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New and improved Freeview radiation patterns

I'm very pleased to announce that the list of the radiation patterns - the diagrams that show the power levels for each direction from a transmitter - have returned in an improved format. In addition UK Free TV now has 528 new patterns received in the last month from Ofcom under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Radiation patterns   Photograph: pssl.com
Radiation patterns Photograph: pssl.com
published on UK Free TV

What are radiation patterns?

All ground-based broadcast transmitter – be it for a Freeview, DAB, AM/FM radio or mobile phones – can and do broadcast their output at different levels in different directions.

The diagrams here on UK Free TV show all the known patterns.   In theory each transmitter can have a different pattern for each transmission frequency.     

This diagram shows how the Primrose Hill Freeview transmitter's coverage map and the radiation pattern for it.

Radiation pattern example

Why did you say "known patterns"?

Because, and I quote

  • disclosure of the antenna radiation patterns into the public domain could lead to these being available to foreign administrations, which would substantially weaken HM Government's negotiating position with respect to international frequency clearance;
  • a weaker negotiating position for HM Government may lead to additional cost for the broadcasters (where antenna systems have to be re-built as a result of international coordination) and lower coverage for viewers (where antenna systems have to be restricted in order to protect foreign transmissions); and
  • the BBC is required to provide coverage of its services on digital terrestrial television to a certain proportion of the population by the completion of switchover and a failure or suboptimal result from international co-ordination may harm the BBC's ability to meet this obligation.

The number of sites that we have data is limited to the data released by the BBC in 2009 – see Update on transmitter radiation patterns (BBC FOI request) – plus the new data from Ofcom.

 

What is the new data?

With help from Dave Lindsay, I contacted Ofcom to ask them to release the data related to the upcoming UK Digital Terrestrial Television: International Coordination Agreements

I do note that on the above-mentioned Ofcom link there is a link to "International Co-ordination Technical Parameters and Nominal Antenna Templates"  http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/broadcasting/Web_Int%20Coord%20800MHz%20DTT%20Clr%20Tech%20and%20Nominal%20Templates_22May13.pdf  This would appear, on the surface, to provide some of the missing transmitter data.     Whilst I understand that this is co-ordination information and may represent greater coverage than the actual transmitters use, I would prefer to have some radiation pattern information with a written warning, rather than "none".  

Do the new patterns match the output?

"While you are already aware of this, I would like to emphasise that the powers and antenna templates in these files represent the upper limit of the UK’s internationally agreed rights for specific frequency assignments, and the actual antenna patterns and/or powers used by the broadcasters are often more restricted. Additionally, not all of the assignments which have been co-ordinated are currently in use." - Ofcom

 

New SVG format

UK Free TV was using "HTML5 canvas" to draw the radiation patterns.     However the site now uses the SVG format for the graphics.     This has the several advantages, in particular that it is now easy to embed more than one diagram in a page where necessary. 

 

Some examples of the new data

Where the diagrams show (CCN) this is the new "Co-ordination combined nominal template derived from International co-ordination technical agreements" data.  A pattern with a "F" prefix is for a frequency not currently used at that mast for a live TV service (F570 is 570MHz also known as UHF C33). 

New radition patterns

 

What next?

The site's coverage maps will be regenerated soon to include all this new data. 

 



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