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Full Freeview on the Pontop Pike (County Durham, England) transmitter

first published this on - UK Free TV
sa_streetviewGoogle Streetviewsa_gmapsGoogle mapsa_bingBing mapsa_gearthGoogle Earthsa_gps54.868,-1.771 or 54°52'5"N 1°46'15"Wsa_postcodeDH9 9AT


The symbol shows the location of the Pontop Pike (County Durham, England) transmitter which serves 700,000 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 Pontop Pike (County Durham, England) mast?

Pontop Pike transmitter - Pontop Pike transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 04/12/2023 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 Pontop Pike 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
C39 (618.0MHz)447mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) North East and Cumbria, 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
C42 (642.0MHz)447mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV 1 (SD) (Tyne Tees), 4 Channel 4 (SD) North ads, 5 Channel 5, 6 ITV 2, 10 ITV3, 13 E4, 14 Film4, 15 Channel 4 +1 North ads, 18 More4, 26 ITV4, 28 ITVBe, 30 E4 +1, 35 ITV1 +1 (Tyne Tees),

 H max
C45 (666.0MHz)447mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
46 5SELECT, 101 BBC One HD North East and Cumbria, 102 BBC Two HD England, 103 ITV 1 HD (ITV Granada), 104 Channel 4 HD North ads, 105 Channel 5 HD, 106 BBC Four HD, 107 BBC Three HD, 204 CBBC HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 1 others

 H -3dB
C32 (562.0MHz)447mDTG-850,000W
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 -3dB
C34 (578.0MHz)447mDTG-850,000W
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 -3dB
C35 (586.0MHz)447mDTG-850,000W
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

 H -13dB
C33 (570.0MHz)447mDTG-125,000W
Channel icons
from 22nd September 2014: 7 Made in Tyne and Wear,

DTG-8 64QAM 8K 3/4 27.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
DTG-12 QSPK 8K 3/4 8.0Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
H/V: aerial position (horizontal or vertical)

Which BBC and ITV regional news can I watch from the Pontop Pike transmitter?

regional news image
BBC Look North (Newcastle) 1.6m homes 6.0%
from Newcastle NE99 2NE, 15km northeast (42°)
to BBC North East and Cumbria region - 70 masts.
regional news image
ITV Tyne Tees News 1.4m homes 5.4%
from Gateshead NE11 9SZ, 12km north-northeast (29°)
to ITV Tyne Tees region - 47 masts.
All of lunch, weekend and 50% evening news is shared with Border

Are there any self-help relays?

Kieldor DamActive deflector6 homes Holiday complex
Low HaberActive deflectorWest Allen Dale, 18 kn SW Hexham caravan site
North HartlepoolTransposer84 homes

How will the Pontop Pike (County Durham, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1950s-80s1984-971997-981998-20122012-1313 Nov 2019

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 12 Sep 12 and 26 Sep 12.

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

Analogue 1-4 500kW
BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-7dB) 100kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB(-10dB) 50kW
com8(-11.6dB) 34.6kW
com7(-11.7dB) 33.8kW
Mux 1*, Mux 2*, Mux A*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-17dB) 10kW
LNE(-20dB) 5kW

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Pontop Pike transmitter area

Jan 1959-Feb 2004Tyne Tees Television
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. Pontop Pike 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, 30 September 2012
9:59 AM

NE65 9QE (roof aerial) near Felton Northumberland
Since the switch over the reception on Channel 50- ITV 3 etc has been very poor - tolerable to non-existence.
It was perfectly OK prior to retuning.The variability suggests it is the signal, and not my set - up. Any suggestion to resolve this would be grateful.

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John's 1 post GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage

11:07 AM

John: Two points about your reception problems, the first being that the reception predictor does indicate your location with a status of "poor" as far as the reception of Pontop Pikes three commercial muxes is concerned and with this being on a permanent basis, so although predictors are not by any means 100% accurate (or anywhere near it!) this fact cannot be discounted.

The second point being that it would appear that the signal path to your location is at a very low angle whereby likely to be affected by trees and such likes, and variables seen on the signal strength / quality is nearly always (not exclusively though) caused by this sort of thing.

Do you use any form of booster? as in cases such as yours a booster can keep the signal running at a higher level whereby when it drops its still above the cut off threshold. That said though it depends on how much of a variable you get? as if its dropping from about 50% to near zero then a booster will not help.

Bilsdale at over twice the distance away as Pontop Pike does indicate superior reception of all muxes bar one ArqB, but I do have my doubts about this irrespective of what is indicated on the predictor.

