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Freeview reception has changed?

Why should my Freeview reception change when I have not changed anything?

Why should my Freeview reception change when I have not changed
published on UK Free TV

From time to time people find that their Freeview box, integrated set (idTV) or Personal Video Recorder (PVR) has lost many channels without any apparent changes.

There are a number of factors to consider

Freeview is broadcast on digital multiplexes. This means that, once broken down into a stream of bits, each television channel is combined into a single transmission of 1s and 0s. This means that reception is of the multiplex first if this is lost it affects all the channels in the multiplex in the same way.

The signal strength received by the box or TV for a particular multiplex from a given transmitter determines if the data can be received or not. So, a poor signal results in no data, an adequate signal in perfect data and a low signal in either none or all.

Poor digital signal levels do not result, as they do with old-fashioned analogue television, in a sub-standard picture or sound. Poor signals often result in a perfect data-stream, but are prone to periods of no reception. Sometimes this will be for hours, but can also be several times a minute when caused by induction from fridges, freezers, central heating systems, two-stroke scooters, baby monitors and so on.

If you have lost ALL your Freeview channels

First disconnect the aerial lead from the Freeview box or TV set and reconnect it and then follow this reset procedure to scan for channels again. If this does not result in services being restored, check the Freeview transmitters page to see if there are any engineering problems with your local transmitter.

How to check all cables, connectors and aerials

The RF connectors need to be in very good condition to work. There are two general types:

Factory-fitted connectors are very reliable as they cannot easily be taken apart, but they can be damaged by wear and tear. On the female-type the central section is often composed of two parts which can often be forced apart, resulting in a poor connection you can push them back together if this has happened with a pair of tweezers. On male connectors if the central pin is damaged, you will need a new cable. If there are any loose partials in the connector, remove them.

Another problem with these cables is that quite easy to sprain the connector at the back which causes little obvious external damage, but disconnects the internal connection. This happens often when a set-top box is pushed backwards into a cabinet.

Hand made cables can also suffer from similar problems to factory made ones and they are also prone to accidental damage from a cable being pulled. If such a connector is not firmly attached to the cable, the connector may need refitting.


Make a visual check of the cables. There are a few basic checks:

If the cable has been slashed or cut, it will not be very effective or reliable. If such a cable is fitted externally, this can allow rainwater to enter the cable and this will reduce the signal levels.

You can easily damage an RF cable by crushing it, for example in a door. If the outside of the cable has a permanent kink in the cable or has been very tightly looped, this could be the site of damage.


For reliable and effective Freeview reception, a rooftop aerial is required. It is hard to make a visual check of such an aerial without putting yourself in potential danger.

You can make a visual check of the route between the aerial and the transmitter. Any form of obstruction will damage the digital signals. In particular trees coming into leaf, as these will leech the signal before it reaches your aerial. This applies to both trees adjacent to the aerial and at a distance.

Another common problem in cities is building work. A large crane will often change position many times during the day, and if this is between your aerial and the transmitter this can reduce the signal levels in an unpredictable way.

If your system uses a booster, the power may have failed. Check the fuse to the power to the booster.

Weather problems

There are two main weather problems that effect Freeview reception.

The Inversion Effect: please see What is the Inversion Effect and why does it effect my Freeview TV reception?

Wind: high winds sometime can dislodge the aerial this results in a poor signal.

Rain: poor or old cables can fill with water and this results in a poor signal. If this happens, the cables will require replacement.

Freeview, aerials?
My Freeview box has no EPG, is blank on FIVE, ITV3, ITV4, ITV2+1, has no sound o1
My ITV/C4 Freeview channels have disappeared - what can I do? Is it my SCART ca2
I have now lost all signal can you tell me what the problem might be?3
What is the Inversion Effect and why does it effect my Freeview TV reception? 4
My high gain aerial can't get all the Freeview channels I expected5
In this section
Which free digital TV system will give me the most reliable reception?1
High pressure causing channel loss through "Inversion"2
Digital Region Overlap3
Two frequency interference 4
Single frequency interference5
Freeview intermittent interference6

Saturday, 13 June 2015
Dave Lindsay
7:00 PM

Brian Murray: This would seem to be odd. Perhaps one of the other experts on here can chip in.

Brian gets poor reception of PSB3 with a grid aerial. COM7, which is on lower power, is received OK.

Brian, where are you in CA14? A full postcode is really needed. Due to the terrain you may or may not be able to see the transmitter. So can you see it from where the aerial's mounted or not?

And what's the signal strength reading from the Samsung on C30?

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Dave Lindsay's 5,665 posts Platinum Platinum xx
Brian Murray
9:25 PM Workington

Dave Lindsay: Full post code is CA14 4ET- we are not able to see the transmitter- there are trees between us and the transmitter.
Doesn't appear to be any setting on the Samsung tv that shows signal strength reading

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Brian Murray's 1 post xx
Brian's: Freeview map terrain plot frequency data R&TI Service digitaluk trade DAB coverage
Dave Lindsay
11:26 PM

Brian Murray: Here's a terrain plot:

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

Line-of-sight could be obstructed all the way up to 2.5 miles which is Great Clifton. The grid aerial is probably not suited to such a location.

Remember that larger aerials "might" have been installed in order to receive pre-switchover digital signals which were on much lower power.

Different models from one manufacturer may have different menu systems, but I pulled this from the user manual of one current model:

MENU > Support > Self Diagnosis > Signal Information

For Caldbeck, if you get a yagi it should be a Group A, or a log periodic is usually wideband:

The Main Digital TV Transmitters (the 6 MUX transmitters)

Or using an existing aerial, install a distribution amplifier.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,665 posts Platinum Platinum xx
Sunday, 14 June 2015
12:06 PM

Dave Lindsay: V ision make a group A log periodic which would be preferable for reception from Caldbeck, it is a class 2 rather than the class 4 wideband version.

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KMJ,Derby's 1,741 posts Gold Gold xx
Dave Lindsay
1:29 PM

Brian Murray: There may other retailers of the Vision 20 element Group A Log (V20A2), but after a quick search here are two I found:


V20A2 Vision Aerial Log Periodic Group A | eBay

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Dave Lindsay's 5,665 posts Platinum Platinum xx
Brian Murray
8:33 PM

Dave Lindsay: Many Thanks for your help - will let you know how I get on.

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Brian Murray's 7 posts xx
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