As you may already know, the FCC is packing TV channels closer together to make room for new services from the cellular companies and other technologies yet to be imagined. While the changes are two years away, the FCC has imposed a deadline for stations to file forms in July and it’s been a mad dash to get all this information together and ready to file. While the local Engineers are talking with vendors on equipment needs, we’re also talking to each other trying to ensure the transition goes as smooth as possible for the viewers. So far this has been a very “liquid”plan that changes almost daily as we identify possible issues and come up with solutions together. We’re all good friends and when I call, I usually open with “what’s changed since our last conversation?”
We have a good overall plan now and will be diving into details after the dash to file forms by the deadline. Every station will need to buy new transmitters, new antennas and get them mounted on the tower safely and in a reasonable time. You can bet I will not be hanging 2,000′ on the tower bolting things together. That requires tower crews that do this everyday. They are a special breed that love what they do and work safely and perfectly in sync with each other. It’s amazing the see them handle several hundred pounds of metal as if they are lifting toothpicks.
The big switch will happen around September 2019. While RF signals can be unpredictable for specific locations due to hills, trees, etc, for the most part it appears over the air reception will be easier with the right antennas. Any VHF/UHF antenna should work great. Since we’re changing from UHF to VHF, we were allowed to apply for a power increase which should improve reception at the NC/VA border and being on Ch 8, the signal should bend over hills a bit better so we hope the North Western part of our viewing area will see benefits. In theory, it should penetrate apartment walls better which is where most antennas are located.
As usual, I’ll try to keep you updated here, on our WNCN Enginnering page on Facebook and as always you can call us at 919-835-6250 or email at DTVanswers@wncn.com.