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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.

Sunday, 22 July 2018
11:26 AM

Ken Reaveley:
I am having the same problem with my Panasonic recorder since the engineering works on 19th July 2018. Timer recordings have consistently failed and I am unable to pause/rewind live TV for all channels being broadcast on C45 (666.0MHz). This includes BBC1 HD, BBC2 HD, ITV HD, CH4 HD, CH5 HD, CBBC HD & Film 4+1 SD.

When I try to pause live TV I am getting a message 'No signal for operation' which suggests to me that there is some kind of embedded code or information that is missing/changed from the broadcast of these channels since being moved on Thursday. The recordings worked fine before these changes.

I live within a mile of the Bluebell Hill transmitter and have signal strength & quality of 10. I can watch the above channels without problem, I just cannot record them. I have tried everything including retuning, unplugging the box, factory reset & updating firmware to latest revision. The problem still exists and I believe it is Freeview that should be sorting the problem and not passing the buck.

Looking at AV Forums, this problem has occured after other transmitters have been "upgraded". In particular, Midhurst had same problems back in March (search "digitalspy cannot record hd"). The problem was eventually fixed there, so if Freeview can manage to communicate with each other then surely the same fix can be applied to Bluebell Hill.

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Chris's 17 posts GB flag

3:38 PM


The problem was resolved by Panasonic making some change to their software. If your Panasonic equipment is affected then contact them.

It is not up to Freeview as they do not operate the transmitters, they are run by Arqiva on behalf of Freeview. So any transmitter problem that is identifiable as definitely being due to the transmitter should be communicated to Arqiva. However, most problems are due to equipment faults in the home or the hot weather.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
8:42 PM

I understand that Freeview is onto the matter. (Same gentleman from Freeview who sorted the similar problems out in January 2018) and a solution is expected. Freeview will advise when it is done following contact with Panasonic. Seems to be accepted that Freeview equipment is experiencing difficulties and Freeview will lead on sorting it out.

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David's 6 posts GB flag

10:02 PM

Chris: "When I try to pause live TV I am getting a message 'No signal for operation' which suggests to me that there is some kind of embedded code or information that is missing/changed from the broadcast of these channels since being moved on Thursday."
I do find this apparent refusal to write to disk interesting. It's extremely annoying that we never get to know the cause after they fix it.
What it points to, it seems to me, is DRM, as this dictates how recording is carried out.
DRM messages normally exist in the SDT and EIT for HD services on the DVB-T2 multiplexes in the form of the FTA content management descriptor. See ETSI EN 300 468.
The FTA content management descriptor is a single byte, one bit of which, called do_not_scramble, controls encryption to disk:

do_not_scramble: This is a 1-bit field that indicates whether or not to apply scrambling of the content item for the purposes of content protection.
If do_not_scramble is set to '1' then scrambling shall not be applied for the purposes of content protection.
If do_not_scramble is set to '0' then scrambling shall be applied where applicable for content protection.

If someone uploads a sample of the Bluebell Hill BBC B transport stream - ten seconds is enough - I could compare it with Winter Hill's BBC B and maybe see a difference.
Here is a ten second sample of BBC B off Winter Hill:
2018 07 22 2131 FTS BBCB.7z (30.44MB)

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js's 826 posts GB flag
Monday, 23 July 2018
Ken Reaveley
9:00 AM

From one Ken to another.
Fantastic Information Ken Collyer a Video <CTR><ALT>&<DELETE>
Worked like a dream when I followed your advice at 22:30 on Saturday. Set it to pick up Crystal Palace, seeing that Freeview tells me I am outside the Bluebell Hill Tx envelope at 20 miles (LoS) while Crystal Palace is 48 miles (LoS), but the Tx maps identify the opposite.
Now with 101, 102, 104 & 105 now on Channel 30 Frequency 584.83MHz (London Network)
All now all these and other channels are recording satisfactorily.
Thank you so much for this advice.

