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Full Freeview on the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) transmitter

first published this on - UK Free TV
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The symbol shows the location of the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) transmitter which serves 200,000 homes. The bright green areas shown where the signal from this transmitter is strong, dark green areas are poorer signals. Those parts shown in yellow may have interference on the same frequency from other masts.

This transmitter has no current reported problems

The BBC and Digital UK report there are no faults or engineering work on the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) transmitter.

Choose from three options: ■ List by multiplex ■ List by channel number ■ List by channel name

Which Freeview channels does the Bluebell Hill transmitter broadcast?

If you have any kind of Freeview fault, follow this Freeview reset procedure first.

Digital television services are broadcast on a multiplexes (or Mux) where many stations occupy a single broadcast frequency, as shown below.

 H max
C32 (562.0MHz)242mDTG-20,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) South East, 2 BBC Two England, 9 BBC Four, 23 BBC Three, 201 CBBC, 202 CBeebies, 231 BBC News, 232 BBC Parliament, plus 16 others

 H max
C34 (578.0MHz)242mDTG-20,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV 1 (SD) (Meridian (East micro region)), 4 Channel 4 (SD) South ads, 5 Channel 5, 6 ITV 2, 10 ITV3, 13 E4, 14 Film4, 15 Channel 4 +1 South ads, 18 More4, 26 ITV4, 28 ITVBe, 30 E4 +1, 35 ITV1 +1 (Meridian south coast),

 H max
C45+ (666.2MHz)242mDTG-20,000W
Channel icons
46 5SELECT, 101 BBC One HD South East, 102 BBC Two HD England, 103 ITV 1 HD (ITV Meridian Southampton), 104 Channel 4 HD South ads, 105 Channel 5 HD, 106 BBC Four HD, 107 BBC Three HD, 204 CBBC HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 1 others

 H max
C40 (626.0MHz)242mDTG-820,000W
Channel icons
20 Drama, 21 5USA, 29 ITV2 +1, 32 5STAR, 33 5Action, 38 Channel 5 +1, 41 Legend, 42 GREAT! action, 57 Dave ja vu, 58 ITVBe +1, 59 ITV3 +1, 64 Blaze, 67 TRUE CRIME, 68 TRUE CRIME XTRA, 78 TCC, 81 Blaze +1, 83 Together TV, 89 ITV4 +1, 91 WildEarth, 209 Ketchup TV, 210 Ketchup Too, 211 YAAAS!, 267 Al Jazeera English, plus 30 others

 H max
C43+ (650.2MHz)245mDTG-820,000W
Channel icons
11 Sky Mix, 17 Really, 19 Dave, 31 E4 Extra, 36 Sky Arts, 40 Quest Red, 43 Food Network, 47 Film4 +1, 48 Challenge, 49 4seven, 60 Drama +1, 65 That's TV 2, 70 Quest +1, 74 Yesterday +1, 75 That's 90s, 233 Sky News, plus 11 others

 H max
C46 (674.0MHz)245mDTG-820,000W
Channel icons
12 Quest, 25 W, 27 Yesterday, 34 GREAT! movies, 39 DMAX, 44 HGTV, 52 GREAT! romance, 56 That's TV (UK), 61 GREAT! movies extra, 63 GREAT! romance mix, 71 That’s 60s, 73 HobbyMaker, 82 Talking Pictures TV, 84 PBS America, 235 Al Jazeera Eng, plus 18 others

DTG-8 64QAM 8K 3/4 27.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
H/V: aerial position (horizontal or vertical)

Which BBC and ITV regional news can I watch from the Bluebell Hill transmitter?

regional news image
BBC South East Today 0.8m homes 3.2%
from Tunbridge Wells TN1 1QQ, 28km southwest (218°)
to BBC South East region - 45 masts.
regional news image
ITV Meridian News 0.7m homes 2.7%
from Maidstone ME14 5NZ, 5km south-southeast (155°)
to ITV Meridian (East) region - 36 masts.
All of lunch, weekend and 50% evening news is shared with all of Meridian plus Oxford

How will the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1984-971997-981998-20122012-1319 Jul 2018

tv_off Being removed from Freeview (for 5G use) after November 2020 / June 2022 - more
Table shows multiplexes names see this article;
green background for transmission frequencies
Notes: + and - denote 166kHz offset; aerial group are shown as A B C/D E K W T
waves denotes analogue; digital switchover was 13 Jun 12 and 27 Jun 12.

How do the old analogue and currrent digital signal levels compare?

Analogue 1-4 30kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB, BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-1.8dB) 20kW
com8(-7.8dB) 5kW
com7(-8.1dB) 4.7kW
Mux 1*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-10dB) 3kW
Mux 2*, Mux A*(-11.8dB) 2kW

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Bluebell Hill transmitter area

Sep 1955-Jul 1968Associated-Rediffusion†
Sep 1955-Jul 1968Associated TeleVision◊
Jul 1968-Dec 1981Thames†
Jul 1968-Dec 1981London Weekend Television♦
Jan 1982-Dec 1992Television South (TVS)
Jan 1993-Feb 2004Meridian
Feb 2004-Dec 2014ITV plc
Feb 1983-Dec 1992TV-am•
Jan 1993-Sep 2010GMTV•
Sep 2010-Dec 2014ITV Daybreak•
• Breakfast ◊ Weekends ♦ Friday night and weekends † Weekdays only. Bluebell Hill was not an original Channel 3 VHF 405-line mast: the historical information shown is the details of the company responsible for the transmitter when it began transmitting Channel 3.

