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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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Tuesday, 9 October 2018
G Thorogood
9:59 AM

I have a problem with TV signal, this morning watching BBC1 news, had interruption in signal for a few second at the time.

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G Thorogood's 1 post US flag

10:20 AM

G Thorogood:

Please provide a full post code, as requested, so we can examine the expected signal reception conditions at your location and which of the over 1100 transmitters you might be using.

Meanwhile, please check all your aerial cables and connections. If there are coaxial plug/sockets then unplug and refit those to clear any possible corrosion/oxidation on the contacts.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Ros Fitzner
8:35 PM

I live in the BS10 area of Bristol and over the last year I have had extreme issues with TV reception breaking up and channels disappearing for about 2 months at a time, suddenly all goes back to normal for about a month and then it starts all over again. Approximately a month back all channels returned again with no problems at all until tonight, then BBC and ITV both started boxing badly at about 7pm, both channels got increasingly worse, so I did a re tune and now BBC1 and all BBC channels have completely disappeared as has happened in the past. Thankfully ITV has come back at the moment but for how long I do not know. Can you please let me know what on earth is happening because I am unsure why I am paying TV licence fees for BBC channels that I have been without for most of this year. Please dont suggest to me that there may be work going on in the area that could be affecting it, or mobile phone masts, 4/5G etc as I have already been down that route.

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Ros Fitzner's 3 posts US flag

9:59 PM

Ros Fitzner: If you give us a full post code, or just put it into the website when posting, it will tell us where you are in relation to the transmitter, etc, plus what transmitter you should be using.

Its most likely that the problem lies within your own system - your licence fee doesnt gaurentee your signal anymore than your Car Tax ensures your car will start. If its disappearing and coming back, its sounds like the wiring (or possible local interference) , but signal strength on the channels effected will be useful to know.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts US flag
Ros Fitzner
10:47 PM

MikeB: My post code is BS10 7RT, I cannot give you the signal strength for the missing channels as after retune all I get is Invalid Channel. Also since my last email I retuned again and QVC has now disappeared along with channels 18/19/20/21/22/25/26/30 and so on. I appreciate your answer about the TV licence and actually knew that, but it is so frustrating when this happens and I have to resort to watching catch up on a 10" tablet. I mailed earlier this year about the same issue and I was told then that it is probably the aerial or local interference but if that is the case why does it come back fine for a month or so here and there, and why is it different batches of channels that come and go?

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Ros Fitzner's 3 posts US flag
Ros's: mapR's Freeview map terrainR's terrain plot wavesR's frequency data R's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Wednesday, 10 October 2018
Ros Fitzner
9:06 AM

MikeB: This morning all ITV channels have also disappeared, channels 3/4/5/6/7/9/10 etc, I have checked further and it appears all (Channel 40) stations have gone. I checked the signal on ITV and its showing Quality 0, Strength 4.5, Parameter (channel 40) 626 MHz.
(Channel 33) 570 MHz is on reduced signal quality but still working.

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Ros Fitzner's 3 posts US flag

11:00 AM

Roz Fitzner:

Like M ikeB, I suspect you have a fault in your aerial system. The predicted reception for your location is good from Mendip and Kings Weston Hill, which is just 2 km away.

Please check all your aerial cables and connections to ensure there is no damage and if there are plugs/sockets then unplug and then refit then to clear any possible corrosion/oxidation on the contact surfaces. Also check that your aerial is undamaged and pinting in the correct direction, 185 degrees for Kings Weston Hill mounted with the little rods vertical or 177 degrees for Mendip with the little rods horizontal. It is likely that the same direction will be able to receive both transmitter signals but Mendip requires a wide band aerial and Kings Weston Hill currently needs a Group C/D aerial but that is likely to change next year to also require a wideband aerial. It would be a good idea to consider having a wideband aerial fitted soon but don't fall for the con of a 'digital' aerial as there is no such thing.

Once that is resolved, you should tune your TV manually to the channels for your opreferred transmitter: for Mendip use channels 49, 54, 58, 48, 33, 52, 36 and 35) though they will change sometine between April and June next year). For Kings Weston Hill use channels 43, 40, 46, 53, 57 and 60 (though those will change between April and June next year as well). Note that Kings Weston Hill does not transmit COM7 nor COM8.

Your desired signal strengths should be in the range between 60% and 85%, less or more will give rise to problems. Signal quality is not usually an issue if the strengths are correct.

If in doubt about any of the actions needed, please consider engaging a local professional aerial contractor.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Thursday, 11 October 2018

6:00 PM

MikeP: Yes, it sounds like a dodgy system - Ros, when your channels start disappearing, thats a good indication that your system is failing somewhere. It could be something easy, like a connection thats just fallen out or is very loose, but from your description, possibly something higher up, and possibly is bad when water has gotten into a connection or wire, which then kills much of the signal. When the weather is dry, it comes back, etc...

Follow Mikes excellent advice, but if no luck, call a professional.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts US flag
Sunday, 14 October 2018
Clayton Taylor
7:04 PM

With respect to my previous post, I found another website Digital UK | Home saying there was planned maintenance a day or so prior to my post. I'm apparently using the CARADON HILL transmitter & this same website says: 'Planned engineering work this week (15-10-2018) on 22 main transmitters and 89 relays'. My area says weak-signal.

So a lot of conflicting info out there & on this site..grrrr. Anyway the reception is still all over the place, good & bad on same day. I have four tv's in the house, the only one that seems to be fine most of the time is the main lounge tv, that one had an aerial-booster fitted, so I might get a few more for the other tv's.


Can anyone confirm signal strength in the Ivybridge area. I've been getting sound & picture intermitent interrupts with that awful high pitch sound squeak today (02-10-2018). This has happened a few times now over the last month or so. Is there a map or website that shows any maintenance works etc.


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Clayton Taylor's 3 posts GB flag
Monday, 15 October 2018

10:34 AM

Clayton Taylor:

To get the clearest picture of TV reception at any locality it is best to use the Digital UK Coverage Checker at Digital UK - Coverage checker and entering the relevant full post code and a house number. That website is often quoted by us contributors to this website as it is the most accurate and helpful. It is also kept up-to-date daily. It is well known that the channel data on this website has not been updated in more than 6 months as only the site owner can do that but he is not currently available.

So I suggest you use Digital UK - Coverage checker again with your full post code.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
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