I received this feedback from Freeview, which gave the same information as Ken, but other information, so others might find it useful.
Thank you for your email dated 20 July regarding retune event information.
You have raised a number of points in your letter, which I will address below
To begin with, I would like to explain that the link I gave you for the coverage checker (detailed view) is designed to show a viewer the predicted reception from the available transmitters in your area at a glance. Green shading indicates a good reception, Amber shading indicates a variable reception and Red shading indicates a poor reception. However, this is only a prediction.
Please click on this link to see the consumer view for Bluebell Hill, which shows the channel names and which ones are predicted to be Green and Amber.
We can only comment on information provided on the Digital UK and Freeview web sites.
The Freeview web site postcode checker (here) only displays the channels that are predicted to be a good reception. Please note this is only a prediction.
Bluebell Hill and Crystal Palace have completed the retune events in connection with the reallocation of the airways and there is no more retune events planned for these transmitters. As we go around the country changing frequencies on other transmitters, there may be reception changes in your area, which might mean you will need to retune. We generally advise consumers of Freeview to retune regularly as there may also be changes made by the broadcasters e.g. (new channels launched, channels move to different frequencies, or channels change their channel number)
When you perform an automatic retune, your equipment may pick up signals from both Crystal Palace (London region) and Bluebell Hill (Meridian region, South East).
Picking up signals from more than one transmitter can sometimes overload the equipment, in which case I would advise as a first step, that you perform a manual retune by following this procedure:
Firstly, remove the aerial cable from the rear of your digital equipment and perform a full automatic retune, in order to remove all stored channels and information.
Once completed, replace the aerial cable and check that all the Freeview channels have been removed and if so, continue with a manual retune to Bluebell Hill using this guide.
8. Using your remote control, press the 'menu' button.
9. Select the 'set up' or 'installation' option. If you see picture icons, select the tool box, satellite dish or spanner.
10. Select 'manual retune' or 'manual search'.
11. If you are prompted for a code, try 0000 or 1234.
12. For BBC A type in 32 where it asks for a 'channel' number (frequency) and press OK.
13. Repeat steps 1-5 using the different numbers next to each group (a group is a bundle of TV services), to complete the manual retune. D3&4: 34, BBC B HD: 45, SDN: 40, ARQ A: 43, ARQ B: 46, COM7 HD: 55, COM8 HD: 56
14. Then press 'menu' or 'exit' to finish.
NB: These instructions should work for most Freeview TVs or boxes, but they differ, and you may have to speak to your manufacturer for help.
You can use the same procedure for manually tuning to Crystal Palace. The channel numbers you will need are:
For BBC A type in 23 where it asks for a 'channel' number (frequency) and press OK.
D3&4: 26, BBC B HD: 30, SDN: 25, ARQ A: 22, ARQ B: 28, COM7 HD: 55, COM8 HD: 56
Please note that after re-tuning, you may need to re-schedule your planned recordings.
Once again, I am sorry to learn you have been inconvenienced,
If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.
Additional information can be found on our website at or if you would rather speak to one of our advisors please phone 03456 50 50 50.
Kind Regards,
Dave Viewer Support Freeview Advice Line

We alI know what to do when the Freeview Engineers get their screwdrivers out again.
Kind regards
Ken Reaveley

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Ken Reaveley's 11 posts GB flag

12:36 PM

I've been told to do a re-boot of my Panasonic DMR-PWT420, by Panasonic, via the function menu to go down the menus to find "shipping Condition" & select that.
I am very reluctant to follow that advice as I think it is a transmitter & freeview problem & they should sort it out.

js mentions DRM messages & I seem to remember this coming up a few years ago when similar failure to start recording occured, then I think it was to do with whatever multiplex group BBC4 HD had been moved to.

As there were no problems recording HD when they were on BBCB channel 40, 626MHz some signal has been omitted on the change to channel 45.

Also, as this is supposed to be about clearing the 700 MHz band why have they stuck us with COM7 HD & COM8 HD on 746 & 754 MHz band, is there more chaos to come.
Any advice or solutions very welcome

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Bertmay's 30 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 24 July 2018
10:10 PM

I have had no bbc, bbc2, itv, channel 4, channel 5 or any other services that derive from those channels since Friday! I have two TVs that are both plugged into our main aerial. Both TVs pick up channels like really and Dave, but nothing else! Help!


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Sophie's 1 post GB flag
Wednesday, 25 July 2018
1:35 AM

I have the same problem Chris. My Panasonic recorder was working fine up until the Re-tune on the 19th July 2018. Now I cannot record any HD channels. I really hope this problem gets fixed soon.

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Lauren's 2 posts GB flag
12:00 PM

Just tried the potential solution posted by Mr Ken Reaveley on Monday. Regrettably, on my Panasonic machine, it did not facilitate the recording of any of the HD channels which have been affected by the signal update from last week.

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David's 6 posts GB flag

3:31 PM


The advice to reboot your recordeer is very sound advice originating from Panasonic Technical Support. So please do the restart.

The use of channels 55 and 56 is temporary and I understand there are plans to use better types of encoding that allow each multiplex to carry more information, as is the case with the HD multiplexes. When that will happen is unclear.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
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