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Full Freeview on the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmitter

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The symbol shows the location of the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmitter which serves 1,870,000 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 Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) mast?

Sutton Coldfield transmitter - Sutton Coldfield transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 08/04/2024 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 Sutton Coldfield 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
C43 (650.0MHz)433mDTG-200,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) West Midlands, 2 BBC Two England, 9 BBC Four, 23 BBC Three, 201 CBBC, 202 CBeebies, 231 BBC News, 232 BBC Parliament, plus 19 others

 H max
C46 (674.0MHz)433mDTG-200,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV 1 (SD) (Central (West micro region)), 4 Channel 4 (SD) Midlands ads, 5 Channel 5, 6 ITV 2, 10 ITV3, 13 E4, 14 Film4, 15 Channel 4 +1 Midlands ads, 18 More4, 26 ITV4, 28 ITVBe, 30 E4 +1, 35 ITV1 +1 (Central west),

 H max
C40+ (626.2MHz)433mDTG-200,000W
Channel icons
46 5SELECT, 101 BBC One HD West Midlands, 102 BBC Two HD England, 103 ITV 1 HD (ITV Central West), 104 Channel 4 HD Midlands ads, 105 Channel 5 HD, 106 BBC Four HD, 107 BBC Three HD, 204 CBBC HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 1 others

 H max
C42 (642.0MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
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
C45 (666.0MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
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
C39+ (618.2MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
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

 H -13dB
C48 (690.0MHz)433mDTG-1210,000W
Channel icons
from 31st October 2014: 7 Big Centre TV,

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 Sutton Coldfield transmitter?

regional news image
BBC Midlands Today 2.9m homes 10.9%
from Birmingham B1 1RF, 15km south-southwest (200°)
to BBC West Midlands region - 66 masts.
regional news image
ITV Central News 2.9m homes 10.9%
from Birmingham B1 2JT, 15km south-southwest (201°)
to ITV Central (West) region - 65 masts.
All of lunch, weekend and 80% evening news is shared with Central (East)

Are there any self-help relays?

Burton (shobnall)Transposer1 km W Burton-on-Trent60 homes
CoalvilleTransposer18 km NW Leicester600 homes
SolihullTransposerLand Rover building400 homes

How will the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1950s-80s1984-971997-981998-20112011-137 Mar 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 7 Sep 11 and 21 Sep 11.

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

Analogue 1-4 1000kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB, BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-7dB) 200kW
com7(-10.5dB) 89.2kW
com8(-10.7dB) 86kW
LB(-20dB) 10kW
Mux 1*, Mux 2*, Mux A*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-21dB) 8kW

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Sutton Coldfield transmitter area

Feb 1956-Jul 1968Associated TeleVision†
Feb 1956-Jul 1968Associated British Corporation◊
Jul 1968-Dec 1981Associated TeleVision
Jan 1982-Feb 2004Central Independent 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. Sutton Coldfield 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.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Mike Dimmick

2:06 PM

jb38: The only thing I'll add is that the transmitting antennas always have a vertical component to the radiation pattern, the main lobe being aimed at or slightly below the horizon - this is termed the 'beam tilt'. The more tiers in the broadcasting aerial, the narrower this main lobe is. Efforts are made to ensure that there are no nulls.

The beam tilt is basically there to reduce the reflections off the upper atmosphere, causing signals to travel far further than designed - it's also a huge waste of power if much of the transmitted power escapes the intended service area!

The old main antenna at Sutton Coldfield is described in BBC Research Technical Report 1967/19 BBC RD - Publications - R&D Report 1967-19 : UHF transmitting aerial for the Sutton Coldfield television station . The VRP on the south-east face (appropriate for Jack's location) is on p15. At 12km away the angle is about 1.5° below horizontal. At this angle I guess (by eyeball) it delivered about 65% of full strength, which would be about 3.74 dB down (field strength is expressed as a voltage, not power, so multiply the log by 20, not 10). Because it's linear, the graph exaggerates the level of attenuation with increasing angle.

The attenuation in free space is much greater than this, though - using the calculator at Field Strength Calculator gives a value of 12.4 dB difference in path loss for distances of 12 km and 50 km, on C40. Net, the actual field strength at 12 km away is still 8.66 dB greater than at 50 km away.

Of course, we don't know what the VRP of the new aerial is. It may or may not be similar, depending on exactly what coverage area was targetted. Each aerial was a custom build to Arqiva specifications: we know this due to the lead time on the second new aerial at Oxford, after the first was destroyed by fire. They are manufactured by RFS from PHP panels, four to a tier, and standard array patterns are given at the end of….pdf (the top-mast is two independent 6-tier arrays, one for the PSB multiplexes and one for the COMs).

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Chris Onion
6:59 PM

Sky Sports still keeps disappearing or is very pixelly (can't think of a better description). Beats me if the signal is too strong or two weak. All I know was there was absolutely nothing wrong with it until the switchover. Waltham switched and we lost it altogether then Sutton Coldfield switched and it was fine for about 3 weeks, now it as bad as it was when Waltham first switched.

All I know is the whole thing has been extremely irritating! And I just wish someone would sort it out because there seem to be loads of people having problems.

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Chris Onion's 12 posts GB flag
Chris's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Mike Dimmick

11:40 PM

Chris Onion: At that postcode, there is a poor prediction for the ArqB multiplex - which carries Sky Sports 1 and 2 - from Waltham. The prediction for Sutton Coldfield is very good.

