Channel 37

Last updated on 5 October 2017

Channel 37 is a purposefully unused television channel in countries using the M and N broadcast television system standards. The frequency region set aside for Radio Astronomy is really from 600 MHz (0.5m) to 620 MHz (0.4835m) -- but the area reserved or unused differs from nation to nation and region to region (as for example the EU and British Isles have slightly different reserved frequency areas).

Channel 37 in System M & N countries specifically occupies a band of UHF frequencies from 608 to 614 MHz. This band is particularly important to radio astronomy because it allows observation in a region of the spectrum in between the dedicated frequency allocations near 410 MHz and 1.4 GHz.

One radio astronomy application in this band is for very-long-baseline interferometry.[1]

In 1963, when there were very few stations in the UHF band, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a 10-year moratorium on any allocation of stations to Channel 37. A new ban on such stations took effect at the beginning of 1974, and was made permanent by a number of later FCC actions. As a result of this, and similar actions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Channel 37 has never been used by any over-the-air television station in Canada or the United States.

Some nations, for whatever reason may not only fail to set aside this region for Radio Astronomy -- but may outright allot broadcasters channels in this spectrum region. In New Zealand (as of 2016), Maori Television has been given 2 channel allotments nationwide in this frequency region.

Allocation issues

Reservations and use outside the US have a non-exclusive legal status

  • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) enacted such a ban on Channel 37, but Radio Astronomy has no Exclusive Status on this channel.
  • Mexico observes a similar ban on the use of this TV channel, but the allocation like Canada's is not exclusive.
  • Guatemala has a ban on Channel 37.[2]
  • Most NTSC System-M countries have an informal ban on Channel 37 as well, but don't give Radio Astronomy exclusive use of the channel either.

Since July 2000, Channel 37 may also be used in the US for medical telemetry equipment on a co-primary basis. This equipment must emit no more than one watt of effective radiated power, and is for use in hospitals and other such facilities.

  • The power level permitted by the FCC is many times more than the amount allowed for Part 15 unlicensed broadcasting.
  • In US areas set aside for radio-frequency silence, this equipment is banned by statute and regulation.
  • This seemingly low power level can be troublesome for radio astronomy equipment, which depends on detecting extraordinarily low signal strengths. Any use of the same frequencies raises the noise floor, thereby decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio, and making the work more difficult.

Channel 1 was also removed from the TV bandplan in the late 1940s, channels 70 to 83 (800MHz band) by the 1980s mainly for AMPS mobile phones and, in June 2009, channels 52 to 69 (700MHz band) for mobile phones, emergency services and mobile TV services such as Qualcomm's now-defunct MediaFLO (channel 55). Additional channels from 38 to 51 (600MHz band) are being taken away from TV broadcasters after FCC auction 1000 ended in early 2017, which will leave channel 37 as a guard band between repacked TV stations and more mobile networks, for which T-Mobile USA won most of the licenses.

Certain channels, 14 through 20, are used for land mobile communications in some large metropolitan areas in the U.S. However, facilities using this decades-old co-allocation are just treated as another station to avoid interference to in their local area.

The channels displayed by cable converter boxes under these numbers are not on the same frequencies as their over-the-air counterparts; there are also virtual channel numbering schemes in use in digital television which do not map directly to fixed frequency channel assignments. As such, a "cable 37" channel may (and most often does) exist, but on a much lower frequency.

Fictional usage

Channel 37 is sometimes seen in fiction, the same way telephone numbers with the "555" telephone exchange prefix are used.

Channel 37 has been used as a hypothetical example in instruction manuals, where it serves a role analogous to the fictitious example.org and example.net Internet domains and the 2001:db8 IP address. The "Channel 37" newsroom also occasionally has made a fictional appearance on sites such as YouTube and MySpace.

Outside North America

In NTSC-M countries

Outside North America, channel 37 is actively used in these countries where NTSC-M is used:

  • In the Philippines, Channel 37 is used by ABS-CBN TV-3 in Cebu City, Cebu as ABS-CBN's digital channel (ISDB-T). However, its analog broadcasts primarily on Channel 3.
  • In the Philippines, Channel 37 is used by ABS-CBN TV-10 in Iloilo City, Iloilo as ABS-CBN's digital channel (ISDB-T). However, its analog broadcasts primarily on Channel 10.
  • in Trinidad and Tobago, WIN-TV is broadcast on Channels 37 and 39, using NTSC
  • In Dominican Republic channel 37 is also used for the CDN news channel
  • In South korea KBS 2TV's Analog channel on gwanak-san Transmission station.(01.Jan.2012 04:00 closed.)

