View all text of Subpart G [§ 74.701 - § 74.799]

§ 74.731 - Purpose and permissible service.

(a) Television broadcast translator stations and television broadcast booster stations provide a means whereby the signals of television broadcast stations may be retransmitted to areas in which direct reception of such television broadcast stations is unsatisfactory due to distance or intervening terrain barriers.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, a television broadcast translator station or television broadcast booster station may be used only to receive the signals of a television broadcast station, another television broadcast translator station, a television translator relay station, a television intercity relay station, a television STL station, or other suitable source such as a CARS or common carrier microwave station, for the simultaneous retransmission of the programs and signals of a television broadcast station. Such retransmissions may be accomplished by either:

(1) Reception of the television programs and signals of a television broadcast station directly through space, conversion to a different channel by simple heterodyne frequency conversion and suitable amplification; or,

(2) Modulation and amplification of a video and audio feed, in which case modulating equipment meeting the requirements of § 74.750(d) shall be used.

(c) The transmissions of each television broadcast translator station shall be intended for direct reception by the general public and any other use shall be incidental thereto. A television broadcast translator station shall not be operated solely for the purpose of relaying signals to one or more fixed receiving points for retransmission, distribution, or further relaying.

(d) The technical characteristics of the retransmitted signals shall not be deliberately altered so as to hinder reception on conventional television broadcast receivers.

(e) A television broadcast translator station shall not deliberately retransmit the signals of any station other than the station it is authorized by license to retransmit. Precautions shall be taken to avoid unintentional retransmission of such other signals.

(f) A locally generated radio frequency signal similar to that of a TV broadcast station and modulated with visual and aural information may be connected to the input terminals of a television broadcast translator or low power station for the purposes of transmitting still photographs, slides and voice announcements. The radio frequency signals shall be on the same channel as the normally used off-the-air signal being rebroadcast. When transmitting originations concerning financial support or public service announcements, connection of the locally generated signals shall be made automatically either by means of a time switch or upon receipt of a control signal from the TV station being rebroadcast designed to actuate the switching circuit. The switching circuit will be so designed that the input circuit will be returned to the off-the-air signal within 30 seconds. The connection for emergency transmissions may be made manually. The apparatus used to generate the local signal which is used to modulate the translator or low power station must be capable of producing a visual or aural signal or both which will provide acceptable reception on television receivers designed for the transmission standards employed by TV broadcast stations. The visual and aural materials so transmitted shall be limited to emergency warnings of imminent danger, to local public service announcements and to seeking or acknowledging financial support deemed necessary to the continued operation of the station. Accordingly, the originations concerning financial support and PSAs are limited to 30 seconds each, no more than once per hour. Acknowledgements of financial support may include identification of the contributors, the size and nature of the contribution and advertising messages of contributors. Emergency transmissions shall be no longer or more frequent than necessary to protect life and property.

(g) Low power TV stations may operate under the following modes of service:

(1) As a TV translator station, subject to the requirements of this part;

(2) For origination of programming and commercial matter as defined in § 74.701(f);

(3) For the transmission of subscription television broadcast (STV) programs, intended to be received in intelligible form by members of the public for a fee or charge subject to the provisions of §§ 73.642(e) and 73.644.

(h) A low power TV station may not be operated solely for the purpose of relaying signals to one or more fixed receiving points for retransmission, distribution or relaying.

(i) Low power TV stations are subject to no minimum required hours of operation and may operate in any of the 3 modes described in paragraph (g) of this section for any number of hours.

(j) Television broadcast booster stations provide a means whereby the licensee of a television broadcast station may provide service to areas of low signal strength in any region within the primary station's Grade B contour. The booster station may not be located outside the predicted Grade B of its primary station nor may the predicted Grade B signal of the television booster station extend beyond the predicted Grade B contour of the primary station. A television broadcast booster station is authorized to retransmit only the signals of its primary station; it shall not retransmit the signals of any other stations nor make independent transmissions. However, locally generated signals may be used to excite the booster apparatus for the purpose of conducting tests and measurements essential to the proper installation and maintenance of the apparatus.

(k) The transmissions of a television broadcast booster station shall be intended for direct reception by the general public. Such stations will not be permitted to establish a point-to-point television relay system.

(l) After 11:59 p.m. local time on September 1, 2015, Class A television stations may no longer operate any facility in analog (NTSC) mode.

(m) After 11:59 p.m. local time, 51 months following the release of the Channel Reassignment Public Notice announcing completion of the incentive auction conducted under Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-96)), low power television and TV translator stations may no longer operate any facility in analog (NTSC) mode and all licenses for such analog operations shall automatically cancel at that time without any affirmative action by the Commission.

[28 FR 13722, Dec. 14, 1963, as amended at 43 FR 1951, Jan. 13, 1978; 47 FR 21499, May 18, 1982; 47 FR 40172, Sept. 13, 1982; 48 FR 21487, May 12, 1983; 52 FR 31404, Aug. 20, 1987; 76 FR 44827, July 27, 2011; 80 FR 27863, May 15, 2015; 81 FR 5052, Feb. 1, 2016]