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Author Topic: Chicago is now post-repack  (Read 1639 times)

Scott Helmke

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Chicago is now post-repack
« on: October 21, 2019, 10:45:31 am »

A while back I posted asking for "post repack" experiences, and now I myself have been through it.  Friday, Oct 18 was the official last day of our first phase (6), and pretty much everybody changed overnight between 17 and 18. 

However, and here's the part *you* should be looking for if your market hasn't hit the repack yet, the FCC had changed the schedule a bit during the summer. The local TV stations that were scheduled for phase 8 (January-March 2020) were rescheduled for phase 6, so it all happened at once. I'm assuming the various stations coordinated with each other to avoid conflicts.  We found out about it just in the past week by looking at rabbitears and noticing the change on those channels.  The FCC had only announced it in a changelog.

Monday morning and T-Mobile is already using one of their new blocks up at 622MHz.
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(Brian) Frost

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 02:59:30 pm »

Saturdays shows were super fun trying to fit what was once easy into the now much smaller space left for us.  ugh


A while back I posted asking for "post repack" experiences, and now I myself have been through it.  Friday, Oct 18 was the official last day of our first phase (6), and pretty much everybody changed overnight between 17 and 18. 

However, and here's the part *you* should be looking for if your market hasn't hit the repack yet, the FCC had changed the schedule a bit during the summer. The local TV stations that were scheduled for phase 8 (January-March 2020) were rescheduled for phase 6, so it all happened at once. I'm assuming the various stations coordinated with each other to avoid conflicts.  We found out about it just in the past week by looking at rabbitears and noticing the change on those channels.  The FCC had only announced it in a changelog.

Monday morning and T-Mobile is already using one of their new blocks up at 622MHz.
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2019, 03:01:14 pm »

A while back I posted asking for "post repack" experiences, and now I myself have been through it.  Friday, Oct 18 was the official last day of our first phase (6), and pretty much everybody changed overnight between 17 and 18. 

However, and here's the part *you* should be looking for if your market hasn't hit the repack yet, the FCC had changed the schedule a bit during the summer. The local TV stations that were scheduled for phase 8 (January-March 2020) were rescheduled for phase 6, so it all happened at once. I'm assuming the various stations coordinated with each other to avoid conflicts.  We found out about it just in the past week by looking at rabbitears and noticing the change on those channels.  The FCC had only announced it in a changelog.

Monday morning and T-Mobile is already using one of their new blocks up at 622MHz.
Thanks for sharing this, Scott.
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drew gandy

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2019, 08:38:51 pm »

Saturdays shows were super fun trying to fit what was once easy into the now much smaller space left for us.  ugh

This caught a lot of people unaware.  I knew things were coming but I for one wasn't paying attention carefully.  It seems that the entire H5 band (Shure SLX) might be wiped out here in Chicago.  And G50 is now tiny. 

A friend of mine sent me this scan he did on Friday the 18th near O'hare.

Through all the changes and repacks we've had, I think this one is really going to make it sink in for folks.  We can't just show up for a show and expect all of our wireless to work. 

Also, it seems that the database that Shure Wireless Workbench uses is not working correctly.  I'm prepping for a show in the NY area and the chart I see here https://1drv.ms/x/s!AnxSGoN1JhvEnFzSvlqvn3OODyrF [A spreadsheet from RFVenue] doesn't correlate with the channels that WWB shows for the same zip code (10036).  And WWB doesn't even correlate with the pre-repack station locations.  Can someone else check this and tell me if I'm just "doing it wrong"?   

Edit:   It seems that the spreadsheet from RFVenue is old and perhaps incorrect.  It's listing for Chicago is slightly different from the chart that TCFurlong has on their blog https://tcfurlong.com/wp-content/uploads/Chicago-TV-Stations.png
Anyone know of an easy to read chart of what's available and what isn't now?  Most of what I've found is just complicated to read. 
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 08:49:25 pm by drew gandy »
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2019, 11:35:35 pm »

Also, it seems that the database that Shure Wireless Workbench uses is not working correctly.  I'm prepping for a show in the NY area and the chart I see here https://1drv.ms/x/s!AnxSGoN1JhvEnFzSvlqvn3OODyrF [A spreadsheet from RFVenue] doesn't correlate with the channels that WWB shows for the same zip code (10036).  And WWB doesn't even correlate with the pre-repack station locations.  Can someone else check this and tell me if I'm just "doing it wrong"?   

No, the WWB database has been stale for a bit now, and it's definitely wrong after the repack at least here in Chicago.  We've been using the scan above to set up WWB for TV station avoidance.
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drew gandy

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2019, 09:15:04 am »

No, the WWB database has been stale for a bit now, and it's definitely wrong after the repack at least here in Chicago.  We've been using the scan above to set up WWB for TV station avoidance.

