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

first published this on - UK Free TV
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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 15/04/2024 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.

Thursday, 30 September 2021
3:01 PM

hi chris

Thanks - for the response
We were having this issue before the works listed but nowhere near as bad
and only occasionally but maybe that's why they were doing it?

Anyway this seems to be permanent now - today (bad weather I know) power through the amp
is bouncing between 31% and 52% with Q dropping to zero every few seconds
The channels on it are just unwatchable.
pcode b34 6te - understand there are repeaters but dont know if we are using one.
I think we are pointing right at sutton.
As mentioned all other channels are no problem at all.

Looking back online on other sites 55 has been a problem for a few years at least
in other places. I stood outside and watched the aerial the other day in case
it was wobbling in the wind but it seems solid.

Up until recently it was ok for us when the new amp was fitted (3 years ago about)
(I have tried swapping ports on that by the way.)
Just an FYI in case it helps - I am seeing a steady 30-31% 100% Q (through the amp)
on ch26 (514Mhz) - no channels on it so not sure what it's for unless it's engineering -

I just read your comment above about manual tuning - I havn't tried that so will
give it a go just in case.


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jack's 15 posts GB flag
jack's: ...
Friday, 1 October 2021

1:24 AM


Ok, lots of possibilities here now that we've got a location.
You shouldn't have any issues with any of the multiplexes as you are so close to the transmitter, and in addition because of the direction your aerial points and the coverage of Oxford and Ridge Hill, any Planned engineering at either is highly unlikely to have any effect of your COM7 reception.

Let's deal with an easy thing first. You said "Up until recently....." Have you changed anything about in your installation? Make sure you don't have any HDMI leads close to any aerial cables or flyleads, especially those that aren't high quality double screened flyleads etc. HDMI has been known to cause interference especially to C55.
Just also to mention, manual tuning is unlikely to have any effect as C55 is the only channel for COM7, and you say you don't have problems with the other multiplexes so you are presumably correctly tuned to Sutton Coldfield. Note - the Local mux for you is on C48. (C36 is beamed in a Northerly direction).

You've looked at your aerial, I assume you noted if it was intact and not missing any elements. The rods (or squashed Xs) should be horizontal and it should be pointing at a bearing of 343 degrees (very fractionally N of NNW) for your location. Is the downlead secure and not flapping in the wind? How old (roughly) is the installation?
Are there any nearby trees on the line of sight that have grown and maybe having an effect whilst in leaf?
Any scaffolding or new buildings gone up nearby especially on the line of sight?

Relays (repeaters) are of no consequence a far as COM7 C55 is concerned as it is only transmitted from 25 Main transmitters (was 30 before 700MHz clearance) - this in part was because it's only a temporary multiplex and the limitations of some transmitter antenna and suitability of otherwise redundant Tx equipment. These limitations, transmitter locations and the need to operate as a SFN on C55 means the Tx power is lower than the main multiplexes, this is why not everyone can receive it.
Some very weak signals from the Waltham transmitter may reach you (it does have COM7) and it had Planned Engineering until a couple of weeks ago, so there is a small possibility it might have some influence on your COM7 reception but I'd think it unlikely except possibly when weather conditions that sometimes come with high pressure cause signals to travel further than normal. Such conditions should now have cleared.

Now, you mentioned an amplifier (and ports - how many?) so obviously it's a distribution amp. Do you know what the gain per port is? What make/model is it? However, as you are close to the transmitter (12km) there is the possibility that you may have too much signal which can have weird effects desensitising tuner inputs, can give incorrect signal strength figures, and can cause pixellation and sound breakup, and also reductions in quality.
If you connect the aerial direct to one TV set (rather than through the amp - one where you can easily check signal strength and quality (your main set?), what signal strength and quality do you get on all the multiplexes.
Does the amp have a gain control?

You mention C26 and a signal of ~30% which could be PSB1/BBCA coming from The Wrekin transmitter, signals from it can get rather well into your area (no COM7 there though) and although it's a bit off-beam it'll be picked up quite well. You say there are no channels on it, but unless you tune it in you won't see them and they'd be the same as BBCA from Sutton Coldfield anyway. If you do tune it, it may replace your Sutton ones (less reliable signal) (or possibly put them in the 800s) so you might need to retune Sutton C43 to get the correct one back.
But the quite good strength of 30% supports the possible concern about too much signal from Sutton Coldfield.

