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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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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.

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Comments (20)

Do you have any idea on the overall status of channels getting prepared? Have you heard of any TV stations and the potential for them to not be ready in time?

mary... the cat lady:

Hi Jesse,
There are 1,759 full power television stations in the U.S., and as far as I know, all of them are broadcasting a digital signal of some power at this time. I have not heard of any that are still broadcasting analog only. HOWEVER, there are many that have not built their final DTV facilities, and there are many that are still broadcasting on a very low power under a Special Temporary Authority granted by the FCC.
For example, KVHP-DT the Fox afilliate in Lake Charles, La. is broadcasting a low power signal of .2 KW (200 watts) effective radiated power (ERP) on a Special Temporary Authority granted by the FCC. That is a micro signal. For a contrast, our low power local Fox afilliate K36ID in Beaumont, Tx. is transmitting an ERP of 15KW (15,000 watts).
KVHP-DT has a construction permit authorized by the FCC to transmit 1,000 KW ERP. But in their construcion permit extension request, they claim that there is not room in the transmitter building to place both the analog and digital transmitters. Therefore, they are requesting the FCC to grant an extension until after the transition for the final DTV facility. KVHP will turn off the analog transmitter on Feb. 17, 2009 and then remove the analog transmitter from the cabinet, and then install the digital transmitter.
KBMT-DT channel 12 in Beaumont is broadcasting a digital signal on temporary channel 50 right now. They have requested a construction permit extension to continue on channel 50 for 30 to 45 days after the transition to remove the analog trasnmitter from the cabinet, and install the digital transmtter for final DTV facilities on their final digital resting place, channel 12.
The odd thing is that KBTV-DT in Port Arthur needed to find a different tower to broadcast the digital signal from because the analog tower was "severely overstressed" and to weak to support the additional digital antenna and equipment. So they are going to move to the KVHP tower, and their digital transition report states that they will have their full facility up and running by the end of December. They are moving to the KVHP tower in Louisiana... the same location that KVHP claims that they have no room to fit both of their transmitters... I wonder where the KIBTV transmitter is going to go??? Unless they were to build a new transmitter building, then surely they would build it big enough to fit both the KVHP and KBTV transmitters wouldn't they?
Anyway, yeah, there will be a lot of stations that will have a lot of work left to do after the transition. But one thing you can be certain of, full power broadcasting will end on Feb. 17 of next year no matter what... except maybe along the Mexican border if Kay Bailey Hutchison has her way, and the border stations get a reprieve until 2012.

Greg :

How soon after the transition date, will most stations broadcast their digital signal at full power? I am in the middle between Dayton, OH and Indianapolis. I live in town, there is a lot of trees and buildings around me. I was surprised, when I borrowed some ones digital tuner box, I was able to get some station with rabbit ears, better than I was with analog. So, I am thinking with an outside or inside larger antenna might work and possibly get either Dayton, Oh or Indianapolis, In Channel IN.

mary... the cat lady:

Hey Greg,
Sorry it so long to answer your post. i was doing some research on your stations.
Some stations are already broadcasting at their full power. Of course, as you know, some are not. As a general rule, most stations, if they were on a temporary channel, will be up and running at their maximum power within 30 to 45 days after the transition.
However, a granted maximization application gives a station 3 years to build out. It may take some stations that much time due to their financial situations or whatever.
Here are your specifics:
Indianapolis- WISH is broadcasting an effective radiated power of 19,500 watts (19.5 KW) but has an application that has not been granted as of yet to raise the ERP to 22.8 KW. WTHR will revert to channel 13 post transition. They have an application pending to transmit an ERP of 22 KW. They will cease analog broadcasts on Feb, 17, 2009 and take several hours to convert the transmitter to digital, end digital broadcasts on channel 46, and begin digital broadcasting on channel 13 as soon as possible on the 18th. WHMB is broadcasing the full power ERP of 163 KW. WFYI is broadcasting the full power ERP of 200 KW. WRTV is broadcasting an ERP of 898 KW but has an application pending to go to 1,000 KW. WDTI is putting out an ERP of 28 KW, but also has an application pending to go to 1,000 KW. And finally, WXIN is broadcasting the full power ERP of 700 KW.
Dayton- WDTN is broadcasting the full power ERP of 1,000 KW. WHIO is broadcasting the full power ERP of 1,000 KW, but has a modification application pending to place the antenna at the top of the tower. WPTD will move from the out of core channel 58 to the in core channel 16, and will have an ERP of 155 KW. WRTG has a granted construction permit to go to an ERP of 425 KW.
And finally, WKEF is transmitting the full power ERP of 138 KW.
A larger antenna will certainly help bring in the Dayton and Indianapolis stations better, and placing it ourside with a rotor and an antenna mounted pre-amp like the Channel Master 7777 will maximize your reception potential. Good luck, and let me know what you decide and how it turns out, OK.
I am here if you need any more assistance, but I may be out of town for a few days due to Hurricane Gustav. I don't know yet, but we are playing wait and see...

