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Freeview intermittent interference

When you get occasional sound loss or picture freezes

When you get occasional sound loss or picture freezes
published on UK Free TV

There are several different types of interference that cause problems. This page deals with the situation where:

  • Freeview reception is perfect or near-perfect most of the time
  • The audio on TV and radio channels mutes momentarily a few times each minute
  • The picture on a Freeview channel freezes a few times each minute

There are two main causes of this type of intermittent interference:
  • 'Induction' interference
  • Mobile phone interference

Induction interference

Induction interference is caused by mains-powered household devices that contain a large motor, such as:
  • Washing machine;
  • Tumble dryer;
  • Central heating pump or combination boiler;
  • Fridge;
  • Freezer;
  • Power tools (drills, jigsaws etc)
  • Vacuum cleaners;
  • Water pumps;
  • Automatic doors

You can identify if one or more of these devices is causing the Freeview reception problem by powering off the devices.

If one of these devices is causing the problem, then the reception problem can usually be solved by using a mains filter device and use it on the Freeview boxes mains connection.

Such as device is this: Maplin: 6-Way Flat Screen and HDTV Surge Protector and Mains Filter.

Mobile phone interference

If you keep a mobile phone by your Freeview box or digital television, keep it further away!

This also applies to other transmitters such as baby monitors, video senders, walkie talkies, and portable phones.

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Sunday, 21 February 2016
12:20 PM

I reside in the Whetstone, London area and am experiencing pixelated picture and distorted audio. I have been through all the recommended checks and nothing changed. I checked with my neighbour and she is also experiencing the same issues. This does seem to suggest a common problem and since engineering work was carried out at Barnet just recently wonder if something has upset the balance for us.

It is very frustrating as it happens at intervals of approx a few minutes in a random fashion throughout at all times of the day and evening.

I would appreciate your help please.

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Norris's 1 post GB flag

3:57 PM


A full post code is needed in these circumstances as what affects one road or house may not affect others nearby.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 8 March 2016
Eve Steadman
11:13 AM

I live in Cambridge and am having problems of freezing and pixilated pictures on BBC News and Alzazeera only, which I understand are served by the Sandy Heath transmitter. We have been fitted with an aerial by the company which deals with FreeView aerial problems and the problem has reappeared after a period without problems.

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Eve Steadman's 2 posts GB flag

6:42 PM

Eve Steadman: We need a full postcode, and signal stength on BBC channels.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 9 March 2016
Eve Steadman
10:48 AM

MikeB: CB4 Thanks Mike: the problem disappeared so I wondered whether the cause had been the weather?
Have there also been engineering works at Sandy Heath?

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Eve Steadman's 2 posts GB flag
Eve's: mapE's Freeview map terrainE's terrain plot wavesE's frequency data E's Freeview Detailed Coverage

1:42 PM

Eve Steadman: Could be lots of things, but what leaping out at me is the fact that your just 27km from Sandy heath. High signal strength could well be a factor. If your readings are high, then search for 'too much of a good thing' on this website - it might help.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Monday, 28 March 2016
9:53 AM

New aerial fitted 2 weeks ago, signal very spasmodic today. Worked for 10 mins then out for 2 hours back for 5 mins and now gone again. NN4 ONJ. Can the weather be causing this ?

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Ellie's 1 post GB flag

10:05 PM


It could be as others have reported similar disturbances to their reception. Do not try to retune your TV though as you are likley to lose more channels that way.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
MikeP's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Saturday, 28 May 2016
Kingston Bailey
11:58 AM

Good location is SA65 9TA, Gwaun Vale Holliday and Touring park. Llanychaer, Fishguard.
I have carried out several retunes and programme scans but I am not getting good reception from Presely transmitter. What is the best antenna for this transmitter?
Thank you.

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Kingston Bailey's 4 posts GB flag
Kingston's: mapK's Freeview map terrainK's terrain plot wavesK's frequency data K's Freeview Detailed Coverage

1:46 PM


If you click on the digitaluk trade banner below your post, you will see that they recommend trying the Fishguard transmitter for preferrence, but that Presely is a possible alternative.

Fishguard is a Freeview Lite transmitter and only the BBC A multiplex is thought to give reliable reception, BBC B and D3&4 being variable. Presely is a full sevive transmitter reception being expected to be good for all multip[lexes apart from ARQ B.

Fishguard will require a Group C/D aerial with rods vertical whilst Presely requires a Group B mounted with rods horizontal.

Looking at the reception map and the terrain plots it would appear that Presely is probably the better option.

As for what type of antenna/aerial you need then I suspect that good quality Yagi will suffice (but avoid the scam of a 'digital' aerial as they all receive the signals the same way) but you might consider a log-periodic type. How much inherent gain is needed is difficult to determine, but as the ARQ B signals are possibly suspect then a medium to high gain type is probably better, though you may need to add attenuators if the signal is too strong and giving break-up - especially on the HD multiplex.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
MikeP's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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