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West Palm Beach, FL - HDTV

post #1 of 9316
Thread Starter 
Following jaymer's lead in Tampa and Vlad's Miami thread idea I figured it's time to start a West Palm Beach thread since it appears the West Palm stations are about to begin construction within a few months. Here's the place to report any DTV developments confimed by broadcasters, pose questions, etc., related to West Palm Beach DTV activity. Fellow broadcasters are encouraged to join AV Science Forum and address Forum members here! Hopefully a good dialog will help everyone involved in the transition.

I won't repeat what other Forum members have stated they heard from area broadcasters regarding construction plans in other threads. However, I would encourage members who originally made those posts based on conversations with station officials to document pertainent quotes here themselves. By the way, don't expect everyone to bo on the air on time! Remember that there are only so many tower crews available as every station in the country tries to get on at the ame time. It's just not going to happen.
post #2 of 9316
David --
Does this mean that West Palm Beach (and environs) is seceding from South Florida?
post #3 of 9316
I guess I will be the first! I spoke to engineers at both Ch 5 and Ch 25.

Ch 5 has not put up their tower or gotten their transmitter in, they say it will be about another 6 months.

Ch 25 says that they will be transmitting 720P and their schedule is to have it done by May, but they are shooting for April.

Ch 29 was supposed to be up as of yesturday according to TitanTV, but as of yet their are no signs.

If anybody hears any different, let me know.

post #4 of 9316
ch 5 is putting in a new tower? I cant believe that. Maybe just a new antena on the existing tower?

post #5 of 9316
Thread Starter 
Yes, Sandy, they have to build an entire, new tower.

WPTV's tower is made of iron and is nearly 50 years old. It's the same age that WPEC's tower would be had it not been replaced with a new, stainless steel tower a few years ago. WPTV's old tower needs to be replaced just because of age. On top of that the added weight and wind loading that a DTV antenna and feedline would have created would necessitate a new tower. I believe that WXEL will leave WFLX's tower and move to WPTV's new tower when it's completed.

WPEC has requested sometime in the month of April for Harris to install our DTV transmitter, which we took delivery on late last year. With any luck WPEC-DT, Channel 13-1 (which will remap to 12-1 on your ATSC receiver) should hopefully be up by May 1. As with any government-mandated effort, your results may vary.

Here's some data on and a picture of our DTV transmitter, for all the gearheads out there:


For those who may be new to all this, watch this space for further info on the most elusive TV station in South Florida:


Gunther Marksteiner's quest to provide 24 hours a day of 720p/60 HDTV to viewers in the West Palm Bach market, and eventually to Miami and Naples via DTV repeaters, continues apace.If you locate the antenna site coordinates on their CP application, and here it is...


Service Designation: DT "Full Service" TV Station or Application (digital)

Channel 59 Construction permit
File No.: BPCDT -19960920LH Facility ID No: 83929
CDBS Application ID No.: 232429
Antenna Structure Registration Number (ASRN): 1045227

26 ° 43' 37.00" Latitude Zone: 3
80 ° 4 ' 48.00" Longitude (NAD27) Frequency Offset: 0 (zero)

Polarization: Horizontally Polarized (H)
Effective Radiated Power (ERP): 1000 kW ERP
Ant. Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT): 80.00 meters HAAT
Ant. Radiation Center Above Mean Sea Level: 313.0 meters RCAMSL
Ant. Radiation Center Above Ground Level: 80.0 meters RCAGL

Not directional
Not in a Border Zone

...it puts it right on top of their building on Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. in West Palm Beach. I drive by a few times a week and there's still no sign of any work since late last Summer when the original aviation obstruction marker mast was replaced with a new, shorter strobe, and they replaced burned-out lights in the "DW" sign.

Here's where to start looking for which station as they start testing in a few months:

WPEC-DT (CBS) 13-1 (remapped to 12-1)

WPBF-DT (ABC) 16-1 (remapped to 25-1)

WFLX-DT (Fox) 28-1 (remapped to 29-1)

WTVX-DT (UPN/WB) 50-1 (remapped to 34-1)

WPTV-DT (NBC) 55-1 (remapped to 5-1)

WHDT-DT (Deutche Welle/Ind.) 59-1 (probably no remapping)

That's it for the major commercial stations. Here's Titan TV's list of stations that ae supposedly "comming soon" to South Florida, at www.titantv.com :

