Don’t worry about digital conversion: Fraser rec to continue transmitting analog signal
March 30, 2009
In September 1988, the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District, with the permission of Winter Park Recreational Association and the National Forest Service, installed a receive/transmit tower at the top of the Mary Jane ski area to re-broadcast Denver television stations to the Winter Park/Fraser Valley. This low-power television translator is regulated by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Currently, the District holds five FCC licenses and provides five channels of UHF band television. An external UHF antenna with line of sight to the signal source is required to receive these television signals. To date, the District has invested over $200,000 in equipment, installation and maintenance of this operation.
Due to the FCC mandate to convert all primary broadcast analog television signals to digital, the District evaluated the options for the current television translator system and made the decision to purchase commercial satellite downlink of signals. This is a commercial agreement with Dish Network that allows us to receive satellite signals from a typical satellite dish receiver and then rebroadcasts that signal in analog and to our users. By continuing to broadcast analog signals, users in the valley (that currently receive the signal) need not change sets or get a converter box but will continue receiving analog signal as usual.
While the June 12, 2009 deadline for ending analog broadcasts does not apply to television translator stations, the FCC may require these stations to convert to digital broadcasting sometime thereafter. The FCC is currently considering the remaining issues involved with the low-power digital transition and will make decisions regarding these stations in the future.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the District is able to utilize this service. For the most part, one must have a direct line of sight to the Mary Jane ski mountain where the translator equipment resides. Users who have always been able to receive these signals should continue to do so. However, with the change of equipment there may have been a slight change in transmission, therefore there may be users that once received the signals clearly that are now experiencing some issues in quality.
Unlike cable or satellite service, many factors can affect the quality of over-the-air signals. The very best signals the District can provide will never match those provided by cable or satellite. However, the cost to you, the taxpayer, is a fraction of the cost of cable or satellite.
At any point in the re-transmission process equipment problems can and do arise, with repairs sometimes taking several days or even weeks (if parts need to be sent out for repair). The District has a television monitor at the administrative office in Fraser where staff is able to monitor the quality of the stations. This is our best way of understanding what is happening at the satellite station on the mountain. Although we appreciate hearing from our users when there are problems, we have no way of assessing those problems unless they are happening at our monitoring sight in Fraser. If we do experience the same problem, we put a call into our engineer and he is usually at the site within a few days. Often times, equipment will need to be sent out and therefore there can be a long delay in returning that station to full operation. If there are no issues at our site or with the equipment, there are still a number of reasons that one might be experiencing problems. Below is a checklist of equipment necessary to receive over-the-air television signals. The quality of the pictures you receive is directly related to the equipment and installation used to receive the signals.
1. A good quality outdoor TV antenna is required. Rabbit ears or built-in antennas generally will not be enough. The antenna should be at least three feet above your roof and not in the attic underneath metal roofing. Also, if your antenna is more than 15 years old, it may need to be replaced.
2. The lead-in wire connecting the antenna to the TV should be the round “coaxial” cable type, not the old style “twinlead” or flat wire which will result in signal loss and poor picture quality. Like antennas, cables must periodically be replaced.
3. Connections between the antenna and lead-in wire and to the TV must be secure and impedance matching transformers used at the antenna and when needed at the TV. Ideally, leave no excess coil of lead-in wire.
4. The antenna must be pointed at the District’s transmitters which are located on the Mary Jane ski mountain. TV antennas have a “front” and “back” side and the front must be pointed in the right direction. In most cases the smaller elements or the open end of a “V” shaped antenna are the front. TV antennas work poorly, if at all, when not properly oriented.
UHF Channel Denver Channel Call Letters
27 7 (ABC) KMGH
30 6 (PBS) KRMA
33 4 (CBS) KCNC
36 2 (CW Network) KWGN
39 9 (NBC) KUSA
We hope this information has helped you to understand the factors that can and do affect the quality of television signals provided by the District and the steps you can take to improve reception. The District staff may be reached at 726.8968 to help answer any questions or report any problems. You may also visit our website: www. fraservalleyrec.org, where we keep updates on the status of service issues.