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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.

Cables

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.

Aerial

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?
Can I attach a Freeview digibox to a Combi TV/Video unit?1
My high gain aerial can't get all the Freeview channels I expected2
I can't get Freeview yet, when will it start in my area?3
Are there plans to extend the range of regional variations on Freeview?4
How can I Receive Freeview on two TVs using one box?5
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

Comments
Tuesday, 8 October 2019
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_satisfiedGold

7:59 AM

Barry Wilson:

My first question would be have you changed anything in these last few weeks? If not, as the Freeview channels you specifically mentioned are on different multiplexes, it's most likely that the problems have been due to Planned Engineering work that would have been taking place in preparation for retunes at Belmont, the first of which is due on 23rd October when COMs 7&8 change UHF channels.
That said, there's no announced Planned Engineering this week so I would expect things to be stable at present. Are you still having the same problem this week?

If you put your postcode into the DigitalUK checker http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/coveragechecker/main/index/dummy/NA/yes you'll see that Belmont is the only likely predicted transmitter. You could look at your TV's tuning section to check you are correctly tuned to the UHF channels for Belmont.

If you have changed nothing, I think it very unlikely that you've suddenly got too much signal as each of your 3 TVs and BT box will have different sensitivities and each be affected differently. If you are still having the same problem this week, I would be inclined to check things like your aerial & its connection and coax for damage and possible water ingress that might have been caused by some of the very bad weather in recent times.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 614 posts GB
Wednesday, 9 October 2019
B
Barry Wilson
11:11 AM

Thanks Chris, Yes we are still experiencing the same problem, I have tried disconnecting each tv in turn and disconnecting the amplifier box, all to no avail. I have not checked the uhf / Belmont set up, I will try it today.

The coax I used is thicker than the cheap brown stuff and still in perfect condition. The cable runs are long as we have a large bungalow. 25 metres from aerial head to amplifier and then 20 metres to the lounge tv. however it was working fine since instalation until recently.

I suppose water in the aerial head box is possible even though we live in the driest side of the country. The mast is 12ft long and mounted on the side of the apex of the bungalow. The aerial has 10 cross shaped elements and two grid like panels, one above the beam and one below, angled slightly inwards.

I am almost 80 so unable to get up to check it for water damage. I do have a small aerial on the shed which serves a small tv .................................. Chris what a muppet I am !!! Why didn't I think to check the channels that are breaking up on that aerial/tv before, I have not used it for a year or so.

I have been and checked and they are perfect ! So I guess that means it is my aerial connection is faulty.

I will have to get a local tv aerial installer to check it out.

I am grateful for your advice and help, at least I have checked out my whole system is okay.

It ain't any fun getting old Chris :-)

Regards

Barry


link to this comment
Barry Wilson's 2 posts GB
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_satisfiedGold

3:51 PM

Barry Wilson:

I might suspect the amplifier/splitter is on the blink. When you say you've tried disconnecting the "amplifier box", did you try connecting your main (or any one even) tv outlet coax direct to the aerial coax and see if the signal is stable although it will be lower. Also check that the power supply/mains for the amplifier isn't intermittent - a loose connection? Assuming the mains is ok, if it's all stable direct, then I'd get another amplifier/splitter - a bit cheaper than getting an aerial contractor out.

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Chris.SE's 614 posts GB
Thursday, 7 November 2019
B
Beverley
11:05 AM

Hi there,
I live in BN3 and have a freeview arial which works perfectly well until the early hours of the morning. I frequently wake up about 3am and put the tv on to get back to sleep. For the last week I get a message saying signal weak or no signal and I cannot get a picture at all. Every thing is restored when i put the tv on at 6.30am. I'm at a total loss as to what is causing this. Any ideas please?

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Beverley's 1 post GB
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_satisfiedGold

11:13 AM

Beverley:

We cannot tell which transmitter you are receiving from a partial postcode. There is Planned Engineering at 3 of the main transmitters in your region this week with "Possible weak signal". We can't tell you yet whether any of that will continue next week.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 614 posts GB
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