HD Translators

Discuss FCC rules, regulations, news, and information!
BingNYEng
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:19 pm
Location: Binghamton, NY

HD Translators

Post by BingNYEng » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:16 am

I have a couple questions about translators that rebroadcast HD2, HD3 and HD4 channels.
A local commercial station has it's HD2 and HD3 channels rebroadcast on translators, which happen to be on the same tower as the main station. It also has an HD4, but that isn't on a translator.
The audio quality on the 2 translators wasn't great, due to the low bandwidth of the HD2 and HD3 channels.
Recently, the translators started sounding clear, and I noticed that I can no longer pick up any HD channels on the station in question.
1 - is it legal to provide a direct feed to a translator that rebroadcasts an HD2,3,4 channel?
2 - is it legal to lower the power on the main HD station so that only the translators can pick it up?
3 - is it legal to operate a translator of an HD2,3,4 channel when the main station's HD transmitter is off?

User avatar
NECRAT
Site Admin
Posts: 2952
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:13 pm
Location: Taunton, MA
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by NECRAT » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:50 am

BingNYEng wrote: 1 - is it legal to provide a direct feed to a translator that rebroadcasts an HD2,3,4 channel?
2 - is it legal to lower the power on the main HD station so that only the translators can pick it up?
3 - is it legal to operate a translator of an HD2,3,4 channel when the main station's HD transmitter is off?
1. Yes
2. IIRC, the HD signal isn't required to be a certain level, but can't go over the -20 unless given a waiver by the FCC
3. Is a good question, I believe the answer will be no.

Mark will hopefully chime in here, as he'll have the other answers.

I
http://www.necrat.us

"Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a couple of hours, you realize the pig likes it"

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3217
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:49 pm

NECRAT wrote:
BingNYEng wrote: 1 - is it legal to provide a direct feed to a translator that rebroadcasts an HD2,3,4 channel?
2 - is it legal to lower the power on the main HD station so that only the translators can pick it up?
3 - is it legal to operate a translator of an HD2,3,4 channel when the main station's HD transmitter is off?
1. Yes
2. IIRC, the HD signal isn't required to be a certain level, but can't go over the -20 unless given a waiver by the FCC
3. Is a good question, I believe the answer will be no.

Mark will hopefully chime in here, as he'll have the other answers.

I
3 - definitely no. Translator cannot operate when the main is off unless it is an AM fill-in and the AM is daytime-only.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

User avatar
BroadcastDoc
Site Admin
Posts: 2729
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:34 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by BroadcastDoc » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:47 am

In regards to number 2: I think you're able to go immediately to -16db with just a notification letter to the FCC. -16 to -10db may need a waiver.
Christopher "Doc" Tarr CSRE, DRB, AMD, CBNE
Help support the Virtual Engineer, use our 1&1 Affiliate link if you need good, cheap hosting.
Virtual Engineer. The Broadcast Engineering discussion forum

User avatar
NECRAT
Site Admin
Posts: 2952
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:13 pm
Location: Taunton, MA
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by NECRAT » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:18 pm

BroadcastDoc wrote:In regards to number 2: I think you're able to go immediately to -16db with just a notification letter to the FCC. -16 to -10db may need a waiver.
What is the lowest the FCC will allow? Is -20 the limit or will they allow lower without notification?
http://www.necrat.us

"Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a couple of hours, you realize the pig likes it"

User avatar
BroadcastDoc
Site Admin
Posts: 2729
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:34 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by BroadcastDoc » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:06 pm

I could be wrong, but I don't believe there's a limit the other way.
Christopher "Doc" Tarr CSRE, DRB, AMD, CBNE
Help support the Virtual Engineer, use our 1&1 Affiliate link if you need good, cheap hosting.
Virtual Engineer. The Broadcast Engineering discussion forum

kcbooboo
Posts: 452
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:53 pm
Location: East of the Mississippi

Re: HD Translators

Post by kcbooboo » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:53 am

As long as the digital sidebands don't exceed the FCC/NRSC mask limits, they can be as low as you want. However most HD receivers will have difficulty working with them if they're too low. 20dB is already 1% of the carrier level; I'm sure iBiquity would have preferred 0dB but that wouldn't pass the FCC mask.

