Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: WOTM-LP Ch. 19 Off The Air?

  1. #1
    N1LF Guest

    Default WOTM-LP Ch. 19 Off The Air?

    I was using "TV Fool" today (great tool) to help build a "target list" of stations nearby that I haven't been able to log yet. One that puzzled me is WOTM-LP Channel 19 in nearby Montevallo, AL.

    It's only 4.4 miles from my home, and I can't detect their signal at all. So, I decided to take a road trip with my Sony Watchman, and verify that they were on the air. My wife and I drove to the top of the ridge where TV Fool has their transmitter located, and still couldn't detect a TV signal at all.

    So, help me learn some new tricks:

    1.) How do I verify if this station is off the air (officially?)
    2.) Can I determine their antenna pattern using an on-line resource?
    3.) Is it possible that they've converted to digital? But if so, why can't I detect them on DTV?

    As always, I'm grateful for all who are helping me get back up to speed on TV Dxing. Boy a lot has changed in nine years!

    73,

    Les Rayburn, N1LF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    642

    Default

    A good example in my market is WBQZ-LP, an old UPN station that shut down in 2005 when the owner died. And it hasnt rebroadcast since, but yet its still in the FCC records and its also still on TV Fool.

    One way to check is to see if there license to broadcast is still active, by doing a FCC website query and then going to Station Info. For my local it shows a license expired in 2007. But for your station the license hasn't expired yet, not until 2013.

    They have a functioning website, which makes it look like they are still on air.
    http://www.wotm19.com/Home.html

    They are low powered, but appear to be running an omindirectional pattern, so you should be able to get them. TV Fool can generate signal maps which factor in terrain, here is the one for WOTM:
    http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...&q=call%3dwotm

    And they are still analog, they dont have a digital application yet. One quick way to tell low powered analog stations from digital ones it to check the call letters. Low powered analog stations usually end in -LP or -CA. Low powered digital stations will end in -LD or -CD.

    Last thing you could do is contact them, either thru the email on their page or you can also get contact information from their FCC query:
    http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/tvq?call=WOTM-LP

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    > 1.) How do I verify if this station is off the air (officially?)

    This is very difficult to tell. If the station has a license-to-cover, it's been on the air at one time. However, it can go back off for a brief period without notifying anyone. (I don't have my rulebook handy but I want to say ten days) It can stay off for as long as a year if it notifies the FCC -- and that notification is *usually* not visible online.

    (you can go to www.fcc.gov/mb , pull down the CDBS Access shortcut on the left side, look up the station, look for a filing of type "BSTA" -- Special Temporary Authority. STAs are issued for a wide variety of reasons, but one of them is for notification that a station is off the air.)

    It is not at all rare for stations to fail to notify the FCC they're off the air for more than ten days.

    > 2.) Can I determine their antenna pattern using an on-line resource?

    http://www.fcc.gov/mb/video/tvq.html . (there's also an audio/amq.html and audio/fmq.html) Look up the station, then click on the call letters. (if the same call letters appear more than once, it doesn't matter which set you click on) This calls up more detail, including a link to the antenna pattern.

    > 3.) Is it possible that they've converted to digital? But if so, why can't I detect them on DTV?

    Being briefly away from my data, don't know -- but I have a vague recollection that this station does in fact have a permit to convert to digital. Occasionally these permits also entail a significant change in transmitter site.
    Doug Smith W9WI
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    http://www.w9wi.com

  4. #4
    N1LF Guest

    Default WOTM-LP Update

    I'm getting a real education in how the world of TV-DXing has changed in the post-transition world.

    Consider the case of WOTM-LP Channel 19 in Montevallo, AL. This station was a textbook example of what low power television was created for. They offered truly local programming, consisting of videotape replays of local high school football games (complete with halftime shows for parents of band members and dance teams), talk shows on local issues, videotaped coverage of city council meetings, etc. Truly local TV.

    Billing themselves as "Over the Mountain" TV, they were also successful in attracting more than their share of local advertisers. As they grew, our local Birmingham cable systems began adding them to their line up. For years, in the early part of this decade, I alternated between watching them off air, and on our local cable system.

    I called today and spoke to their receptionist, who passed me on to the general manager. He said that nearly 100% of their viewership came from their cable audience, and that thanks to the Internet, there was no need to run the transmitter to supply the signal to head-ends. They apparently discontinued on-air service several months ago.

    He laughed, and said that my call was literally "the first one we've ever gotten asking what happened to our signal".

    So if anyone is counting on this LP has a DX target, cross it off your list. They have no plans to return the transmitter to the air (it's been sold!) and will let their license expire.

    Shame to see these types of stations go. At 4.4 miles, it wasn't exactly DX but it was fun to watch.

    Thanks again for all the help--and the education.

    73,

    Les Rayburn, N1LF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    642

    Default

    There isn't much of a future for some LPs. With the internet, cable tv, satellite, there may be less of an interest in them. Also with digital boxes that dont have pass through analog, people probably dont even know analog LPs exist anymore. I have also seen some analog LP's who are owned by a company with a full power transmitter in the same market, simply become a digital subchannel. And why not, it accomplishes the same thing and uses a little less power. Although it gives us less stations to log.

  6. #6
    Stanislav Guest

    Default

    Why or how some LPs exist is a mystery to me. One local LP, an affiliate of Azteca America, has been broadcasting in digital now for the better part of a year.....with no audio. (No, it's not a problem on my end -- others have noted this as well.) They're on local cable systems, complete with audio, so apparently no one there has noticed the OTA problem, or cares about it. It's almost like they switched the thing on, and then just walked away. They continue to shell out good money for transmitter power and maintenance, tower lease, etc. -- and for what?

    Another local LD has some fun old PD stuff that would be interesting to watch -- if anyone could watch it. One watt at 300' on VHF doesn't go very far -- why bother?

    On the analog side, there's a legendary waste of bandwidth here that has jumped from one lame programming source to another over the years. In-between these tenuous affiliations, they generally just transmit color bars -- a couple years ago, for months on end, they were broadcasting the screen saver from a DVD player! They have not applied to switch to digital, and if anyone was ever watching before the transition, they probably aren't now. Somebody's paying a monthly power bill to keep it on the air all these years -- I guess they have deep pockets, cos I can't imagine the station has any revenue coming in.

    Other LPs are religious.....we have three full-power Christian OTA channels as it is, with a total of 7 subchannels, and though the faces of the preachers change, the message is basically the same. Whether your goal is to convert the masses, or just rake in tax-free donations, neither purpose will be well-served with an obsolete analog or inferior digital signal when there are stronger, clearer, more reliable alternatives available.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •