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WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Discussion pertaining to Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Battle Creek, Big Rapids, and Michiana
Random_Dude
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by Random_Dude » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:18 pm

This thread has been dead for a while, but I have been popping back to look from time to time, as I am interested in better reception of WZPX/ION TV. The time has come, Friday is rescan day for West Michigan.

As it is now, I can sometimes receive WZPX in the winter with a lack of tree foliage or during a ducting event. With a relocation to the WOTV tower, and to a similar (lower) frequency, I hope to have this show great improvement, since WOTV comes in quite reliably at my home.

Another benefit I am looking forward to, as a T-Mobile customer, after the higher frequency TV stations relocate, T-Mobile will begin to light up their new cellular equipment on the 600 Mhz spectrum for improved coverage there.

That explains my enthusiasm for the subject. I've been looking for info on this stuff, and below will share a few links since some here may find them of interest.

Find out what stations you should expect to pick up at your home here, and learn which stations are being relocated to a new tuner position.

https://www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/dtvmaps

I've found that resource to be quite useful to know what and where to look for stations.

Specific to ION, here are the cities/channels that are relocating and when...

https://iontelevision.com/rescan

From the FCC, here are all the "phase" schedules around the country (West Michigan/Midwest is phase 6)

https://www.fcc.gov/about-fcc/fcc-initi ... n-schedule

And just in case you can't get enough of this stuff, here is more info from the FCC...

https://www.fcc.gov/TVrescan

Hopefully that info is helpful to at least someone else here.



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MWmetalhead
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by MWmetalhead » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:27 am

Interesting. The ION link says RF 21 won't be broadcasting at full power until December 17.

Thanks for posting those links.

Reception of WOTV will not guarantee reception of WZPX even once it's broadcasting at full power. Bear in mind WZPX will be broadcasting with a highly directional signal that will favor areas to the north of Gun Lake (GR, Ionia, Holland) and disfavor areas to the south (Kalamazoo, BC).

Also, WZPX's antenna will be side mounted about 150 feet below the WOTV antenna. Elevation does make a difference.


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statmanmi
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by statmanmi » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:44 am

Those in fringe reception of WOTV ABC 41.x signal might lose both WOTV and WZPX today, as both have filed and been granted Construction Permit extensions and STAs, citing that their permanent equipment (now at the same tower site) isn't all set yet.

Thus, both are cutting over today with interim antennas lower than what either will have as their permanent ones.

~~~~~~~~

A couple of opinions from me, so take them with a grain of salt:

WOTV 41 hasn't hardly publicized that a re-scan will be needed today from what I can tell. I've not found anything on their website through last night (and I don't use facebook, but Google hasn't hit on it either when I search). Perhaps they have been getting their PSAs and crawls in, as my household doesn't watch their station much. But all this week including this morning ("re-scan day") I had their local news on and the start of GMA, and never saw nor heard mention of the frequency change.

At least ION's full website provides that page that MW mentioned about how many of their stations have an initial re-scan day, and a later full power date.

The FCC had really short durations for Phase 5 (ended 9/6/19) and Phase 6 (ending today--10/18/2019):
https://www.fcc.gov/about-fcc/fcc-initi ... n-schedule
It seems those time-lines really taxed tower crews and equipment manufacturers, with lots of stations only able to go with interim under-powered arrangements. At least the remaining phases per the page I linked have more days in each duration. Although I bet the thought was to have the next phase accommodate some holiday/winter time productivity losses/downtime. Instead it may allow many things to get caught back up.

~~~~~~~~

Back to facts: It's not just the West Michigan transitions, many of the Up North ones have to go on interim solutions today as well. Sinclair's 7&4 duo is actually kind of entertaining to read their STA filings:
WPBN (7.x) can start using their permanent antenna on top of the Kalkaska tower, but their permanent transmitter isn't yet ready, so they'll be using an interim one at less than their licensed authorization for RF35.
WTOM (4.x) has their permanent transmitter to use by Cheboygan, but not the final antenna nor transmission line. Yet, Rabbitears.info shows that this arrangement will cover more population (mostly thanks to being on the lower RF16 instead of RF35) than what they've had in place since 2009.

