Tower Crew Estimates Detailed for TV Repack


The FCC’s proposed transition plan for television stations that will change channels following the incentive auction is detailed; the “scheduling” tools discuss antenna manufacturing time and tower crew time as well.

Ideally, a television station’s main antenna would be built and shipped before the assigned tower crew arrives on-site. The Commission is assuming a Class A station would need 24 weeks of planning time, versus 32 weeks for a DTV station and 72 weeks for a complicated build.

The agency stresses these are minimum times, and manufacturing and delivery schedules can complicate planning. Whether the needed antennas are directional or not is factored in as well, with the agency estimating twelve weeks to deliver a non-directional Class A antenna versus 24 weeks to deliver a directional DTV antenna.

The actual tower work consists of installing the antenna plus the related equipment like combiners, RF mask filters and the transmission line to the tower base. Time is allotted for any other related work at the site like installation of liquid-cooled systems, AC power, and connection to remote control equipment and input signal connections, if needed. Tower modifications and system testing is built into the schedule, as seen in Table 9.

Tower Crew Time estimates are shown in Table 10.    


The Commission proposes including estimates concerning the number of available tower crews but also notes there’s disagreement about the number and types (see story above.)

That’s why the FCC is proposing to place crews in three “buckets:” one for U.S. crews capable of servicing towers that are particularly difficult to work on due to height or location; one for U.S. crews that are capable of servicing easier towers; and one for Canadian crews. Canada will have a re-pack along the border area, too.

The FCC states: “U.S. stations on towers that are above 300 feet in height and that are top-mounted or located on a candelabra can only draw from the pool of U.S. crews that can handle such difficult sites. Other U.S. stations can only draw from the other pool of U.S. crews, on the assumption that these difficult site crews will be fully occupied. Canadian stations can only draw from the pool of Canadian crews. It is likely that crews will travel between countries, but separating the crews in this way provides a more conservative estimate of the number of crews available in each country. We expect that the number of crews will increase as the transition proceeds.”

The Tower crew estimates are shown in Table 11.


The FCC seeks comments on the proposal in a Public Notice. Comments are due to MB Docket 16-306 or GN Docket 12-268 on October 31.

For the full FCC Notice click here

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