Much of the Metro Detroit television market will be receiving a 'new' television on the air soon as Ion Television's WPXD-TV Channel 31 Ann Arbor has starting testing a new transmitter that will give the station essentially full-market over-the-air coverage of the area for the first time.
WPXD started it's tests from near I-696 and M-10 sometime earlier today- however viewers may experience service interceptions as work continues on the new facility.
Once WPXD completes testing and is on the air permanently, viewers that receive TV channels with an antenna should rescan their digital equipment so their receivers can find the new channel. The new WPXD facilities broadcast on physical channel 50 - the same virtual channel that used by CW affiliate WKBD-TV which actually broadcasts on channel 14. Digital TV receivers use mapping to display TV channels on their virtual numbers (often the same channel numbers used when the stations broadcast in analog) instead of the physical channel number, if they happen to be different.
WPXD's new transmitter is carrying all three subchannels: 31.1 is the main Ion Television broadcast in HD, 31.2 carries the children's targeted network qubo, and 31.3 is broadcasting Ion Life.
Since the station first signed on in 1981, it has broadcast from west of Ann Arbor, near Chelsea. The station's transmitter there will be turned off as soon as engineers are comfortable the new facility is operating properly and becomes licensed. Some viewers in the area west of Ann Arbor will lose their coverage of WPXD when this happens - but most will still be able to receive Ion programming on WZPX-TV Ch. 43 Battle Creek.
The eventual permanent sign on of WPXD from Southfield will make it the first full-power TV station to obtain full market reach in Detroit since WADL Channel 38 started operations from Mt. Clemens in 1986.