GatesAir streamlines UHF TV channel relocation for Chicago PBS station

GatesAir streamlines UHF TV channel relocation for Chicago PBS station

GatesAir will facilitate WWTTW’s spectrum repack-driven transition to channel 25

GatesAir announces that WTTW-TV—the primary PBS member station serving the Chicago market—has selected GatesAir to fulfill its FCC TV spectrum repack requirements. GatesAir will supply its recently-announced Maxiva™ ULXTE high-efficiency, liquid-cooled UHF TV transmitter in preparation for WTTW’s relocation from UHF channel 47 to 25.


Owned by Window to the World Communications, Inc., WTTW carries the PBS network on its main channel, with WTTW Prime, Create/World and PBS Kids on its secondary channels. With its assignment to “Phase 6” in the Midwest/Chicago region, WTTW is legally mandated to complete its relocation to UHF channel 25 by October 18, 2019. According to the FCC’s transition timetable, stations affected by the TV spectrum repack are moving in phases to avoid causing interference with other stations in their market.


“We face a hard deadline”

“This relocation is a very challenging and complex process because we must keep our existing channel on the air until our official switchover in October of 2019, and then ‘flip a switch’ to transition our operation to channel 25 flawlessly,” says Michael Tompary, WTTW’s Director of Engineering. “GatesAir sent an engineering team to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of our transmitter site, and worked out the best possible plan for replacing our transmitter with the new ULXTE model, given our limited space and the hard deadline we’re facing.”


The ULXTE will replace a GatesAir Sigma (legacy) transmitter that was installed about 15 years ago. Based on the company’s green, high-efficiency PowerSmart® Plus transmitter architecture with broadband amplification, the compact ULXTE utilizes the latest 50-volt LDMOS amplifiers to reduce size, weight and energy consumption while increasing power density. The ULXTE integrates GatesAir’s new ATSC 3.0-ready XTE exciter, which increases processing power and incorporates its patented RTAC™ technology.


ATSC 3.0 attributes of XTE

Tompary finds the ATSC 3.0 attributes of the XTE particularly compelling, given that the transmitter will be ready to address advanced services made possible by the new standard after the repack period concludes: “Migrating to the advanced ATSC 3.0 DTV broadcast standard is an essential goal for us, as we want to deliver programming to mobile devices and expand our audience—especially when it comes to attracting the younger demographic. We based our purchase decision on our positive experience with GatesAir and the exceptional service they have provided us over the years.”


“We’re delighted that WTTW has again put its faith in our transmission technology, as well as entrusting us with the installation of their new TV spectrum repack DTV transmission infrastructure,” says Joseph Mack, vice president of sales, Americas, GatesAir. “With the most extensive manufacturing and service operation in the United States, GatesAir is uniquely prepared to accommodate WTTW and other broadcast organizations with the industry’s most comprehensive repack solution, encompassing evaluation, equipment and engineering services. We’re also uniquely positioned to provide accelerated delivery, installation and commissioning timelines, which greatly benefit stations that are subject to concrete relocation deadlines.”

TM Broadcast International

Broadcast and audiovisual digital magazine

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