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Full Freeview on the Winter Hill (Bolton, England) transmitter

first published this on - UK Free TV
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The symbol shows the location of the Winter Hill (Bolton, England) transmitter which serves 2,690,000 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 Winter Hill (Bolton, England) transmitter.

Choose from three options: ■ List by multiplex ■ List by channel number ■ List by channel name

Which Freeview channels does the Winter 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)726mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) North West, 2 BBC Two England, 9 BBC Four, 23 BBC Three, 201 CBBC, 202 CBeebies, 231 BBC News, 232 BBC Parliament, plus 17 others

 H max
C34 (578.0MHz)726mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV 1 (SD) (Granada), 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 (Granada),

 H max
C35- (585.8MHz)726mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
46 5SELECT, 101 BBC One HD North West, 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 max
C29 (538.0MHz)726mDTG-8100,000W
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 ITV3 +1, 59 ITV4 +1, 64 Blaze, 67 TRUE CRIME, 68 TRUE CRIME XTRA, 78 TCC, 81 Blaze +1, 83 Together TV, 91 WildEarth, 93 ITVBe +1, 209 Ketchup TV, 210 Ketchup Too, 211 YAAAS!, 267 Al Jazeera English, plus 30 others

 H max
C31 (554.0MHz)726mDTG-8100,000W
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
C37 (602.0MHz)726mDTG-8100,000W
Channel icons
12 Quest, 25 W, 27 Yesterday, 34 GREAT! movies, 39 DMAX, 44 HGTV, 52 GREAT! romance, 56 That's TV (UK), 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 -20dB
C40 (626.0MHz)572mDTG-121,000W
Channel icons
from 1st October 2014: 7 That's Manchester,

 H -17dB
C24 (498.0MHz)572mDTG-122,000W
Channel icons
from 30th June 2014: 7 Bay TV Liverpool,

 H -20dB
C56 (754.0MHz)572mDTG-121,000W
Channel icons
from 1st October 2014: 7 That's Lancashire,

 H -20dB
C57 (762.0MHz)572mDTG-21,000W
Channel icons
 Now 90s,  Spotlight TV,  Clubland TV,  Country Music Entertainment ,  Classic Hits MCR, 76 That's TV 2 MCR, 77 That's 60s MCR, 80 That's 80s, 86 That's 90s MCR, 88 TV Warehouse+1,

DTG-8 64QAM 8K 3/4 27.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
DTG-12 QSPK 8K 3/4 8.0Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
DTG-2 16QAM 2K 3/4 18.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
H/V: aerial position (horizontal or vertical)

Which BBC and ITV regional news can I watch from the Winter Hill transmitter?

regional news image
BBC North West Tonight 3.1m homes 11.8%
from Salford M50 2QH, 22km southeast (140°)
to BBC North West region - 92 masts.
regional news image
ITV Granada Reports 3.1m homes 11.6%
from Salford M50 2EQ, 22km southeast (139°)
to ITV Granada region - 80 masts.

How will the Winter Hill (Bolton, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1956-80s1984-971997-981998-20092009-132013-182013-1720 Feb 2020
C49tv_off ArqAArqA
C50tv_off BBCABBCA

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 4 Nov 09 and 2 Dec 09.

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

Analogue 1-4 500kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB, BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-7dB) 100kW
com7(-12.9dB) 25.7kW
com8(-13.4dB) 22.6kW
Analogue 5(-16dB) 12.5kW
Mux 1*, Mux 2*, Mux A*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-17dB) 10kW
LL(-24dB) 2kW
GIM, LM, LPR(-27dB) 1000W

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Winter Hill transmitter area

May 1956-Jul 1968Granada Television†
May 1956-Jul 1968Associated British Corporation◊
Jul 1968-Feb 2004Granada 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.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

3:54 PM

js: When I see errors that probably will not be seen by anyone else, that may cause problems, I feel the need to alert people to them.

When the subject matter is complex, if there are no appropriate avenues of contact, it becomes impossible to communicate.

Regarding the invalid codes in the Freeview EIT data, I have tried to get the message through on a number of occasions, both to DUK and the BBC, evidently without success.

In case it is thought that I am making some mistake and the errors are mine, here is the proof that they are real:

In this example event, the Freesat description contains a "zero-width space", Unicode 200B, and the Freeview description contains the invalid code 0B in its stead.

For those, like me, who don't know what a "zero-width space" is, see Zero-width space - Wikipedia

The same program is used to read both Freeview and Freesat EITs.

When the EIT is Huffman coded, which is the case for all Freesat data and all Freeview HD data, the utf-8 output bytes of the Huffman decoder, which are untouched by my program, may be compared directly as follows:

CBeebies HD, Mon 21 Sep 09:15 - 09:25: Dog Loves Books
Dog Loves Calm.
Huffman: 44 6F 67 20 4C 6F 76 65 73 20 43 61 6C 6D E2 80 8B 2E

CBeebies HD, Mon 21 Sep 09:15 - 09:25: Dog Loves Books
Dog Loves Calm{}.
Huffman: 44 6F 67 20 4C 6F 76 65 73 20 43 61 6C 6D 0B 2E

Freesat: E2 80 8B
Freeview: 0B

E2 80 8B in binary is 11100010 10000000 10001011

For 16 bit codes U+0800 U+FFFF, 3 bytes are used for the utf-8 representation: 1110xxxx 10xxxxxx 10xxxxxx

1110xxxx 10xxxxxx 10xxxxxx
11100010 10000000 10001011

So the Unicode code bits are 0010 000000 001011 which in hex is 20 0B

All we have on Freeview is 0B, an invalid code, which is the low order byte of 200B.

