Here comes the UHF Channel "Repack" for OTA - Page 4 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #46 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-16, 08:13 AM
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Well, these antennas can still receive VHF signal, but it will be harder to receive distant UHF stations that have switched to VHF. To receive those you will probably need big UHF/VHF antenna.
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post #47 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-16, 03:24 PM
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Yes, stations moving from (abt) Ch30+ to Ch51 Band to a lower UHF Frequency will need a new Transmit Antenna System. UHF Broadcast Antennas are fairly narrowband when providing very low SWR and typically cover only one or two ADJACENT channels (a frequent way to share costs with a co-located transmitter, such as Ch18/19 here in San Diego). And of course, moving from UHF to VHF requires an entirely different Antenna and Feedline System.

What happens next will include more use of Hi-VHF and PERHAPS also Lo-VHF channels...although these very long wavelengths are NOT compatible with Mobile/Handheld devices....but they can propagate much further with much lower power, which is reflected by a lower Electric Bill....so should be of interest to stations on a bare-bones budget, e.g. Religious, Foreign Language & other special interest.

Fortunately, MOST Hi-VHF Antennas I've analyzed DO have as much Gain as Rabbit-Ears on Ch2-6, although the SWR is Excessive, which may or may NOT be a problem.

And I've posted several DIY Ch2-6 Antenna designs that can readily fit in an Attic, such as Lo-VHF Folded Dipoles, Lo-VHF Hourglass-Loops and (preferably Outdoor) Lo-VHF Yagis:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/loops
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/yagis [Lo-VHF at Bottom]

========================================
Final note re VHF Antennas in Attics....they suffer from several disadvantages compared to OUTDOOR location:

1) Numerous Indoor Loss measurements found that UHF Loss is "typically" 13 dB +/- 7 dB or typical single occupant dwellings (perhaps 10 dB higher for Apts/Condos). UHF is easier than VHF to "leak" in through Windows....but NOT if the Windows are LowE Glass with a metallic coating (20 dB Loss). At VHF Frequencies, Loss through various Building Materials is MUCH LESS...but ACTUAL Loss Measurements are MUCH higher than "predicted". One MSTV Report by du Triel re ATSC-Mobile/Handheld Planning Factors suggested Hi-VHF Loss was 4 dB less than UHF Loss (and Lo-VHF would be even lower):
http://www.fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/bu...PDF/b97123.pdf [Extrapolate "Received Signal Magnitude" Figures)
Although there are many studies of Indoor Loss at UHF Frequencies, there is very little for VHF. Early ATSC Propagation Coverage Tests (1999-2000) included only a couple of Indoor Tests for VHF stations. For WFAA Ch9 in Denver, MEDIAN Indoor Loss of 16.5 dB was found for the 29 Indoor Test Locations. There also was a test on Ch2, but all I could find is fail/success ratio rather than actual signal level measurements.

2) SOME Attics are on the higher end of that scale (or MORE) if an Aluminized Mylar Thermal "Wrap"...or METAL was used in the roof.

3) Your HOUSE contains many potential "Man-Made" Noise sources that primarily affect VHF and esp. Lo-VHF frequencies, which COULD include your LED and Fluorescent Lights, Dimmers, Microwave Ovens
and anything that uses Brush Type (rather than Brushless) Motors, which MAY include Heaters, A/C, Washing/Drying Machines etc. Fortunately, many of these devices contain RFI/EMI Suppression Filters to limit their effect.....and some are miserable sources of interference....

Last edited by holl_ands; 2015-05-16 at 06:07 PM.
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post #48 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-16, 05:12 PM
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A lot of broadcasters have abandoned VHF-lo due to problems with interference and the low power allocated for ATSC. One station near here changed from 6 to 17 not that long ago. That was because people living just a few miles away could not pick it up. It was supposed to reach here but few people could receive it. Another station switched from 11 to 15 due to coverage issues. Stations that switched from VHF to higher UHF band allocations and are now getting those taken away are going to be a bit angry. Never mind that many consumers simply cannot use VHF-lo antennas due to their size. VHF-lo appears to be basically unusable and VHF-hi marginal under current channel allocation policies. Higher power might help but that does not address the antenna size issue in urban areas.