Greg:

Thanks Marry for all the info. I am just deciding whether to keep my limited basic cable, get directv family package or get an antenna. This explains why I got some Indianapolis stations with just an old pair of rabbit ears. The power out put of the station makes the difference. To bad they couldn't use cell phone towers to relay the digital signal to tvs for people who are way far away from any signal.

mary... the cat ladyMMRts:

Hi Freg,
You are so welcome. I am glad to help out. That is not a bad idea you have. It would take a while to sort things out with the FCC, but a series of repeater stations along a cell phone tower trail would solve a lot of the problems that we are going to have with the loss of analog transmission. It is definately somthing to think about...

Wow Mary!! That was an excellent answer to my question. Do you think there is anyway you can include a link to my converter box reviews page somewhere on your page here about the transition? I am trying to get the word out about the best converter boxes. You can email me at dtvconverterboxes@gmail.com if you are interested in considering it. Thanks! Jesse!

Anonymous:

Jesse...

I can definitely attest to one particular box, that seems to sparkle, in comparison to the several that I have had. It's not on the DTV converter box reviews of Consumer Reports, but does rather well. It's not exactly making a perfect picture, but it helps more than other set top boxes. That Converter: TIVAX STB-T8. You see the STB-T9, it's younger brother, at or near the top of the list... but this one had "analog Pass Through", allowing me to see Canadian stations (Windsor/Stevenson/Wheatly, Onterio Yes, even Sarnia, Onterio too) and local "low power" and Class A stations. Yes, there is a difference between the 2.

Note that the Tivax STB-T9 doesn't have "analog pass through." So you have to watch DTV stations on your TV.

However, the link to the converter box listing:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/televisions/digital-tv-converter/ratings/dtv-converter-boxes-ratings.htm

I recently posted it in the "Preparing for D Day" comments section.

EmmGee-Ohio:

I wonder why it made me "anonymous?" It shouls have been "EmmGee-Ohio."

mary... the cat lady:

Hi EmmGee,
I don't know why it did that, but I am glad that you were able to establish that it was your post.

Bob:

Why can't anyone I know receive KTUL channel 8 with a converter box? It don't come in on channel 10 either. Tulsa, Oklahoma

mary... the cat lady:

Hi Bob,
KTUL, channel 8, is indeed broadcasting their digital signal on channel 10. At this time they are running an effiective radiated power (ERP) of 6,900 watts (6.9 KW) from an antenna that is 530 meters above ground (530 MAG).
They do have a granted minor modification miximization application to go to an ERP of 15 KW from an antenna that will be located on the tower at 567 MAG, but that doesn't expire until Dec. 19, 2011, so it may be a while before that happens.
The tower is located southeast of Tulsa a few miles past Broken Arrow, so depending on where you live, you could be a long way from the antenna.
Are you using an indoor antenna? Is it amplified? Can you install an antenna outside?
Are there hills between you and where the antenna is located? All of these factors can affect reception.
If you are not using an amplified antenna, that would be my first suggestion. Just make sure that if it does no work either, you will be able to take it back. If you are using an indoor antenna, can you erect one outside, or as a last resort, in the attic? The higher your antenna is the better, and outside is better than inside.
If you are already using an outdoor antenna, then I would suggest getting a Channel Master 7777 pre-amp for the antenna. I DO NOT recommend the Radio Shack pre-amp. They do not last, and contaim too much intenal "noise". Go with the CM 7777.
Also, how many times are you splitting the signal to go to different TVs? Each time you split the signal, you lose 3 dBs of signal. 3 dBs of signal loss of half of your signal strength. If it is split once, you now have half of your signal going to each tuner. If you split it again, you are now down to a quarter of the signal that you had at the antenna, and so forth. If you are splitting the signal, you might want to try what is called a distribution amp. They usually come in a configuration of a one into two or a one into four. This will help overcome the signal loss because of the splitting.
I hope this helps, and if you need anymore info, be sure to post back, OK?

