: OTA Station Status: Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham WA

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2005-05-14, 01:37 PM
I asked KVOS Bellingham's general manager and engineering staff about their progress towards DTV (they're running DTV on UHF 35 remapped to 12.1 in a lab bench sort of system for now) and received this reply:

Dear Jon,

KVOS is only able to operate in DT with a low power (1KW) transmitter
from Bellingham at the present time. Though some people in White Rock
may be able to receive our signal, I doubt that you would be able to
receive our signal in Delta on Ch.35 based on the location of our
antenna and the low power.

We hope to have our new transmitter and more importantly, our new
antenna operational by mid-Summer '06. With that new transmitter, we
will be providing a robust signal from the top of Mt. Constitution on
Channel 35. (We have not been able to make the full transition due to
tower location difficulties. We hope to have a new tower build by the
end of next Spring--but regulatory officials still have to grant
approvals for us to build the tower.)

We will eventually migrate back to Channel 12 DT once the cut off period
has been declared by the FCC sometime after 2006.

Should you have any further questions, I encourage you to contact John
Franz, our Chief Engineer.

Dave Reid
KVOS TVThey're still on VHF 12 for now.

2005-10-30, 08:12 PM
Clear Channel, the owners of KVOS in Bellingham, have laid off several local employees as the station now becomes an automated repeater of Clear Channel broadcasts originating in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Not that KVOS had much original programming anymore... it will probably remain just another Seinfeld - Friends - Will & Grace - blah blah blah rerun station. Anyway if you look way back in this thread you'll find an email from KVOS outlining their reasons for having such a peashooter ERP from KVOS-DT.

2005-11-14, 01:45 PM
The FCC has granted a construction permit for a 30Kw DT transmitter near Bellingham, WA to run on Channel 38, which would totally override any direct reception of Seattle's KOMO-DT 38 from north of it.

Looking at the map of its proposed contour it looks like its coverage pattern is highly biased directly towards Vancouver from atop Mount Constitution on Orcas Island. Don't take the contour pattern linked below literally, as the actual signal coverage will extend way beyond that.

The applicant does not appear to be KOMO's owner but I did a Google of Venture Technologies and they seem to specialize in setting up low power repeaters all around the U.S.A., so it would not surprise me if the new transmitter is carrying KOMO-DT after all.

The antenna site is already in existence, owned by a different company called Mt. Constitution Sites Inc. That location was mentioned by KVOS as a possible location for their upcoming DT broadcasting on channel 35, as they said in an earlier post in this thread.

K38JH station details (you might have to click on Click for Details link):

K38JH signal contour map:

KOMO-DT station details (you might have to click on Click for Details link):

If anyone hears anything further about this new transmitter's construction schedule please reply to this thread.

2005-11-25, 05:25 PM
With the news last week that a Low Power TV Translator on Channel 38 has received its FCC Construction Permit, it turns out that several other LPTV Construction Permits have been approved for Bellingham, Washington.

Here's the FCC database query tool link, and look for the TX signifier for Translators, and the CP signifier for Construction Permit in the list of stations. The ones showing APP are only applications and are not approved. The presently active stations are signified by LIC or STA.


As with Channel 38, the new channels do not have public profiles at this time, but its likely that most will be repeaters of SeaTac stations. FCC rules allow such "translator" stations to simsub local advertising at will, so I imagine these companies would look at the Vancouver market $$$ like KVOS does. The Canadian networks/stations have got to be worried about this.

2005-12-02, 04:36 AM
Some interesting activity is happening with applications to the FCC for various types of translator licenses in the B.C. Lower Mainland's U.S. border zone:

Venture Technologies, a Los Angeles-based company that specializes in low power translator stations across the U.S., have now increased their number of applications to six for DTV broadcast licenses from the same Mount Constitution site on Orcas Island

Concorde Ventures, which is also a translator specialist, has four Bellingham applications in progress

Concorde is also beginning the process for a translator on channel 55 from Point Roberts (that little chunk of Washington State that you can only get to by land via Delta BC) and another translator on channel 30 from Lynden, Washington (just north of Bellingham).

