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Your ability of receive all the Freeview transmissions depends on the suitability of aerial
the design style,
the "group", and
its physical location.
Standard type - Yagi aerial
The standard type of TV aerial is known as the Yagi aerial. It is mounted on a pole, and consists of a rod with a reflector (shown green) at the back and many spiky elements (in grey) at the front. The connecting cable connects to the element nearest the reflector, known as the driver (shown in blue).
These Yagi aerials are directional and so pick up signals best from a transmitter that the rod points towards. The more elements the aerial has, the better it picks up a signal and becomes more directional.
A standard-type aerial is all that is required for analogue TV reception in most places. These antennae have between 10 and 18 elements and a single reflector. These are not recommended for new installations for good digital television reception, but will more often than not function perfectly in good reception areas.
Typically these aerials are designed to receive only some transmission frequencies - see "groups" below.
Digital High Gain
These aerials are designed for poor digital reception areas, and have two reflectors. For maximum signal strength, some digital high gain aerials have up to 100 elements. A more expensive aerial is only required where the signal strength is low, but can often provide Freeview reception where it might otherwise be impossible.
The CAI (that represents aerial installers) has four standards for digital TV aerials. The highest standard "1" is for homes on the fringes of coverage areas, intermediate standard "2" is suitable for use within the coverage area; minimum standard "3" is for good coverage conditions.
These aerials can be either wideband, or receive only selected frequencies - see "groups" below.
Grid aerials have been used to improve analogue reception in poor reception areas. They are generally unsuitable for Freeview reception, however some installations may work. Otherwise replace with a digital high gain Yagi aerial.
Indoor aerials are generally not suitable for Freeview reception. In areas of good signal strength it is often possible to receive some transmissions.
Loft mounted arrivals are not generally recommended for Freeview reception, as the roof tiles and plumbing will degrade the signal. Some compensation for this loss of signal can be made by using satellite-grade cable to connect the set top box to the aerial.
The best position for a TV aerial is mounted outdoors, as high from the ground as possible, pointing directly at the transmitter. The signal can be blocked by hills and tall buildings. It should be positioned away from any other aerials.
Horizontal or vertical?
The transmitter will either use vertical mode which requires the elements of your aerial to be up-down, or horizontal mode which requires them to be level with the ground.
Both analogue and digital television is transmitted the same group of transmission frequencies (known as channel 21 through to 68). A coloured marking on the aerial shows the group.
To create the best possible analogue picture, TV transmissions from adjacent transmitters have been designated to several different groups of frequencies. By using an aerial that receives only the channels in the correct group, the analogue picture can be kept free from interference.
To receive Freeview transmissions from the same transmitter it has been sometimes necessary to use frequencies that are not part of the transmitter's normal group. When this has occurred, the aerial will need to be replaced with a "wideband" aerial (also known as group W) - one that covers every group.
Using intervideo software on TV card in my desktop pc, picked up all main channels here in South Africa, but had crackling hissing sound with poor pickup on channel broadcast on UHF. This using a small aerial. Setup a Yagi type on the roof, pointing transmitter towards red & white painted large gantry aerials high up on hospital roof opposite as large trees and adjoining gable wall blocks transmitter in line with b/cast tower unviewable. Some channels very clear at times but affected by wind etc. Any help much apprec. Thx truly - RW Johannesbg.
oh forgot to mention i have great signal strength poor signal quality anymore advice please am at a lost, cant affod to pay some one to come out and tell me yet again everything is fine ch52 has good signal strength but no quality at all
Hmm.. one thing for sure is that it is right when it says an internal aerial (even with an amplifier of 45dB gain) is not recommended with Freeview, unless your service transmitter is very close by you only get a few channels sadly. Must get the external antenna wired up.
Keith.We cannot be of any valuable assistance to you if you did not leave a full postcode preferably,or failing that a nearby location as such.The full postcode is to ascertain the reception probabilities at your end.
lachie: Without giving any idea as to your location, your question is open-ended!
It doesn't matter how powerful your amplifier is, it's what goes in to the aerial that matters. Indeed, you could have too much amplification which is the cause of your difficulty, but without knowledge of your location and transmitter, this can only be speculative conjecture.
I have a postcode BN12, and information from freeview indicates that I would get more stations and better reception if I used the Rowridge VP transmitter. I note it is at the same 256 deg angle as the main, but is vertical. I currently have a 32 element aerial with the arrays horizontal. Should I turn this aerial 90 deg so tht the arrays are vertical to receive rowridge VP. Also would it be better for me to buy a new Hi Gain aerial such as the Blake DMX10WB 52 element aerial? My aerial is mast mounted from my chimmney.
John Collis: After switchover, Rowridge transmits horizontally and vertically. The Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) channels (BBC, ITV1, C4 etc) are at an effective radiated power of 200kW horizontally and vertically whereas the Commercial (COM) channels are 50kW horizontally and 200kW vertically.
Whilst 50kW isn't exactly "low" power, the marked difference in the strengths of the PSB and COM signals may cause difficulty due to the stronger ones desensitising receivers, thus making them less sensitive to the lower power ones.
