Channel 8 applied in late November to increase their power output from 19.8 kW to 87.4 kW ERP. KFMB Stations RF Supervisor Rick Bosscher says they can implement that power level with existing equipment. The station still uses an RCA omni-directional transmission antenna built in 1972 that handled 50 kW transmitter power. Their Harris iCD 30 transmitter, capable of 10.5 kW, has been loafing along at 2.4 kW. There’s an older Harris that can also handle the new power level, and that will continue as a backup unit.
VHF TV stations have had a hard time competing with UHF stations since the digital transition in 2009 because home viewers are trying to use indoor antennas with small apertures designed for UHF reception only. Signal penetration through metal-reinforced stucco causes a loss that used to create a poor viewer experience for rabbit ear antenna viewers, but those viewers who put up with static-filled NTSC video found themselves unable to get a usable ATSC picture at all.
The FCC opened a window this fall for all TV stations to upgrade their signals within the existing rules limiting interference. A number of UHF and VHF stations are taking advantage of this opportunity to boost their power.