,771 people. If the NPRM is approved, the
Channel 7 allotment in Chicago would be replaced with one for Channel
42, with an ERP of 473.3 kW and a center of radiation HAAT at 515

Gray Television has also filed a petition for rulemaking, and the FCC
released a NPRM to substitute DTV Channel 49 for its KKTV DTV Channel 10
operation in Colorado Springs, Colo. Last week the FCC issued a Report
and Order [PDF] approving the change after finding the channel change
would comply with FCC coverage and interference rules.

Gray Television told the commission that the station has received
reports of a "substantial amount of interference" on Channel 10. It also
noted that a large number of viewers throughout the station's service
area have experienced reception problems "inherent with high VHF digital
channels in certain markets."

It added that operation on Channel 49 would raise the service prediction
by "almost a million persons," and that the change would "resolve the
VHF reception problems experienced by present viewers and improve the
possibility for future service to viewers using hand-held and mobile

The Channel 10 allotment in Colorado Springs is replaced with one on
Channel 49 with an ERP of 550 kW and a center of radiation HAAT of 725

The FCC had previously released a NPRM proposing substituting Channel 5
with Channel 44 for WWAZ-TV in Fond du Lac, Wis.

On Tuesday the FCC issued a Report and Order (DA 09-1794) [PDF]
approving the NPRM. The circumstances around this channel change are
complex and I refer readers to the NPRM and the Report and Order for the

One item in the Report and Order that should be of interest to
broadcasters is that the FCC agreed with WWAZ-TV that FCC rule 73.685(e)
limiting the maximum to minimum radiation ratio in horizontal plane
applies only to analog stations. "Section 73.625(c) applies to DTV
directional proposals, which contains no constraint on
maximum-to-minimum ratios for directional antennas used for DTV
operations," the commission said.

Refer to the NPRM links above for information on how to file comments on
the Boston and Chicago channel changes.
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