Tech News: April 2022

Thanks for checking out our first Tech News! Tech News is intended to provide television viewers with information about the television service; from system upgrades to current issues that may affect your viewing experience.

To start, a little background- In 2019, we began work to re-build the translator system. Much of the equipment was 10+ years old and nearing the end of its life. As a result, we started to experience frequent signal interruptions. A strategic decision was made to begin system upgrades from the hub translator site, in Gunnison. From there, we would work our way out, prioritizing improvements to translator sites serving the most amount of people. 

This work began with replacing all satellite receivers at the Gunnison Studio, as well as re-wiring the entire site. Six aging transmitters were then replaced at the W Mountain and Monarch translator sites. Most recently, five new transmitters were purchased for the Comstock translator site, responsible for transmitting the signal from W Mountain north to Crested Butte South and Mt. Crested Butte. We also transitioned into a new facility at the Comstock site. The facility offers new amenities, including improved back-up power and a new tower. This is just some of the work that’s been completed in the last three years. This spring we’ll be tackling much needed upgrades at the Sunlight Ridge translator site which provides service to Mt. Crested Butte and Crested Butte. Finally, we are implementing a licensed microwave system connecting the Gunnison Studio to W Mountain, Comstock and finally to CB South and Sunlight Ridge.  Sounds techy, right? It is! The system will ultimately be used to transmit programming as well as providing real-time monitoring and control of equipment.

Of course, nothing is ever simple, right? As we transition to new equipment and overhaul translator sites, glitches arise that must be worked through. Some glitches are only realized on our end, while others may also result in issues for you- our viewers. Depending on the complexity of the issue we may be able to resolve it via remote control, which may only take minutes. However, some issues require more time to address. It is our goal to inform viewers of service interruptions when they arise and we seek to do so across multiple communication platforms, from the on-air channel guide to our website, Facebook, E-mail and our tech phone line. Tech News will add to our outreach efforts by providing a more compressive update of recent television system upgrades and planned or unexpected service outages. On that note… 

Recent issues- If you reside in the north end of the Valley, you likely recall having lost several channels in late December of last year. Or, you may have been distracted by the never-ending shoveling! The storm conditions that accompanied the December snow-pocalypse damaged an antenna mounting at the Comstock translator site. This disrupted signal to the north valley translator sites. Given the site’s rural location, paired with extreme winter conditions, addressing this issue took longer than desired. Special permission was required from the USFS and the danger level had to be assessed before we could make the journey by snowcat. Service was restored in January and we appreciated everyone’s understanding.

The end of 2021 also brought challenges to the W Mountain site. After on-going observations of intermittent signal, we discovered that two of the new W Mountain transmitters were functioning improperly. We chose to use a specific type of transmitter that will accommodate new technological standards in the coming years. For that reason, we will continue to work with the manufacturer to assess the issue. In the near-term, we have implemented a work-around to maintain stable signals. 

Lastly, three weeks ago we experienced a power glitch that caused system-wide signal disruption. If you were watching during that time, you likely observed pixilation across several channels. Thankfully, our engineer was prepared for a few big days in the field. Several sites were visited over the course of two days and the signal was restored. As the snow melts across the valley, we’re gearing up for visits to many of our rural sites to address on-going concerns. 

Please remember to share your television observations. You can do so by using our online TV Observation form, or by calling the tech line 970-641-9148.

Thank you for engaging with us! 

Comstock Misaligned Antennas
Comstock Misaligned Antennas
Re-aligned Antennas with Mounting Reinforcements
Re-aligned Antennas with Mounting Reinforcements