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DTV Champaign-Decatur IL

687 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Don1957
Well, today is May 1 and all commercial DTV stations are supposed ot be on the air.

Amazingly, even here in desolate central Illinois (Champaign) we now have two -- WCIA-DT Ch. 48 (CBS/UPN) and WAND-DT Ch. 18 (ABC). I can actually get WAND on my Samsung STB. WICS still does not work even

with a strong signal ... PSIP problem probably.

I'm 33 miles from Ch. 18 (currently 175kW) and I'm getting it fine

on a bowtie antenna ( no reflector). It works over about 270 of the 360 degrees rotation. In the position where it does not work the corresponding NTSC CH. 17 (5 MW) is truly horrendous. It gives 3-4 bars on the signal display of my Samsung STB.

Neither station is transmitting HD, but the ABC one has the money and

should be HD in perhaps 6-8 months.

Doug McDonald
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You ended up getting the Samsung! I saw on OpenDTV forum that you were thinking about getting an OTA set top box. Are either of your local stations broadcasting HDTV or just SDTV? Hope you enjoy your new setup.

I live in the Champaign area and I am happy to hear that WCIA is now broadcasting in digital. I have been unable to watch WCIA without experiencing major interference from a nearby (
Thats great news for Decatur. Im 30 miles south of Peoria so hopefully I can get a signal once I get a decent antena. I called Peoria CBS station WMBD and I talked to a gentlemen that was very negative towards hdtv. He said it would probably be 2 more years before they broadcast. Then he starts spouting off how hdtv's are to damn expensive, when I said I bought one last year he said "oh boy". Like I was some idiot for buying a hdtv. I told him you can get one for under a grand but he didnt want to talk to me. Anyway all 4 major networks wont be broadcasting for at least a year with the posibility of ABC in November.

I have a firend that lives near Lake Camelot. Are you anywhere near there? He was looking into getting a stb but was not sure if he could pick up anything out there. Have you had any sucess with the local PBS station I believe is live in Peoria?
WICD is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, a main opponent of digital TV. They are the main proponent of switching to the "word that can't be mentioned on AVSForum". They are trying to delay as long as possible.

WCCU, however, claims to have "most" equipment in place and claims to be actually trying and may be on in a few months. I get the impression that they actually mean this.

The station I really care about is WBUI because of the Cards. They too sound sincere about being on in a few months.

Doug McDonald
>WCCU, however, claims to have "most" equipment in place and claims to >be actually trying and may be on in a few months. I get the impression >that they actually mean this.

This is true, another engineer I know stopped by the transmit site and checked out the equipment several months ago. I believe they already have the transmitter in place, and I'm sure the antenna is on the way or already up. (this might be the hold up, tower crews are at a premium.) The studio's in Springfield have already gone digital, new master switcher, etc.

>WICD is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, a main opponent of digital TV. >They are the main proponent of switching to the "word that can't be >mentioned on AVSForum". They are trying to delay as long as possible.

Its really too bad that Sinclair bought 15, the old ownership had a plan and had begun to make the steps in Springfield with a brand new transmitter. (Digital ready.) SINclair claims the towers as-is cannot support the extra antenna, however they want a top mount antenna. (more stress) Not a side mount like Guy Gannett was planning to do. 17 has a side mount, and I assume 23, and 55/27 will do the same. I only hope that 23 does not go with a low power solution like WCIA/WCFN did. Othwerwise Springfield and Champaign may be hard to get without a tall tower. I'm picking up 17 as strong as WCIA's Springfields 53 transmitter here. So I think they (17) are going full power. The aplication on FCC.gov and the transmit style antenna seem to agree. (it's on the east side near the top, you can see it from I-72 as you drive by)

>The station I really care about is WBUI because of the Cards. They too >sound sincere about being on in a few months.

They also have had several upgrades at the transmit site (all new taller tower and transmitter) and the studio is digital with quite a bit of automation.

Even channel 12 is practically ready with it's brand new studio, I know they are trying to get a new channel assignment in VHF. Channel 3 is also trying to get a VHF channel. I don't blame them with the power levels they will have to put out on UHF at full power. Something like 5 million watts..

Marcus Damberger
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I hear WAND is at half of full power, but I am not sure.

WICD/WICS will be at *least* another 9 months to 1 year before they're up, and will come up in low power and probably SD; at least that was their path up to 2 months ago.

The channel 18 signal *does* work on the Samsung receiver, but 48/53 still does not. Now that there is a signal in town to do some comparison measurements, I believe I know what the 48/53 problem is and hope to have it resolved early next week (PSIP problem, and a factory defect in some equipment at both sites).

