Frequency Changes, Construction updates

 

Channel 16 (WGGS) and channel 28 (W28DB) are both changing broadcast frequencies.  This requires the installation of new transmitters and new antennas for both channels.


Dante explains some things.  I wrote up a guide with more details below.

Our transmitter location is on Paris Mountain, in Greenville, SC.  We have two towers on site there. In order to support the weight of the new antenna for WGGS, we have to tear down one tower and build a stronger one that can support the weight of the new antenna, which will broadcast at a frequency of 54 megahertz (MHz).  In physical terms, the new antenna is heavier and wider than the old 485 MHz antenna, so the current tower won’t safely support it.

In addition to a new tower and antenna, we have to install a new transmitter and radio frequency filter as well.  Something like this:



These transmitters also require a lot of cooling, so there is a liquid cooling system to install as well.  Lots of pipes, and two big external radiators, with pumps and fans. Neat!

On the weekend of June 14, 2019, we moved Channel 16 to a temporary, lower power antenna on one of our towers so that we can begin deconstructing the other tower, which currently supports the full-power antenna for 16.  

Since we cannot broadcast our full licensed power on the temporary antenna, some viewers that are on the edges of our coverage area will unfortunately have degraded reception until we can complete everything.

The actual deconstruction of the old tower, reinforcement of the concrete foundation, and construction of the new tower will take several weeks, beginning July 8.  The new tower will be about 150 feet tall, and the new 54 MHz antenna will sit on top of it. Channel 28’s antenna will attach to the side.  (My apologies for the quality of the upcoming artwork.  I failed art school.)

During this time, WGGS and W28DB will continue to broadcast on their old frequencies, just at lower power levels, due to the temporary antennas they will have to use.  Cable and satellite viewers should not be affected during this time.

After the frequency change, your television will still display WGGS as being on channel 16 and W28DB as being on channel 28.   This is called a virtual channel, and the majority of on-air television stations will operate the same way.  

Once WGGS TV 16 has moved to our new 54 MHz frequency in September, we will be able to run at full power again.  Because the frequency is significantly lower than our previous frequency of 485 MHz, some over-the-air viewers may have difficulty picking us up.  You will also need to rescan your TV or converter box on that day to reacquire the signal.

This is where the quality of your antenna comes into play.  A good outdoor antenna that is capable of picking up low VHF frequencies is important.  Your antenna will need to be able to receive frequencies as low as 54MHz, which makes for a larger antenna with longer elements.  

 

Remember those guys?  You might need one again.  

These can be mounted on a roof, an exterior pole, or in an attic.  You may also be able to use the old-style rabbit-ear antennas indoors.  Generally, to pick up low VHF frequencies, you would need to extend both ears out as far as they will go horizontally.  This is not guaranteed to work, but you may get lucky.

Channel Master has been making antennas for years, and this is an example of one that would work for all TV frequencies, including low VHF.

https://www.channelmaster.com/Digital_HDTV_Outdoor_TV_Antenna_p/cm-3018.htm

Winegard is another company that gets good reviews in this area.  There are many other antenna options as well, just be sure that the frequency range goes as low as 54 MHz.

So, to sum it all up:

Channel 16 will run at a lower power on the same frequency until September 6.  At that point, we change frequencies to 54MHz, which will require a rescan of your TV or converter box.  You may need a new antenna to pick up the lower frequency. Channel 28 will also change frequencies, but you should not need a new antenna just for 28.