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TV Signal

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Badjester
Super Duper Contributor

Hi,

 

Apologies for the long post but I've been trying to find the answer to this for months and I've had a good look round online but just can't seem to find the answer. I'm hoping to speak to someone who knows a bit about TV signal in general. Ok so I moved last June and the previous address I was at had a better signal than where I am now. Well that's what the strength and quality said on the Youview box. However I did get pixelation on a few +1 channels. Then I moved here and we had a storm, shortly after I realised I was missing loads of channels. The only thing we could think is that the aerial may have moved slightly, so I paid 200 quid to get what is apparently the best I could get. The aerial is even doubled up as it's one aerial overlapping the other somehow which was why it was so pricey.

 

Anyway my signal strength had dropped to 26 and after the new aerial was fitted I now get 53% and all my channels back and no picture issues. The first thing I need help on is that a lot of the times I turn my box on if I check the strength it drops to about 46% but I don't get picture issues. The only way to get it back up to 53% is to soft reset the box or let it switch off and it'll show the higher strength. Not a big deal as it doesn't seem to cause an actual difference and it's obviously not the signal really dropping as I can get it to come back up. Anyone else had this or knows why it might happen?

 

The other thing I want to ask is that my Dad has Youview with Plusnet and he lives a good 7 miles further away from the TV mast that both our addresses use. I was shocked to see he gets a signal strength of 94%!! I'm totally confused how that's possible as I'm geographically nearer by 7 miles at least! I'm just not sure whether it's just the fact that I do get a worse signal strength here or my box is telling porkies. I'd be really grateful if anyone could answer this fo rme as I'm baffled and hoping I didn't get a duff 

aerial. I did use a local very well known professional company and they did appear to do an extremely thourough job.

Gondola
Community Star

Hi @Badjester

 

Here's some detailed information about TV reception and signal strength at individual locations post-code by post-code. DigitalUK Coverage Checker (Click here).  You could check your post code and your dad's post code to compare results.

 

TV reception conditions can be different even house to house. For example, higher ground, buildings and trees in between your antenna and the transmitter's antenna will reduce your signal strength compared to a house that might be further away from the transmitter but where there's clear line-of-sight between transmitting and receiving antennas.

 

Here's an explanation from the BBC on the effect that trees can have on TV reception. Deciduous trees have less impact in the winter but can completely block a signal in the summer when in full leaf.

 

Your present antenna is clearly a high-gain type designed for locations where the signal strength is lower than average.

 

The TV box issue of it reporting a low strength and a marginally higher strength when reset is not one I've been aware of before. You'll get greater differences in strength between the main digital multiplexes (carrying BBC1 and ITV) and the minor multiplexes. Here's some more stuff from the BBC about Freeview reception. It includes a description of multiplexes and reception problems.

 

The thing also to bear in mind, and this is where it gets a bit more technical, is that each multiplex is on a different transmitter channel. The signal strength will depend on the transmitted power of that channel, the reception conditions and the response of your antenna system to the different channels. It's not unusual for the higher number channels / higher transmitter frequencies to be at lower strength at the TV box because of reception conditions like tree screening, antenna response falling off at higher frequencies and greater losses in the antenna downlead. But this is where you rely on the experience of the TV antenna installer.

 

 Gondola - I'm a TVPlus customer *
Badjester
Super Duper Contributor

Wow thanks @Gondola that was extremely interesting and a brilliant informative post. I hadn't even thought about trees but thankfully I don't have that issue here. I live in a complex of 3 story flats, we all have our own aerials. There’s some pretty hefty ones on some flats but mine is monstrous compared. The bit about line of site now makes perfect sense! My Dad lives in a big building converted to flats and from what I know they all share an aerial but he actually mentioned the other day that at the top you can see Pontop Pike from where the aerial is, which is crazy as it’s 20.5 miles away.

 

Where I am it’s obviously a black spot! There’s practically no mobile signal on any network so I had to get a sure signal box, even my smart meter isn’t smart due to this. So I’m guessing I’m in a dip which won’t help. Although like I said I don’t get any problems now so it’s not really an issue, I was just curious of how it all works. The thing about the box giving different signal strengths I believe is just a glitch. It will say 53% no matter which channel I’m on, whether it’s BBC1 or Channel 5. Then when it glitches it says 46% on them all until the box either turns off or I soft reset it. I’ll live with it as again it doesn’t seem to make any difference, it’s like it’s telling porkies and my signal isn’t actually changing. Anyway thanks for a really informative post as I have an understanding of it now. Cool face

Gondola
Community Star

Hi @Badjester

 

Pontop Pike is one of the high-power transmitting stations. A very tall mast carries the TV transmit antennas to get the broadcast signals, that travel in straight lines, as far as the horizon, as seen from the top of the mast. Typically up to 110km line-of-sight. 

 

The signals get weaker the further they travel or if there are physical obstructions and you need to get a minimum strength to the TV receiver with an appropriate TV antenna installation / distribution system.   

 

So if dad can 'see' the Pontop Pike mast but you're in a dip in the terrain that accounts for the difference in received signal strength. 

 

Some poor reception areas have their own relay station. A lower power transmitter that picks up and relays or rebroadcasts the main station signals. Digital UK's website will advise if a relay station is available for your location. 

 

But it does feel like you're in a not so good coverage area. If all your neighbouring antennas are large and maybe some have mast-head amplifiers to boost the signal that would be a good indicator and Digital UK's website should confirm. 

 

 

 Gondola - I'm a TVPlus customer *
Badjester
Super Duper Contributor

Hmm I wonder if we have a relay station in the area, I'll have a look on that site again. As long as I'm not actually having any picture issues I'll leave my aerial the way it is but in future if I do then I'll look at getting an amplifier. Just as well I paid for a better aerial as the other one was half the size. Inetresting stuff though and thanks for answering that, makes more sense now.