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Mary Robinson is all about real-world information on the switch to digital television signals. The success of the DTV switch will depend on regular folks understanding new technology and getting it running in their homes. Ms. Robinson is weighing in on those nitty-gritty details, sharing her enthusiasm for TV-signal technology with those who are less technically inclined. She’s developed an expertise through years of hands-on experimentation, pulling in signals from the rooftop of her Texas home. Now she’s a resource for consumers struggling with the digital switch. We discovered Mary right here on TVWeek.com, where she reliably dispensed information in the comments section of this story, First Digital TV Converter Box Wins Government Approval about the digital switch. Let’s keep the conversation rolling!

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July 2008 Archives

Tracking Transition in Tulsa

July 28, 2008 2:24 PM

Here we are, 205 days away from the end of full-power broadcasting here in the U.S. Today I thought we could blow our way on over to the Sooner state of Oklahoma to see what’s happening on Tulsa time.

KTUL, KOKI, KMYT and KEGB have constructed their final DTV facilities.

KTUL, the ABC affiliate, on analog channel 8, has moved to channel 10 for its digital signal, and will stay there. KTUL has a maximization application pending for a final effective radiated power of 15,000 watts with an antenna height of 567 meters above ground.

KOKI, the Fox affiliate, on analog channel 23, will stay on UHF channel 22 for its DTV operations. KOKI has an ERP of 1 million watts and an antenna height of 355.7 meters above ground.

KMYT, the MyNetworkTV affiliate, on analog channel 41 is broadcasting on its final DTV UHF channel 42 with an ERP of 900,000 watts with an antenna height of 355.7 meters above ground.

KEGB, an independent station owned by Oral Roberts University, on analog channel 53, will continue to broadcast the digital signal on UHF channel 49 with an ERP of 50,000 watts and an antenna height above ground of 205 meters. KEGB is the only Tulsa licensed station that does not broadcast from the antenna farm southeast of the city. The KEGB tower is located a little southwest of the center of town.

KOED, the PBS affiliate, on analog channel 11, will move from its current licensed UHF channel 38 back to channel 11 for its final DTV resting place. The channel 11 antenna has been rebuilt, and the new transmitter line has been installed on the tower. There is an application pending with the FCC for an ERP of 35,000 watts. The new digital transmitter has been ordered and is under construction with a delivery date of some time in August. Installation of the transmitter will follow soon after delivery. Testing of the new transmitter also will occur in August. KOED will continue its analog broadcast until the transition date and then will start operation of the digital signal on VHF channel 11 with an antenna 499.9 meters above ground.

KWHB, an independent station, on analog channel 47 and now broadcasting the digital signal on channel 48, will revert back to channel 47 for its final DTV operations. KWHB has a maximization application pending that will add 139,328 people to the coverage area when the final facilities are built. The KWHB antenna will sit atop the tower at a height of 434 meters above ground.

KJRH, the NBC affiliate, on analog channel 2, has a lot of work yet to do. In September, KJRH will apply to the FCC for a “special temporary authorization” to reduce the analog power and use an antenna that is mounted on the side of the tower for auxiliary service to continue broadcasting the analog signal, with a target date of December for initiating the lower power. KJRH shares the tower with KOTV. After the auxiliary service begins, the channel 2 and channel 6 analog antennas will be removed from the top of the tower. After removal of the analog antennas, new digital antennas for KJRH, channel 8, and KOTV, channel 45, will be installed. A new digital channel 8 transmitter was ordered and was expected to be delivered this month. The new digital antenna will be delivered in September. KJRH should begin to operate its channel 8 transmissions on Feb. 20, with an ERP of 15,900 watts at an antenna height of 588 meters.

KOTV, the CBS affiliate, on analog channel 6, will follow a similar plan to KJRH’s. The KOTV transmitter has been delivered and a December installation date is expected. KOTV will end up on UHF channel 45, with an ERP of 840,000 watts and a height of 532.4 meters high.

So that is the timeline for the Tulsa area. You can make your plans for the transition, and I hope all goes well for everyone.

Preparations Proceeding Along the Oregon Trail

July 24, 2008 2:56 PM

Today I thought we would take a look at the Portland, Ore., TV market. Two of our recent contributors to the original forum are from that area, Gavin Young and Going Grey. I have the lowdown on what stations have built their final digital television facilities, and who still has work to do.