Network CH Station Live Date
ABC 16 WPBF-DT May 1, 2002
CBS 13 WPEC-DT May 1, 2002
CTN 49 WFGC-DT May 1, 2002
FOX 28 WFLX-DT February 28, 2002
IND 59 WHDT-DT May 1, 2002
NBC 55 WPTV-DT May 1, 2002
PAX 26 WPXM-DT May 1, 2002
PAX 36 WPXP-DT May 1, 2002
PBS 20 WLRN-DT May 1, 2003
PBS 27 WXEL-DT May 1, 2003
TBN 38 WTCE-DT May 1, 2002
UNI 47 WAMI-DT May 1, 2002
UPN 32 WBFS-DT May 1, 2002
UPN 50 WTVX-DT May 1, 2002
WB 16 WTCN-DT May 1, 2002

Copyright © 2001. Decisionmark Corp. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy

The channel numbers are the actual assigned ATSC allocations and in many cases will be remapped by your receiver after an initial scan.

Don't expect all these stations to make it on the air on time. There are only so many tower crews that are qualified to perform the work required fo every station in the United States to launch a DTV service.

In addition to www.titantv.com, here's a link to a section of www.100000watts.com that let's you check their "version" of the status of West Palm Beach, FL TV stations:

post #6 of 9316

I must say I am puzzeled. I got my receiver home last night and got everything connected and I can pull CH 7, CH 10, and the WB station out of Miami in digital. I thought that I would be able to get CH 4 quite easily due to their high power status but it doesn't seem so...

I checked on TitanTV and noticed I was using their pointing system wrong so I am about 10-15 degrees off on my aim, will this have that much of an impact? Note my equipment list below.

RS 90XR Antenna
RS PreAmp 1113C
Panny TU-HDS20
Panny PT-51HX41

Can you provide any assistance? The antenna is in my attic and the analog stations show up fairly well, I am taking the amp back today to pick up the other amp that has 26db gain instead of the 20 on this one and will repoint my antenna. I'll let you know how it works out. I don't really want to go through much more expense because my wife will kill me, but also in 6 months I will be able to pickup the WP stations anyway. Thanks for reading my long winded message...

post #7 of 9316
Thread Starter 

WFOR-DT is on channel 22-1. Once you successfully receive the signal there your tuner should "remap" it to "4-1".

Sometimes changing the antenna angle by as little as 2 degrees can cause a measurable difference in signal. Since I get WFOR-DT and WPBT-DT with nice, hot signal levels, I fine tune the antenna direction most carefully on WSVN-DT and WPLG-DT, which are lower in level and more critical.

The amp you're using is the same as mine. I'm surprised you're having a problem, assuming you're tuning to 22-1 initially. I do have a bigger RS antenna though: the VU-210XR.

You didn't mention your location, which could be a factor.
post #8 of 9316

I'm in Boynton Beach, I did pick up the CBS station and the PBS station last night. I moved my antenna by about 15 degrees and got a different amp. I got the RS model that has 30db gain and they came in great, the only downside is that I lost the ABC station, so I am going to see if I can find a happy medium, maybe move the antenna back about 5 degrees and see if I can get both. I'll let you know..

post #9 of 9316
Hi Robert...have fun with the alignments; it's tricky, but worth it when completed. And yes, here in Ft. Lauderdale, just moving a lateral (tapcon mounted) TV55 (or similar from Radio Shack) 2" away from an awning frame or window frame, resolved weeks of initial instablity. Since that time (months ago) rock-steady on all the signals, when those signals are being sent. (Nothing on WB that I can find, other than the signal; ditto WSVN; with CBS and ABC now flawless, after earlier audio issues at WPLG, which are resolved).

Anyway, I wanted to post because I am not sure you're getting correct info about amp's. My understanding is that amplifying any cable run under 100' is not helpful; increasing the power amp is even worse (attenuation) and that the mild amp included with the antenna (no more than 11 db's as I recall) is the way to go; or none at all if you get solid 80's and 90's, as do I. This is not 100% (I'm a former station owner, not engineer), but I believe it is correct.

Now if only WFOR (NBC) would get in HDTV gear before the Olympics...FOX (WSVN) is a lost cause until advertisers boycott. Also, from what I gather, you'll find many opinions on STB's; all seem to be slow; one friend I recommended the Sony too went and swapped it for a Mitsu; now wishes he kept it, due to the variable feature. Pana. is said to be pretty good on this too. I'm happy with my Sony's, particularly the integrated XBR2 tuner, and I'm an early adopter. Most problems now relate to the station's stability, and the (3 months out) initial copyright resolution issue.

