April 1 Deadline Set for 7/13 GHz Receive Site Registration

The FCC issued Public Notice DA 13-145 announcing an April 1, 2013 effective date for its requirement that all 7 and 13 GHz broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) TV pickup licensees register their stationary receive sites.

The Public Notice stated that the FCC will grant a fee exemption to TV pickup licensees in these bands who are modifying their licenses for “the sole purpose of adding their receive sites.” If any other modifications or corrections are included, they must pay the $150 application fee.

It isn't clear from the wording if adding receive sites to TV pickup licenses for already licensed frequencies in the 2 GHz, 2.4 GHz and 6.5 GHz bands would be allowed under the fee exemption.

Refer to the Public Notice for details on the information required for each receive site. As with fixed link receive sites, the receive antenna location, make, model and technical data are required, along with the site elevation and the height of the antenna above ground (AGL). Unlike fixed link receive sites, TV pickup receive sites also require structure height (AGL) with and without appurtenances, the structure type and providing an answer to an environmental assessment question.

Each receive site has to be associated with a path, which means the frequency and emission data has to be entered separately for each receive site path. More than one path may be required for each receive site if different antennas or bands are used at the site. Even if the make/model of the antenna is the same for 7 and 13 GHz, a new path may be required if it has different gain on the two bands. I'm assuming the beamwidth will be 360 degrees if the antenna can be pointed in any direction. This could lead to a very large application for a station with both 7 and 13 GHz antennas or multiple antennas in the same band, such as a panel array and a steerable parabolic antenna.

Imagine a station with six receive sites, four of which have 13 GHz steerable parabolic antennas, six of which have 7 GHz steerable antennas, and two of which also have 7 GHz panel antennas. While there are only six sites, a total of (four + six + two) 12 paths will be required. If the FCC allows adding 2 GHz receive sites and the station has 2 GHz steerable antennas at six sites and panel antennas at two of them, the total number of paths will increase to 20.

Part 74 broadcast auxiliary service licensees that do not register their 7 & 13 GHz fixed TV pickup sites will not be protected from interference from fixed links. Recent changes in the FCC rules allow use of these bands by Part 101 licensees. They are likely to be used for cellular backhaul and this could be a problem for stations that don't register receive sites, particularly if the receive site happens to be on a roof-top or at a tower site shared with wireless base stations.

Doug Lung

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.