02.10.2010 03:00 PM
Sprint Nextel Requests BAS Transition Extension
WASHINGTON: Sprint Nextel is again asking to extend the deadline of the
ongoing transition of broadcast auxiliary operations to new spectrum
assignments. Sprint Nextel has asked the FCC to extend the current deadline
through Aug. 9, 2010 for 28 markets “due to adverse weather conditions,
installation constraints and other circumstances...”
The original deadline was in September 2007, but the job proved far more
complicated than originally anticipated. Sprint Nextel won an initial extension
to March 5, 2009, then another that gave it until this week--Feb. 8. Sprint
Nextel, filing with the Association for Maximum Service TV, the Society of
Broadcast Engineers and the National Association of Broadcasters, said in a
joint filing with the FCC in December they were not yet able to say with
certainty which markets would miss the Feb. 8 deadline.
At that time, 42 of the nation’s 210 designated market areas had not yet
completed the transition. Of those, 14 made the February deadline. The rest are
expected to be done between now and the end of July. They are listed below,
directly from the filing, along with reasons for the delays. Some are
attributed to equipment delivery and installation conflicts. Others,
particularly in the Northern states, to weather.
They are as follows:
Markets projected to relocate in February 2010:
●St. Louis, Mo. (DMA #21): Three stations in this market did not
receive truck transmitters until the first of December, and they have just
finished installing them. One station was not able to schedule commencement of
central receive site installation until Jan. 4, 2010. The station’s chief engineer
has coordinated a Feb. 16, 2010, relocation date with the other stations in the
market, provided their installations are complete.
N.D. (DMA #152): Market relocation at the end of January was delayed into
February as a result of harsh weather conditions.
Mont. (DMA #171): All stations except one have relocated. They are all far
enough apart that this has not created any operational problems. The last
station is tied to the stations in the Butte-Bozeman, Mont., DMA where the
winter weather has been extremely bad.
Markets projected to relocate in March 2010:
● Columbus, Ohio (DMA #34): One station has two more ENG trucks to self-install.
A second station is waiting on a tower owner at one of its receive sites to
complete structural tower work to accommodate the weight of the new steerable
antenna that the station is installing. There is an outside possibility that
both stations will finish before commencement of the February sweeps so that
the market could relocate in early February; however, none of the stations in
the market will relocate during sweeps, so it is more likely that the market
will relocate in March after completion of the sweeps.
N.Y. (DMA #44): All three stations had to delay installation work for about
3 months because the tower manager for a receive site required revisions to
site leases to undertake the relocation work. The installer cannot return until
mid-February, weather permitting, and installation will take roughly two weeks.
Ky. (DMA #66): This market is tied to the Louisville, Ky DMA for
relocation, and, like Louisville, it is not willing to relocate during the
February sweeps. In addition, one station has had some configuration problems
with its equipment, and the installer has left the market while the problems
are resolved. The installer will return once the equipment is re-configured and
re-sent (on schedule for shipping on January 27). Furthermore, two other
commonly-controlled stations have had significant equipment problems, coupled
with installer delays. They are not yet finished installing the last of their
Ohio (DMA #56): This is a last-in-market situation. The installer has
started on the ground work, but has not yet scheduled the tower work. The
installer has advised that if it can locate a tower crew, then the station is
willing to allow installation in February during the sweeps. Ice has created
problems for tower climbing.
● Des Moines-Ames, Iowa (DMA #70): One installer was supposed to install
most of the stations in the market (four of six). As of the first of the year,
the installer had not scheduled any of them. Two of the stations changed
installers, and one was completed on Jan. 25. The other station is
substantially complete, but still has a few configuration problems. A third
station is self-installing and has a few configuration issues, but this station
is willing to relocate with the others even if it is not finished
trouble-shooting. The market will not relocate during the February sweeps.
● Honolulu (DMA #71): One station received its equipment at the end of
September. Installation was started at two stations right after the November
sweeps, and stopped for two weeks over the holiday period (as most
installations did). Installers struggled for several weeks trying to upgrade
three antenna sites. Ultimately, because of the age and condition of these
antennas, Sprint decided to pay to replace them. The antennas are being
shipped, and the installers resumed installation on Feb. 1 (the stations are
willing to have them installed during the February sweeps). Installation should
take about two weeks. Relocation will be the first week in March after the
sweeps period has ended, unless the entire market is willing to relocate as
soon as the installation is complete.
● Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque, Iowa (DMA #90): One station
received its ENG truck transmitters at the end of December 2009. The station
has not been able to get its installer of choice to schedule an install date
until just recently. Installation is currently set for March 8, 2010, and it
should take a week or two. Another station lost its receive site, and it has
been working on a new tower lease in Iowa City, which is now complete. That
station plans on installing during February.
● Tri-Cities, Tenn./Va. (DMA #92): This is a last-in-market situation.
The other stations have been ready to relocate since mid-October. Equipment for
the last station was delivered at the end of November. The chief engineer
bench-tested all of it during December, and he realized that some of it needed
to be returned to the manufacturer for updating before it could be configured
properly for installation. The station prefers to self-install its equipment
and does not want to install during the February sweeps.
● Evansville, Ind. (DMA #98): Only one station remains to be installed.
This station is one of the last installations that the installer has scheduled.
The station has had several configuration problems with its equipment. The
manufacturer is conducting trouble-shooting, and the installer will have to
return once the equipment is corrected and sent back to the station. The
manufacturer has provided no projected delivery date. Another station is also
still waiting on its installer, who estimates installation at the end of
February, but installation at this station is not necessary for relocation of
the market, because it does not currently use its 2 GHz equipment.
● Ft. Wayne, Ind. (DMA #103): This is a last-in-market situation. The
station has been waiting on its installer, who has pushed the schedule back six
times in the last six months due to scheduling problems and lack of personnel.
The station hopes to schedule installation in February, and it is willing to
install during the February sweeps. It remains to be seen whether the rest of
the market will agree to relocate during the February sweeps period. If not,
they will do so after February sweeps.
● Sioux City, Iowa (DMA #144): This is a last-in-market situation. The
last of the station’s equipment was shipped on Jan. 22, 2010. The installer has
done a partial install and needs to return to install the last central receive
site. The weather currently prohibits tower work, so installation is on hold.
● Butte-Bozeman, Mont. DMA #190): The stations are working on the
installations (self-install), but the winter weather has been brutal. They have
been doing the best they can. The links are spread out over hundreds of miles,
and some are tied to the Missoula market. They are currently snowshoeing some
2 GHz equipment to sites that even snowcats cannot reach.
Markets projected to relocate in April 2010:
● Indianapolis (DMA #26): One station received, on Jan. 20, the
equipment for one of its receive sites; however, it will not install the
equipment during the February sweeps. It will begin self-installing immediately
after sweeps. Two stations have the same installer, and both have been put off
several times. The current schedule is for installation to commence March 15
and to take two to three weeks. A fourth station has had a number of equipment
and configuration problems, and the installer has been rather slow. They are
almost finished installing, but a few configuration problems remain.
● Lafayette, Ind. (DMA #194): This one-station market has been installed
since June of 2009, but is close enough to Indianapolis that they have to
relocate together to avoid interference.
● Davenport, Iowa – Rock Island-Moline, Ill. (DMA #88): This is a last-in-market
situation. The station received its equipment in early December, and has a very
small staff. The station has refused offers of outside help and is insistent on
doing the install itself. The station indicates that it will be another 30 to 60
days before it is finished. The rest of the market has been ready to relocate
since early November. Because of close proximity, this market must relocate
with the Cedar Rapids market.
● Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisc. (DMA #136): Ice, strong winds and winter
weather have delayed installation work that must be done at one site used by
two stations in the market.
Markets projected to relocate in June 2010:
● Portland, Ore. (DMA #23): There are a number of stations in Portland
that are not completely finished. Two stations in the Oregon Public
Broadcasting system have had equipment and installer troubles. Installation is
to take at least another 30 to 60 days. Another station has had to wait for its
installer to complete installation at three sites. Two other stations have other small
items for their installer to finish, which should be completed by Feb. 1.
Another station is waiting on the phone company to install DSL lines for its
remote control system before its installer can return to hook up the control
system. The Portland, Eugene, Medford-Klamath Falls and Bend markets must
● Eugene, Ore. (DMA #122): One station does not yet have an installation
date from its installer. Tentative dates are for some time in February. This
station’s equipment did not ship until late November. Another station has been
self-installing for some time, and it has had significant problems with its
equipment, and with the installation of a specialized out-of-band system. As
noted above, Eugene must wait for the other markets in Oregon to relocate.
