For all of southern California, from Santa Barbara to Palm Springs and south to the Mexican border, the moment of reckoning is here. This Saturday, June 6, 2009, the 2 GHz ENG band reduces in size by 35 MHz and TV stations begin using digital modes to reduce their bandwidth to 12 MHz per channel.This will give Sprint Communications valuable new spectrum for operating future generation PCS devices. They’ve been required to reimburse local stations for the replacement of all incumbent analog gear, including more linear front-end amplifiers, receivers, control devices, mobile transmitters, and training. The ultimate cost is likely to be beyond the company’s wildest estimates.
Regional independent liaison organizer Chris Neuman said Tuesday morning that he sees no remaining obstacles to the cutover this weekend. Other than some remote camera-transmitter locations, all ENG transmissions are ready. He said that Saturday he will conduct with Sprint conference calls to check on status of the switchover.
For most stations, the conversion is a simple matter of loading or switching to new bandplans in the remote site slave units in their market and making test shots.
The conversion kickoff occurred here in May of 2005. Yuma-El Centro was the first market in the US to make the transition in September of 2006. Due to its enormous number of participants, the southern coastal California region has taken much longer to finish.