My biggest reception issue is with channel 13. A local noise source makes it cut out frequently. It was always stable when it was analog but I now lose it completely at times. I suspect the issues are due to the low allocated power combined with an increased power allocation for a co-channel station in the opposite direction.
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post #49 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-16, 06:49 PM
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One important aspect we should also bear in mind: H.265/HVEC codec (for NOT ONLY 4K) reportedly provides SAME Video "Quality" with ONE-FOURTH the data rate of MPEG2....which should help to foster SHARING of each channel by MULTIPLE HD and 4K Programs....which GASP!!!!....could even be from COMPETING Networks. Cable Companies (and Europe) already employ this model. Perhaps we'll see Cable Companies buy up local Broadcast Stations to actually make this happen....and for a FEE (could be via OTA Interactive Exchange) they could even authorize a user to view 4K as well as very robust Mobile/Handheld Sports (et.al.) broadcasts. FREE TV....what's THAT????
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post #50 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-16, 07:47 PM
 
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Quote:
H.265/HVEC codec (for NOT ONLY 4K) reportedly provides SAME Video "Quality" with ONE-FOURTH the data rate of MPEG2.
Yeah, PBS in LA did a channel sharing test and without resorting to the new codec could still provide 2 1080i streams and 4 480i streams with no discernable degradation.

http://www.ctia.org/docs/default-sou...ring-pilot.pdf

A Baltimore station is broadcasting 4k using HEVC (which likely will be incorporated in ATSC3.0, or Google's VP9) and that bodes very well for us OTA'ers.

WQHS Cleveland broadcasts 2 1080i streams and 2 480i streams and their picture quality blows away everyone else I've gotten.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WQHS-DT

I thought OTA was dying and had commented as such, I'm eating crow for dinner tonight, I think there is a LOT of room for growth even with a channel repack.

Last edited by Frankzappa; 2015-05-16 at 10:59 PM. Reason: too wordy
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post #51 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-17, 12:30 AM
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The CRTC in Canada has, so far, restricted the use of multiplexing for existing channels. It will only allow new and innovative services on subchannels and they must be licensed separately. Apart from testing, no Canadian broadcasters have even bothered with subchannels, let alone launch any new services. It will be interesting to see what happens but I suspect we will see Canadian broadcasters shut down more stations rather than invest any more money into OTA for channel reallocation or H.265.

Due to FCC regulations that protect local broadcasters, OTA is a lot healthier in the US. Some broadcasters in Canada want to shut down their OTA channels entirely and just be BDU or OTT services. The fact that the same company is allowed to own two networks of OTA stations, a satellite service an IPTV service and an ISP may have something to do with that. After all, why operate OTA stations when you can make more money by shutting them down?
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post #52 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-17, 03:32 AM
 
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Sounds like we better get optimizing and innovating to find the next generations of OTA antennas.
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post #53 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-17, 10:15 AM
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Piece of cake to rerun my posted 4nec2 Files through nikiml's Optimizer with a simple change to the desired Frequency Range....but WAY TOO EARLY to even THINK about it....no need until the LAST stations vacate the Band....which could be 8-10-years away....and I would guess would only yield 1-2 dB improvement anyway....

Antenna Simulations, Overload Calculations, etc: http://imageevent.com/holl_ands
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post #54 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-18, 08:59 PM
 
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Thanks for the replies to my last and thank you holl_ands for describing VHF reception in attics. It is what has me concerned the most, as a multi-antenna rooftop setup is impractical (and illegal due to local by-laws) in my case.

I must admit that this whole "repack" scheme is worrisome, but will be less bad if they actually execute it in a sensible manner. If my understanding is correct, channels 14-30 will still be available for OTA and are UHF, right? So why move on to lower channels (2 - 13) if there are still 16 channels (+ subchannels) available in UHF? Perhaps this could be a problem in places where there are 200+ OTA channels being aired (California, etc), but most places are not fortunate with such an extensive coverage. I, for example, am able to receive 25 channels (essentially, all the yellow and green channels in my TV Fool report)... and I'm pretty confident that local broadcasters could easily squeeze them in between channels 14 and 30, couldn't they...?

