Squaw Mountain home of highest TV broadcast tower

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Signal may have better chance of reaching Evergreen over the air after going full-power digital.

By Vicky Gits


From its lofty perch on Squaw Mountain, KBDI Channel 12 has the distinction of having the highest TV broadcast tower in North America at 11,200 feet altitude.

But if you don’t re-scan, you won’t see its signal.

Colorado Public Television Channel 12 moved Friday, June 12, from UHF channel 38 to the new permanent VHF channel 13. It will still show up on the on-screen program guide as channel 12 under the new nationwide digital TV broadcast conversion that went into effect Friday.

The station also increased its output to go full power as opposed to only 60 percent power, which has been in effect since January. Of course, if you don’t have a digital TV, you have to have a converter box. If you have cable or satellite you don’t have to change anything to get digital TV.

Viewers who can get channel 12 over the air can get three channels in one: 12.1, 12.2 and 12.3 or regular programming, independent documentary films (KBDI-DOC) and international news (KBDI-Mhz Worldview).

In terms of coverage, Channel 12 may also be one of the few stations left that mountain area residents will be able to access in the aftermath of the changes wrought by the conversion to digital TV as of Friday, June 12.

When Channels 7 and 9 went digital they stayed on Lookout Mountain and reduced the signal strength west to protect Lookout mountain residents.

Opponents of the TV super tower on Lookout Mountain in Golden have long maintained that Squaw Mountain was an efficient as well as safer place to be sending TV signals. But KBDI is actually doing it.

From the top of Squaw Mountain Channel 12 has the distinction of being able to reach as far as Cheyenne, Wyo., Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Nebraska.

It’s possible that some viewers lost the over-the-air signals in January when the old analog tower blew down due to ferocious winds. It was an $8,000 plowing charge just to get access to repair the damage, said KBDI spokeswoman Marcia Simmons.

Simmons hopes that 100 percent power will reach a lot more people, but she isn’t sure. “Our engineer told me if you look at the mathematics we have better coverage than the other stations. On Friday we’ll find out how much.”

On Monday, June 14, she said viewers were getting better signals in Fort Collins, La Porte and Greeley but wasn’t sure if the reach was better in the mountain areas.

Contact Vicky Gits at 303-350-1042 or vicky@evergreenco.com