Post back with the info, especially the Strength & Quality figures direct to one set, and we should be able to offer some more constructive comment and any suggestions.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 4,130 posts GB flag
3:48 PM

Thanks chris - I'll look into all that.

FYI I have checked out my entire system top to bottom - nothing moving (even in the wind the cable
comes straight in upstairs so is quite short - maybe no more than 15 ft into the amp.)
and no changes here otherwise. No cable re-route but I have unplugged and replugged everything
in case of a loose plug. I've even dissmantled the plugs and made sure they were tight and
grounded inside. The current aerial was put in I think about 5 yeas ago - no damage to it. We
had this one because there are trees nearby and I wanted a better signal at the time but there
always has been trees - if anything the leaves have come off recently which usually improves
things so I would tend to discount that. (I'd also expect some issue with other channels wouldnt I ?)
I seem to recall the installer said 340 degrees so 343 rings about true.

I've just put a F-F inline to run without the amp (Its a SLX 4 way signal booser that says
"red compliant" whatever that means. mains powered) It takes both UHF and VHF input.
I feed 2 identical boxes off it - the readings and issue are pretty much the same on both.
Gain per port is 11dB -fixed no control
Noise < 3dB
4G protect >46dB (No mention of 5G or police frequencies)

Reading down the mux channels list now I get: [mux Pwer Q]
Amp removed:

26 10% 50-90
39 65-67% 100
40 67-68% 100
43 65-67% 100
43 58-67% 100
45 60% 100
46 38-55% 100
48 10-20% 0-100 getting steady 100-Q at 15%+
55 25-31% 100 steady - actually went to 55 when plane flew over (between us and sutton)
FYI at 7 am this morning 55 was totally off air. 0% 0 perhaps overnight working still?

Most channels look like they dont need the amp anymore just a couple that do on todays
If anything the power levels on most have improved over recent years - at least on this reading -
I havn't needed to look at things for a long time.

C26 is tuned - theres just nothing picked up on it - just power and q and no channels.
Could it be something other than freeview using that channel? I don't see how I'd pick that up but I
don't know. It's been there for months if not at least a year now.

55 seems to get even worse in the evenings for some reason.
I'm out of ideas of what to try. I'll try watching without the amp tonight to see if anything
else is droppong out - even the city center channel (birmingham TV on 48) seems clean at the moment
despite the very low power and Q changes.


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jack's 15 posts GB flag
Saturday, 2 October 2021

4:08 PM

Hi jack:

Thanks for all the additional information, it's very informative, and just what was needed.
Looking at those strength (&Q) figures for the aerial direct to the TV, overall, I was a bit surprised. Just a couple of initial comments - not especially surprising, COM7 C55 is lower power than the main multiplexes as mentioned in my previous post, the Local multiplex is also (much) lower power but because of the more resilient transmission mode it's coverage is better than you might expect but it is usually beamed. in this case to the SW and you are a bit off-beam so again the signal will be somewhat weaker.

In general the predicted reception should be excellent especially 12km from the transmitter. Your mention of trees is key to the issue here, especially if they are on the line-of-sight, and they can present significant problems. Most deciduous trees can have a different impact through the year dependent on the amount of leaf (wet weather can also add to the complexities), evergreens are more likely to give more similar effects throughout the year.

Apart from attenuating the signal (can be frequency dependant), the amount of which can depend on the proximity and tree size, as well as leaf cover, they can also cause reflections. In the analogue days this was usually apparent as picture ghosting.
DTV is much more resilient and can cope well with most of these reflections but beyond a certain point (not easily predictable and it can vary from set/brand to set) the set will see it as interference with a potential impact on quality of the wanted channels. Again, dependent on position, they can reflect signals from transmitters in other directions which can then be picked up by your aerial which wouldn't otherwise be the case.
Depending on leaf cover, signal diffraction is also another factor and this can be frequency dependant, so different channels could be affected differently.
This wouldn't be the first time someone has had issues (particularly with C55) in such circumstances with deciduous trees on the line-of-sight. The lower frequencies tend to propagate better anyway.