Good luck!

post #10 of 9316
Senior moment; almost accused Ch. 4 of being that antiquated NBC operation; should have said WTVJ (NBC), not WFOR (CBS), which is beutifully mostly HD.

By the way, if anyone has new updates on the brief hubub about Ch. 6 (WTVJ, NBC) establishing their new Miramar studios as an HDTV 'hub' of sorts, and/or when they'll start transmitting, that would be interesting to know. And, does that mean that they'll go from being the seemingly-lethargic, to the sector-leading, with all the newest gear (cheaper too) and maybe the 1st local HD news?



gene inger
post #11 of 9316
I am looking into the possibility of bringing treason charges against Dave.

post #12 of 9316
Dave, where is the new ch 5 tower going to be built? I drive by the lantana antenna farm every day and I see no sign of any new site prep?

post #13 of 9316
Thread Starter 
It will be on the same property as their current tower. You may recall that we built our new tower 70 feet from our old one, then dismantled the old tower.
post #14 of 9316
That sounds like it would be hard to do. I saw a crew building a tower down in the lower keys this past weekend and I could not believe how dangerous it looked. They had guys hundreds of feet up in the air on each leg trying to bolt on a piece that was hoisted by a derrick that itself was attached to the tower way up and was moved up as pieces were added. I get sick just thinking about it. It does not sound like ch5 will be up anytime soon

post #15 of 9316
Thread Starter 
There are very few tower crews who are qualified to work on towers that are over 1,000 feet high. A lot of existing and proposed TV towers fall into that category. Do the math and realize that a LOT of DTV stations will be late getting on the air.
post #16 of 9316
Hi all,

Glad to be a member of this forum. I bought SIRT150 and antenna from HOMEDEPOT. I simply mounted the antenna on a bucket that I already had for my dishes.
I am getting a strong signal from CBS and WPBT. The top of the antenna is just 6 feet above the ground. It was a test installation to see if I picked signals from Miami. I live in a culdesac lake lot there fore I don't have any obstacles for atleast 500 Feet.

I have this problem. WPBT signals are in full screen and is really amazing. CBS shows up with bars on the side (like 4:3 format). This is same for both HDprograms and non-HD programs. Am I missing some thing here. IS this the way WFOR is broadcasting?? Please respond.
post #17 of 9316
Thread Starter 
When a DTV station, including WFOR-DT (CBS) is transmitting true HDTV you will not see black bars on the sides. That only occurs when they are "upconverting" a standard-definition source to 1080i for transmission.

All of CBS's film-based primetime programming plus "The Young & the Restless" and occasional movies and sports programming are in true HD format.

WPLG-DT transmits all scripted episodic ABC primtime shows plus some movies in true 720p HDTV.

WPBT-DT on rare occasion shows true HDTV from the PBS primetime schedule, that is, whenever available. And sometimes they get a wild hair and transmit HD demo material. This is all on "2-1" which is only up when there's an HDTVs show available. The rest of he time you get 480i SDTV on "2-3".

WSVN-DT only sends 480i standard-definition. And good luck getting their audio to sync-up.

WBZL-DT broadcasts SD programming that's upconverted to 1080i.
post #18 of 9316
Does it mean My tv is at risk for "burn ins" due to upconversion to 1080? Can I expect the same (4:3 format) with WBZL?

IS there a way I can stretch it to full screen?
post #19 of 9316
Thread Starter 
If you watch a lot of 4:3 programming with black sidebars, particularly with your contrast set at or near the factory setting, you do run a risk of uneven phosphor wear. This would eventually result in a discoloration of the area of the screen that the 4:3 image occupies within the 16:9 screen. It would become visible while viewing 16:9 images.

The chances of this happening can be dramatically reduced by 1) turning down the contrast to the correct level: the point at which peak whites remain fully focused and not blurred and at which level the picture will not "bloom" or change in size and shape as the scene content varies; 2) call WFOR and express your concern about uneven phosphor wear and request that they transmit gray side panels instead of black during 4:3 programming.

Some DTV STBs and monitors allow you to display gray side panels or to zoom or stretch the image to fill the 16:9 raster while displaying 720p or 1080i signals but most only allow gray side panels, zooming or stretching when displaying 480i or 480p images. I am not familiar with you particular equipment. I'd suggest posing a question about this on the HDTV Hardware Forum. Maybe someone there who is familiar with your STB and display can tell you what the situation is.