In other countries

In these other countries, the frequency allocation for these TV channels is different:

  • in the UK (many transmitters used by the Five network actually broadcast on channel 37)
  • in Western Europe, Channel 37 is used fairly widely as a relay transmitter frequency.
  • In Malaysia, NTV7 broadcasts in PAL on CCIR Channel 37 (599.25 MHz)

Channel 37 is not the same frequency as it is in the countries using the System-M/N standard. At least in the UK, 606–614 MHz is reserved for radio astronomy.

The UK's namesake "Channel 37", while different in frequency, was formerly part of a small group of channels reserved for non-broadcast purposes such as RF modulators in video players.[3] The UK-named 34-37 channel range is no longer reserved in this manner.

In Japan, UHF television channel frequencies are offset by one channel compared to North American channel naming convention. Japan's channel 36 is in use by TV Asahi in some regions.

Global UHF TV allocation table (605–615 MHz)

This Radio Astronomy Allocation is between the following wavelengths:

  • 605 MHz = 0.49552 m = 49.55 cm
  • 615 MHz = 0.48747 m = 48.75 cm
  • Assume either a 100 kHz or a 250 kHz guardband with respect to this allocation.
Western Europe
Ch DVB Video (MHz) Audio (MHz)
36 591.25 596.75
37 599.25 604.75
38 607.25 612.75
39 615.25 620.75
40 623.25 628.75
Eastern Europe
Ch DVB Video (MHz) Audio (MHz)
35 583.25 589.75
36 591.25 597.75
37 599.25 605.75
38 607.25 613.75
39 615.25 621.75
China
Ch DVB Video (MHz) Audio (MHz)
24 559.25 565.75
25 605.25 611.75
26 613.25 619.75
27 621.25 627.75
28 629.25 635.75
Australia
Ch DVB Video (MHz) Audio (MHz)
37 590.25 595.75
38 597.25 602.75
39 604.25 609.75
40 611.25 616.75
41 618.25 623.75
New Zealand
Ch DVB Video (MHz) Audio (MHz)
36 591.25 596.75
37 599.25 602.75
38 607.25 612.75
39 615.25 620.75
40 623.25 628.75

DVB-T adoption note : The tables above are not accurate for nations that have adopted DVB-T. The frequencies for audio and video are merged with DVB terrestrial television. The new DVB frequencies are rounded off to an even number in MHz as a general rule.

National arrangements for radio astronomy different from ITU-R

National arrangements for radio astronomy different from ITU-R Radio Regulations

Central & Western Europe

  • Austria: no allocation - only mention of No. 5.149
  • Bulgaria: no allocation
  • Belgium: assignment to radio astronomy (shared with active services)
  • Finland: no allocation
  • Estonia: no allocation
  • Iceland: no allocation
  • Liechtenstein: no allocation
  • Luxembourg: no allocation
  • Netherlands: primary status
  • Portugal: no allocation
  • Spain: no allocation
  • Sweden: no allocation
  • United Kingdom: no reference to No. 5.149

Rest of World

  • Armenia: no allocation
  • Russian Federation: no allocation
  • Turkey: no allocation
  • New Zealand, Maori TV and others (not allocated to Radio Astronomy at all)

NZL DTV 2016.png
NZ's DTV allocation as of 2016; This needs to be converted to a Wikitable to make it more readable. DTV Channel 25 is being used as a Guardband, but could be used if a channel reallocation be needed.

Legal note

As national (and ITU) frequency allocations can have multiple users (or no users at all) there should be some disambiguation as to what the various kinds of allocation schemes are

  • No Allocation and Primary Status could be considered equivalent legal status. Very often the lack of allocation implies an internal regulatory coherence with ITU-R regulations freeing up this band for Astronomy.
  • Assignment and Primary Status could be considered equivalent legal statuses as well.

References

  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  2. ^ Guatemalan UHF TV bandplan
  3. ^ five analogue reception issues Archived April 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., tinsleyviaduct.com

External links

North America

Rest of World

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