K1ER reports from Hawaii (which converted a week ago) on DTV conversion
Having worked with the FCC during the FIRST conversion to DTV (Hawaii), here are a few background things you SHOULD KNOW since they'll help you answer questions from the other 49 states.
1. The conversion was mandated by CONGRESS to free up the present analog TV spectrum for OTHER USERS. (follow the money).
2. The conversion was DIRECTED by CONGRESS.
3. The $40 coupon program was run by the former Bureau of Standards now NIST.
4. The FCC was ordered to deal with the public and broadcasters during the conversion.
5. For those who can receive it THE DIGITAL PICTURE IS BETTER.
6. The transmitting antennas are moved OUT OF CONGESTED (populated) areas where they never belonged! From the tops of buildings to outlying less populated areas.Ed. note: That applies to Hawaii only.
7. Many antennas are in WORSE COVERAGE locations because (for example) protected birds ran into them in the old locations. (reason for moving the tower and antenna from 10,000 ft on Maui to 4,000 ft)Ed. note: That applies to Hawaii only.
8. Some Digital signals are lower power in addition to the above antenna move to poorer coverage.
9. There is NO IMPACT on people using Satellite TV or CABLE.
10. People losing coverage are "urged" (Ed. note: Urged by the FCC, not hams.)to move to Satellite or Cable TV.
11. The $40 coupon is ONLY issued ONE TIME to any address AND they EXPIRE shortly after issue. MANY!!!!! people ordered the coupon and did not CASH IT!. Resulting in the FUNDS for COUPONS being tied up like "outstanding checks" so the NIST STOPPED issuing COUPONS. As the COUPONS Expire unused, funds are being applied to NEW COUPONS but the DELAY is over 8 weeks!
The FCC is taking the heat from viewers for problems NOT under their control and NOT caused by the FCC.
Those involved with assisting the FCC need to understand all this to better deal with the public.
I'm not sure the GOVT wants this made PUBLIC but the ARRL should understand it so they can better inform those hams assisting the FCC in this very difficult conversion when they have a question.
Lots of viewers are going to be unhappy! But it is NOT the fault of the FCC.