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FCC releases new version of signal interference software

The FCC has released a new version of its OET-69 TVStudy software for use by television broadcasters to estimate and avoid station inference after the incentive auctions in 2014. The new version — 1.2.7 — adds the ability to predict and analyze cross-border interference.

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) said the latest version of the software was in response to staff testing and user feedback. The software is important because it will be used to assist in repacking station spectrum after the upcoming incentive spectrum auctions.

OET-69 is a term that describes a methodology for calculating television broadcast station coverage areas to predict and prevent interference. It is critical that it be accurate since placing stations on the same channel in adjacent markets in and outside the United States could result in interference for viewers.

The previous version of the software was controversial because broadcasters claimed it was inaccurate and illegal. The new version was released in advance of an incentive auction workshop with broadcasters held last Thursday.

The latest version of the software fixes many errors and contains some significant updates, according to the FCC. It includes improvements in sorting station records and scenarios in earlier versions that could cause errors. It can generate multiple station signals simultaneously in order to produce a composite picture of national coverage. Users can analyze interference between U.S., Canadian and Mexican stations using “proxy” channels.

The new version also includes new source code and executable files for both the Apple Macintosh and Linux computer platforms, an updated instruction manual, change log and upgrade guide.

The data files have not changed since the last version of the software and can be used with the new version.

The FCC said for problems or questions, stations should contact Mark J. Colombo.