San Diego DTV stations make the transition

Among the stations making the transition this week are San Diego’s local TV affiliates KFMB (CBS), KGTV (ABC), KSWB (Fox), and XETV (CW Network). Last week they said they would make the switch to digital-only service at midnight on Feb. 17, despite a new ruling in Congress to allow a delay the transition until June 12. According to the local chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE chapter 36), each station spends thousands of dollars a month on electrical bills to keep its older analog transmitters on the air for the 7 percent or less of San Diego County viewers currently watching with a terrestrial TV tuner.

One station, KPBS (PBS), will continue to operate its analog channel 15 transmitter through its March pledge drive, according to director of engineering Leon Messenie. In addition, KNSD (NBC) and KUSI (independent) will wait until June 12 to end analog service.

Televisa’s XEWT will shutdown its analog channel 6 while simultaneously locating Televisa's Canal 5 service on digital 23 as a subchannel of XETV-DT. Channel 6 will be the first Mexican TV station to cease analog transmissions. At the same time, engineers are installing redundant digital TV transmitters and antennas at the parent company’s Tijuana facility.

KFMB-TV wants to abandon its low-power channel 7 DTV temporary transmission and cut to a channel 8 full-power DTV service.

Meanwhile, the SBE said Entravision’s Spanish-language stations in the area are attempting to convert to DTV. XHDTV Tecate is due to come online soon on channel 47. XHAS (TMD) in Tijuana is working on signing on channel 34 DTV. KBNT (Univision) has an application pending for a digital service on channel 14. The FCC signaled that it might approve that application for a low-power service after stating in a recent ruling for L.A. County emergency services on channel 15 that its use in Los Angeles did not preclude reusing the channel for low-power TV service in San Diego. Channel 14 is similarly used for land mobile in the L.A. basin.