WGHP, Winston-Salem, NC temporarily reactivates UHF transmitter

Viewers of WGHP are reporting difficulties in receiving the Ch8 signal after they reverted back to their VHF assignment and correspondingly reduced their power. They have temporarily restarted their UHF transmitter until they can figure out how to help their viewers.

When WGHP moved to Ch8 they also reduced their power to about 11Kw, which may be part of the problem. We have learned that a Clearstream2 was unable to receive the VHF channel at about 15 miles from the transmitter. Normally, the C2 has VHF capabilities up to about 20 -25 miles. There may be other issues, including interference from nearby FM stations or some of the general issues which plague DTV broadcasting on VHF such as noise in the band, issues with fractional bandwidth and interfering signals from adjacent markets.

The FCC came out and was unable to detect a signal using a C2 and a spectrum analyzer. In an interview the FCC representative suggested combination UHF/VHF antenna as a solution. But one of the things that is never mentioned is that combo antennas are inherently compromised designs; meaning by trying to cover the whole broadcast spectrum, you will end up getting poorer performance on every channel than from an antenna that is designed for a narrower range of frequencies.

So it’s entirely possible that if you are able to find an antenna that will lock Ch 8 reliably and consistently you may also lose reception on your other UHF DTV stations. And the suggestion to use rabbit ears makes us cringe, these are inherently narrow band antennas and may force to viewers to adjust the element each time you change channels. Rabbit ears also are more prone to multipath interference and have poor performance on the UHF band where the rest of the digital signals are being broadcast in this market.

There will likely be issues which cannot be solved with an antenna. We wish WGHP the best of luck and we are keeping our fingers crossed that they will be able to permanently stay on their UHF assignment of Ch 35.