Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Parma Magnet

(This is a reprint of an item which appeared earlier on OMW:)

As if drawn by a giant magnet to Broadview Road in Parma, the OMW/ODTV Mobile took another trip up to the tower that will soon hold antennas for WKYC-DT (RF 17) and ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ-DT (RF 26).

Why, this time, again?

Our inbox was peppered Tuesday with questions from folks who were having trouble picking up the current WKYC-DT (RF 2) facility, which sits on the existing tower right next to the new one at the Broadview Road site.

The outage for the digital side of WKYC on Tuesday apparently extended to subscribers of Dish Network, which displayed a message about technical difficulties where WKYC's digital signal would normally be seen.

Unaffected? Those watching analog channel 3, and subscribers of Time Warner Cable, which we're pretty sure receives all of WKYC's signals via fiber optic cable at its headend just a few blocks down Lakeside Avenue from WKYC's Digital Broadcast Center.

So, we found our way to Cleveland's most famous TV tower site to see what was going on.

The answer, by the time we'd reached Broadview Road in late afternoon? Nothing that we could see. Since we left our decent digital camera back at OMW World Headquarters, we don't really have a good picture to show you...but we'll describe it as best we can.

The new tower appears to be pretty much structurally completed, and is now approximately the same height as the original WKYC tower

On Tuesday afternoon/early evening, we didn't see any tower crews up there, and saw no antennas mounted (of any sort) to the new tower that will eventually hold the antennas for both WKYC and WVIZ's digital facility.

The top portion of the tower's height appears to be in place along the side of where the antennas will be mounted up at the top. We'll assume it is there to make the installation easier, then it will be removed when the antenna system is in place.

Our guess - and it's only a guess - is that the crews working at Broadview Road will use a stretch of decent weather the next few days to finally mount the antenna apparatus. Remember, WVIZ has filed with the FCC hoping to get approval for post-transition digital power levels by June 5th, a date the station says it expects to complete its construction.

And at least Thursday through Saturday, the weather forecast looks to be ideal for tower work. That's just an educated guess on our part...well, semi-educated.

Between now and June 12th, expect temporary signal disruptions from WKYC-DT and WVIZ-DT, as work continues to be done. And we wouldn't be surprised if, after the antennas go up, late night testing could bring some surprises for digital TV viewers...

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