Channel 37 is an intentionally unused ultra-high frequency (UHF) television broadcasting channel in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and some of Eurasian, Asian region. The frequency range allocated to this channel is important for radio astronomy, so broadcasting is not licensed.
Channel 37 in System M and N countries 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. 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).
One radio astronomy application in this band is for very-long-baseline interferometry.
When UHF channels were being allocated in the United States in 1952, channel 37 was assigned to 18 communities across the country. One of them, Valdosta, Georgia, featured the only construction permit ever issued for channel 37: WGOV-TV, owned by Eurith Dickenson "Dee" Rivers Jr., son of the former governor of Georgia (hence the call letters). Rivers received the CP on February 26, 1953, but WGOV-TV never made it to the air; on October 28, 1955 they requested an allocation on channel 8, but the petition was denied.
In 1963, the 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.
The low-power WNWT-LD in New York was given virtual channel 37 in August 2019, thus becoming the first American station to be so assigned via the digital television PSIP standard, which shows the channel as such on a digital television set. (WNWT-LD's physical broadcasts are still on VHF channel 3, causing no interference for Channel 37 physically.)
Reservations and use outside the US have a non-exclusive legal status
The 2016-2021 repack left no US or Canadian OTA TV broadcasters above UHF 36. Many small-market Canadian rebroadcasters were taken dark by their corporate owners. This left former UHF 38-83 in the hands of cellular telephone and land-mobile operators, with UHF 14-36 as the main OTA TV broadcast band and UHF 37 as a vacant guardband.
Since July 2000, Channel 37 may be used in the US for medical telemetry equipment on a co-primary basis.[clarification needed] The equipment must emit no more than one watt of effective radiated power and is for use in hospitals and other such facilities.
Channel 1 was also removed from the TV bandplan in the late 1940s, channels 70 to 83 (800 MHz band) by the 1980s mainly for trunked two-way land mobile radio systems and, in June 2009, channels 52 to 69 (700 MHz 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 (600 MHz band) were auctioned in early 2017, leaving channel 37 as a guard band between repacked TV stations and more mobile networks, for which T-Mobile US 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 treated as just 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.
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.
Outside North America, channel 37 is actively used in these countries where NTSC-M is used:
In these other countries, the frequency allocation for these TV channels is different:
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 for output devices such as game consoles and videocassette recorders. 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.
This Radio Astronomy Allocation is between the following wavelengths:
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 Radio Regulations
Central & Western Europe
Rest of World