Because the figures were not as good as I was anticipating, I thought I'd have a look on streetview. You have a lot of large trees in your locale :o If any are on your line-of-sight, no wonder it's a problem. If any are yours and you can get them trimmed/topped it would be a good idea. If they are on public property, you might be able to hassle the local authority to get them trimmed especially if they are very close to your property and reducing any light through windows as well as being close enough to potentially damage your property - remember roots below ground are proportionate to the growth above ground!

Noting the figures on C48 suggests your set is coping well will quite low reported Q figures, is it an LG by any chance, I know a lot of LGs cope well with figures down to around 10% or so, but other brands could equally do so, one doesn't encounter these situations very often. Overall, the figures suggest the amp/distribution isn't having any adverse effect as afr as too much signal goes BUT if when you use it the Q goes below 100% when it's 100% without, then it might be worth looking at using a (variable) attenuator on the output (NOT input).

The remaining mystery is this C26 signal. Just to check, do you have any older devices with analogue RF outputs such as video recorders, game consoles, old sky boxes etc.? If so, check the channel they are tuned to and ideally tune them to above C60 is you still use them, otherwise turn the RF off.
Otherwise where exactly on your Programme Tuning and Settings menu are you seeing "no channels"? Are you sure there's nothing in the 800s (often where sets put duplicate/extra signals from other transmitters). With a Q 50-90 I would have expected some resolution of any DTV signals. It won't be anything used by "engineering".

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Chris.SE's 4,130 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 5 October 2021
Transmitter engineering

2:44 PM

Sutton Coldfield transmitter - Sutton Coldfield transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 04/10/2021 Screen may go black on all or certain channels [DUK]

link to this comment
Transmitter engineering's 150,431 posts GB flag
Friday, 8 October 2021
Transmitter engineering

2:44 PM

Sutton Coldfield transmitter - Sutton Coldfield transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 04/10/2021 Pixelation or flickering on some or all channels [DUK]

link to this comment
Transmitter engineering's 150,431 posts GB flag
Saturday, 9 October 2021
9:31 AM

Hi Chris -

Thanks for the detailed reply.

Unfortunately I have years of experience recognising the issues with trees - this problem isn't
the trees.

Oddly enough during all that wind and rain it all stabilised at 54%
(I havn't replied as I wanted to see the outcome first) - so far it seems solid still (sat - 9th)
We'll see how it goes - also noting the previous message (thanks poster)

as for 26 - there's nothing I can think of locally - could it be pickup from someone nearby maybe?
I'll check the 800's - I have them programmed out so I'll re-enable them and see if anything is
picked up.


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jack's 15 posts GB flag
Monday, 11 October 2021
Transmitter engineering

5:43 AM

Sutton Coldfield transmitter - Sutton Coldfield transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 11/10/2021 Pixelation or flickering on some or all channels [DUK]

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Transmitter engineering's 150,431 posts GB flag
Monday, 25 October 2021
4:16 PM

No good at all- it does stabilise in the mornings but appart from that its pretty useless.
It seems I'm not the only one around here with the problem either.
Last nigh it was dropping from zero to 35% (amplified)

I can only assume its the low power transmitted or some sort of interference
from something nearby .

Why it should suddenly start doing this I can't otherwise think.
It's a shame because BBC-4 seems to be the only channel with half decent documentaries
Basicly we've lost half the HD channels from a paltry handful in the first place.
Not a very good advert for freeview.

Why aren't there more HD channels now anyway. Does anyone know? There cant be anyone
left with an SD TV set surely?

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jack's 15 posts GB flag
Thursday, 28 October 2021

2:37 AM


Hi jack.
I'm sceptical that it's any transmitter issue, I would have expected lots more posts all over the place if that were the case.
Interference is certainly something that shouldn't be dismissed, there's several possibilities to check.

First, I mentioned HDMI a while back, I assume you've made sure any leads are well away from aerial or flyleads.
You mentioned you aren't the only one with the problem. Also there's this mysterious C26 signal with 100%Q but no channels, did you check in the 800's for anything?
Has anyone else got a C26 signal?

The other possibilities to consider are CB Radio interference, Radio Amateur's equipment can sometimes cause an issue, Pirate Radio stations are another to check.

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Chris.SE's 4,130 posts GB flag
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