A separate Bellingham-area license is being sought by Seattle's PBS station KCTS.

Of course not all of these applications will be approved, and some are undoubtedly competitive bids against corporate rivals in the same area, but its looking more and more like we could see Vancouver's and the southeast Island's airwaves load up with SeaTac OTA DTV translator stations in the next couple of years! :)

2006-01-12, 01:11 PM
KVOS-DT Bellingham has received an FCC Construction Permit to transition from their present 12kW transmitter to a 612kW one. This will massively improve their digital television reach into Canada.


2006-03-15, 01:41 PM
I am interested to find out if anyone else is experiencing extra loud volume on KVOS digital 12.1. I find when I tune to this channel I always have to turn down the volume. I would be prepared to e-mail the KVOS engineer if this is a common problem.


2006-03-15, 03:41 PM
I am interested to find out if anyone else is experiencing extra loud volume on KVOS digital 12.1.Jaygeetee
I have also noticed the loud volume when tuned to KVOS 12.1. This channel has also locked up my HP TV requiring me to power down to get back to normal.

2006-04-29, 02:10 PM
Hey everyone, as you may or may not know, KVOS is constructing a new digital broadcast tower on Orcas Island. When it's operational it should be around 600kWatts. I emailed KVOS to ask for an update, and I got a very quick response saying:We should be up and running with the new tower in September of this year. We’ve got ALL of our fingers and toes crossed—and they’re in the middle of construction as we speak!
As discussed in the Burnaby thread, I sure hope this is enough power for lower mainlanders (even facing north) to receive.

2006-04-29, 02:18 PM
Yes, 612kW is good... very good... excellent! :D :D

Here's their FCC contour map showing that the Vancouver area all the way up the Fraser Valley is well within range, and I would even guess that Hope BC would get it. Most of southern Vancouver Island will be great with it too - my guess is up to Qualicum/Parksville but ya never know. The Sunshine Coast should be good with it too.


Rick Dude
2006-06-11, 02:19 PM
I was just studying the likelihood of me being able to pick up KVOS-DT on channel 35 when it comes on full power from a site on Orcas Island later this year. KBCB-DT has its transmitter mast about 300 feet from the one for KVOS-DT and from my location in a Port Moody high-rise cannot pick up KBCB-DT, but can just about get a watchable analogue signal with a set-top antenna. A better, more directional antenna may work, but I have Coquitlam Ridge in the line of site.

Enter these co-ordinates into Google Earth and zoom in. 48°40'49.4" N, 122°50'26.4" W The transmitter buildings are visible and shadows of the present masts are cast in a north-north-west direction across some of the buildings.

From FCC documents, looking at the antenna height, radiation pattern and transmitter power between the two stations, KVOS-DT antenna is to be over 40 metres higher above mean sea level and will transmit with almost 4 times the ERP compared to KBCB-DT. The antenna patterns on both will put around 75% of the ERP in our direction. Four times the transmitter power will result in double the signal strength and might make a difference to some who are marginal like myself. :)

With reference to other Bellingham stations, there seem to be a few channels up for grabs. See here: http://www.recnet.com/cdbs/fmq.php?nprm=611033
In regards to K38JH Bellingham translator - this appears to be an application for an analogue NTSC transmitter, which makes no sense. The reason I state this is because the transmitter has a frequency offset. See here: http://www.recnet.com/cdbs/fmq.php?facid=128176 Click on the View Map link from the page and the analogue signal strength contours are shown. Analogue TV transmitters have frequency offsets such that if weather conditions produce co-channel interference from a distant transmitter, the interference pattern on the screen between the two vision carriers will be almost horizontal lines as opposed to a zero beat pattern which is extremely annoying. Almost any low level interference can produce an effect on analogue signal, but digital is not so affected because of the capture effect.

