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JEREMY BILLINGHAM

Television Reception Specialist

Freeview - Freesat - SKY - DAB & FM​​ Radio


Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Pershore
Kidderminster & Stourport

11/11/13
I received a call from a lady this morning asking me if I could have a look at her TV to find out why the picture was continually breaking up on some channels.

I arrived later this afternoon at her home in Ockeridge to find that not only were there some channels pixelating or breaking up as she had described but there were also many channels completely missing.

The lady told me that the picture had been gradually getting worse over the past few months.

Taking a look at the Aerial from the ground I could see that it was a new and modern designed TV Aerial made by a company called Triax, a TV Aerial that I personally know to be of good quality and well made.

The Aerial looked as if it had been installed within the last couple of years or so and my customer confirmed this also telling me that it had been a well known company from Worcester that had done the work.

The Aerial installation was straight forward and had a clear line of site direct to the powerful transmitter at Malvern, so what could be wrong!

After checking the fly leads and the wall plate inside and apart from finding the expected weak incoming signal I was resigned to the fact I was going to have to climb my ladder to take a closer look at the TV Aerial. A TV Aerial that I know from experience should normally last well in excess of 10 years and probably more than 20.

Getting close up and personal with this Aerial it quickly became obvious as to the problem. No matter how well made a TV Aerial is and no matter how big or small it may be etc etc if the person who initially installs it, installs it incorrectly it WILL, in time FAIL.

This, like many modern TV Aerials has a semi sealed dipole (the dipole being the working/clever part of the Aerial where the TV coax cable connects)
This particular TV Aerial has a small water drainage hole in the base of the dipole just in case of any water ingress in the future, the water could then simply drain away.

For what ever reason the installer of this TV Aerial installed the Aerial upside down, putting the drainage hole at the top, allowing the dipole housing to act as a reservoir and fill with water each time it rained. The end result, after time being a completely destroyed printed circuit board within the dipole housing.

You may think that anyone could have made this simple mistake but I think it's comparable to a mechanic installing a new engine in a car, only then to fill it with water instead of the required oil and yes the same result for both - FAILURE

When installing a new TV Aerial or Satellite dish I personally go through a checklist during the installation to make sure even if I'm momentarily distracted something like this could never happen.


Note, since writing this news blog in November 2013 I have been called out to a dozen or more TV Aerials which have also been installed upside down. My photo above is another example of the same problem, this one was in Cutnall Green, October 2015

See also "Installer fault 9" in my "Cowboys & Bodgers" Gallery HERE
29/09/13

I've just arrived back from a holiday to find more than 30 voice mail messages on my office phone. Most of the calls are from people that have either lost reception completely or are at least have been experiencing TV picture break up over the past week.

Looking back at the weather over the past few days while I have been away would suggest that the High Pressure or anti-cyclone that has been and still is positioned over Scandinavia / Central Europe would be responsible for some but not all of the messages that I've received.

When we are lucky enough to have a dry and settled period of weather and a anti-cyclone positions it's self in this part of Europe we almost always experience poor TV reception from the Ledbury transmitter in and around Droitwich / Worcestershire.

As I wrote earlier, not all of my messages can be attributed to this weather related problem as I have been able to identify that some people have had similar problems even though their TV Aerial is pointing elsewhere other than the Ledbury (Ridge hill) transmitter.

In the area that I cover it's normally only the Ledbury transmitter that suffers with this signal / weather related type of problem.

I am now aware that the main transmitter at Sutton Coldfield is under repair and a service call I made out to a customer today has confirmed this.

While the good weather persists (until Christmas I hope!) and or the work continues on Sutton Coldfield transmitter, please, please DO NOT try to re-tune your TV. Doing this will often only make the situation worse and is unlikely to cure anything.

I am always willing to give free advice over the phone as to what to do to improve reception.

Please call me on my mobile number for the latest information. If you're short of minutes, credit or you're using an expensive landline to call me then just ask for a return call and I am more than happy to call you back.

Jeremy - 07850 969 307 8am to 8pm - 7 days

23/01/13

Today I was contacted by a new customer who had found my small add in the Yellow Pages. 


On arrival at his home in Himbleton he informed me that he had lost reception on both of his TV's some days before and was now starting to get bored watching just DVDs.

 

I initially thought it was going to be straight forward spotting that he had a 12 volt power supply attached to the back of his main TV in the lounge. I Quickly established that this was working and then moved on to check all connections, again all of which were ok. 

 

As the property was out in the countryside and built in the 1960s I guessed that the run of coax to the loft then to the mast-head amplifier & then on outside to the TV aerial was probably not going to be in a straight line or indeed straight forward, so I quizzed the customer as to what he knew of this run of coax.

 

At that point I was shown into the bedroom wardrobe above the lounge. Here there was a surplus of 2 meters of coax and a poor coax to coax joint, "that's it" I said, this has to be the problem, often this type of coax joint will eventually go open circuit with the passing of time and not allow the 12 volts pass up to the amplifier, but in this house and this time it was just not to be.

 

Checking the Masthead amplifier in the loft I confirmed that it was in good condition and that there was also a good signal arriving into it from the Malvern transmitter.

 

Being sure that there had to be a problem with the coax cable I again quizzed my customer as to what he knew about the run of coax cable.

 

This time I was shown into the kitchen where I was told that the coax cable ran through the wall from the lounge into and under the back of the kitchen units. 

 

Removing the kick boards under the kitchen units immediately exposed a TV coax Y splitter, normally this alone is all it takes to disrupt the 12 volts in it's path to the amplifier but removing the Y split still made no difference. There just had to be something else.
 

Using a torch and scrambling around on the kitchen floor, looking under the units I spotted it......at last.......coax that was chewed completely through by a bored or hungry mouse.

 

By replacing this length of coax cable cured the problem. 

 

I guess with this very cold weather that we are now experiencing our four legged friends are just as keen as we are to get out of the cold.