Well I'm confused because most of what I'm looking at doesn't seem to agree... 

Compare the top portion of the image from TCFurlong with the top line of the chart from RFVenue. This would represent where we started almost 2 years ago.  So these two pieces of info don't even show the same starting point.  Difference in ZIP code? 

And then compare those to these two images from WWB.  One shows only the high power stations and the other has that check box unchecked so it shows more stations.  I don't know what to make of the data from WWB.  It only partially matches the TCFurlong doc.

BTW:
A)  The WWB images shown are for zip code 60616 just like is shown in the RFVenue document.

B)  I can't seem to get wavetower to work.

C)  When I look at rabbit ears, it appears to match the RFVenue bottom row - in other words, our current layout.  Finally some agreement! 

Scott, can you clarify where your (TCFurlong) chart came from?   
Perhaps some differences in thresholds are also at play? 

« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 09:18:36 am by drew gandy »
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Benjamin Krumholz

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2019, 11:31:35 am »

Well I'm confused because most of what I'm looking at doesn't seem to agree... 
Scott, can you clarify where your (TCFurlong) chart came from?   
Perhaps some differences in thresholds are also at play?

I have been at McKormick this week on a show.. Here is a pic of a scan from a G57 Axient Unit. Scan was done on 10-19 one day after the repack.. It mostly Jives with the Wavetower scan the RF Venue put out..
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 01:32:18 pm by Benjamin Krumholz »
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2019, 12:27:08 pm »

Compare the top portion of the image from TCFurlong with the top line of the chart from RFVenue. This would represent where we started almost 2 years ago.  So these two pieces of info don't even show the same starting point.  Difference in ZIP code? 

And then compare those to these two images from WWB.  One shows only the high power stations and the other has that check box unchecked so it shows more stations.  I don't know what to make of the data from WWB.  It only partially matches the TCFurlong doc.

Probably the differences are based on showing listings vs. scans, and whether or not the really low power stations can be seen. One of the other guys here put together our chart, and it shows the official listings.  But not all of those stations carry very far, and some don't even broadcast all the time.

The Wavetower software is cool but kind of flaky and still under development. No big surprise if you couldn't access our tower, though you might try again.  Friday night the website was completely down for a while.
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John Sulek

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 01:09:39 pm »

Probably the differences are based on showing listings vs. scans, and whether or not the really low power stations can be seen. One of the other guys here put together our chart, and it shows the official listings.  But not all of those stations carry very far, and some don't even broadcast all the time.

The Wavetower software is cool but kind of flaky and still under development. No big surprise if you couldn't access our tower, though you might try again.  Friday night the website was completely down for a while.

Thanks for the updates everyone. Northerly Island will be even more fun then it already was rf wise.
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Bryan Jozwiak

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2019, 09:06:29 am »

A while back I posted asking for "post repack" experiences, and now I myself have been through it.  Friday, Oct 18 was the official last day of our first phase (6), and pretty much everybody changed overnight between 17 and 18. 

However, and here's the part *you* should be looking for if your market hasn't hit the repack yet, the FCC had changed the schedule a bit during the summer. The local TV stations that were scheduled for phase 8 (January-March 2020) were rescheduled for phase 6, so it all happened at once. I'm assuming the various stations coordinated with each other to avoid conflicts.  We found out about it just in the past week by looking at rabbitears and noticing the change on those channels.  The FCC had only announced it in a changelog.

Monday morning and T-Mobile is already using one of their new blocks up at 622MHz.

Thanks for the re-schedule info. I had not realized they combined Phase and 6 and 8 for Chicago. I had expected to re-coordinate again in January.

We saw a lot of interference on Friday morning also. A quick scan with the Spectrum Manager helped overcome the WWB database inaccuracies.

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Scott Helmke

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2019, 09:58:01 am »

Thanks for the re-schedule info. I had not realized they combined Phase and 6 and 8 for Chicago. I had expected to re-coordinate again in January.

Bryan, where is your venue located?  You've got more ch. 32 than I'm seeing in the northern suburbs.
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Bryan Jozwiak

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2019, 05:00:12 pm »

Bryan, where is your venue located?  You've got more ch. 32 than I'm seeing in the northern suburbs.

