Fraser Rec District preserves analog TV signal |

Fraser Rec District preserves analog TV signal

Will Bublitz
Grand County, Colorado

Fraser Valley, Colorado, residents won’t have to worry about their television screens going blank this winter.

On Feb. 17, 2009, all U.S. television broadcast are required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to switch entirely to digital signals. When that happens, analog TV sets will no longer receive broadcasts unless they have converter boxes.

Despite this FCC-mandated switch, Fraser Valley residents will continue is get their analog television signals uninterrupted. The reason why is due to the approval of a plan earlier this week by Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation (FVMRD) board of directors.

At their Oct. 28 meeting, the FVMRD directors approved the spending of $14,652 to pay for a satellite dish and related equipment in a commercial agreement with either Dish Network or Direct TV. That agreement will allow the district to receive satellite signals and convert and transmit them in analog format to local TV users.

“By continuing to broadcast analog, no one in the valley will need to change TV sets or buy converter boxes,” said Scott Ledin, FVMRD parks and recreation director. “Our users will just keep on keeping on with analog.”

The new satellite dish will soon be installed atop Mary Jane Mountain where the rest of the FVMRD’s television translator equipment is located.

“Our one problem is snow,” Ledin said. “When the snow accumulates in a satellite dish, it will turn them off. So keeping the dish clean could be a problem.”

Ledin said he has already contacted Bob Dart, Winter Park Resort’s on-mountain maintenance director, about his staff keeping the satellite dish free of snow this winter.

“This is really a partnership us and Winter Park Resort and the U.S. Forest Service, where our translator equipment is located,” Ledin said. “They are helping make TV reception in the Fraser Valley a reality.”

Before deciding on the satellite dish system, the district had explored other options.

One of those was a digital-to-analog converter, but the cost was about $30,000 and the Denver-area transmitter was oriented toward the east. A second option explored was for full digital conversion, but that was even more expensive at an estimated $150,000.

The new satellite system will continue the television service that the FVMRD has been providing to Fraser Valley residents since 1988. Over the past 20 years, the rec district has invested more than $200,000 in equipment, installation and maintenance of its television equipment on Mary Jane Mountain.

The Denver television stations that have been and will continue to be transmitted through the district’s TV translator equipment are: KMGH-Channel 7 (ABC), KRMA-Channel 6 (PBS), KCNC-Channel 4 (CBS), KWGN-Channel 2 (CW Network) and KUSA-Channel 9 (NBC).

Ledin pointed out that not all of the valley residents are able to receive its television signals. Some are in reception “dead zones” because of their location in relation to the television transmitter atop Mary Jane Mountain.

“It has to be basically line-of-sight to get good reception,” he said. “If more beetle kill happens or moving their UHF antenna to a better line-of-sight may improve the signal a homeowner is getting.”

Ledin also said that many residents do not know that their receipt of analog television signals all these years has been a service of the FVMRD.

“We are one of the few rec districts in the state that provides this kind of service,” he said. “For some residents without kids or who aren’t involved in sports and recreation, it may be the only service they utilize from our district.”

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