Unknown from filings are how things are progressing for the two Digital Replacement Translators (DRTs) for WPBN:
The Harrietta tower one that went live in 2010 as RF50 will be touched up to be RF22 at some point.
The new DRT on the tower at their studio west of Traverse City was approved in March 2019, and will be using RF18.

Happy Re-scanning! ~~ Statmanmi



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mtburb
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by mtburb » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:22 pm

MWmetalhead wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:27 am
Reception of WOTV will not guarantee reception of WZPX even once it's broadcasting at full power. Bear in mind WZPX will be broadcasting with a highly directional signal that will favor areas to the north of Gun Lake (GR, Ionia, Holland) and disfavor areas to the south (Kalamazoo, BC).
Those areas that I bolded might have the option of picking up Ion via WHME 46.2 South Bend, as that's the next closest Ion affiliate heading south from the Kalamazoo-BC area.


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statmanmi
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WOTV and WZPX have transitioned frequencies

Post by statmanmi » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:35 pm

Well, it's done.

Without undermining my productivity too much, I kept connected to my TabloTV while at work today. I managed to catch both these full-power/strength station frequency changes. (Albeit onto their interim arrangements.)

WOTV 41.x (ABC/etc.) went right at Noon, off RF20 and on RF17.

WZPX 43.x (ION/shopping/etc.) went during the 5pm hour, to end up with only RF21.

With WZPX, my tuner was still receiving from RF44 at 5pm. I ran a re-scan, and still seemed to be only receiving RF44. Then, at 5:30pm, a re-scan found two instances of every channel of theirs. At 5:45pm, only the RF21 signal was found.

Per their STAs, I'm assuming that both stations are indeed using their interim antennas and equipment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

These are the only two full-service/power broadcasts transitioning in Phase 6 in our market. WLLA received permission to delay into Phase 7, and indeed remains on RF45.

None of the Class As nor other LPTVs nearby reach my antenna, so I can't confirm their status. I do see that WOLP-CD filed their License to Cover for transitioning to RF35 today.

I've been beyond fringe for WOLP-CD's RF41 signal...only rarely decoding it. Rabbitears.info estimates the RF35 broadcast will have a better chance getting to me. Plus I can now finagle with the aim of my rooftop aerial, since WZPX is coming from the WOTV tower. I won't need the beamwidth to receive it from further east. I'm unsure if I'll make it up the ladder this weekend though.

Happy re-scanning! ~~ Statmanmi



Jason Kragt
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by Jason Kragt » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:47 pm

WZPX is coming in clearly now on the lakeshore near Saugatuck. I have an attic antenna with no amplifier, so the lower broadcast channel probably helps some too, but overall, the new tower location appears to be a winner here. It was always tough to get them on 43. Even with the lower antenna height and reduced power, WZPX's signal is already comparable to WOTV's here.



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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by format this » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:54 am

Location: In the Mattawan/Paw Paw/Gobles triangle.

43.1 through 43.6 are pounding in for the first time ever. Kalamazoo reception is there as well. Looks like 41’s tower was the perfect location.


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MWmetalhead
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by MWmetalhead » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:33 am

The Special Temporary Authority specs for WZPX utilize a directional signal with 85 kW maximum ERP from 241 meters' height above average terrain (HAAT).

https://www.fccinfo.com/CMDProEngine.ph ... 6ab214523d

The STA pattern is different than the pattern that will be in use once the station goes full power this winter.

The full power pattern has tighter nulls (especially at 150, 180 and 210 degrees), but because construction permit ERP is no less than STA effective radiated power in each azimuth, I suspect anyone who currently is receiving a clear signal should continue to do so once the station pivots to its construction permit facilities. Not to mention, once the construction permit is built, antenna height will be about 120 feet higher than it is now.

Other info:
https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/datae ... d6b21d2277
https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/datae ... 46b1d5121c


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MWmetalhead
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by MWmetalhead » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:43 am

As for WOTV, they are temporarily using an antenna that is ~200 feet lower than normal, but they are sending more than previously licensed power in most directions.

When broadcasting on RF 20, they were licensed for 255 kW omnidirectional.

They are currently broadcasting with 423 kW directional. Some areas to the WNW (toward Saugatuck) and SW (toward Oshtemo and Mattawan) are receiving as little as 180 kW currently.

Once WOTV is broadcasting from its Construction Permit facilities, they will be broadcasting with 325 kW omni power from the top of the tower.