This is from West Chicago (601085). I didn't expect as much power as we saw on a few channels (26, 30). But we were able to avoid them so it worked out.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2019, 07:43:28 pm »

There may well be future changes in the relative strengths of the various TV stations.  The ones hosted on Willis (aka Sears) Tower, which is most of them, are still working on their infrastructure there and using auxiliary transmitters in the meantime.
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2019, 04:01:18 pm »

There may well be future changes in the relative strengths of the various TV stations.  The ones hosted on Willis (aka Sears) Tower, which is most of them, are still working on their infrastructure there and using auxiliary transmitters in the meantime.
^^^^This is a really important point, and one that I suspect applies in many areas. The final post re-pack landscape is most likely something that won't be known until all infrastructure changes are done, and that may take another year or so.
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brian maddox

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2019, 08:27:55 pm »

^^^^This is a really important point, and one that I suspect applies in many areas. The final post re-pack landscape is most likely something that won't be known until all infrastructure changes are done, and that may take another year or so.

The beatings will continue until morale improves!
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Riley Casey

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2019, 10:01:57 pm »

Maybe its time to convince our clients that dragging around fifty feet of Belden  8412 is what the cool kids do.

The beatings will continue until morale improves!

Scott Holtzman

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2019, 10:20:53 pm »

The beatings will continue until morale improves!

Not just the fundamentals but the intermod products will change too (along with our favorite, transient IM products).

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John Halliburton

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2019, 09:57:24 am »

At my main venue we finally lost use of a ten year old AT rf mic in our ballroom.  Knew it was coming, but the repack weekend killed it.

John
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Pat McCarthy

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2019, 10:08:43 pm »

I had to do an RF coordination for an association meeting downtown a few days after the repack - had a total of 31 channels (ULXD G50 & H50, Axient digital A-band) in a general session and 10 breakouts. I too found out (the hard way) that Shure's database lookup is NOT accurate! I shot Shure a rather harsh E-mail about this, their response was that the Spectrum Bridge database Workbench pulls from is NOT up to date.

So I surfed the FCC's Web site and bookmarked these pages for TV channel lookup:

https://www.fcc.gov/media/television/tv-query (TV stations)
https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchAdvanced.jsp (Public Safety channels)

I found the TV station lookup results easy enough to sift through at a glance (meaning I'm comfortable working with them "under the gun" on a show site), but the public safety channel lookup for Chicago produced some two pages of results, which show ONLY the licensee name - each result has to be clicked on to reveal frequency!

I figure local scans will be fine for revealing active TV stations, but I'm hoping Workbench can still be counted on for public safety channel lookup!

« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 10:23:24 pm by Pat McCarthy »
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Henry Cohen

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2019, 11:06:32 am »

I had to do an RF coordination for an association meeting downtown a few days after the repack - had a total of 31 channels (ULXD G50 & H50, Axient digital A-band) in a general session and 10 breakouts. I too found out (the hard way) that Shure's database lookup is NOT accurate! I shot Shure a rather harsh E-mail about this, their response was that the Spectrum Bridge database Workbench pulls from is NOT up to date.

Given the state of UHF-TV band spectrum today, and the wireless demands and expectations of event producers, providing RF coordination services should include having the means to actually look at the spectrum in real time, e.g. having a spectrum analyzer. Anything less is selling you and your clients short.

Anger at Shure, or any manufacturer, for not providing accurate spectrum information is completely misplaced: First, for the reason stated above, but also because the information they pass on to the user is only as good as the FCC databases, which are not as up to date as they should be.


Quote
So I surfed the FCC's Web site and bookmarked these pages for TV channel lookup:

https://www.fcc.gov/media/television/tv-query (TV stations)
https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchAdvanced.jsp (Public Safety channels)

I found the TV station lookup results easy enough to sift through at a glance (meaning I'm comfortable working with them "under the gun" on a show site), but the public safety channel lookup for Chicago produced some two pages of results, which show ONLY the licensee name - each result has to be clicked on to reveal frequency!

Try the FCC's Site/Market/Frequency database lookup which pulls from all the individual FCC databases, and shows all the information for a given licensee including frequency in a single line. Be sure to check off "Data Export:  Format output for raw data export" at the lower left; this returns results in CSV format which can be copy and pasted into an excel spreadsheet, then sorted by frequency, distance, etc.

Quote
I figure local scans will be fine for revealing active TV stations, but I'm hoping Workbench can still be counted on for public safety channel lookup!

Simple: See 47CFR Part 74.870(c)(4)
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2019, 11:46:51 am »

So I surfed the FCC's Web site and bookmarked these pages for TV channel lookup:

https://www.fcc.gov/media/television/tv-query (TV stations)
https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchAdvanced.jsp (Public Safety channels)

I figure local scans will be fine for revealing active TV stations, but I'm hoping Workbench can still be counted on for public safety channel lookup!

100% of the time the lookup resources are not current... do a scan every time...

recent local scans for most places in the world can be downloaded at spectrum-scans

If you do scans and would like to make some $$$ for them...
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 11:55:28 am by Pete Erskine »
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Re: Chicago is now post-repack
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2019, 11:46:51 am »


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