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Freeview reception has changed?

Why should my Freeview reception change when I have not changed anything?

Why should my Freeview reception change when I have not changed
published on UK Free TV

From time to time people find that their Freeview box, integrated set (idTV) or Personal Video Recorder (PVR) has lost many channels without any apparent changes.

There are a number of factors to consider

Freeview is broadcast on digital multiplexes. This means that, once broken down into a stream of bits, each television channel is combined into a single transmission of 1s and 0s. This means that reception is of the multiplex first if this is lost it affects all the channels in the multiplex in the same way.

The signal strength received by the box or TV for a particular multiplex from a given transmitter determines if the data can be received or not. So, a poor signal results in no data, an adequate signal in perfect data and a low signal in either none or all.

Poor digital signal levels do not result, as they do with old-fashioned analogue television, in a sub-standard picture or sound. Poor signals often result in a perfect data-stream, but are prone to periods of no reception. Sometimes this will be for hours, but can also be several times a minute when caused by induction from fridges, freezers, central heating systems, two-stroke scooters, baby monitors and so on.

If you have lost ALL your Freeview channels

First disconnect the aerial lead from the Freeview box or TV set and reconnect it and then follow this reset procedure to scan for channels again. If this does not result in services being restored, check the Freeview transmitters page to see if there are any engineering problems with your local transmitter.

How to check all cables, connectors and aerials

The RF connectors need to be in very good condition to work. There are two general types:

Factory-fitted connectors are very reliable as they cannot easily be taken apart, but they can be damaged by wear and tear. On the female-type the central section is often composed of two parts which can often be forced apart, resulting in a poor connection you can push them back together if this has happened with a pair of tweezers. On male connectors if the central pin is damaged, you will need a new cable. If there are any loose partials in the connector, remove them.

Another problem with these cables is that quite easy to sprain the connector at the back which causes little obvious external damage, but disconnects the internal connection. This happens often when a set-top box is pushed backwards into a cabinet.

Hand made cables can also suffer from similar problems to factory made ones and they are also prone to accidental damage from a cable being pulled. If such a connector is not firmly attached to the cable, the connector may need refitting.


Make a visual check of the cables. There are a few basic checks:

If the cable has been slashed or cut, it will not be very effective or reliable. If such a cable is fitted externally, this can allow rainwater to enter the cable and this will reduce the signal levels.

You can easily damage an RF cable by crushing it, for example in a door. If the outside of the cable has a permanent kink in the cable or has been very tightly looped, this could be the site of damage.


For reliable and effective Freeview reception, a rooftop aerial is required. It is hard to make a visual check of such an aerial without putting yourself in potential danger.

You can make a visual check of the route between the aerial and the transmitter. Any form of obstruction will damage the digital signals. In particular trees coming into leaf, as these will leech the signal before it reaches your aerial. This applies to both trees adjacent to the aerial and at a distance.

Another common problem in cities is building work. A large crane will often change position many times during the day, and if this is between your aerial and the transmitter this can reduce the signal levels in an unpredictable way.

If your system uses a booster, the power may have failed. Check the fuse to the power to the booster.

Weather problems

There are two main weather problems that effect Freeview reception.

The Inversion Effect: please see What is the Inversion Effect and why does it effect my Freeview TV reception?

Wind: high winds sometime can dislodge the aerial this results in a poor signal.

Rain: poor or old cables can fill with water and this results in a poor signal. If this happens, the cables will require replacement.

Help with Freeview, aerials?
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I have been told I would receive too much singal from my Freeview tansmitter as 3
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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
Two frequency interference 5
Single frequency interference6

Saturday, 31 July 2021

9:32 AM


The Craigkelly transmitter has been listed for Planned Engineering. The signal may be weak when such work is being carried out and this can cause picture break-up/pixellation in some locations.
This is the most likely cause and is highly unlikely to have anything to do with any current 5G expansion - most current 5G expansion is in the higher frequency bands around 3.4/3.6 GHz, nowhere near TV frequencies.

