Friday, May 29, 2009

KPXM Moving to Shoreview

The FCC just allowed Ion station KPXM-DT a CP (construction permit) for an install at the Telefarm Tower number 1. (see this link) They are planning a non-directional signal at 1MW (Mega Watt) from 407 Meters AGL (above ground level) This should make KPXM-DT just as strong as the other Twin Cities stations running 1MW! Good news, this is, for those of us viewers south of the TC DMA. Now, if I can find out when the station will get moved, although I highly doubt that it will be online from Shoreview on June 12th.

EDIT (6-01-09):

Got an email back from Ion (the parent of KPXM), and they said that they have no exact install date for KXPM-DT in Shoreview. As in, it could be quite a while.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

KMSP/WFTC Digital Transitions

I just heard back from the engineering staff at KMSP:

KMSP-DT will switch from DT-26 to DT-9 at 11:59PM June 12th. They will run their analog right up until the very end. I would expect the switch to take between 5-30 minutes and around 12:30PM June 13th, I would expect to see the new signal online.

WFTC-DT is going to move back to RF (radio frequency) channel 29 for their digital, but they need parts from another station in Austin, TX to make the channel move. So they will continue running on RF channel 21 until roughly 8/18/09. I would expect that since it is same engineering staff as KMSP, they will run their analog until 11:59PM June 12th as well.

If you currently get WFTC-DT, you will not see any change on the 12th of June. KMSP viewers may notice a bit of change as VHF-HI should have a stronger signal out in the fringe locations at the outer limits of the market.
Make sure to check that your antenna is VHF-HI (or VHF-LO/HI, commonly grouped together as just VHF) and UHF rated. We had a lot of people in Rochester, MN, who were not ready when KTTC moved back and lost signal from their digital.
Most people within 15 miles of the Shoreview transmitter location, should be able to receive the new signals even a UHF only antenna, but beyond that is not likely.

-Garrett Vrieze (KD0GTI)


I have been researching the DTV transition with interest to the Twin Cities market. Wanted to update everyone as to what to expect with KSTP-DT.
Many forum members online, have noticed that KSTP-DT-50 signal is the hardest of the TC full power stations to receive. This is caused by the fact they are actually using a DT-35 antenna for their DT-50 signal, which creates weird issues with only their digital signal.
They have made an agreement with KARE to use KARE's pre-transtion DT antenna, feedline, and transmitter, just as it is, until KSTP can complete their new transmitter system. It will run 1MW (1 million watts)just as KARE-DT-35 does and should come in exactly the same as KARE. Once KSTP finishes their transmitter work, they will switch to their own hardware and continue to run 1MW.

As to the other stations in the Twin Cities, stay tuned, I will be adding more later on this coming week:-)

-Garrett Vrieze (KD0GTI)

KAAL-DT Update

We have known for some time that KAAL has filed paperwork with the FCC to use KTTC's old Ch. 36 facility instead of their existing ch. 33 location. They have finally issued a press release as to their plans regarding this change.

Basically, here's the executive summary. KAAL-TV Ch. 6 (analog) goes off the air on June 12th. KAAL-DT Ch. 33 goes off the air August 18th. KAAL-DT Ch. 36 will go on air on June 12th.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Current Power Levels For Rochester\Austin\Mason City WXOW Info

I have been in contact with many of the engineers at the local TV stations asking various questions. Some of the info I will directly pass on as it helps with antenna aiming and selection.

ERPs (Effective Radiated Power)

KTTC-DT is 26kW ERP, with plans to add a new transmitter into place that will boost them to 33.7kW, which has been approved by the FCC. This will also allow them to use the older 26kW max transmitter for backup.
KIMT-DT is 800kW, where it will stay. It was increased from 200kW, because KIMT would like to begin sending out mobile DTV signal and a much stronger signal is needed to make mobile DTV work well on small devices with small antennas.
KXLT-DT is 220kW, with no plan on a power increase.
KSMQ-DT is 322kW, they were planning to go to 400kW, but this would have required an additional transmitter cabinet, and their signal testing, showed that they do not believe to need to the extra power. (Which, I agree, their signal is very strong as it is.)
KYIN-DT is 533kW, recently upgraded from 250kW. This one is tough to receive at the authors home, just North of down tower Rochester, even at 533kW, a tight aim for the shared tower with KIMT-DT is required)

As for KAAL, that one is a mess and I wish I knew what the FCC is going to concerning their request to move to the KSMQ-DT/KXLT-DT tower in Grand Meadow and start a translator in Mason City. I have an email out to the engineer, but have not heard back in the last week.

As for our neighbors in La Crosse:

WXOW-DT will be moving from RF channel 14 to channel 48. Also will be increasing power to 371kW, from a brand new top mounted antenna. This signal should be as strong or a but stronger then WHLA-DT currently. The antenna will be installed in the next few weeks (weather permitting) with final move at 9AM on June 12th, 2009.

UPDATE (5-29-09)
I heard back from over at WXOW. They are planning to get the old RF channel 19 antenna pulled off of the tower on Monday or Tuesday (weather permitting)This tower stuff is VERY dangerous and needs very calm weather to work out well. They may be off the air or at 1% power while the tower workers are near the RF channel 14 antenna (the current digital [DT] antenna). (which will affect everyone, cable, DBS, and OTA)If they can stay at 1%, cable and DBS will stay up, but if the radiation levels are too high, they will pull it off the air completely.