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WCPO adds new DTV antenna to boost digital signal

In an effort to improve signal propagation across its coverage area, WCPO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, OH, has installed a new 10,000lb Dielectric circularly polarized THV digital antenna atop its 900ft transmission tower in Walnut Hills.

Soon after the June 12 analog shutoff, the station (broadcasting on Channel 9) has received hundreds of complaints from viewers who can’t receive a digital TV signal.

An existing analog antenna mounted about 150ft from the top of the tower was removed July 6, three-and-a-half weeks after analog transmissions ended. An Oklahoma tower crew spent last week connecting wiring and testing the new antenna, which should be operating at full power this week, according to Bill Fee, WCPO vice president and general manager.

The work was necessary because the station’s digital antenna was located approximately 100ft below the top of its broadcast tower. The tower cannot hold the weight of both the old analog antenna and new digital antenna on its top at the same time. Under the supervision of WCPO engineers, the tower crew moved the new digital antenna to the top of the tower.

Viewers who use an antenna will have to rescan the channels on their digital converter boxes to receive Channel 9 after the station starts broadcasting at full power. The station broadcasts in the VHF spectrum, so consumers will have to install the appropriate antenna in (or outside) their homes as well.

“Having our digital antenna higher up the tower will solve most of the problems we have. I hope it will bring our signal up to par with the other stations,” Fee told the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper, alluding to the fact that WCPO’s DTV signal was not covering the market as well as other Cincinnati-based TV stations.

The tower work, originally expected to be finished on June 26, has been delayed by stormy weather and high winds.