My equipment will not allow gray side panels, zooming or stretching of 720p or 1080i images, so I just keep the contrast at the correct level, do all my viewing in a fairly dark room and avoid watching WFOR-DT too much when they're transmitting upconverted 4:3 pictures. I always use gray side panels when viewing standard-definition (480i or 480p) images. And I avoid spending hours on-end watching channels with bright, static supers like CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox Newschannel, etc., as those images can burn-in, too (though I doubt that the transparent, low-luminance CBS "Eye", NBC "Peacock", etc. can cause any harm aside from just being as annoying as hell.)

I will inevitably have to replace my set's three CRTs someday and it won't be cheap since they are 9-inch CRTs. I resigned myself to that fact as part of the cost of ownership when I bought the set. I don't expect alternative imaging technologies such as DLP or LCD to improve to the point of approaching CRT quality for several years, so I'm sure I'll be replacing my CRTs at least once over the lifetime of the set. Any when I do, I'll just send WFOR the bill! By the way, plasma displays can also suffer burn-in.
post #20 of 9316

Originally posted by Venkat
Does it mean My tv is at risk for "burn ins" due to upconversion to 1080? Can I expect the same (4:3 format) with WBZL?

IS there a way I can stretch it to full screen?

If you go into the SETUP menu on the SIR-T150 and select 4:3 instead of 16:9 as your screen's format, then you have the option of zooming the images up to fill your 16:9 display. This eliminates the dreaded black bars on upconverted 4:3 material and works pretty well with WBZL's letterboxed material (which they have been airing inside of a 16:9 black frame).
post #21 of 9316
Thread Starter 
I have it on good authority that WFLX-DT has been testing on channel 28-1. We don't know whether they have taken delivery on their ATSC encoder but we think it'll be any time now.

"Stayed tuned!"
post #22 of 9316

Originally posted by David McRoy
I have it on good authority that WFLX-DT has been testing on channel 28-1. We don't know whether they have taken delivery on their ATSC encoder but we think it'll be any time now.

"Stayed tuned!"

So, is there any way I will be able to receive this channel without putting an outside antenna up (in Pembroke Pines)? I would like to be able to see "24" in widescreen.
post #23 of 9316
Thread Starter 
You're probably going to need an outdoor antenna from your location.

Until they receive and install their encoder, all you're going to get is evidence of some signal strength from a carrier on channel 28-1 when they happen to be testing. I'll monitor 28-1 periodically from up here and let you know if they start transmitting a datatream.
post #24 of 9316
On Sunday just for the heck of it I punched up channel 28 on my Samsung SIR-T150 here in Coral Gables and the red led was changing between red and orange and the signal meter was jumping from 0 to 1 bar. I was wondering if they had started testing. I received no signal though. Will their signal at full power reach coral gables? I can receive their analog 29 with just a little snow. I have given up on WSVN ever passing anything but 480i.
post #25 of 9316
I just called WFLX Fox 29 in Palm Beach and spoke with Norm in Engineering. He says that they are installing the antenna right now and are doing testing on and off. Their anticipated sign on is about a month away. I expressed sadness that they could not get it in time for superbowl but they would have many converts in south florida leaving WSVN if they can get things in shape.

He also said that if you can get regular 29 right now then you will be able to pick up the signal on 28 since it is a digital signal and easier to tune.

I thanked him for the info and hung up.
post #26 of 9316
That is great news! It sounds like I will have no problem receiving them in coral gables. Thanks for the info. I too will be switching from WSVN to them for my fox shows if they do 480p widescreen.
post #27 of 9316
Thread Starter 
I seem to recall being told that they would upconvert everything to 1080i, but I'm not sure. If they do, it's just as well since a professional format converter will do the job so much better than anything built into our monitors or STBs.
post #28 of 9316
Thread Starter 
WFLX-DT is currently testing into a dummy load (not their antenna.)

Watch for on-air testing on channel 28-1, possibly sometime this week.
post #29 of 9316
I really hope all the WPB stations make it on soon. Since moving to Saint Lucie from Boca, I have lost all OTA HD
post #30 of 9316
Yes, let's get it up and running by next Tuesday's "24". I do receive 29 very well with my inside RS amplified antenna, so I guess I'll be able to receive 28-1 after all!
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