Another interesting Bellingham station is K54IQ. See link: http://www.recnet.com/cdbs/fmq.php?facid=130161 The primary station owner is shown as in Sherbrooke, Quebec which is strange for a US station. However, this application has been rescinded. I suspect that companies are just trying to acquire the Bellingham channel allocations for later use.

2006-07-14, 01:00 AM
Keep in mind that a bunch of low power repeaters are likely going to be coming up in Bellingham within the next 2 years (FCC has already issued construction permits)...

I emailed a guy from KOMO, and he said they do not have any plans for repeaters in Bellingham or in the area. His exact words were, "There are no present plans to install a translator near the border."

I haven't yet emailed the other SeaTac stations to see if they have Bellingham area repeater plans.

2006-07-14, 11:34 AM
I emailed a guy from KOMO, and he said they do not have any plans for repeaters in Bellingham or in the area.Hang on Blake, just a bit about translator stations first:

in the 1980s the FCC decided to allow (by looking the other way in the Reagan years) the construction of LP (Low Power) translator stations by third parties with minimal FCC intervention. Eventually this became standard procedure. LP stations are owned by third parties which can legally receive the originating station's signal, substitute their own commercials and local broadcasting, and then rebroadcast it to an area not well served by the originating station. They are very limited in their power levels. In the case of the Bellingham translators, they are owned by well known LP specialist companies.

Thus, the originating stations in SeaTac know nothing about the actual activities to get those LP translators up and running.

2006-07-14, 08:52 PM
this begs the question, if they're "LP", will they be strong enough to reach Vancouver? A LP tower won't do me (or a great number of us) any good if it's only strong enough to reach the border.

2006-07-14, 09:34 PM
will they be strong enough to reach Vancouver?The highest power level allowed in the LP category is 30kW, and judging from the broadcast contour maps I've seen for the new Bellingham stations, and in comparison to CBUT-DT's power, the Bellingham repeaters on Orcas Island will thankfully boom into our area because the Yanks want the advertising $$$ from the Canadian side too.

2006-07-14, 10:18 PM
isn't that sad... how the upper limits of their "Low Power" is still stronger than anything we've got in digital?! by almost a factor of 2. I'm tellin' ya, once those LP towers put out DTV, I won't bother with anything analog or CTV and CBC, for their lack of effort and interest in being serious with regards to DTV. It will cost them viewers. Let the Americans beam their TV into our country, we'll just let CTV and CBC's advertisers where we're spending our money, and why we're not watching the stations they're paying to be on. And let the CRTC know we're not getting our daily dose of CanCon because our stations either aren't broadcasting digitally, or have such low ERPs we can't receive them.

It's time to bring out the cattle prod.

2006-07-18, 03:50 PM
Would it be possible for American stations to put up repeaters on Canadian soil? Could they get the okay from IC/CRTC or is it just a non-starter due to lack of CanCon? If IC/CRTC see nothing wrong with it, I'm sure Seattle stations wouldn't mind the extra million+ potential viewers as our dollar is almost at par with theirs.

2006-07-19, 02:01 AM
Would it be possible for American stations to put up repeaters on Canadian soil?Never. Check out the Broadcasting Act to understand the sovereignty issues.

2006-07-19, 08:17 PM
I'll take your word for it. It sounds like an interesting read tho' ;)

Looking at the topographical map you supplied, American stations (or 3rd Parties) could load Point Roberts with towers aimed north. Orcas Island is good too, but at a LP class (<30kW), I doubt it'd reach the lower mainland.

2006-07-20, 01:53 AM
American stations (or 3rd Parties) could load Point Roberts with towers aimed north.Residents of Point Roberts have been very active in protesting any such ideas submitted to the FCC. They do not want their charming, well treed area turned into an antenna farm. I agree, and given the ideal situation of Orcas Island I don't see a need to go to Point Roberts, especially given that it is just above sea level while Orcas Island has great elevation.