menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Radio



Click to see updates

Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) DAB transmitter

sa_gmapsGoogle mapsa_bingBing mapsa_gearthGoogle Earthsa_gps52.130,-0.242 or 52°7'47"N 0°14'33"W

Are there any planned engineering works or unexpected transmitter faults on the Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) mast?

Sandy Heath transmitter - Sandy Heath transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 04/12/2023 Pixelation or flickering on some or all channels Digital tick

UK Free TV shows the coverage area for a radio transmitter as a coloured overlay (orange for FM, other colours for DAB) on the grey map. We have computed the coverage by combining the terrain with the official radiation pattern. A single click will select the transmitter to view the coverage for a single site, and a double click goes to a page showing full details. Click on the buttons in the right-hand corner of the map to choose from different frequencies (or multiplexes for DAB).


Local transmitter maps

Sandy Heath Freeview Sandy Heath DAB Sandy Heath AM/FM Sandy Heath TV region BBC Cambridge Anglia (West micro region)

Thursday, 9 November 2023

5:35 PM

Ian Jackson:

There's been a lot of engineering work on many main transmitters this year and some people in weaker signal areas have had some reception difficulties due to the work, some as noted on the Freeview page (this is the DAB page).

When you say "it" keeps moving your BBC channels can you be explicit - moving which ones where?
Does it end up tuned to another transmitter maybe Oxford instead of Sandy Heath?

You certainly shouldn't need to retune everyday, not a good idea, especially with the engineering work going on, which may be related to your issue. If you go into the TV Tuning/Programming settings, there maybe an option to tune off the Automatic Updating. It is certainly better off than on, such settings are more trouble than they are worth.

If it's another issue, how old are your TV sets? If they are very recent Freeview Play devices the this could be as a result of CLM - Channel List Management, if it's simply swapping BBC SD and BBC HD channels.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 3,929 posts GB flag
Friday, 10 November 2023
Ian Leslie Jackson
6:49 AM

I commented on channels moving, All the BBC channels move from 101 etc into the 800's sometimes, other channels disappear. The Panasonic TV I have is 16 months old. I have owned Panasonic TV'S for years and have been fantastic TV'S. You commented on not retuning the TV when you are working on the transmitter, how are we supposed know what you are doing. Panasonic have been unhelpful up until yesterday and they have told me that they are going to try and install an update to stop the Auto update. There is also a Big problem with lip sync, they are working on this also

link to this comment
Ian Leslie Jackson's 9 posts GB flag
Ian's: mapI's Freeview map terrainI's terrain plot wavesI's frequency data I's Freeview Detailed Coverage

2:17 PM

Ian Leslie Jackson:

"I/we" are not working on a transmitter, this is an independent FREE Technical helpsite.
Freeview publish a list of Planned Engineering (provided by Arqiva & DUK) and that data is collected by this site and published on the relevant transmitter page. There are separate pages on this site for Freeview, DAB and AM/FM, however the information may appear on more than one page.

Arqiva, who are the company responsible for the great majority if transmitters in the UK, never give any details of what the work entails or how long it will last especially as some of it may be weather dependent which means delays can happen as you can't climb masts, service antennae, cables, guy ropes, etc when weather is unsuitable.

Now that you've provided the information about how the channels are moving, this particular channel allocation is normally a clear indicator that when retuning you are picking up another transmitter from the (correct) one you are normally tuned to and it's often a different region. When a set is picking up more than one region it will usually put the weaker ones in the 800s unless the set has the provision for setting your preferred region or postcode - even the latter is sometimes a problem when in weaker reception areas.

The (strong) advice for retuning is simple. IF you are correctly tuned to your normal transmitter's UHF channels then do NOT retune when the set shows No Signal or has badly pixellated pictures, sound breakup etc. This includes any "Auto-retune". The only time that retuning may be required is if/when any of the commercial broadcasters change their channels on any of the COM multiplexes, and usually you get a pop-up message when going to the affected TV Channel (LCN).

It does not matter whether the cause of the No signal, bad pixellation etc is due to transmitter engineering, weather conditions causing interference, or local interference, or even faults on your own aerial system, retuning will NOT help. You cannot tune to signals that are not there or can't be decoded. The net result is often the correct tuning is cleared and/or the results you've been getting.

Your specific problem is two fold and is
a) down to your Panasonic set having an auto-retune function which (it seems) cannot be turned off with the current firmware (such functionality is a pain and is frequently far more trouble than it's worth as you have discovered!).
b) due to you being in a weaker reception area for your chosen transmitter (region) where you can also get signals from other transmitters (regions). This being compounded by weaker signals with some engineering work.

Aerials have what are called "side-lobes" which can pick up signals from certain directions on the sides or rear of the aerial, albeit they will be much weaker than those in the direction the aerial points. So if you main signals are weak or missing, the set can sometimes find those picked up on sidelobes if they come in strong enough.
In your particular locale (dependent of exact location due to terrain, nearby buildings, trees, other structures etc) you may receive signals from 3 main transmitters - Sandy Heath, Oxford and Crystal Palace, the latter being weakest.

The cure to the problem is to turn off any automatic updating. In your case keep hassling Panasonic (or for anyone else in a similar situation - their set manufacturer) for a firmware update if you cannot currently turn it off.

Just also worth noting, that it's a good 10 years since DSO and many transmitters will have needed extensive maintenance etc to ensure they continue to provide reliable transmission during the worst of the weather conditions we may see, etc.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 3,929 posts GB flag
Select more comments
Page 3

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.