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Wisconsin Station Wants to Move to VHF

Despite the by now well-known reception issues that stations are having on the high VHF band, post transition, one UHF station wants to move to a VHF channel.

WWAZ License LLC the licensee of station WWAZ-DT Channel 44 in Fond du Lac, Wis., requested substitution of DTV Channel 5 for Channel 44 at Fond du Lac. According to the FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (MM Docket 09-115) [PDF] WWAZ said the channel change will serve the public interest because it "will eliminate the technical requirement that the Station co-locate with Station WWRS-DT, Mayville, Wisconsin, to avoid adjacent-channel interference between the two stations."

WWAZ also said the proposed channel substitution and other related changes in the facility's location will allow it to serve twice the number of Hispanic viewers. The FCC staff found the original proposal would have caused a loss of service to viewers along the western and northwestern edge of both the WWAZ-DT's Appendix B digital service area and WWAZ-TV's licensed analog service area.

In response to the staff's request for a public interest showing justifying this loss, WWAZ proposed using two fill in translators to serve 99.8% of the loss area. Applications and associated special temporary authority requests for the two translators were filed on March 6, 2009. On June 16, WWAZ amended its original proposal. Although the amended proposal for the digital replacement translators expands the coverage area to 1% more than WWAZ-TV's analog coverage area, the FCC said this small expansion is consistent with the de-minimis expansion allowed in the Replacement Translator Order.

The new allotment for Channel 5 specifies a power of 25 kW and an antenna height above average terrain of 354 meters.

It will be interesting to see how this channel works for WWAZ. From reports I've heard, Channel 5 does fine with outdoor antennas, but reception is difficult if not impossible with indoor antennas due to noise from appliances, fluorescent lights and computers.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.