Zoe:

If the tower is a few miles past BA, does that mean BA will have less problem getting the signal than some in downtown Tulsa?

mary... the cat lady:

Hi Zoe,
Absolutely. As a general rule, the closer you are to the transmitting tower, the better chance you have of recieving the signal.
An exception would be if you had a large hill or other obstruction between you and the transmitter. And that would have to be an extremely large hill, etc. The transmitting antenna at this time is around 1600 feet high.
But yeah, if you are close to Broken Arrow, you should be OK. You should have what is called a "Line of Sight" to the transmtting antenna.
If not, post back, and we'll take it from there...
Just remember, if you are using an indoor antenna, you are losing half or more of your signal by just being inside. But even then, if you are in
Broken Arrow, you would still probably be OK.

Tracey:

I live in Sand Springs and I too am not getting the KTUL channels. I had a Magnavox digital box with rabbit ears and was getting all the channel 8's however, I gave it away and got a Dish digital box and now it won't even recognize them! UGH I get less channels with the Dish. I think the Magnavox box is best. Any comments on that? Just wondering. How many channels should we be getting and will we get more on Feb. 17?

mary... the cat lady:

Hi Tracy,
Personally, I am not a fan of the Magnavox box, but for different reasons. I did not think the Magnavox box was very user friendly. However, the tuner, as you noted, may well have been more sensitive than the one in the box you have now...
That being said, I looked at the coverage for KTUL on tvfool.com, and it looks like you must have some pretty good sized hills to the east of you, unfortuneately, between you and the KTUL transmitter.
With everything being equal, you should be able to get 8 different television stations along with their various sub-channels.
You mentioned using rabbit ears. Are they amplified? If not, you might want to pick some up.
Can you erect an antenna outside?
Please post back and let me know what you are using for an antenna, and what your situation is in regards to if you are in an apartment, house, condo, or whatever. Are you upstairs or down, or two story. Give me as much general information as you can, and I will try to figure out a solution for you.
Post back, OK?

Thelma Bell:

I have bought a new RCA antenna to use with my Magnavox converter box. I still can not receive ABC KTUL Channel 8. Will I ever be able to do so?

mary... the cat lady:

It is possible that you may be in the future. If you read my answer to Bob above, KTUL will more than double their effective radiated power, but it may take 3 years to do so.
Is the antenna you bought an indoor antenna? It might not be enough. You lose 1/2 or more of your signal before it ever hits your antenna if it is indoors. Put the antenna on the side of the house nearer the transmitter. If you have an upstairs, put it upstairs. Outside is better than inside, and higher is better than lower.
Check your reciever or converter box signal meter if it has one. Are you getting any signal at all? If you are getting at least some signal, but not enough to drive the tuner, then a little more antenna gain may help. And don't split the signal. Go straight into the reciever. Once again, read the answer to Bob above, and see how the situations I pictured above may apply to you.
If you can, think about putting up a directional, high gain outdoor antenna. You might not be able to, so if that is the case, look at the box your RCA antenna came in. It should hve a Db gain rating on the box. You might want to take it back and get one with a higher gain rating. It might work, it might not. Just be sure you can take it back if it does not perform to your satisfaction.
You might also want to see where you are in relation to the transmitter. The transmitter is just boyond Broken Arrow. If you are on the western side of Tulsa, it may take an outdoor antenna to recieve the station.
Good luck, and post back to let me know how it turns out.

Chris:

For you Okies out there. I live in Tahlequah and I'm getting KTUL just fine. If you live close to Tulsa, you should be picking up a ton of stations. I'm getting 13 digital stations here. The key is your antenna.

Before you go out and buy an expensive amplified antenna, go to Google.com and search for the "coat hangar" antenna. It's real simple to build and works like a charm (well simple to build if you are not easily frustrated). I have built two so far and they're great.

mary... the cat lady:

There are a few references to this antenna here in the blog, and all have been very complimentary about how well the antenna works.
It is not something I have looked into as of yet, but will take a look at it in the not too distant future.
I want to see how well it works in my area, as it my be useful for the coming hurricane season, and spring severe weather season for y'all up there as well.

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