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js's 828 posts NL flag

3:58 PM

Another example, this time in the title:

Channel 5 HD, Tue 22 Sep 04:30 - 05:25: Now That's Funny
Huffman: 4E 6F 77 20 54 68 61 74 E2 80 99 73 20 46 75 6E 6E 79

Channel 5 HD, Tue 22 Sep 04:30 - 05:25: Now That{R'}s Funny
Huffman: 4E 6F 77 20 54 68 61 74 19 73 20 46 75 6E 6E 79

Huffman: 4E 6F 77 20 54 68 61 74 E2 80 99 73 20 46 75 6E 6E 79
Huffman: 4E 6F 77 20 54 68 61 74 19 73 20 46 75 6E 6E 79

E2 80 99

1110xxxx 10xxxxxx 10xxxxxx
11100010 10000000 10011001

0010 000000 011001 = 20 19

Unicode/UTF-8-character table - starting from code position 2000

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js's 828 posts NL flag
Thursday, 17 September 2020

5:22 AM

Seeing some tropo again. D3&4 off Ridge Hill, last seen on the 12 August, 190km distant, coming in on 506MHz C25.

As always now when tropo is about, Com7 is intermittent, on or below the cliff edge with around 20dB s/n.

A Hisense telly reports C55 as 86% strength with quality jumping between 0 and 100%.

Back on Feb 7 am, picked up all three PSBs off Mendip 275km away.

I won't see those again now Winter Hill is on the same frequencies.

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js's 828 posts US flag

6:48 AM

Now getting perfect reception of all three Mendip Coms on C48, C33 and C36.

Com7 is completely gone.

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js's 828 posts DE flag

7:09 AM


Hadn't experienced any myself, but not had time to go looking. I see there was a lot of tropo at the beginning of the week and more predicted towards the end of the week/weekend and predictions suggest some of it could be very strong. I note some regular dxers have been busy and some unusually strong dx on the I-o-W a few days ago!

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Chris.SE's 4,245 posts GB flag
2:34 PM

The updated channels/retune for Sky Arts and Pick have just gone live but I've also noticed that COM 7 seems to have gone missing. It was fine last night.

Wondering if it has been turned off permanently now. We know it is coming but... today?

link to this comment
Karl's 15 posts GB flag

2:47 PM


No, COM7 is still there. BUT there has been/is some significant "tropospheric ducting" around (see Effect of tropospheric ducting on Freeview | Help receiving TV and radio for a simplistic explanation) causing disruption in various parts of the country at different times and unfortunately it is likely to be around over the next few days. However, predictions, like weather forecasts, could change!

If you can do a manual tune on UHF C55 that may be the best way to get correctly tuned without the possibility of disrupting the other multiplexes as the "tropo" could affect them as well, although your set will be able to cope with limited interference it may baulk a bit on a total retune at any given time, then you'd have to go through the process again when signals are more stable.

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Chris.SE's 4,245 posts GB flag
5:16 PM


Many thanks for the info Chris. Coincidental then that it happens today of all days when a retune was performed. COM7 (News 24 in HD) has been fine right up until today.

Thanks again.

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Karl's 15 posts GB flag

7:45 PM

Chris.SE: Well, the Mendip Coms soon went but I managed to grab some transport stream samples and read the SI tables out of them while they were up.

I also did a CrazyScan spectrum at the tail end of it:

tropo ImgBB

The image is of the active tropo scan - coloured red - followed by a scan made tonight, followed by a superimposition of the two that shows the difference.

Com7 appears as an undecodable lump of carrier at 746 MHz in the top scan.

The Hisense telly still reported C55 as 86% strength with zero quality.

The s/n of BBCB, on 586 MHz, at 27dB, was down from 35dB - presumably due to CCI from Mendip.

The Mendip SDN peak at 690 MHz is impressive.

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js's 828 posts DE flag
Friday, 18 September 2020
Alison Foster
6:46 AM

Since the retune that's happened in August we have had really poor reception on bbc channels but also many of the other channels too. About 70 % of the channels are pixelated. We get better reception from Wales but we don't watch Wales and we've never previously had a problem with receiving a signal from Winter Hill as we have a booster. It just seems odd as this has all happened since the last notification that there was an update'. I've tried repeatedly wiping channels and retuning and now, although I've set it as the northwest area I can only get Wales. Please can you help as I'm giving up and thinking of scraping the tv totally as I can't watch it with the pixels all the time! Thanks for your advice.

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Alison Foster's 1 post GB flag
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