As all channels are within the former analogue group (A), and the 200kW signals provide the same coverage (vertically), then generally speaking existing aerials should work, albeit that they "may" need switching to vertical polarisation.
If you do decide to replace your aerial, I suggest that you stick to a Group A one as all of Rowridge's channels are in this group and high-gain wideband yagi aerials have less gain down on Group A channels. See:
John Collis.No getting a new group W widebandaerial on an all group A transmitter such as Rowridge in a poor/marginal reception area gives poor aerial performance generally as group W wideband aerials are less sensitive to the group A frequencies and more so especially on all group A masts (ie-all 6 or more multiplexes on group A frequencies between 21-37).If your current aerial is a group A (red tipped one) type and it performs well there is absolutely no need to change it to a group W wideband,only switch the polarity from horizontal to vertical to achieve better results.
The only time that group W wideband aerials can be used on any all group A masts whether it be a main transmitter or relay station is if you reside in a strong to medium signal area from abode to mast at a distance of up to 15 miles (up to 10 miles in built up areas) with clear line of sight,anything above 15 miles or more (above 10 miles in urban areas) then either a group K aerial (up to 30 miles) or a group A antenna (beyond 30 miles),never a group W wideband aerial beyond 15 miles (or beyond 10 miles in urban localities) on an all group A mast.
Emma: On the ATV site that Dave Lindsay has given you the link for you will see an aerial called a DM log, and is an aerial which is perfect for virtually any application involving caravans or boats over that of some of these gimmicky types seen advertised in certain quarters, usually being accompanied with some fanciful claims made for their performance.
The main point to remember when using aerials for touring being, that in some areas the aerial will require to be mounted horizontally whereas in others it has to be vertical.
Of course all you would obviously require to do is note the mounting angle (H or V) of any aerials seen on properties in the area you might be moored in for the evening.
wish to fit an arial to recieve freeview in Stevenage, postcode SG29BE, so far have only been able to get eight channel all itv1 itv2 ch 4 more 4 & plus ones for same.
which type class of arial should i be using please,
which transmitter should i aim for please.
can you gid an approximate magnetic bearing from SG29BE TO TRANSMITTER PLEASE.
Adrian Whittemore.Stevenage,SG2 9BE.
You have a varied choice here.For the Hemel Hempstead 2kw vertically polarised major relay which carries all six multiplexes a semi-wideband group E aerial (coloured brown at its tips) preferably a Yagi 18E will suffice.However for the Crystal Palace 200kw horizontally polarised main transmitter also carrying all six multiplexes a group A aerial (red coloured tips) preferably a Yagi 18A or X-Beam 16A for wee extra gain,should only be used or a semi-wideband group K aerial (grey coloured tips) can be used as an alternative.Dont use group W wideband aerials (tipped black) on all group A Crystal Palace transmitter at your location which is officially a poor signal area.One other alternative is to consider two diplexed aerials,a group A (or group K) horizontally polarised aerial facing Crystal Palace and a group E vertically polarised aerial facing Hemel Hempstead using a channel 38 diplexer.Look up the ATV (Aerials and Television) of Sheffield website,they are IMHO the No1 aerial retailers in the UK.They are the best,forget the rest.
Re the Canal query - I should think the most important isue us to get the aerial as high as possible. Top of your bargepole? Or an Al tube. Don't know if movement is a problem - might not be for the timescales of degital reception.
Text On HD: I have a brand new HD TV with Freeview. All fine except the Text and Red buttons do not work on HD channels (e.g. BBC 1 HD). Works OK on normal BBC1/2 etc.
Retailer tech support useless, manufacturer's support says it must be the signal.
Since this is digital (and quality/strength is 10/10) this seems implausible. Have reset, retuned etc etc. Sudbury transmitter (I think) Any suggestions?
john hunt Friday 24 August 2012 10:40AM Blandford Forum
I have inbuilt freeview with our recent LG TV,
our pictures have begun to break up while we have been watching a programe,every few seconds the small box with [NO SIGNAL] pops on to the screen,we can usually watch bbc 1 and channel 80 but this is now starting to do similar.
We have asked a tv guy to help,he changed two boxes near the aerials,which contained printed circuites,this only lasted a couple of hours,not good for £84.00.Can anyone give us reasons for this change of our reception.
John and josie pensioners
john hunt: Perhaps the issue is that the TV is tuned to the wrong transmitter; maybe it is tuned to a transmitter other than the one the aerial faces.
At your location, there would appear to be two main possibilities:
- Winterborne Stickland which is at 251 degrees - aerial will be vertical (elements up/down)
- Rowridge on the Isle of Wight which is at 110 degrees. Aerials can be horizontal or vertical, but will probably be horizontal as the vertical component has only been added earlier this year at switchover. New aerials would probably be best vertical for Rowridge.
If your aerial faces Winterborne Stickland, then check that the receiver hasn't tuned itself to the signals from Rowridge instead.
To do this, bring up the signal strength screen whilst on BBC One and it will say that it is tuned to UHF channel 46 (equivalent to frequency) for Winterborne Stickland and C24 (channel 24) for Rowridge.
Do the same for ITV1. It is C43 from Winterborne Stickland and C27 from Rowridge.
