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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.

Help with Freeview, aerials?
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In this section
Official aerial installers guide to the TV spectrum future1
Which free digital TV system will give me the most reliable reception?2
High pressure causing channel loss through "Inversion"3
Digital Region Overlap4
Freeview reception has changed?5
Two frequency interference 6

Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Kay Coleman
9:35 PM

MikeB: Thankyou for your suggestion. However, I do not have a PVR connected to the TV, I just have an old - style, deep-back TV, with a digital STB. Neither are HD, & the TV does not have Freeview built in. We tried it with another aerial lead, tested as good with another TV, from a secure connection in another room, but the problem was not resolved, my reception was as bad as ever. The part I cannot understand is sometimes, as well as the "No or bad signal" notification, sometimes it says "HD TV is not available", which makes no sense. Now my reception has gone from pretty bad, to totally unwatchable since the weekend, it has just gotten progressively worse. Occasionally I will get a watchable reception on ITV & CH 4, at around 3:00am, but otherwise, nothing. A week or so ago, I could still watch some channels, but now they are all messed up. This problem started out- of- the- blue one day while I was watching, 2 weeks ago, up to which time it had worked perfectly, so I do not know what to think, or what else I can do. I have just looked on the setup menu, but there is no part about telling the box to continue passing through the signal when it is on standby.

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Kay Coleman's 8 posts GB flag
Thursday, 7 December 2017
Kay Coleman
12:08 AM

MikeP: I apologize for being such a dunce with these things, I am just lost. I have checked, rechecked & checked again my coaxial cables & connections, plugs, AC outlets, & the splitter box the cable shares with the TV set in the master bedroom, & they are all completely secure & in good condition. We have tried another, good coaxial cable, tested successfully on another TV, from a good, secure connection in another room, with my TV & set top box, but that did not solve the problem. I found the channel list for Emley Moor, there are 9 listed, channels 47, 44, 41, 51, 52, 48, [32], 34, 56. It states that channel 32 is used by 11 digital transmitters. However, this is where I draw a blank. The TV set in my room is not HD, & does not have built-in Freeview, it was already here when I moved in, is several years old, & any user manual it may have had is long-lost. I have just checked out the manual tuning section on my STB, which has a list from 21 to 69, & the signal strength on all of them is very low. It gives the frequency, (KHz), for each. Is this what you need to know? The bandwidth given for each is 8 throughout. The quality gauge fluctuates rapidly between 0% & 100% on most. Am I looking in the right place here? If not, I do not know where else I can find anything. I really do not know how to check if I am correctly tuned to Emley Moor. I am sorry for putting you to so much trouble. I just want to watch my favorite shows again, & this is very frustrating

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Kay Coleman's 8 posts GB flag

9:58 AM

Kay Coleman: OK. so you know that the signal strength on your connection is very low. You swapped out cables and stuff, so its not those.

You can test the STP easily - take it to another room, and plug it into the aerial connection there, and connect it to the TV there (if its got a scart connection). If it works fine, then your down to one possibility - the connection to your room, and possibly where it splits off.

To make sure of that, borrow a TV from another room. If the signal strength is rubbish, that its got to be that.

Think of your wires like plumbing - somewhere between the aerial and your connection there is a 'leak'. Best bet? The splitter is dodgy, or the lead leading off that. Could be damage, a loose connection in the wall, corrosion, or perhaps someone has put in a new piece of electrical equipment, and the power supply to that is basically killing the signal.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag

5:25 PM

Kay Coleman:

It is the signal strengths as reported by your Set Top Box (STB) that we need to know. It appears that Heanor should be well covered from the Emley Moor transmitter, apart from the HD services on Com7 and Com8 - but as your STB is not equipped for HD reception that is not a problem for you.

Further to that said by MikeB, I strongly suspect that the active splitter has failed - even if there is a red light on showing it has a mains supply. If you can borrow one similar to the current one then that could show it is either working correctly or it is faulty.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 27 December 2017
Jason Crook
4:46 PM

I live 2 miles away from Tacolneston mast and my digital signal is shocking!
There are very few stations that I can view without the signal cutting in and out, or completely losing it!

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Jason Crook's 1 post GB flag

6:16 PM

Jason Crook: Of course its rubbish - your just two miles away from the the transmitter! In essence, your tuner is being shouted at.
Search for 'too much of a good thing' on this site.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Monday, 29 January 2018
Dawn Etchell
4:18 PM

we have been experiencing lots of ??? interference - constant clicking when on terrestrial TV since Xmas ??? what can be the cause

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Dawn Etchell's 1 post GB flag

10:22 PM

Dawn Etchell:

To be able to help you we need some more information. Please provide a full post code so that we can examine the reception conditions at your location (a partial post code does not help). Please also supply the signal strength readings from your TV set (the User Manual will tell you how to get those). It wou;d also help if you give us the channel numbers the TV is receiving (note the programme numbers), these are usually shown on the same page as the signal strengths.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag

11:32 PM

Dawn Etchell: Check your signal strength - if its low the signal is dropping out, and the most likely explaination is that there is a fault with your systems. If its that, then start with your cables and connections.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Sunday, 18 February 2018
2:03 PM

Intermittent loss of signal
Have had a perfect reception over the years, a couple of years ago I had a problem with a pvr losing channels and not being able to re tune
I reverted to an older pvr that works fine and bought a new one too, seemed to cure the signal problem
recently the problem has returned where the signal is lost quite frequently on all channels through both pvr boxes and the TV itself .... when its working the signal strength is very strong, I have seen it drop and jump about too
the area I am in is WF10 5TU

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mick's 1 post GB flag
mick's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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