That's what I gathered also. So what are they going to use those old VHF
channels for, do you know?
I find it interesting that nobody seems to be commenting on one
important aspect of this whole deal, which is that we, the people (you
remember that phrase, right?), who own these bands as (formerly) public
communications pathways, are being given a take-it-or-leave-it
proposition where they might (or probably will) end up in private hands.
This would have caused outrage maybe 20-30 years ago, and someone may
have even demanded an FCC investigation, but at this point, all we can
do is throw our hands in the air, roll over and play dead.
Washing one\'s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
On Wed, 07 Jan 2009 22:48:57 -0800, David Nebenzahl wrote:
It's my understanding they will be used for wireless networking. One
problem with 802.11 at 2.4GHz (which I currently use over longish
distances [2-7 miles] here in rural Oregon) is that the signal won't go
thru trees. VHF doesn't have that problem. VHF will also go thru most
The licenses for those VHF freqs should be transferred from TV to
Internet Service Providers, especially in rural areas. It's almost always
in private hands. Except for military, the US Govt doesn't do all that
much broadcasting compared to civilian uses. Private hands? You mean like
Amateur, or CB, or GPRS?
You misunderstand; I mean the current "airways" (VHF band in this case)
are public in the sense that they're public property (i.e., not
privately-owned, administered by the FCC) and also subject to public
oversight (well, at least nominally). You know, like that little thing
called the First Amendment?
Washing one\'s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
There's been talk about that, but the main "target" was supposed to be
"public safety" - AKA fire, cops, ambulance, etc.
The wireless networking concept is/was aimed at so-called "white spaces"
between current TV channels - sort of "slipping it into the gaps"
VHF has its own set of problems for use in wireless networking. Yes,
it'll give better "penetration", and all other things being equal,
longer distances. But when you drop in frequency, you also drop in
information-carrying capability - Current wireless, running in the 2.4
GHz range, has *LOTS* of "cargo space" available, so top speeds possible
with it are much higher than what can be had from a signal in the VHF
bands (which are *WAY* down the scale: 54-88MHz for "VHF-Lo" - channels
2-6, and 175-216MHz for "VHF-Hi" - channels 7-13) Lower frequency lower information carrying capability. The most clearly visible
illustration of this would be comparing the AM and FM broadcast radio
bands - look at how cheesy an AM station sounds compared to an FM
station. PART of the difference is the modulation scheme, (Amplitude
Modulation versus Frequency Modulation) but a much larger part of the
difference comes from the amount of information each band can carry - AM
broadcasting is done on frequencies between about 500 and 1600
*KILO*Hertz, while FM broadcasts are done on 80-ish to 108-ish
*MEGA*Hertz. Higher frequency permits more information per unit of time
to be moved. But it trades off distance the information can travel
intact - Some of the so-called "clear channel" AM stations can literally
cover the country from coast to coast with good strong intelligible
signal, using only 50 *KILO*watts. An FM station running a full
*MEGA*watt is hard-pressed to get a useful signal out past about 100-150
Shifting wireless down to the VHF bands will give slower, but
further-reaching, wireless connections. For some folks, "some but slow"
is one helluva lot better than "fast but nothing", but in general, most
of the general public is stuck in a "gotta be faster Faster
FASTER!!!!!!! to be any good" mindset, so I'm wondering if that idea is
*REALLY* going to get any traction...
Don Bruder - email@example.com - If your "From:" address isn\'t on my whitelist,
or the subject of the message doesn\'t contain the exact text "PopperAndShadow"
Sorry Don. I'm afraid you are very confused. The frequencies associated UHF
Channels 52 to 69 are being auctioned off - not the VHF frequencies. Stations
have the option of moving their digital channels back to VHF after the
transition if they want, or they can stay on their temporariy UHF channel if it
is below 52. Since low VHF has better propagation than VHF and is cheaper to run
a transmitter on, those stations current on 2-7 for analog will likely stay
there for digital.
That's useful; thanks for the link. It still is a pretty sorry site
for ease of use, though... :)
I note for our service area (W KS) out of the Wichita-Hutchinson MSA,
there are quite a few of the maps with fairly significant areas or
orange and red dots on them instead of empty or green... :(
For what the maps are worth (which I don't know about since there's
nothing with them to indicate how they were generated) it seems to say
that despite the fact that at least so far the converter box hasn't
been able to even find enough signal to indicate there is that
supposedly we will be inside the coverage range by at least a small
margin for the particular area we're in.
I don't know and haven't been able to determine from any information
from the stations what this mismatch in indications means -- are they
just not yet broadcasting DTV from the translator locations and all
the data on the maps is simply computed/estimated, are they
broadcasting but at such low power compared to licensed maximum that
the maps are a nice theoretical exercise but of no practical value, or
were the maps compiled using some sensitive test gear or something
else entirely? They main stations have announced short tests of the
main transmitter signals and announce explicitly these are not testing
the translators but they never say a word about what the plans for the
translators actually are.
I do note on the maps that the licensed power for the DTV transmitters
is from a tenth to a fourth of that for the analog which certainly
means the quality of an antenna and receiver are going to have to be
quite good it would seem to have a chance.
I have to vote with the others in rural areas that while it seems a
good theoretical advance for weak signal areas the "all or nothing"
nature of digital is likely to be not to please as compared to the
gradual degradation of analog. I'd also far prefer the latter over
the former given the choice.