Digital UK never explain their predictions in detail, but there are a number of relays in the vicinity (Bolehill, Repton, Winshill) that transmit on C57. Levels of signal both from the wanted transmitter and from interfering transmitters do vary over time and not necessarily in line with each other.

If your aerial points south-east to Waltham, you may get better results by pointing south-west to Sutton Coldfield. You would still get East Midlands BBC One and ITV1 from the Derby relay - providing East Midlands service to people better covered by Sutton Coldfield is the reason that it exists.

In both cases you should check that the box has actually tuned in services from the wanted transmitter. See Digital Region Overlap for more information.

Given that the prediction from Sutton Coldfield is 99% across the board, and that you say it was OK before switchover, chances are that if there is a signal level problem, it's too much rather than too little.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
6:07 PM

My new LG receiver picks up all the HD channels 50,51,52 and 54, but in the TV pages I see that several ITV channels and FILM4 are marked as being available also in HD. How does one receive these channels?

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Mike's 3 posts GB flag
Chris Onion
7:39 PM

Mike Dimmick: My aerial does point at Sutton Coldfield and I get BBC One East Midlands from the Derby transmitter. This is why I can't understand why I have problems.

How do I check the box has tuned in services for the wanted transmitter? It is a BT Vision box.

The trouble is, we didn;t suffer from the 'digital overlap' issue until the switchover. You would have thought they would have done something to prevent this. We have had a new (massive aerial) fitted by the HA and it was working perfectly until switchover.

Sorry I am a big believer in if it ain;t broke, don;t fix it. This has caused problems for loadsof people in the middle where they get more than one transmitter.

Any help to check that the box has tuned in to services for the wanted transitter would be great. Can I block the Waltham signal?

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Chris Onion's 12 posts GB flag
Chris's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:59 PM

Mike: Film4 HD is exclusive to Virgin Media. ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD, ITV4 HD are currently exclusive to Sky.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

11:36 PM

Chris Onion: The only real way to check is to see what UHF channel numbers are in use. I'm not sure, because BT's documentation is maddeningly thin, but these might be displayed in the 'DTT Signal Strength' screen. Try selecting this option when tuned to, in turn, BBC One, ITV1, ITV3, Pick TV and Yesterday and, if available, BBC One HD and see if a UHF channel is listed. Check whether the channel is the same when tuned to Yesterday and to Sky Sports 1.

The channel numbers should match those above for BBC A, D3&4, SDN, ArqA and ArqB respectively (plus BBC B for HD services). If the box has tuned to the Derby relay, you would see C48 for BBC A, C51 for D3&4 and C52 for BBC B (again, if you have HD).

That signal strength screen will also indicate if you have too little or too much signal. If it's showing 100% strength, it's probably too much. If you have a booster, you should remove it. If that doesn't reduce the displayed level or if you don't have one, try adding an attenuator.

If signals were too distorted, the box may have tuned to the Waltham signals instead. Boxes usually tune the strongest, the best quality, or just the first found, depending on the software in the box; however, for you, Sutton Coldfield should be both the strongest and, except for a few multiplexes before switchover and one now (SDN), the first found as well. If the box has tuned to Waltham, you will probably find the signal quality gets worse - do try a full retune following the instructions at How do I scan for Freeview channels? | Help | Help .

Before switchover, Sky Sports 1 and 2 were carried on the BBC's second multiplex, Mux B. This was on a lower frequency at Waltham than the equivalent service at Sutton Coldfield, so it could be that your box decided to tune that in rather than the SC service - explaining the loss of service when Waltham switched. However, I would expect that to have affected the whole of Mux B (BBC Four and CBeebies, BBC Parliament, BBC radio stations) and not just Sky Sports. Indeed I would also have expected it to affect Mux 2 and A which were also on lower frequencies than the Sutton Coldfield counterparts.

There's a thread on the DTT Signal Strength display at DTT Signal Strength - Technical Question - BTCare Community Forums .

Digital signal levels from Sutton Coldfield were relatively low compared to analogue, so the increase at switchover was very large. The new levels were designed to provide good coverage *without* changing the aerial. If the new, as you say, 'massive' aerial was selected and set up for the pre-DSO levels it could well have led to too much signal now.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Saturday, 22 October 2011
12:47 PM

We live 0.5miles from the Bromsgrove transmitter and the aerial is "line of sight". Both before and after switch-over at Bromsgrove we've always had 100% perfect signals. Since Sutton Coldfield swithed over we now have very weak signals on 5,Film4,Dave,ITV3,ITV4 amongst others. Anyone any idea what is going on? I was under the impression that before switch-over the transmitters were on very low power and would be INCREASED afterwards?

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Paul's 1 post GB flag

12:48 PM

I hear work is still being done on the transmitter, I imagine because they're still issues with signal?

Any ideas when this will draw to a close?


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Ryan's 39 posts GB flag
3:03 PM

Paul and Ryan.

I live 32 miles from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter in Belper. I have a class 2 aerial on the roof. the quality is 10 for all transmissions and the signal strength for all of them is about 60%. If I can get all transmissions perfectly with only a class 2 aerial, 32 mile away, I cannot understand why people are complaining about their signals - are your aerials or other equipment OK or have you too much signal?

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STEPHEN's 2 posts GB flag
STEPHEN's: mapS's Freeview map terrainS's terrain plot wavesS's frequency data S's Freeview Detailed Coverage
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