Friday, 15 February 2019
10:11 AM

The channels were working when I first switched on this morning, but now I have lost them again from around 9am. Recording failed at 10pm last night due to no signal. CH45, 46 and 56 have no signal quality. CH55 has 90-100% signal quality but is registering "bit error rate" and keeps pixelating.

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Chris's 17 posts GB flag

5:35 PM


Firstly plkease check all your aerial connections, cables and the plugs/sockets by unplugging them and refitting. If the issue continues it is most likely to be the current high pressure area.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Alan overy
3:21 PM

I'm having trouble with my signal from Bluebell hill. The picture blocks and the goes both intermittently.
I have retuned my tv as soon as it prompts on screen but still having trouble has been happening for a while now. I live in Bean DA28BX and have new arial and slx4 booster. Can you help.

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Alan overy's 1 post GB flag

3:58 PM

Chris: & Alan overy:

There is Planned Engineering work at Bluebell Hill this week with "Possible Weak signal". That's probably what you are seeing the effects of. I'd just be patient.

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Chris.SE's 4,082 posts GB flag
Friday, 22 February 2019
7:39 PM

Alan overy:

Are you still having problems with your reception from Bluebell Hill or has it resolved itself yet?

Is it particularly bad this (Friday) evening? My HD channels are currently off or ar very best unwatchable..

I have been having similar problems to you for months now.

Which channels are affected?

link to this comment
Chris's 17 posts GB flag
8:39 PM

Chris.SE: & MikeP:

I have been checking the Digital UK website for months now and every time I go on there, it says there are Planned Engineering Works at Bluebell Hill with "Possible Weak signal". Does this mean that there is a known problem with the transmitter but it is not being fixed? Or is it false information? How can I find out?

From my point of view it is very frustrating because my problems started immediately after the retune on July 19th last year when they carried out changes for 700mhz clearance. I have watched through hours of recorded programs to test this, and there is no doubt that all recordings before that date are problem free, whereas recordings after that date have frequent glitches along with loss of picture/sound.

I have tried attenuating the signal strength back to around 80% as suggested by MikeP because I am within 2km of transmitter. This had no effect or if anything made it slightly worse due to dropping back the signal quality as well as strength. The signal quality fluctuates then drops out giving brief "no signal" message before recovering back to it's peak. The peak also fluctuates from one day to the next.

I have also replaced the wall socket and renewed all cables inside the house, which made a slight improvement but not enough to eliminate the issue. The only thing left is the aerial, which is old but exactly the same as everyone elses around here and pointing in the same direction. I live in a rented house and cannot afford to replace it, and besides, it was perfectly adequate before July 19th 2018.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I am desperate to get this resolved after 7 months of patiently waiting for the freeview engineers to sort the problem.

Is there anything I can check between the rooftop aerial and the wall socket that may help?


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Chris's 17 posts GB flag

11:29 PM


Ask Arqiva direcrtly as they operate thew transmitters and will know what plans there are for any engineering work.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts PT flag
Saturday, 23 February 2019

12:39 AM


You make a good point about the Planned Engineering listing, DigitalUK are the ones to ask about how accurate those listings are (tel:03456 505050). I only look myself if I become aware of a possible issue! Virtually every (main and some relay) transmtters have some supposed work at present ! I must admit I find that a bit difficult to believe although there are further clearance changes to come over the next 2 years but not at Bluebell Hill AFAIK. If anything is going on there it may be "tweaking" or some other difficulty that doesn't have a quick fix (eg. faulty antenna). As MikeP has suggested Arqiva would be the people to ask (try 01962 823434) if DigitalUK don't know (or give you BS).

If you have a wideband or group T aerial then reception shouldn't be an issue but it's worth checking the system out, your downlead may have degraded etc and the frequency changes could have caused any issues to come to light. It is perfectly possible for individual UHF frequencies to be affected by damaged cable rather than all frequencies. If your issue is mainly with the higher UHF channels then damp in the cable might be a cause, but again any frequency could be affected more than another.

Also remember the current high pressure weather is causing periodic reception problems (continental interference, but also possibly some uk transmitters that are now sharing more frequencies).

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Chris.SE's 4,082 posts GB flag

1:03 AM


Forgot to say, you mentioned HD channels, if you are specifically referring to those on COMs 7 & 8, they are on the SFN channels 55 & 56, I'd want to be sure the downlead was in good order.

Also it would be worth considering whether you have too much signal as you are so close to the transmitter. If the front ends of receivers are overloaded beyond a certain point (this can vary from brand/set to brand/set) they can indicate a "lower" signal strength than you actually have and quality will be degraded. That could be what you have as your results may fit this.
Your overall antenna and coax response may give more signal since the frequency changes which might just tip things over the edge. (Antenna gain is not flat over the full frequency range).
If you don't have access to an attenuator to try, one trick that may help is try partially removing the aerial plug so that only the centre pin is making connection. If things improve, too much signal is the most likely cause and you'll need to try an attenuator.

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Chris.SE's 4,082 posts GB flag
Sunday, 24 February 2019

10:42 AM


There is a lot of work being done to prepare for future changes to channel allocations, part of the planned changes needed for the introduction of 5G transmissions in the 700MHz+ band. Some of the work is also related to improvements to the DAB sevices and coverage.

If it is suspected that too much signal is a possible problem then checking the reported signal strength on the manual tuning page, without doing a retune, will show just how much is present. Depending on the make and model of the TV, it is usually recommended that the strength should not exceed about 85%.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts PT flag
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