Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Craig Henry (Greenbank/Hunt Club), Nepean, ON
Dave, in the specific case of Global Ottawa, a little history, which will show why this channel six is worse than most other ch. 6 ATSC disasters:
CII-TV-6 was implemented back in 1974, when few people in Ottawa had UHF reception capabilities. The English market was basically CBC on 4 and CTV on 13, TVO on 24 with some people pulling in the Watertown CBS (and secondary NBC and ABC) affiliate WWNY on 7.
Cable had started in the mid-sixties, and most people who wanted more than 4 and 13 got hooked up to that, which offered Montreal stations, as well as Watertown CBS and PBS and Plattsburg NBC (still, no ABC affiliate until the CRTC permitted microwave delivery of distant signals in the late seventies).
In order to elbow its way into the Ontario TV market without upsetting local affiliates jealous of their local ad revenues, Global came up with the idea of a "regional" stations with no direct local presence, and no local ad sales. Except for Ottawa, not one transmitter was located in a major centre. Sarnia was served from Oil springs, London and Kitchener from Paris, Toronto from Uxbridge, Kingston and Pembroke barely from Bancroft.
(And Windsor was "unserved" by a transmitter in Cottam)
Eastern Ontario (east of Ottawa) was supposed to be served by a high-powered ch. 36 transmitter in the Glengary Highlands at Maxville.
Because that station would rimshot Montreal (and get mandatory cable carriage there) it was not approved.
In order to slip in a channel 6 transmitter to serve Ottawa, channel 6 had severe nulls toward short-spaced CBMT in Montreal and CJOH-TV-6 on Mount Carmel near Deseronto.
(According to TVfool, channel 6 is putting out as little as 70 watts towards now heavily-populated areas such as Orleans.)
That eastern null would have been served by Maxville had it been approved.
Analog reception in Ottawa with rabbit ears was always atrocious, mostly due to FM interference.
(Oh, and did I mention that channel 6 analog started off with 12 kW, not the 50 kw it ended up with?)
In the meantime, the FM band here in Ottawa has completely filled up -- we're even got second adjacents now. I think there are at least two FM stations below 90 MHz that share channel 6's antenna low down on the tower.
Shaw took over Global late in the transition game, so I expect the mandatory stations were all converted with the minimum of changes to existing equipment, so right now we're stuck with a combination of NTSC short-spacing-based equipment and faulty planning parameters.
My best guess is that, should Global do anything, they would apply for temporary permission to increase power (the channel 6 allotment in Montreal is vacant, and CJOH-TV-6, being an analog station, no longer enjoys protection - in any case, those in the interference zone would likely get CJOH-DT.)
In the longer term, I could see them applying for one of the two vacant UHF allotments (33 or 50), but I would bet on the recently freed-up-by-SunTV 33, because perhaps it could be accommodated on the existing TeleQuebec antenna on the Ryan Tower at Camp Fortune already carrying 30, 34, and 40. (The VHF-high allotments on 11 and 12 are both short-spaced.)
As part of Shaw's purchase of Global TV, one of their promised "tangible benefits" was to convert ALL of the Global stations to digital by 2016. I believe they may even have to report annually on their progress, so the public may have more leverage than usual getting this discussed at the CRTC level. (What's the point of serving the countryside from Bancroft if Ottawa residents in a mandatory market can't get Global OTA?)