WEHT NEWS25, ABC’s affiliate serving Evansville Indiana, has completed the construction of its post transition digital television transmission facilities. The construction of WEHT’s final digital transmission system was complicated by its change from its assigned out-of-core pre-transition, RF Channel 59 to RF Channel 7. Until the June 12, 2009, digital transition deadline, Channel 7 was occupied by the FOX affiliate, WTVW’s, NTSC analog signal.
Electronics Research, Inc. provided the new main and auxiliary digital television antennas for WEHT, as well as structural engineering services, tower reinforcement materials, and installation services. The WEHT tower was originally constructed in 1966 and is co-located with WEHT’s studio facilities in Henderson Kentucky. The new antenna required for WEHT’s post transition digital operations on a VHF RF channel was larger and heavier than the channel 25 analog antenna and thus required a complete tower inspection, including ultrasonic inspection of the guy wire anchors, and a tower reinforcement design to support the new digital antennas and handle the erection stresses associated with their installation.
The reinforcement design brought the tower structure into compliance with the ANSI/TIA-222 standard and required the replacement of three (3) guy levels with stronger bridge strand wire. In addition to the new guy wires the reinforcement project also included the fabrication and installation of split pipe reinforcements on most of the tower legs and upgrading the tower cross bracing. The final portion of the makeover was the replacement of the top 30-foot section of the tower with a brand new tower section that included a mounting flange for the new ERI TRASAR television antenna.
The new top mounted antenna is an ERI model ATW9V3-CTO-7 TRASAR, circularly polarized, coaxial slotted array antenna. The antenna was designed and fabricated at ERI’s manufacturing facility in Chandler, Indiana, approximately 20 miles from WEHT’s studio and tower complex. In addition to the top mounted main antenna, ERI supplied and installed a side mounted standby antenna which was used to maintain over the air broadcasts immediately following the June 12 transition date while the tower reinforcement project was underway.
WEHT was Evansville’s first television station, signing on in 1953, on Channel 50. Gilmore Broadcasting acquired the station in 1964 and moved it to Channel 25. WEHT has been Evansville’s ABC affiliate since 1995. Shortly after initiating its post transition digital transmissions WEHT activated a second digital channel as an affiliate of the Retro Television Network, branded as RTV 25 on digital channel 25.2. In addition, to RTV’s network programming WEHT also produces a 9:00 PM edition of its local news program, NEWS25.