WTVH transmitter back in service after outage from Sunday

March 26, 2013 by

Updated 3/27  with new details throughout -- SYRACUSE -- Good news for viewers who watch CBS5 (WTVH) over-the-air with an antenna.  The station's transmitter returned to service today, following a transmitter failure that took the station off-the-air near the end of a close NCAA men's basketball tournament game on Sunday.

A story announcing the transmitter's return to service was posted on, the joint website of WTVH and co-located sister stations NBC3 (WSTM-TV) and CW6 (WSTQ-LP), at about 12:20pm Tuesday.

CNY Central Chief Engineer Kevin Tubbs tells, "WTVH’s transmitter took two days to fix because it failed on a Sunday, the part was ordered Monday, and arrived Tuesday."  He explained bad timing was also a factor in a January 2012 outage: "it [the transmitter] failed on Friday night of a three day weekend, meaning that parts arrived the following Wednesday.  We gave serious consideration to driving to the transmitter plant to pick up the parts!"

Tubbs explained the station usually doesn't reveal the finer details behind transmitter outages "because such information is not particularly meaningful to most viewers," among other reasons.

Customers of Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS were not affected by the WTVH transmitter failure, as the station provides direct fiberoptic feeds to both companies.

For over-the-air viewers, the usual automated loop of taped local news and weather content on WSTM digital subchannel 3.3 was pre-empted so the channel could serve as a temporary backup for WTVH, in standard definition.

In order for satellite subscribers to get the "backup" feed, both companies have to re-tune from 5.1 to 3.3 (and back again once the main transmitter returns to service), a process which is not immediate.  But Tubbs told that both DirecTV and Dish Network retuned to 3.3.  Both services went back to the original 5.1 channel late Tuesday night.

Previous WTVH Outages

WTVH’s transmitter has experienced multiple outages in the past couple years:

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