KATU, KOIN and KNMT have built their final DTV facilities. They will all stay on the UHF band, with KATU on channel 43, KOIN on channel 40 and KNMT on channel 45. These three stations are all transmitting an effective radiated power (ERP) of 1 million watts.

KGW, KOPB and KPTV all will be reverting back to their original VHF analog channels.

The FCC has granted KGW’s application for post-transition digital broadcasting. KGW will use its existing analog antenna for post-analog operations. They have completed the modifications on the analog transmitter and on Feb. 17 will cease analog transmission and begin digital broadcasting at an ERP of 45,000 watts on channel 8.

KOPB has been granted a construction permit by the FCC for its post-transition facilities on channel 10. A new digital transmitter has been ordered, with an expected delivery date of Sept. 1. The antenna has been checked out, with good results, and the transmitter will go through a check-out in November. KOPB will cease analog transmission on Feb. 17 and will begin full DTV operations at an ERP of 32,400 watts the following day.

KPTV will receive delivery of conversion equipment for its analog transmitter in September. In November, KPTV will begin notifying the public of the station’s intent to reduce analog power to 66% of the authorized power in order to convert one of two analog transmitter cabinets to digital. In December, the station will begin testing the now converted digital cabinet. On Feb. 17 KPTV will cease analog broadcasting and connect the digital transmitter to the channel 12 antenna, with an ERP of 24,000 watts.

I will include here two stations in Salem, Ore. KPXG now is broadcasting a digital signal on VHF channel 4. KPXG has an application pending to move the digital operation to UHF channel 22 with a final ERP of 745,000 watts. In August, KPXG will bring portions of two co-owned transmitters from KPPX-TV in Tolleson, Ariz., and KGPX-TV in Spokane, Wash., to convert to digital operation for channel 22. KPXG will terminate analog broadcasting on Feb. 17 and implement full post-analog operations.

And, finally, KRCW is broadcasting on its final DTV channel 33 with an ERP of 750,000 watts. KRCW has a maximization application pending with the FCC to increase the power to 1 million watts ERP.

So there you have it. Those of you in the Portland/Salem area know what to expect in the near future concerning your digital television stations.

Remembering Analog Television

July 18, 2008 2:51 PM

As I write this, there are only 215 days until television broadcasting as we have known it will fade to black for the last time.

My hope is that television stations across the country will give analog television the final send off that it so dearly deserves. I ask that they celebrate the passing of analog television as we would the 4th of July, or the passing of another year. Have a good old New Orleans funeral for it. May they mourn its loss, but celebrate its life. May they all reflect on the medium that has brought us so far. From those first experimental grainy images shown at the World's Fair in New York in 1936, to Howdy Doody, to Kaptain Kangaroo. From royal weddings transmitted from across the Atlantic to the first U.S. manned space flights. From presidential debates to daily game shows. From rock and roll's bad boys The Rolling Stones to the Osmond Brothers. From triumph at the Olympics to tragedies too many to count not only here but abroad. From televangelists to hawkers of the pocket fisherman. The Advent of color. The addition of stereo sound.

No matter how we look at it, television brought us the world. It made us laugh at Lucy and cry as the Challenger shuttle broke apart. Sometimes the picture was clear. Sometimes it was fuzzy. Sometimes it rolled, and sometimes there were ghosts in our living room. But it was always there. We could depend on it. It never left us. As of now, it is not even on life support. Its days are numbered. Literally. I will miss it and I think from what I have observed on the original forum and here on the blog, there are a lot of you out there that will miss it too.

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Delivering Digital Transition Answers - Welcome!

July 14, 2008 11:48 AM

Hi everyone and welcome to the newest blog here at TV Week. My name is Mary Robinson and my focus will be all things having to do with the transition from analog to digital broadcasting here in the U.S. The good and the bad. The pretty and the ugly.

What I would like from you, our readers, is feedback on how the transition to digital is going for you. You are the ones that are impacted by the switch-over. Are you satisfied with the reception and the number of channels you are getting now on digital as opposed to what you were getting before on with analog?

Are you getting more programming choices with the sub-channels, or are you pulling your hair out because you used to get 7 analog channels and now you only get 2 with digital, and on one of them, you get the dreaded frozen pixels and "no signal" icon as much as it locks in?

Or maybe no reception at all with digital? I want to know how it is going out there in the real world.

What we will do here, if we can, is try to solve any reception problems that you may be having. We will try to work together to try to get as many people as possible on board before the mandated powering off of the analog transmitters on Feb. 17, 2009. As I write this, there are only about 200 days until that happens.

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