I am finding that PSIP problems are *rampant* in DTV right now, and am trying to learn the whole sordid process.

I will post here and contact Doug as soon as I attempt the changes.

( unnamed Engineer )

(and old friend of Marcus)
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Hey " CheapEngineer " send me your new e-mail.

Also regarding the Samsung receiver I hear that the network program info on line 22 (that Neilson uses) is also a cause for problems. I can't remember if just repeating line 21 (CC) was a temp fix or just omiting it. I think that the Samsung is trying to read CC and mixing it up with line 22.

Also, since you changed the PSIP, I now get both sation ID's, WCFN and WCIA on 53-01, 53-02. Before all I got was 48-01, and 53-01. Its nice to have that now.

WAND is simply "remapping" to 17-01.
WAND is indeed exactly at half power (175 kW). I was mistaken when

I said on OpenDTV that WCIA had a whopping signal here in Champaign ...

it does not. A simple bowtie antenna, which works fine for WAND only works for WCIA if placed right up against the window. It gives only 2

bars with a flicker of three. But up against the window it is reliable. My 10 element Ch. 48 Yagi gives 5-6 bars and is fine.

And PLEASE, avoid low VHF DTV signals like the plague .... even at 100kW

power level if WCIA were on say Ch. 4 or 5 I likely would not get

it due to power line noise. High VHF probably will be OK, if at

reasonable power (say 30 kW).

Is there anywhere (Kankakee) where WCIA ch. 3 interferes with

the Ch. 3 DTV in Chicago? This looks awfully close spaced. I would

not want to have to install a 10 element high F/B ratio Ch 3 Yagi

on a tower!

Doug McDonald
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Have you guys ever tried DX'ing WTVP-DT from Peoria? I think they're on channel 46.
>Have you guys ever tried DX'ing WTVP-DT from Peoria? I think they're on >channel 46.

No. There is a local low power station on 46. I think they transmit MTV.

Doug McDonald
I got home today and turned on the monitor connected to my Samsung STB which I leave sitting on Ch. 48 (WCIA-DT).

Well! There was the picture of Ch. 3. I went to the guide which said, eventually, 48-2 "No Data".

Hmmmm. Where is 48-1? I try a channel scan. After this, ch 48 does

not work at all. The channel scan ruined it!!!! Tuning to Ch. 3 doesn't work


At least this proves that the STB works in getting the signal off the air.

Doug McDonald
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more arggggghhhhhhhh

They (WCIA and TAndbergTV) never got it fixed, and my time ran out, so I returned the Samsung STB for credit.

I am now without DTV, still no UPN.

This is not a good situation! These things should just WORK ... no hassle.

In this cace it's not even RF/multipath problems ... the box decoded the

transmission just fine, no errors, it just could not figure out the PSIP enough to tune one of the two subchannels.

I also, before returning the box, measured signal margins. Note that

I am on a third floor, looking out a picture window.

Channel 18, 175 kW, 33 miles away: dipole, 15 dB, 7 element Yagi, 24 dB

Channel 38, 4(?) kW, 11 miles away: dipole, 6 dB, 11 element Yagi: 20 dB

These differences are in fact quite close to the calculated antenna gains.

This of course means that Ch. 48 is pathetically underpowered. Even Ch. 18, which is only 3 dB under their assigned power, is "probably" underpowered if they expect the same coverage as analog.

Doug McDonald
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The latest on our high definition is that it has been speeded up for

us. I have the equipment ordered and I plan to have it installed before years end. There is several months lead time on many of these items.Its just a guess but I would suspect the end of October.
There isn't a Springfield, IL thread, but does anybody know anything about the PBS affiliate in Jacksonville, IL? According to antennaweb, I should be getting them with no problem, but nothing. I'm thinking they are low power, down, or not transmitting all the time (I tried during prime time last night).
WSEC will be accepting delivery of its digital transmitter in early August. It will (hopefully) be on the air with test

signals by the end of August. We must construct a microwave linkage to that site for program delivery and that will take a bit

longer ... we're hoping that will be completed by the end of September. So, if all goes well, you should be able to view PBS

programming on Channel 15 of your digital receiver by the beginning of October.

We will be moving WSEC's analog transmitter to a new tower site this fall and Channel 14 should come in very nicely in

Springfield. The timetable for that move has not yet been set ... it depends on how smoothly the digital transmitter

installation proceeds.

Please feel free to contact me again if you have any questions or comments about our broadcast operation.


Rich Plotkin, VP - Engineering & Operations
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