The installation of the new antenna has been completed! We are currently running at Full Power on the new antenna. If you have not been able to receive WTVP you will need to re-scan your television tuner [How to Scan.] If you are unable to receive WTVP after your re-scan, check out this site for useful [troubleshooting information.]
3/13/2020 @ 4pm Update:
The antenna and transmission line have passed the low level testing and now we are moving on into higher power. We are currently broadcasting on the new antenna during this phase.
At 3pm the operation began at 25% power output for about one half hour to check transmitter readings for any potential problems. Currently the system is at 50% power and is being raised in stages while monitoring indicated reflected power and the temperatures of the system. So far everything is looking good and we anticipate the station will be operating at 100% power by 7PM tonight. It we do not experience any issues we will remain at 100% using the new antenna.
In the next couple of days, we may need to power down so that the tower crew can continue to remove remaining hardware used during the installation.
We will post more as it becomes available.
The WTVP transmitter will be reduced to lower power at approximately 11:45am so that testing can begin on the new antenna, transmission lines, and the transmitter. We will post more information as it becomes available.
Yesterday the new antenna was installed at the top of the tower. Work today was delayed slightly due to fog but is now in progress. The main goal today is to remove the Gin Pole, install more of the transmission line, take measurements so the final section of the line can be manufactured.
These steps can't be done if it is raining and with the current forecast for alternating days of rain this may take a few days.
Once complete the whole system, line and antenna, will be tested for proper operation by a tech from the antenna manufacturer and confirmed by our consultant. The earliest estimate for testing is Friday but it may be later depending where the tech is currently working. We estimate 3 to 5 days before the top mounted antenna is put into service.
The weather is cooperating today and the crew has started the process of removing the old antenna and installing the new one. As a result the WTVP-TV and the National Weather Service Weather Radio transmitters have been power down for safety reasons. WCBU which is also located on our tower is running at reduced power.
Yesterdays planed removal of the antenna did not happen. Before the crew started its work, the wind gusts had exceeded the safety limits. Today the wind gusts continue to exceed the limits. Keep in mind that the antenna is located 600 ft from the base of the tower and the wind is stronger the higher you go up. With rain in the forecast work will not resume until at least Tuesday. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
The tower crew is about to begin swapping antennas. The weather is good and they are going up the tower. The NOAA Weather Radio and WCBU-FM transmitters which are also located on our tower are have been powered down for safety reasons during this process.
03/06/2020 Tower Update:
This week the tower crew completed assembling the “gin pole.” It is in position to swivel over the top of the old antenna. Crew members will secure the top of the antenna to the gin pole, unbolt the base, swivel it to the outside of the tower and lower it to the ground.
Unfortunately, the windy weather has not allowed the crew to work at the top of the tower to start the removal process. The wind is 40mph at the top and once they start this project, they have to bring the antenna all the way to the ground. If the wind increases, then they have a serious problem. We really don't want the wind to repeatedly bang a 5,000 lb antenna into the side of the tower.
Between the wind and the accompanying wind chill, conditions have not been as favorable this week as we had hoped. The wind is also affecting reception for some viewers. We appreciate your patience and will post more information as it becomes available.
There will be no further work on the tower today due to high wind gusts. Work resumes on Saturday at 7am and the forecast is optimistic. If the winds are in the safe range throughout the day the crew will remove the old antenna and set the new one on top. Once the antenna is mounted the gin pole must lowered in stages, the crew's basket attached to the hoisting cables and final pieces of transmission ordered and installed to complete the system. Testing follows and if successful we will begin operating on the new antenna next week if all goes as anticipated. Weather could still affect the exact date but will be less critical to the crew's activities (rain forecast on Monday is a problem).
03/02/2020 Tower Update:
The mild weather has really helped move the Tower project along. The crew got a lot done this weekend and on Monday. They hope to work all this week.
The tower crew will attach a gin pole to the tower and use it to remove the old antenna on top. Then, they will lower the old antenna to the ground and raise the new antenna. We hope to have that completed by the end of this week.
Once the new antenna is tested and operational, viewers will need to rescan their TV tuners.