If your TV receives HD channels, then go to BBC One HD and bring up the signal strength screen and it should say that it is tuned to C40 for Winterborne Stickland and C21 for Rowridge.
If your aerial faces Winterborne Stickland and you find that it is tuned to Rowridge, then run the automatic tuning scan with the aerial unplugged for the first 30% to miss out scanning of the Rowridge channels. Once you have done this, confirm that it is tuned to Winterborne Stickland by following the procedure above.
The other services (ITV3, Pick TV, Yesterday, Film 4, Dave etc) are known as the Commercial (COM) ones and do not have as a comprehensive coverage as the PSBs as the smaller transmitters like Winterborne Stickland don't carry them.
Thus, if your aerial faces Winterborne Stickland and you receive COM channels, then you can only be receiving them from a transmitter off-beam of your aerial which is why poor reception may ensue.
If your aerial is facing Winterborne Stickland and you carried out the unplugging aerial trick to get it to tune correctly, then you will be missing COM channels. As I say, the best you can do is tune to Rowridge's COM channels. If your TV has manual tuning, then you need to go through and do a manual tune/scan on C25, C22 and C28.
If your aerial faces Winterborne Stickland and you decide to have it replaced with one on Rowridge to give you the full complement of channels, then it might need replacing if it is a "Group B" one (yellow tip - although it could be faded and difficult to make out from ground level). Rowridge aerials are now best vertical as COM channels aren't as strong horizontally.
For a full list of Freeview channels after switchover, see:
john hunt - you may find the pages here devoted to your local transmitters useful - eg for local issues, and also ofr the info on channels on each multiplex. Which will let you work out what you are watching.
john hunt: As Stephen P says, turning it vertical should be expected to improve reception.
Generally speaking, there is no need for aerials on Rowridge (which yours is) to be replaced after switchover. The only thing that viewers might benefit from is changing from horizontal to vertical polarisation.
john hunt: If I could just add to what has already been said, if your TV person was local then when he changed the items concerned over and "must" found that there was no immediate difference by doing so, then the usual procedure would be for the engineer(?) to accept payment on the understanding that should the same fault occur within 14 days or so that the original items would be refitted and a refund of the payment made minus maybe £5.00 or so for diesel or whatever.
My reason for saying this is, that I suspect that your problem is possibly being partially caused by atmospheric reasons albeit that you still "might" have a deficiency in your aerial system such as a slightly corroded connection where the coax joins into your aerials termination box, but as you specifically mentioned the BBC was involved and its generally always the best then I would think it prudent for you to enquire locally with a neighbour if they are experiencing similar problems, of course only neighbours whose aerials are observed to be mounted and pointing in exactly the same direction as yours or they wont be receiving the same BBC.
The only point I was curious about regarding the aforementioned items that were changed, are you referring to a mast head amplifier and separate power unit associated with?
john hunt Sunday 26 August 2012 12:02AM Blandford Forum
TWO 5 to 6inch diameter boxes,both containing printed circuits were removed,when shown to me they appeared to be
dirty and old,each was joined together with a length of co-axial cable.my neighbours in one case had the same problem,some time ago but his was ok on completion..nb:he has two aerials on his bungalow chimney,[as in my case]I have been to see a local reputable tv co..THEY are fully booked for two weeks..
I HAVE a small 12volt electric unit,connected to the rear of tv ,into the aerial,this was fitted 3yrs ago..Ihad it checked out it is ok...it sends millie amps up to the aerial from its transformer.?
john hunt: The device you have behind your TV is a power supply unit, this meaning that one of the other devices you referred to must be an aerial amplifier, and if you have two aerials then the second device is suggestive of being a diplexer for purposes of matching / combining the feeds from the two aerials into one and then to the input of the aerial amplifier.
I have just moved into a cottage in NN7,I got an aerial man to put two upstairs sockets in so I now have Freeview in bedrooms and living room.
My question is I am getting Look East which deals with Essex, no where near here, I want nearer news etc. He has tuned it to Sandy Heath, I want more Warwickshire as I live near to the border. I'm a bit old so do I do it or do I need the aerial moved. That's also a bit old
Nick Gouldstone Monday 27 August 2012 3:13PM Andover
I have a 48 element high gain roof aerial pointing at the Hannington transmitter. I have been receiving freeveiw for 6 years with no reception problems. Following switchover i am getting picture breakup on some ITV channels (BBC is oK) The problem is less pronouned on my new TV with integrated tuner and worse on my old TV with a set top box (thompson DTI 1000)I have retuned at all the recomennded times checked aerial alinement etc Post Code SP10 4HB
john hunt Thursday 30 August 2012 10:48AM Blandford Forum
I HAD A LOT OF VERY USEFUL INFORMATION FROM YOURSELVES,But had to call in another TV engineer,your information was a great help because I was able to undestand what he said.His company was A [CAI] MEMBER.
The origional guy had removed the AMPLIFIER but not the faulty 12V POWER SUPPLIER,he had removed the DIPLEXER and not replaced it subsequently his new AMPLIFIER was ruined.I now have excellent pictures from the ROWRIDGE TRANSMITTER john hunt..