Before we get all bent out of shape here, we need to remember a few things.
1. At market #134, we have CBS, NBC and ABC in HD. Quad Cities got their
CBS in HD in the last week of August, and they were also at 2 kw. WIFR has
been kicking butt for 3 years, WTVO for well over a year. WREX, ditto.
2. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, a much bigger market, only has FOX in HD.
As I type this, they're off the air because of a blown transmitter; they hope to
be back on next week. On Monday, two days from now as I type this, PBS affiliate WILL-DT
signs on for good, in HD. The market will then have TWO stations in HD. U of I basketball games are on CBS in HD. Read the Champaign AVS HDTV board
for utter screamfests on that one, especially when the engineers say that there's not enough HDTV's in the market to justify upgrading.
3. FOX Milwaukee just went HD/high power last week. See http://www.milwaukeehdtv.org
for a FOX scream festival that lasted up until recently.
4. Peoria CBS is at 2.3 KW and is not in HD.
5. WQRF was barely scraping along and finally got sold. The reason why they haven't been on the air until now is that the FCC has granted them waivers due to poverty. Literally, buying HDTV equipment and a full power transmitter would have bankrupted them. The parent company is finally giving their engineers money to work with. Up until this year, whenever it hit 90 degrees, WQRF would either go to low power, go off the air, and the picture would have a "fishbone" effect on it
because it looked like it was broadcasting off-frequency. Since WTVO's company
took over, the analog looks and sounds much better, and has actual weather
bulletins now on the bottom of the screen instead of a dumb thunderstorm or
tornado symbol. (All of this is NOT, BTW, the fault of the WQRF engineer!)
They've actually rebuilt the WTVO and WQRF master control
centers from scratch together in one building. The WTVO video and audio quality
(except for the news, the cameras need to be upgraded) has also improved
nicely over the past 2 years.
That's not to say they have a ways to go. Initially, if you scroll up, you'll see that
they did have plans to go HD right away at sign-on, but that was before they
were sold. The engineers have been great and flat-out honest in their timetables,
always noting though, that "corporate can change their minds at any time", and
The good news is that even though they are broadcasting at 2.3 kw, it's going to be from their 1 mw transmitter. When THAT puppy is fired up, look out! You'll be able to get it from near Chicago to just east of Dubuque. Until then, get a good VHF-HI antenna that picks up channels 7-13; you'll need it to pick up WREX-TV
anyway after analog shutdown, and watch FOX HD from Madison.
And as they say, don't blame WQRF-TV/DT, and especially the engineers, who have done a great job with what they have. It's the men in black suits above them that are calling the shots on this one.