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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.

Are there any planned engineering works or unexpected transmitter faults on the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) mast?

Bluebell Hill transmitter - Bluebell Hill transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 27/11/2023 Pixelation or flickering on some or all channels Digital tick

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, 89 ITV4 +1, 91 WildEarth, 209 Ketchup TV, 210 Ketchup Too, 211 YAAAS!, 267 Al Jazeera English, plus 35 others

 H max
C43+ (650.2MHz)245mDTG-820,000W
Channel icons
 Smithsonian Channel, 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 Christmas, 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
 Quest Red +1,  Classic Hits, 12 Quest, 25 W, 27 Yesterday, 34 GREAT! movies, 39 DMAX, 44 HGTV, 52 GREAT! christmas, 56 That's TV (UK), 61 GREAT! movies extra, 63 GREAT! christmas mix, 71 That’s 60s, 73 HobbyMaker, 82 Talking Pictures TV, 83 Together TV, 84 PBS America, 235 Al Jazeera Eng, plus 20 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.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

10:39 AM

Where has Quest on channel 12 gone from the Bluebell Hill transmitter. It disappeared yesterday, 10 Dec, showing as "No Signal" when 12 was selected. Some other channels have gone as well. Where have they gone to? As I manual tune which multiplex do I select to get them back?

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Bert's 30 posts GB flag

10:59 AM

Drama on channel 20 has also gone from the channel list.
Drama & Quest were on the SDN & com4 group, I can get Quest HD but not on my non HD tv's.
I've tried a manual retune on C40 & the list say's Drama is there but the list lies, it does not appear in the guide.
What's going on?

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Bert's 30 posts GB flag

11:40 AM

OK, at the moment there is "No Signal" on channel 40 from Bluebell Hill, is this a fault or has it been discontinued.
Is there anywhere else where I can find out about transmitter faults?

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Bert's 30 posts GB flag

12:52 PM


For what should be an up-to-date list of which channels are on which multiplex see Freeview | All your favourite TV shows, all in one place and all for free corporate/platform-management/channel-listings">Channel listings | Freeview

I can find no reports of transmitter problems at Bluebell Hill at this time, neither being reported by the BBC or Freeview. Your issues sounds a bit like your TV's memory needs clearing.

The site owner has been unable to keep up with all the 700MHz clearance changes and as has been said quite a few times on this and other transmitter boards, the best place to look is the official listings on the Freeview site (now that the digitalUK site has been merged into it).

Goto Freeview | All your favourite TV shows, all in one place and all for free and scroll to the box "Check Freeview at my home", put in the postcode and house number/name and click "Check".

On the new page, amongst other things, you should see a mention of any Planned work Freeview | All your favourite TV shows, all in one place and all for free corporate/platform-management/planned-engineering-works
also whether there's any current transmitter issues - I've not always found the latter to be 100% reliable.

On this new page, scroll down just over half way and click "Detailed view".
You'll now see a list of any transmitters and their multiplexes that are predicted to be received at your location. You can hover over some of the information to get more detail/explanation, eg. hover over a channel number will give the transmission mode and the power in kW.

Another source of help & information is Advice about receiving TV and radio | RTIS Select the service you are having problems with and then enter your postcode and house name/number. It will show you which transmitters you might receive, you select the one you are interested in.

To hopefully resolve your current problem, unplug your aerial and do an automatic retune. This should clear all previous tuning as no channels will be found.
Plug the aerial back in and then retune (manually was your choice) to the UHF channels listed on the Freeview Detailed Coverage Checker.

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Chris.SE's 3,912 posts GB flag

3:31 PM

Thanks for the websites, I had a look & they say there are no faults.
I tried a manual re-tune for channel 40 on the Toshiba, it said the signal strength was good but the quality was poor, I selected it to scan but it found no channels. I then tried a manual scan on an LG & that said there was no signal for channel 40, so I am at a loss when everything else is fine.

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Bert's 30 posts GB flag

8:22 PM


This is quite odd, as according to the predictions, you are in a bit of an awkward location but none-the-less the SDN/COM4 is predicted to be the strongest/most reliable of all the multiplexes from Bluebell Hill!
I am also puzzled by the predictions as it would appear that you have line-of-sight to all the significant transmitters, never mind the nearest one - Bluebell Hill, unless you are very locally in a bit of a dip or have your signal path blocked by some local buildings, even then I would have expected other multiplexes to be affected.

Did you clear all previous tuning first as I'd previously suggested in my last post?
Have you changed anything around in your installation, or have any new bits of equipment?
Do you have anything with an RF output on it, such as an older Skybox, Set-top box, Games console etc. which may now be switched on which wasn't previously or had the RF output channel changed which may now be causing interference to UHF C40? Is a next door neighbour having similar issues?

If you have any splitters/boosters/amplifiers in your system, try one TV set directly connected to the aerial to see if you can get signal (albeit perhaps low) but with an improved quality.
Check all you coax plugs, connections, flyleads etc, unplug connectors check for corrosion or other problems and reconnect them, flyleads can be a common problem, try swapping them.
See if the signal strengths and quality you are getting for the other multiplexes shown in your TV's tuning section is what you normally get, this might indicate potential issues with your aerial or downlead.
Also check that your downlead looks undamaged and that your aerial seems intact and pointing in the correct direction.
Problematic connections, water ingress etc. can seem to affect reception of just an individual or several multiplexes.