On another note, it is pretty unthinkable that any capitalist government would attempt to "force" privately owned enterprises to incur repeated expenses like that, simply by changing requirements due to lobbying every few years; first broadcasters are forced to go digital / UHF, now a few years later they are told to downgrade their equipment back to VHF once again? Sound like the legal "grandfather clause" would apply here, if no compensation for incurring repeated costs is offered by the lawmakers. Certainly, without compensation, this would be a matter for Courts to address...

Thoughts?
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post #55 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-18, 11:33 PM
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Per www.rabbitears.info, there are over 200 Video Sub-Channels in the L.A. Area (MANY of them SD....NOT including Mexico, San Diego to South, Santa Barbara to NW and the Desert to the East.

Per my OTA Test Records ALL of the DTV Stations in L.A. Area had vacated above Ch51 in Oct 2008 Test, way before the required Feb2009 deadline to cease all Analog Operations...which was delayed to a HARD date of Jun2009. So the current set of Antennas (some went back to their ORIGINAL VHF Antenna) will be AT LEAST 10-years old (clearly beyond most usual Amortization periods and hence have little or no "book value") before SOME of them are forced to change their Antenna System to a different frequency. It remains to be seen whether ATSC 3.0 (incl HVEC) will or will NOT become "mandatory" for Broadcasters....I rather doubt it, although Govt's can apply "pressure" in many ways to "guide" them into making the desired decisions.

Subject to an open channel availability, it's up to the STATIONS to decide which band they want to use...and bear in mind that the lower channels are "believed" to propagate further, have a lower electrical power requirement and NO ONE has a good understanding of how much Man-Made Noise is ACTUALLY present in today's homes.

BTW: Frequency Spectrum is OWNED by Governments, who can generate BILLIONS OF $$$$'s by Leasing them out...and can TERMINATE that Lease at any time consistent with the Lease Agreement....that is a VERY CAPITALIST system.....

Antenna Simulations, Overload Calculations, etc: http://imageevent.com/holl_ands

Last edited by holl_ands; 2015-05-19 at 12:23 AM.
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post #56 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-18, 11:59 PM
 
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Yes, so I've heard in the"ClearTV" commercial... 200+ channels!!! (lol!)

So these folks might indeed be on the losing end of the "repack". But us unfortunate souls who only have a couple of free over the air channels to begin with should do all right with 14 - 30 being assigned for OTA TV broadcasts... or am I missing something?
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post #57 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-19, 12:08 AM
 
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It's all good that governments lease airwaves, as they should, but at the same time there's an expectation of continuity of service and equipment use upon a lease's renewal. This principle is one of the foundations of any contract law... to assure that no one gets screwed in the long run.

Perhaps it's somewhat different in this case, but it'd be very surprising... and definitely contestable. Any contract has an underlying foundation of expected continuity without unreasonable costs to one of the parties involved.

(think renewing an apartment or car lease, mortgage, etc. Prices and conditions as are regulated by law, which makes sure the client doesn't get screwed too badly... so why would leasing airwaves be different?)
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post #58 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-19, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post
but I haven't heard of any definite plans to reimburse DTV stations for giving up their channel for Cell Phone use....
Then you haven't been paying attention. Stations can volunteer to be bought out by the government, thus receiving a payment for it. Those who don't want to be bought out but are in the "new wireless band" and have to move to new channels will also get paid for that move.

- Trip

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Comments are my own and not that of my employer (the FCC) or anyone else.

Last edited by Trip; 2015-05-19 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Clarified second and third sentences.
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post #59 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-19, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post
Per my OTA Test Records ALL of the DTV Stations in L.A. Area had vacated above Ch51 in Oct 2008 Test, way before the required Feb2009 deadline to cease all Analog Operations...which was delayed to a HARD date of Jun2009.
What? KABC was on 53, KCET was on 59, KCBS was on 60, KTTV was on 65, and KCOP was on 66 right up until the very last day, and that's at a very minimum.

Here's KTTV's last transition report, filed 4/3/2009: http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws....ility_id=22208

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post #60 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-19, 07:58 AM
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I thought the re-pack was CH2-29 only, and in some cases CH2-35 in border areas, and no station currently on UHF can be forced to go to VHF, but may be assigned a new UHF channel, or share a channel with another broadcaster.
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