On Thursday (2/27) the tower crew removed the last components of the old waveguide and line that delivered the power from the old transmitter to the antenna. Today they are assembling the new transmission line starting lower on the tower and working up towards the top. When the work reaches the side mounted antenna the WTVP transmitter may have to powered down for safety reasons. This may occur later today (2/28) or tomorrow (2/29) depending on weather conditions.
The tower crew did not work today due to rainy, windy weather. It's not looking good for the rest of the week, due to more rain and falling temperatures. The heavy equipment has been secured and the area around the tower is a muddy mess morning. Aside from the weather delays, things are working out.
In the past week the crew was able to remove most the old wave guide and install about a third of the replacement.
02/20/2020 Tower Update:
The tower crew will be climbing and working on the tower today and as a result, for safety reasons the WTVP transmitter will be operating at low power beginning at approximately at 9am.
The crew is currently removing the remaining wave guide located the top of the tower. With the current weather conditions of cold and wind the crew will not remain on the tower for long. The transmitter will return to full power once the crew is done at the top of the tower.
The weather has finally cleared enough that the tower crew is able to climb and work on the WTVP tower today. As a result, the WTVP transmitter will be operating at low power for most of the day (2/19) for safety reasons. The transmitter will return to full power once the crew is done for the day.
02/12/2020 @ 1:00pm:
The tower crew has started some prep some work on the tower today before the weather becomes an issue. As a result we needed to power down our transmitter for safety reasons. We expect for this to last approximately an hour.
The new broadcast antenna arrived at the WTVP tower site this morning. The antenna replacement phase of this project will take approximately 2 to 3 weeks to complete, weather permitting. With a winter storm forecasted to reach Central Illinois today, the start of the work could be delayed.
We just received word that the tower crew has arrived and have begun to prep the site. The semi with the new antenna and other hardware will arrive tomorrow. With a winter storm forecasted to reach Central Illinois tomorrow, the start of the work could be delayed.
We just received word that the tower crew is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, February 11th. It will take about 2 to 3 weeks to finish the work once they arrive.
Here is the process: 1. Prep the tower and the area under the tower (a wet muddy field), 2. Remove the Transmission wave guide (large silver pipe that runs the length of the tower from the transmitter to the antenna), 3. Run new feed lines, 4. Remove the original antenna from atop our 700 foot tower, then, 5. Install the new antenna and test.
In order to get to the top of tower the crew will need to climb past our temporary side mount antenna and the transmitter may need to be turned off or its power reduced for safety reasons. The work may also affect WCBU and the Peoria NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts as their antennas are also located on our tower.
Keep in mind that winter weather could still delay the arrival and the work, but we are going to keep our fingers crossed.
WTVP changed it's frequency last Friday which was the date federally mandated by the FCC. Unfortunately we are currently broadcasting using a temporary antenna until the old antenna can be removed from our tower and the new one installed in it’s place and as a result many viewers are unable to locate WTVP after their re-scan.
The antenna replacement has been delayed due to the availability of tower crews which climb the towers and perform the work. Originally our antenna was scheduled to be replaced in mid-December, but the crew was delayed due to issues at other job sites and the weather. With each winter storm that hits the Midwest it causes greater delays. The most recent schedule update has the crew at our tower sometime in early to mid-February, again all depending on not having issues at their current tower site and the weather.
WTVP has officially switched to our new broadcast transmitter. If you watch us "over -the-air" it is now time to re-scan your TV or digital converter in order to continue watching WTVP. More information on how to rescan: http://bit.ly/rescan47 or you may call one of our volunteers who will be offering assistance at 1-800-837-4747.
If you watch WTVP with a satellite or cable service your provider will take care of the re-scan. Comcast & I3 Broadband costumers will not be affected.
January 17th is the FCC mandated deadline for WTVP to make the switch. We will be using a temporary side mount antenna until our new antenna is delivered and installed with we expect to happen in the beginning to mid February this is dependent on weather conditions. Until the new antenna is installed we will be operating at a reduced power which may affect your ability to receive our signal.
