KSPS working to convert analog to digital in Okanogan County

OKANOGAN COUNTY – KSPS Channel 7 from Spokane is working to convert analog television signals in Okanogan County to digital signals.

“We’re going to convert television signals from analog to digital, which enables us to transmit high definition signals and standard at the same time,” Mike Peterson, maintenance broadcast engineer with KSPS, said. “We’ll transmit all Spokane Channels and KSPS and KAYU will be high definition. We will also transmit the other Spokane channels in standard digital definition.”

Peterson said the reason Congress mandated that television channels begin to transmit in digital rather than analog signals was to save space within the signal spectrum.

“With digital signals, you can compress more into a space than the analog station,” Peterson said. “For example, Channel 7 now transmits three channels in the same analog spectrum only one would transmit.”

The work on this project, which involves the exchanging of analog transmitters for digital ones, has already begun and is expected to be finished this fall.

“The viewers that will be affected will be anyone without a converter box or a new television without a digital converter within it,” Peterson said. “All new televisions bought past 2007 have a digital tuner in them. The viewers with antennas/rabbit ears will be affected. This change will give viewers the option to watch all networks over the air without being a subscriber to (cable) networks or satellite providers.”

Part of this project is to help the common every day viewer, Peterson said. He said that for the same amount most subscribers pay for television each month, viewers who choose to support the Okanogan TV District, which runs from Oroville south to Malott, for the same price each year. This television district provides nine channels, which include ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, TBS and 3ABN.

“What we’re doing is working with a contract engineer in Spokane, who designed the set-up,” Peterson said. “We’ll use Omak Mountain as a hub for our channels. The channels will then be retransmitted from Pickens, Olive and Fox Mountains, respectively, to reach the shadowed areas that can’t see Omak Mountain.”

The towns that will be affected will be Riverside, Malott and the Ellisforde-Tonasket area, Peterson said.

“Anybody in the whole Okanogan Valley area should be able to put out an outdoor satellite, or in some areas, indoor rabbit ears and pick up our channels digitally,” he said.

Anyone with questions about this process or about digital television can find Peterson at the KSPS booth at the Okanogan County Fair in the commercial building Thursday, Sept. 9 through Sunday, Sept. l2.