● Medford-Klamath Falls, Ore. (DMA #142): The relocation of this market
is impacted by a very large five-station mega-relocation effort (four
full-power stations and one LPTV station) that incorporates some 50 fixed links
throughout Oregon and extreme Northern California. They have some particularly
difficult and ingeniously engineered mountain-top installations feeding remote
translators that have had to be completely re-engineered, including geothermal
generators to power sites when the solar power fails. Installer capability has
One station in the market has presented a particularly interesting problem. The
station was verified, and, in 2006, it signed off on its scrubbed 2 GHz
equipment inventory. The equipment arrived in September, and when the installer
arrived in early January 2010 to install the equipment, it was found that none
of the equipment sent was appropriate for the application. The station is being
completely re-verified beginning Jan. 25, 2010, and the equipment engineering and
procurement process will have to start over. Further delays could occur if the
manufacturer does not have what the station needs in stock. Further, as noted
above, Medford-Klamath Falls must wait for the other markets in Oregon to
Ore. (DMA #200): This is a last-in-market situation. The station is part of
a complicated three-station network for Oregon Public Broadcasting, which
stretches all over the state. The installer has taken a very long time to
schedule and complete this job. Installation will take another 30 to 60 days at
least. Furthermore, this is an especially large complicated job. As noted
above, Bend must wait for the other markets in Oregon to relocate.
Wash. (DMA #78): One station has complicated remote-controlled camera
systems involved in the relocation process. The manufacturer and installer are
trying to resolve problems encountered with the installation of these systems.
Another station has a very complicated and highly unique control system.
Installation of this control system has encountered numerous technical and
budgetary problems, prompting work stoppages by the installer. This
installation problem has also delayed relocation of a fixed link associated
with another co-located station. The latter station’s equipment has been
installed but cannot be turned on until the former station’s installation is
complete. Winter-weather issues have complicated installations at many of the
mountain sites in the market.
Wash. (DMA #124): Two stations in this market are sister stations of the
station in the Spokane market with the very complicated and highly unique
control system. Together the three stations participate in a video and control
network. They are having the same developmental and installation issues as
their sister station in Spokane.
Minn.-Mason City, Iowa-Austin, Minn. (DMA #153): All three stations are
still installing. One station has not yet scheduled installation with its
installer. The chief engineer has no staff and has had a difficult DTV
installation and other problems. A second station has asked for and received
approval on DSL lines for its control system, as its current two-wire circuits
will not handle the high-speed data traffic. However, this station has not yet
confirmed that it has reached out to the data company to get the DSL lines
installed. The equipment installer will need to return to hook up the control
system once the DSL lines are in place. A third station is self-installing. The
entire market is impacted by winter weather conditions for the foreseeable
Markets projected to relocate in July 2010:
● Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M. (DMA #49): Seven of the stations in
the market are complete and ready for relocation. Three stations have a 52-link
system throughout the state. That equipment was not delivered until early
November. Meanwhile, the installer was busy installing elsewhere. The installer
commenced work in early January and is working until February sweeps begin, at
which point it must stop. Installation will resume after completion of the
Furthermore, installation has been difficult due to winter weather conditions
in the New Mexico mountains. Some of the fixed-link installations will be
installed but not put on line because they will interfere with installations
for the New Mexico public television stations. Sprint has delivered to the
three New Mexico public television stations (KNME, KENW, and KRWG) all of their
Frequency Relocation Agreement materials, including the various FRA Schedules.
The stations are in the process of reviewing these materials. Once these five
outstanding FRAs are executed, then these stations can submit purchase orders
and initiate other relocation efforts.
Alaska (DMA #155): One incumbent received its equipment in late December,
but all of the sites are currently inaccessible. Furthermore, another station
has not had a full-time chief engineer for six months. The station now has a
part-time chief who is trying to address and resolve problems inherited from
his predecessor. Some of this station’s equipment had to be returned to the
manufacturer to be upgraded, and it has just been received back by the station.
The rest of this station’s equipment has not yet been delivered with no current
due date from the manufacturer. That manufacturer has not been actively
involved in and is not overly familiar with the 2 GHz relocation project
(WBNS-TV truck image by Mike Smail; WMTW truck by imagematters1)