Tuesday, November 11, 2014
How Does Spectrum Repacking Affect My Plant?
By: Jay C. Adrick, Technology Advisor, GatesAir, Mason, OH
In Part 1 of our 4-part series, we provided an overview of the spectrum repacking and Incentive Auction process, which was introduced in the FCC’s latest Report & Order, issued June 2, 2014. In Part 2, we’ll look at the impact it will have on the transmission tower sites of stations that are required to move to a new channel assignment.
Your station will definitely be impacted if you’re in the upper range of the UHF band that is repurposed. And you have an especially high probability of being forced to move to another channel if your station is located in or near one of the twenty-five target markets for spectrum reclamation.
In either case, you’ll likely be moving to a channel in the lower portion of the remaining UHF television spectrum. If you believe spectrum repacking will affect you, you need to evaluate your antenna and tower site. Here’s how:
- Do an assessment of your tower to see whether or not it complies with the current EIA-222G standards.
- Determine how much additional wind loading your tower can withstand if a temporary antenna and transmission line must be added to the tower. The tower will likely have to support the existing antenna as well as the temporary new antenna—to keep your old and new channel on the air simultaneously—until the official switchover takes place.
- If you need a new antenna for a lower channel, (which is the most likely scenario), the size and weight of that antenna will increase. If the tower can’t support a bigger antenna, then you’ll need greater transmitter power to compensate for an antenna with lower gain.
- Evaluate new transmitters for the job. Look for state-of-the-art designs like the many GatesAir transmitters that offer high-energy efficiency, easy operation, frequency agility, a high level of redundancy and low maintenance.
- Determine what other transmitter hardware will be impacted, such as the channel mask filter, transmission line, and other components such as combiners or band stop filters.
- Determine if you have sufficient electrical power, air conditioning and other infrastructure to support your new transmitter.
This may be an opportunity to upgrade your plant from the Government’s $1.75 billion fund.
In part 3 of our 4-part series, we’ll look at how to document your construction plans and purchases for reimbursement.