WRAL’s New Digital Tower Signs On


March 26, 2000
For more information, contact
Susan Dahlin, 919-790-5720

WRAL’s New Digital Tower Signs On

Raleigh, NC — After lengthy delays created by hurricanes, snowstorms, and manufacturers, the new digital tower is now up and running, transmitting the WRAL Digital signal on its new assigned channel 53. In time for the NCAA Final Four basketball games and Championship tournament, viewers with HDTV ready sets and receivers will now be able to watch the games in full high-definition television from a full powered digital broadcast transmission.

“At 1989 feet, the new digital tower will operate at full power, almost ten times more power than we currently send out on the WRAL-HD digital transmission,” said tower project manager, John Greene, V.P. of Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. The WRAL-HD antenna is currently side mounted on the existing WRAL-TV analog tower and sends out a signal at only 100kw. Greene said, “Our viewers with HDTV sets on the fringe of reception stand to see a noticeable difference.”

Unlike an analog transmission, which gets fuzzy as distance increases, the digital signal remains perfect until it reaches the cliff effect — the edge of reception where you either get the picture or you don’t. The greater amount of power and tower height, Greene says, will make that cliff effect happen farther away.

Ever since July 23, 1996, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. has led the nation in exploration of HDTV, with his flagship station WRAL-HD in Raleigh signing on as the nation’s first commercial television station to broadcast in HDTV. During this time WRAL-HD has transmitted its signal on channel 32 which was granted an experimental license by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). In addition to the new channel 53, WRAL will continue to operate WRAL-HD, channel 32, as an experimental station until further notice.

The new WRAL Digital tower is located off of highway 70 near Garner. The tall tower has been topped off with four antennae; which will transit the signals of WRAL Digital, WRAZ Digital, and the digital and analog antennae for the NBC affiliate. The unique design of the tower permits six TV antennae to be installed on three arms that extend out from the vertical structure. The other two positions have been leased out to the Sinclair stations in Raleigh. Dual Harris transmitters will drive the signals for WRAL and WRAZ. The transmitter site will be remote controlled from the existing, and nearby, WRAL transmitter building.

Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. is a diversified communications company which owns and/or operates WRAL-TV, WRAL-Digital, WRAL-FM, Microspace, the North Carolina News Network, DTV Plus, Wolfpack Sports Marketing, and Capitol Sports Management in Raleigh, NC; WJZY-TV and WFVT-TV in Charlotte, NC; WILM-TV in Wilmington, NC; WRAZ-TV and the Durham Bulls Baseball Club in Durham, NC; and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Baseball Club in Myrtle Beach, SC; Capitol Broadcasting Company also founded Local TV on Satellite in Raleigh, NC.

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