By most accounts, transmitter manufacturers and suppliers of antennas and RF components are doing a good job so far of keeping up with the rapid spike in demand caused by the repack. But weather problems are causing major problems for tower crews and delaying a growing number of projects. And repack insiders fear a more significant backup this summer and fall.
Top of mind this week for managers and engineers alike will be hitting the FCC’s July 12 deadline for initial construction permit and repack expense reimbursement filings. But in the rush to get that done, it’s important not to lose sight of future possibilities like single frequency network operation.
For tower owners and inspectors, there is a growing appeal for using drones to perform inspections — and perhaps someday, when the technology is ripe, to actually make repairs. Given the risks involved in climbing towers, the ability to substitute a machine for a human makes sense. But be aware that the current FAA rules will restrict tower inspections by drones in certain situations.
This week, the FCC conducted a webinar to explain the spectrum repack plan laid out in its Sept. 30 public notice. Leading voices in the broadcast industry gave the plan a less-than-enthusiastic response, citing a variety of specific shortcomings. But the underlying reason for the halfhearted reaction may have more to do with what is seen as the near impossibility of completing the repack in 39 months.
If you own a tower that’s between 50 and 200 feet tall, the chances are that you don’t have to mark it to satisfy any FAA standards, which makes your life easy. But that may be about to change.
The CBS affiliate serving the Scottsbluff, Neb., announced plans to build a new, 500-foot tower north of Scottsbluff. Construction of the new tower is scheduled to begin mid-September. The station’s GM Tregg White said during construction of the new tower, the Gray Television station’s over-the-air signal will be off the air for four to six weeks.
The FCC recently adopted a Report and Order to streamline and eliminate outdated provisions of its rules governing the construction, marking and lighting of antenna structures. Here’s a rundown of the primary changes to the rules that tower owners should be aware of.
Stations that own broadcast towers are about to get regulatory relief thanks to a FCC decision that closes the books on a lengthy effort to revise rules governing tower safety and maintenance. At an open meeting Friday, FCC commissioners approved the changes while decrying the long road their predecessors took to get there.
Operating a communications tower can always lead to issues, but two recent FCC decisions give tower owners some degree of relief.