Maybe you could give an update on the booster & the question on the span of the variables referred to.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
7:36 PM

Living in Hexham, until the switch over I only received analogue TV since retuning I get a much better picture but am receiving only limited digital channels. Is there anything I can do to increase the number of channels I can access?

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Peter's 1 post GB flag
Peter's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

8:37 PM

Peter: Unfortunately only the main transmitters and some larger relays carry all channels. The Commercial broadcasters don't consider it worth their while to transmit from the smaller sites like Wall.

The only possible transmitter at your location is Pontop Pike, if it were possible. Digital UK Postcode Checker does not think that it is possible, although such predictors should always be taken with a pinch of salt.

It would appear that you live at the bottom of a 70m slope on top of which is Cock Wood:

Terrain between ( m a.g.l.) and (antenna m a.g.l.) - Optimising UK DTT Freeview and Radio aerial location

I'm not an aerial installer, but the impression I get is that you don't really have any chance. At the bottom of such a steep drop trying to receive from over the brow of the hill is one thing, but add to that the fact that the trees are (from what I can see) on that brow.....

That said, keep your eyes open for new aerials pointing at Pontop Pike. These will be north west (at 321 degrees) and will be horizontal.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 2 October 2012
9:15 AM

I'm having the same problem as John. HD was perfectly ok before the switchover & retuning, but now HD isn't worth watching. SD signal shows 97% - 100% HD is only 5% - 10% and sometimes 0%.
I wrongly assumed signal quality would be improved once analogue signal was switched off.

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Eileen's 4 posts GB flag
Eileen's: mapE's Freeview map terrainE's terrain plot wavesE's frequency data E's Freeview Detailed Coverage

9:48 AM

Eileen: Whilst on the HD signal signal check screen have a look at the mux channel number being indicated associated with the strength / quality, as if its from Pontop Pike it should be Ch49 whereas if Ch23 its from Bilsdale, Ch25 being from your very local Morpeth relay albeit that the DUK predictor does not indicate that you should be able to receive it.

A contradiction is seen though, as on this site Morpeth is indicated as providing the strongest signal which is at odds with DUK's indications.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 3 October 2012
8:39 AM

jb38. Hi thanks for your response. Mux channel is showing 49.
Just checked this morning and it shot up from 2% to 48% then down to 4% in a couple of seconds. Is it my aerial do you think? SD channel strength is excellent

PS sorry it's taken a while to reply - I'm not getting email updates for some reason.

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Eileen's 4 posts GB flag
Eileen's: mapE's Freeview map terrainE's terrain plot wavesE's frequency data E's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Thursday, 4 October 2012

8:06 AM

Eileen: The common reason for what you have observed is usually because the signal being received is passing over areas where dense vegetation exists in the form of trees, something which I notice seems to be in an abundance in your area and with the first cluster of them not being that terribly far away, the worst type of situation.

I fully realise you have said that the other channels are OK but signals from the mast as well as being at different heights very seldom ever reach a non line-of-sight aerials in an equal fashion, so what you find is not that unusual.

Changing your aerial would not help this type of situation either as these swings are too great, although sometimes moving the position of an aerial a few feet sideways can help the problem, but this is more in the domain of an enthusiast as its not practicable in the commercial sense for someone being paid to carry this out as its a time consuming exercise.

I dont really feel that you have any option but wait and hope that the situation improves, and which it might do with the season changing and the effects that has on vegetation. The other thing I had meant to say was that if any neighbour might say that their HD is OK then that's simply because they are at a slightly different angle to you are, and what I was meaning about aerial positions.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
9:20 AM

jb38 OK thanks for that. It just seemed a bit odd that HD was ok before switchover and poor afterwards, yet the trees are still the same.

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Eileen's 4 posts GB flag
Eileen's: mapE's Freeview map terrainE's terrain plot wavesE's frequency data E's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Friday, 5 October 2012

12:19 AM

Eileen: Although this isn't always generally known about, but when a signal being received has (or relies on) an element of reflection attached to it this can suddenly alter when the signal gets stronger, as the beam angles change slightly in sympathy with the power levels meaning that a signal might start to reflect off something it didn't before, likewise "not" from something it did!, and that aspect "might" be a contributory factor with your particular problem.

The other aspect is that HD signals are far more critical as far as reception conditions are concerned, this being why they will always falter first in situations where the signal being received is slightly too strong as well as in the case of the reverse, the difficulty being that the symptoms seen by the viewer are identical in both situations, picture break ups, freezing, pixilation and all sorts.

Just out of curiosity, what signal levels (strength / quality) do you get indicated on the normal channels? BBC(Ch58) - ITV(Ch54) and ITV3(Ch50)

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
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