Mark your calendar for January 17, 2020. WTVP will switch to our new transmitter, so if you watch WTVP "Over the Air" you will need to re-scan your TV or Digital Converter in order to keep watching. This change is scheduled to happen at approximately 10am, if you watch WTVP over cable or Satellite you will not need to do anything.
WTVP will use a temporary side mount antenna which will be at a reduced power until our new main antenna is installed at the top of our broadcast tower later in month.
The tower crew is on site at the WTVP transmitter and has installed our temporary side mount antenna. Next they will be pulling the transmission line up the tower, the transmission line connects the transmitter output to the antenna. We hope that this phase of the project will finished by this Thursday. Expect interruptions in service
12:40pm: Work has been completed and WTVP now is back on the air.
12:13pm: WTVP will be performing work today that will require our transmitter to be shutdown for about an hour between noon and 1pm. This will not affect Comcast or I3 Broadband customers.
WTVP is amid another historic moment.
In the early 2000s, WTVP changed from analog channel 47 to digital channel 46. Now the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reconfigured frequencies above channel 39 to make room for cell phone providers. WTVP and many other stations (approximately 600) must move. WTVP in now in the process of installing a new transmitter and antenna, to be compliant. The good news is that our current transmitter is aging, and the Federal government will pay for approximately 90% of the cost of replacement.
These two photos were taken Wednesday, December 18. Look closely at the photo of the antenna, there are two men climbing the tower. The round dish on the tower is the microwave two-way dish that accepts the 7 gigahertz signal from the WTVP building at State Street and feeds it to the transmitter. It also sends transmitter readings back WTVP, so we can monitor whether we are FCC compliant. The antennas above the round dish are Sprint cellular transceivers. If you stacked two water heaters on top of each other, that's about the size of the side mount antenna, in the second photo. Both halves and the mounting brackets weigh about 1000 pounds.
Our tower is approximately 560 ft tall. The top mounted WTVP broadcast antenna is about 40 ft tall, so the WTVP tower is about 600 ft tall. WMBD and WEEK's towers are similar and located nearby. The FAA zones all the broadcast towers together to protect aircraft flight landing patterns.
The tower crew is going home for the holidays, but they will return Jan 2nd to install the side mount antenna. The side mount antenna will allow us to remain FCC compliant by broadcasting our signal on our new channel assignment of channel 35. Tower crews will come back after the Jan 17th FCC "Phase 7" deadline to install our permanent "top mount channel 35 antenna."
WTVP Viewers will have to "rescan" their TV's in order to find our channel when we switch. All the Peoria stations that are affected by the repack are switching, (if all goes well), on Friday, Jan 17th.
Stay tuned for more progress reports. Special thanks to Jim Jordan for his stellar leadership and transmitter expertise on this project. WTVP is lucky to have such a fine engineer on our team.
12/16/2019 UPDATE: The Tower Crew has arrived at the WTVP Broadcast tower. The work is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, December 18th, 2019, weather permitting. To do this work safely, we will have to lower our broadcast power which means some viewers may not be able to receive our signal. Comcast and I3 Broadband customers should be unaffected. We hope to have this work done quickly. Check our 'Repack' page for updated information.
12/12/2019 UPDATE: The Tower Crew scheduled to perform work on our Broadcast Tower has been delayed at their current job site. If all goes well they should arrive at the WTVP tower site on Monday 12/16. This is subject to change at the last minute. If the current weather forecast is correct, snow is in the forecast, there could be delays to the project on site. Check our 'Repack' page for updated information.
12/11/2019 UPDATE: WTVP is scheduled to have work done on our broadcast tower to prepare for our Transmitter & Antenna replacement. The work is scheduled to begin on Thursday, December 16th, 2019, weather permitting. To do this work safely, we will have to lower our broadcast power which means some viewers may not be able to receive our signal. Comcast and I3 Broadband customers should be unaffected. We hope to have this work done quickly. Check our 'Repack' page for updated information.
11/26/2019 UPDATE: We have been informed by our tower crew company that are new target date for our transmitter switch over will be January 17th, 2020. This dependent on weather conditions and tower crew availability. We will post updates as we are notified.