Jackie Green is single-handedly ruining WLAV!

CK-722
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by CK-722 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:10 pm

Some of you may not remember the UHF Taboos. An analog station on Channel 43 had to be 20 miles from a station on Channel 41. That may explain the original analog tower placement for Channel 43.

The UHF taboos were partly due to the limitations of vacuum tube tuners. The 2, 3, 4, and 5 channel Taboo was Intermodulation, and those pesky 2A-B and 2B-A third order intermodulation products.


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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by MWmetalhead » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:42 pm

Excellent info; thank you!

Still makes me wonder, though, why the tower couldn't have been placed in, say, western Ionia County.


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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by CK-722 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 2:00 pm

Remember also that is is a Battle Creek station, and the COL has the third largest area of any Michigan city, extending well South of the center of Battle Creek. The Analog City Grade also took in the Haslett and Okemos CDPs. That is pretty much the Eastern extent of Suburban Lansing.

You can access the old City Grade, Grade A, and Grade B contours on FCCdata.org. It's under the BLCT file numbers. Because the FCC is changing its databases again, it loads very slowly. If you use Open Street Map, and Zoom way in on the COL and other towns to be served, you can see where the City Grade signals extend compared to City Limits. It's kind of interesting that the City Grades of many stations barely cover the COL, including Superpower FMs. The FM Translator 70 dBus of many stations extend nearly as far as the far out station transmitter sites do toward the COLs, which may explain some why the the AM stations with translators may be beating them in the ratings. At least until the big stations respond to underserved format needs.


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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by CK-722 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 2:46 pm

The rationale for the UHF Taboos is explained in this Paper. The UHF taboos go back to 1952. They were not well understood by TV Broadcast management and attorneys, unless they also had considerable engineering knowledge. So that lack of understanding resulted in the name "Taboo".

https://transition.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engi ... s/TM87.pdf


Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

Your bullet missed my trial balloon.

RTN Price. Not guaranteed. As of 12:30, 157.71 Down 0.22.

Artificial Intelligence is a Child that needs a Parent to guide it through.

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MWmetalhead
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by MWmetalhead » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:40 pm

When was channel 43 allotted to Battle Creek?

You're right; a site in western Ionia County likely wouldn't be able to provide city grade service to Battle Creek (with possible exception of area south of Lake Odessa near county line).

The need for a city grade signal and 20 mile separation requirement means Eaton, the NE corner of Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, far eastern Van Buren, and northern Branch counties are the only locales that would work.

Of the above, only the northernmost locations (i.e. sites near Nashville or Vermontville) could provide a city grade signal to B.C. while also maintaining necessary separation from WOTV and providing Grade B or better service to Kent County.


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statmanmi
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Re: WZPX (ION) files app to move closer to Grand Rapids

Post by statmanmi » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:36 pm

MWmetalhead wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:33 am
The Special Temporary Authority specs for WZPX utilize a directional signal with 85 kW maximum ERP from 241 meters' height above average terrain (HAAT).

https://www.fccinfo.com/CMDProEngine.ph ... 6ab214523d

The STA pattern is different than the pattern that will be in use once the station goes full power this winter.

The full power pattern has tighter nulls (especially at 150, 180 and 210 degrees), but because construction permit ERP is no less than STA effective radiated power in each azimuth, I suspect anyone who currently is receiving a clear signal should continue to do so once the station pivots to its construction permit facilities. Not to mention, once the construction permit is built, antenna height will be about 120 feet higher than it is now.

Other info:
https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/datae ... d6b21d2277
https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/datae ... 46b1d5121c
It seems that WZPX never did operate under their STA for RF21.

On 10/29/2019, they filed their License to Cover for the permanent antenna at 278 meters HAAT, with the document signed that day. So either they were on the interim for a few days, or not at all. I'm guessing the latter, what with the ancedotal insight of postings in this thread and my own findings that the RF21 signal came in strong from its inception.


WOTV does seem to still be on reduced coverage, as their most recent FCC filing is a Transition Plan Progress Report on 10/23/2019, offering explanation: Station will operate on an interim antenna under STA until the final antenna can be installed.


Thus, it seems at this moment that the WZPX signal is coming off the tower higher than the WOTV interim one. I continue to get both great at my eastern Kent County (almost Greenville) location.

Cheers! ~~ Statmanmi



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