I only know to wait and find out what happens on witching day...either
it'll work or I'll have to decide what to try to do or do
without...certainly just going on as is would be far preferable if it
goes away; if a miracle happens and it does by chance work then I can
join the crowd who thinks it's ok while the neighbors a little farther
out can be the ignored minority--ain't that how it's supposed to be? :
I agree - the FCC's consumer site is useless, and the main FCC site isn't the
easiest to use.
Yes - it looks like some of the stations (like KLBY) are reducing their coverage
area. I don't know why they chose to do that, but I assume it was a trade
between the cost of transmitting to the larger area vs the advertising revenue
they get from that extra coverage.
Keep in mind that those maps represent the post transition state. It may be that
the stations are broadcasting right now at less than full power, or from a
location that doesn't represent the way things will be.
The translators are not required to switch at this time and can stay analog, but
you are wise to check with any station to see what their plans are. I've found
the station engineers are very open about what their plans are.
Yes, but don't get too hung up on that. IIRC you can't equate the ERP for VHF
and UHF signals directly.
That is a drawback to digital - snowy stations are not an option.
I'm sure the revenue/cost has to have been figured in--how, of course,
is anybody's guess unless inside the main station's business/
engineering/marketing office. It appears to me from the maps that
some of it is terrain-related on some of them--while flat by standards
in many parts of the country, NW KS up there around Colby and west
isn't dead flat like SW KS down here is where the maps are essentially
perfect geometric circles. And, of course, that the entire population
of, say, Wallace County is probably less than 1500 means they simply
just "don't get no respect".
Of course, but the maps also don't have any indication of what they
_DO_ purport to represent nor how they were generated.
That's certainly not clear to me (that they don't also have to
convert) -- I thought it was based on analog transmission power levels
and by that measure these are, iirc, about the same if not stronger
than the base stations in Wichita area. The few words the stations
have broadcast certainly indicate they're making the switch, just no
information at all on how/when/what they expect, etc., ... As for
openness; the one time I did get the opportunity to talk to one of
their engineers (different subject; was getting interference from an
undetermined source) he was quite helpful (to limits of his knowledge
from 250 miles away, that is) but the stations appear to have clamped
down on access for the duration now; my contacts have been limited to
being told to look at the web site FAQ which, as noted above, ignores
the translators entirely w/ the exception of a signal note that
implies they will switch at a point to follow (unspecified, but
wording implies not long). All in all, it's just not well handled for
the rural areas (but what else is new?).
Perhaps, but the DTV signal still has to be strong enough in amplitude
for an antenna to pick it up -- while S:N ratios are undoubtedly much
better than w/ analog, absolute signal levels are going to be lower,
too. Will it work??? AFAICT it's anybody's guess until the witching
day arrives for fringe areas.
That's what I said... :)
Unfortunately, it appears that's the only choice (as usual in rural
areas) -- be satisfied what scraps the city folks running the show see
fit to leave...
I'm not an RF engineer, but I do recall reading that there isn't a 1 to 1
correspondence between power levels between VHF and UHF. It's possible that your
stations are going from VHF to UHF (or vice versa), or that the new towers are
higher than the old ones. Also possible that the stations themselves decided
that their official coverage area didn't require as strong a signal.
if the broadcasters of free over the air digital TV signals
really wanted to make this work well and ensure an exacting
coverage of a specific area with standardized signal strength
they'd take a lesson from the cell phone signal providers with
their tower placements.
with a few more well placed towers and by making use of repeater
technology the people living 25 miles from the central station
could receive the same level of service as the people living 10
miles from said location.
but, that's not going to happen as a result of realistic cost
This entire conversion is a basic rip off of the public!
If the digital channels worked as good or better than the analog for
nearly everyone then fine go ahead.
the trouble is the digital channels in far too many cases dont work as
call your congressmen and COMPLAIN BEFORE THE SHUT OFF!
You may want to check your references. The "new users" will be operating
in what is now part of the UHF TV band.
While you are doing that you will also find that Clinton was a big
proponent of DTV and signed the legislation into law.
But the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Clinton signed included this:
"Television stations will be permitted to continue the broadcasting of
analog beyond 2006 (and to retain the extra channel it received from the
FCC for the transition) if less than 85% of the households in its market
have at least one of the following: (1) digital TV delivered by cable or
satellite; (2) a digital TV; (3) or a box that converts digital TV signals
for viewing on an analog set."
It was Bush who signed The Digital Transition and Public Safety Act of
2005. "This act requires all U.S. television stations to discontinue
broadcasting in analog and switch to digital broadcasting beginning on
midnight, February 17, 2009."
Imo digital tv was going to happen whoever was president. But if you want
to politicize it, blame the correct president for over-riding the original
That type blames The President, anyone who is
President for everything because they believe
The President has powers he doesn't have. The
law was passed by the *Legislature*, the body
that can override a veto by The President. I
wish more people understood how government
works and how laws are made. The President
doesn't make the laws. If The President refused
to sign the bill he would be lambasted for
ignoring the will of the people.
There is no difference between the analog and digital signal for antenna or
amplification. Anyone selling "digital" is selling snakeoil.
The only difference would be for those who are using a VHF only antenna today
and have digital transmitters that are going to stay in the UHF band.
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