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Chris.SE's 4,083 posts GB flag
Thursday, 9 December 2021
Dave Bradney
5:50 PM

Since the weekend (11/12.12.21) I can only get the SkyArts/Dave group of channels from Blaenplwyf. BBC channels reappeared briefly, but then disappeared again

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Dave Bradney's 5 posts GB flag
Friday, 10 December 2021

2:10 AM

Dave Bradney:

The transmitter was listed for Planned Engineering just over a month ago, but is no longer listed and I can't find any reported faults either.

Are you still living in the same place and using a set-top aerial? I'd check your coax connection and the lead from the aerial. The aerial rods should be horizontal.

If you've moved and using an external aerial, have you checked it's still pointing the correct way and the downlead is undamaged and not flapping in the wind? It's possible it could have been damaged in the recent severe weather.

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Chris.SE's 4,083 posts GB flag
Saturday, 11 December 2021
7:56 AM

Any reports of problems receiving channels in the Potters bar Hertfordshire area in the last few days?

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Helen's 1 post GB flag

4:26 PM


Well that will depend on where you are in the Potters Bar area. The terrain can mean you may or may not receive certain transmitters and their multiplexes. So we'd need a full postcode and approximate compass direction your aerial is pointing in to be able to give more accurate detail as well as which region (eg. Londoin, Anglia or Meridian) that you normally get.
Which channels are you getting problems with?
Have you changed anything about in your installation?

All one can say without such information, is that the transmitters you are most likely to receive do not appear to have any faults currently listed, nor are they currently listed for Planned Engineering.

The best advice at this point is to check that your aerial seems intact and pointing in the direction it should be and that your downlead looks undamaged (especially if it is old). Also check all your coax plugs, connections, flyleads etc, unplug connectors check for corrosion or other problems and reconnect them. Flyleads are a common problem, try swapping/changing them.

See what signal strengths and quality you are getting for the multiplexes (groups of channels) shown in your TV's tuning section, that information may indicate issues with your aerial or downlead or possibly any distribution amp/splitter you may have.
Problematic connections, water ingress etc. can seem to affect reception of just an individual or several multiplexes.

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Chris.SE's 4,083 posts GB flag
Thursday, 16 December 2021
Paula Farrell
11:29 AM

15th December I lost all BBC channels on the TV. All others are working fine. Can't seem to find the problem. Area DL6 North Yorks

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Paula Farrell's 1 post GB flag

2:03 PM

Paula Farrell:

The DL6 postal code area is quite large and with the nature of the terrain in North Yorks we need a full postcode to look at predicted reception. We'll also need to know which way (rough compass bearing) your aerial is pointing as at one random area I checked you could receive may 5 different transmitters with bearings roughly NNW, NE, Fractionally S of E, ESE, or SSW. Also which region you normally get - Yorkshire or Tyne Tees.

Having said all that, I can't find any faults currently listed for any of those transmitters but 2 of the transmitters are on Planned Engineering so brief interruptions are possible. If you happened to retune whilst you had no signal for the BBC channels it will probably have just cleared the correct tuning. Are you missing the HD channels 101-105 as well or just the SD ones - 1,2, 9 etc.?

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Chris.SE's 4,083 posts GB flag
Thursday, 23 December 2021
12:21 AM

Most channels frequently pixelated or stalled today. In Rochester served by Crystal Palace. Any works going on faults?

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simon's 1 post GB flag

4:00 AM


There has been moderate Temperature Inversion/Tropospheric Ducting affecting large parts of the UK for several days, it sometimes accompanies high pressure.
Do NOT retune, it will more likely remove your correct tuning.

These conditions are predicted to ease late on Wednesday by the end of the night
Despite the incorrect spelling, this link does work - simple technical explanation….jpg

Essentially it results in interfering signals from other transmitters in the UK or Europe reaching you and so your wanted signals are disrupted. It won't necessarily affect all multiplexes or necessarily at the same time if more than one. It can last for seconds, minutes, sometimes hours or longer.

The BBC have had a warning on their Works and Warnings page for a few days, and Freeview had added one on Wednesday (better late than never!) but at that time it was then mainly affecting the S & SE.

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Chris.SE's 4,083 posts GB flag
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