I really can't think of what else to suggest, other than when you've checked all the above, if the problem remains and if neighbours have the same issue, all phone FreeviewAdvice on 0808-100-0288.

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Chris.SE's 3,912 posts GB flag
Thursday, 12 December 2019

11:51 AM


Well, I phoned the helpline & we are to get a visit from an engineer & a free aerial upgrade after his visit. The helpful young lady said that, I'm not quite sure what mind you, something changed in mid October that's affected us. I can't recall anything changing in October, I keep a record of when I have performed re-tunes & the last one I did was in June this year.

i will post again with anything further

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Bert's 30 posts GB flag
12:36 PM

Re: Bluebell Hill CH40.

It seems CH40 channels (Horror, 5 Select etc.) have moved to CH39. My TV and one retuned DVD-HDD notes the difference. There was a significant retune a week ago, when news appeared (inc. PSBAmerica and Together +1 on a non-HD multiplex).

However, the signal is extremely poor, and an attempt to retune another DVD-HDD cannot find anything on CH39. The problems began after the earlier retune.

My Sony TV's internal booster gives me something on the CH39 channels, but this goes when another machine (earlier in the RF loop) is turned on. Evenings are better, but far from ideal.

There maybe no reported issues, but clearly something has gone awry. A functioning service no longer functions.

Hope this is if help.


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Kif's 6 posts GB flag

7:43 PM


Actually Kif, some of your post is I'm afraid misleading. Bert has spoken to Freeview Advice and if there had actually been some unpublished change of multiplex UHF channels they would have said so. Further more if it had moved without publication, there would be miriads of people complaining about not getting the SDN multiplex.

The SDN Multiplex at Bluebell Hill is still on UHF channel 40.

The change to which you referred was simply some broadcasters moving their programmes to a different multiplex (which on a lot of sets requires a retune). If you want what is normally an up-to-date list of which channels are on which multiplex see Channel listings | Freeview however Freeview can sometimes be a bit tardy in updating it with changes!

The announcement about the change was made at…-80s however just saying that "PBS America has changed how it is broadcast" is not very informative about the fact it is a change of multiplex. Freeview made a similar announcement back in November 5 Nov 2019 - Changes to Film4+1 and More4+1 | Freeview for which they have been criticised, but that (so far) doesn't seem to have changed the way they give (NOT) such information !

You have said you are getting a weak SDN signal on UHF C39, but this is NOT coming from Bluebell Hill. My suspicion is that your are getting it from another transmitters - probably Dover where SDN is on C39, but without your full postcode I can't be 100%.
If you are not getting SDN on C40 from Bluebell Hill this to me suggests there is indeed a transmitter issue of which I was already suspicious.

Thanks for that update but you haven't confirmed whether your neighbours are having the same problem, which would be extremely helpful to know, and if so if they have also phoned Freeview Advice.

This will not be the first time that I've encountered a slightly obscure transmitter problem that Arqiva/DigitalUK/Freeview have not been aware of until a number of people phone to complain. My suspicion is that it is only affecting viewers in a particular direction from the transmitter. You are quite right Bert, nothing changed in mid-October at Bluebell Hill. There were other changes in the Meridian broadcast area mid-October - Dover main station and some relays only, Midhurst main station and some relays only, Rowridge Ventnor relay only, Whitehawk Hill main station and some relays only.

Kif: If you are still not getting SDN on C40 you need to phone Freeview Advice and complain to them about it.
Bert is getting an engineer visit, that at least should provoke some further investigation if nothing before that does!

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Chris.SE's 3,912 posts GB flag
Friday, 13 December 2019
1:59 AM

Hi Chris.

There was no attempt to mislead. It is possible that my memory is foggy when retunes have been required, I must admit. Certainly, the issue is recent.

My TV auto updates based on postcode, so that changed without my input, and thus suggested that there had been a switch of multiplexes. From what you say, Chris, it may have picked up a signal from elsewhere using CH39 (London is more probable than Dover - my postcode is ME10, and had issues with getting London stations in the past), having not found a signal from CH40. I'm not sure if the TV overwrites weaker channels with stronger for the same stations when scanning, but that may be an explanation; CH40 wasn't there to overwrite CH39, mayhaps.

Unfortunately, the TV menu doesn't provide detailed information about which station is on which multiplex channel, or signal values; only when the signal drops out. The only hint was a setting asking if I wanted the booster on or off for CH39 (I was trying to watch a CH40 station at the time). So you can see how I may have been misled.

My DVD-HDDs are better in this regard, and are at the beginning of my RF cabling loop. The first machine to receive the signal from the aerial is not finding any life in CH40; it degraded, then vanished. Signal Quality and Strength values are all at zero, with no fluctuations. Signal Quality on CH43 is also volatile, occasionally dropping to 5 with picture break-up, but Strength is constant at 10. Both CH40 and CH43 degraded at the same time, but the latter appeared to have been resolved, and I didn't investigate further. The problem is less evident unless you go into the machine's settings.

Seems I'll have to contact Freeview advice, as you suggest.



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Kif's 6 posts GB flag
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