Bob M.

eadler
Posts: 411
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:23 pm
Location: Binghamton, NY
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by eadler » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:44 am

NECRAT wrote:1. Yes
Do you have a citation for this? Is this only allowable for when both are in the reserved band and owned by the same entity or is it always allowed?
Eric "tonsofpcs" Adler
http://www.videoproductionsupport.com/
Twitter: @eric_adler

User avatar
NECRAT
Site Admin
Posts: 2952
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:13 pm
Location: Taunton, MA
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by NECRAT » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:16 am

eadler wrote:
NECRAT wrote:1. Yes
Do you have a citation for this? Is this only allowable for when both are in the reserved band and owned by the same entity or is it always allowed?
I haven't actually seen where this is written in stone, but have seen a number of HD2 translators now, and they're all direct fed.
It probably exists in the STA used to carry the HD2 via the main. I am not the one to ask however, but there are other members on here who have set these up.
http://www.necrat.us

"Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a couple of hours, you realize the pig likes it"

captbob92
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:50 am

Re: HD Translators

Post by captbob92 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:27 pm

Since on the commercial portion of the FM band an analog translator can only be fed by an off the air FM signal, unless it's a translator tethered to an AM station, it would seem the same rule would be true for an HD signal. i.e. it would have to be fed off the air. That's assuming the translator doesn't produce a signal outside of certain perameters.

User avatar
NECRAT
Site Admin
Posts: 2952
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:13 pm
Location: Taunton, MA
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by NECRAT » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:05 pm

captbob92 wrote:Since on the commercial portion of the FM band an analog translator can only be fed by an off the air FM signal, unless it's a translator tethered to an AM station, it would seem the same rule would be true for an HD signal. i.e. it would have to be fed off the air. That's assuming the translator doesn't produce a signal outside of certain perameters.
Understood, and that would make sense. However I can rattle off a dozen translators that I have seen first hand, not using OTA for their feed, but rather a direct feed.
There seems to be a lack of legal-ese from the FCC on this.

Using HD sub channels as STLs for primaries seems to go a little beyond the intended purpose of the translator.
http://www.necrat.us

"Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a couple of hours, you realize the pig likes it"

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3217
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by Deep Thought » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:28 pm

NECRAT wrote:Using HD sub channels as STLs for primaries seems to go a little beyond the intended purpose of the translator.
Using analog translators to repeat HD subchannels is totally outside the intent of FM translators but since CC is doing it the FCC is blind.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

User avatar
BroadcastDoc
Site Admin
Posts: 2729
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:34 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by BroadcastDoc » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:50 pm

Deep Thought wrote:
NECRAT wrote:Using HD sub channels as STLs for primaries seems to go a little beyond the intended purpose of the translator.
Using analog translators to repeat HD subchannels is totally outside the intent of FM translators but since CC is doing it the FCC is blind.
AAAAAAA-whatisthewordI'mthinkingofohyeah-MEN!
Christopher "Doc" Tarr CSRE, DRB, AMD, CBNE
Help support the Virtual Engineer, use our 1&1 Affiliate link if you need good, cheap hosting.
Virtual Engineer. The Broadcast Engineering discussion forum

User avatar
Dave Loudin
Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:29 am
Location: King George, VA

HD Translators

Post by Dave Loudin » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:41 pm

CBS is doing this in Baltimore, and WAMU does the same in DC.
What's that do....?

User avatar
RFBurns
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:52 am
Location: Casper Wyoming USA
Contact:

Re: HD Translators

Post by RFBurns » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:38 am

Deep Thought wrote: Using analog translators to repeat HD subchannels is totally outside the intent of FM translators but since CC is doing it the FCC is blind.
Remember our little conversation in the NLPBA thread? This is exactly the kind of issues we will be working to change. I am sure my "cohorts" who love those pretzels (non-salted) would say the same thing..being's all of my "cohorts" are consultant engineers just like us.

And many other things that need changing too. Can you think of any more? I sure can! 8)

Big question..or rather observational comment/question combo to the topic evolvement. Does this give us another piece of evidence that big corporate conglomerates are just like big brother...given the blind eye and pass to do whatever it/they want?

Totally agree with the point about taking the intent of FM translators and turning that intent into.....pretzels. :mad:

RFBurns
When something gets in the way...either try to work with it, or go around it and solve the problem.

Post Reply