OTA observations in St. Joseph, Missouri

Discussion in 'Over the Air TV By RabbitEars.Info' started by comfortably_numb, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Earlier this year, it was announced that St. Joseph, Missouri, which is about 55 miles north of Kansas City, would be getting it's own CBS affiliate, labeled KCJO. The station began broadcasting early this summer on Channel 30 (real and virtual). This puzzled me, as KPXE, the million-watt ION affiliate in Kansas City, operates on the same frequency and covers St. Joseph as well.

    I finally had time to make a journey up to St. Joe today, (it's 105 miles for me) to see what I could pick up with my "mobile DTV setup," which includes my Compaq laptop, an HD Homerun HDHR3US tuner, and an RCA ANT 112F indoor-style antenna.

    First, I parked near the KQTV VHF-7 transmitter, which is the 40 Watt ABC affiliate. I was able to pick it up fine, along with KNPG and KNPN, which are the 15-Watt low power NBC and Fox affiliates. At this time, I noticed that KCJO CBS seemed to be simulasting on subchannel .2 of KNPN, but I couldn't pick up KCJO's channel 30 signal from this location at all. Not a blip. I did notice that it washed out KPXE's signal from Kansas City, however, as it was also not receivable.

    At this point I drove to the tower location of KCJO, which is about a mile north of downtown. At the base of the tower, I could pick up KCJO.

    Next I drove to the heart of downtown. At this location, I could receive KQTV, KNPN and KNPG, but not KCJO. No KPXE either.

    According to Rabbitears.info, KCJO is a mere .75 watts, which would explain it's paltry signal levels anywhere in town except at the base of it's tower. But if it simulcasts on KNPN, then why broadcast a signal on channel 30 at all? By doing this, they block viewing of KPXE anywhere in St. Joe proper. From what I can tell, there is no competition in town as St. Joe has no ION affiliate.

    With the repack coming and transmitter and channel sharing becoming a reality, is it possible (and legal) for KCJO to shut off it's transmitter and exist only on KNPN 26.2?

    KCJO at it's tower location.
    KCJO at tower location.jpg

    KCJO in downtown St. Joseph, less than a mile from the transmitter location.
    KCJO downtown.jpg

    I have more signal results on the other local channels if anybody is interested.
  3. First, you're off by an order of magnitude. KQTV is 40 kW, not 40 W, LPTVs operate at 15 kW, not 15 W, etc. KCJO-LD was licensed back in 2013, before KPXE moved to 30.

    LPTV displacements to new channels have been frozen by the FCC for some time. My guess is that when the special filing window for the repack opens some time next year, NP-G will file to move KCJO-LD to a new channel. Until then, unless ION complains, they are more or less stuck where they are.

    - Trip
    comfortably_numb likes this.
  4. Ah, so it has more to do with KPXE washing out *their* channel, not the other way around?
  5. I haven't done the math, so I'm not sure how much interference KCJO-LD is causing to KPXE. If it's more than 0.5% of the total population, KPXE as a full-power station can complain and the LPTV has to go off the air or move.

    KCJO-LD has to accept interference from full-powers, or move, in that situation.

    - Trip
    comfortably_numb likes this.
  6. Which brings me back to my original question; why would KCJO need to broadcast on 30 at all, even at .75 kW, if they simulcast on another channel which covers their whole viewing area? Is there some requirement that they have to have a primary transmitter?
  7. Two things.

    1) If KCJO-LD were to remain off the air for more than a year, its license would be canceled as a matter of law.

    2) CBS has a clause in some of the affiliation agreements I've seen which requires a minimum bitrate. KCJO-LD is likely how it is meeting that requirement, while simulcasting CBS elsewhere with a lower bitrate.

    - Trip
  8. Makes sense. Their primary feed on 30 is 12.45 mbps. I didn't measure the bitrate on their simulcast feed.
  9. Will this law be changing in the future when some stations have to share transmitters due to repacking or ATSC 3.0?
  10. Why would it? A channel sharing station that is operating via a licensed channel share has its own license and is on the air.

    - Trip
  11. That’s my point; why can’t KCJO license as a channel share now? They’re already simulcasting
  12. That stand alone license is very valuable, no one would want to just surrender it.
  13. It's not valuable if they can only broadcast at .75 Kw ;)
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