Originally Posted by re_nelson
The section on RabbitEars is "VHF Nightmares" and that seems to be the overwhelming case for those stations moving to VHF after the transition.
What are some of the VHF "Success Stories" out there? I take it that Fred Lass of WRGB and Frederick Vobbe of WLIO are still advocates of VHF. Right?
VHF low band has pluses and minuses. Low band works far better than UHF in heavily shadowed areas. Once you leave the Albany/Schenectady area the terrain is challenging for TV coverage. Those are the locations that have always had large outdoor antennas, which are needed for low band VHF.
Low band VHF can't be considered as a whole. Channels 2 - 4 are not as favorable as channels 5 and 6. Channels 5 & 6 are better than than channels 2 - 4 because the man made noise is lower on 5 & 6. Due to an antennas interaction with the ground in front of the antenna, an aerial installed too close to the ground works better on channel 5 & 6 than channels 2 - 4. Of course, UHF works better than low band with indoor antennas.
Albany was already a mixed VHF/UHF market with WXXA on channel 7 WNYT on channel 12 and WNYA on channel 13. There were no VHF high band channels available that made sense.
WRGB always had significant viewership in the outlying areas. Channel 39 was not reaching them. We felt that there was little chance that the FCC would raise the power limit on UHF. We gambled that the FCC would raise the power limit on VHF. Originally WRGB was assigned 4.64 KW ERP. We built a facility that could run 11.5 KW ERP. We were at 11.5 ERP KW on July 1, 2009; 18 days after the analog shutdown. It took Canadian approval to go to 30.2 KW; which we did on February 1, 2010. The extra transmitter power came from an analog transmitter purchased from WSYX Columbus, OH that we converted to digital. If we were allowed to do so, that transmitter could get us as high as 45 KW. Electric cost was never a factor for us. At the present time our power bill for channel 6 is 38% lower than it was on channel 39.
WRGB's UHF transmission equipment, which was using an MSDC klystron, has been retuned to channel 43 for use with our sister station, WCWN. WCWN's DTV system had been side mount directional and was using a less efficient IOT based transmitter.
I suspect that many VHF stations are looking for a UHF channel in order to switch to a viable M/H channel. Because we are a duopoly with both VHF and UHF channels that's not an issue.
We also run CBS programming on a subchannel of WCWN where indoor reception is fine. If we didn't have the UHF subchannel we'd be missing many inner-city viewers.
Bottom line, 30.2 KW on channel 6 isn't really enough for a city located 14 miles from our tower. Yet 30.2 KW is working well to distant viewers although our far-distant coverage remains lower than analog had been. This is because some viewers had been living with pictures that were below TASO grade 5 that are now below the digital threshold.