Contact

Mobile-07850 969 307

Voice calls ONLY please


Home - 01905 799152


8am to 8pm 7 days

JEREMY BILLINGHAM

Television Reception Specialist

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


Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Pershore
Kidderminster & Stourport

22/12/15
​Answer - When it's a TV Aerial lookalike.

This TV Aerial lookalike is perhaps best described as a collective quantity of aluminium prongs laid out on a length of square aluminium tubing, one thing is for sure and that is, it's definitely not a functioning TV Aerial, despite what it looks like.

Amazingly there is a dipole in which the TV coax connects and perhaps this is the only functioning part of this aluminium assembly. Saying that it has provided TV pictures for some years in a home I visited today (22nd December 2015) in the St Peter's area of Worcester albeit with intermittent loss of HD channels.

With a clear line of sight towards the Malvern TV transmitter from my customers roof top, I know from experience that even if you were to waft a simple metal coat hanger or indeed any short length of metal wire from a rooftop that's in close proximity to a TV transmitter it will produce a signal and TV pictures.

If you look at any TV Aerial of this type (known as a "Contract Yagi") you will notice that there is normally a minimum of three different element sizes which are then spaced differently across the length of the boom, the element size and spacing being absolutely critical to the correct functioning of the TV Aerial. If you look closely at this lookalike you will notice that the element sizing and spacing are all uniform.

In my 26 years installing TV Aerials I've only seen a handful or so of these Aerial lookalikes which were sold to unsuspecting DIYers by the large multinational DIY retailers. As their pricing would have been very appealing to anyone looking for a TV Aerial I would guess that there may have been many thousands of them sold over the years.
27/11/15
​A new 4G mobile phone mast fired up around 6pm yesterday evening (Thursday 26th of November)

The mast which is situated on the CHM2 building at the top of London Road in Worcester immediately obliterated terrestrial Digital TV reception for dozens of homes within the surrounding area.

I have personally worked extensively in this area over the years and especially so during my training 25 years ago, so I'm very aware that many homes in this area have amplifiers fitted to their TV Aerial masts.

These Masthead amplifiers were fitted in large numbers during the 1980s and 1990s to improve poor TV reception from either the weak local transmitter at Malvern or the distant TV transmitter at Sutton Coldfield.

Since 2011 and the upgrading of the TV transmitter at Malvern these amplifiers are now often seen to be producing too much signal and although this on it's own often causes little or no problems it's when extra, high power 4G signals are received via the TV Aerial and then fed into these amplifiers that the trouble starts.

I believe that many homes in the area have already received cards through the post explaining that interference to their TV reception from 4G transmissions may happen in the near future.

These cards carry all the information you need to enable you to make contact with the government funded body called "at800" They look after any issues arising from 4G transmissions / TV interference.

I have previously published the contact telephone number of at800 here in my news blogs but just in case you can't find it here it is again

0808 1313 800
Or for further advice please don't hesitate to contact me on my usual mobile number - 07850 969 307 during the day or my home number - 01905 799152 between 7 and 8 in the evening.

In my image above you can clearly see this 4G mobile phone mast which was a few hundred meters away from where I was working. The Malvern TV transmitter is situated on the side of the hill above Link top in Malvern, directly behind and in line of the 4G mast. By pure coincidence another TV Aerial installer can be seen working on a roof top in Hillery Road, no doubt fixing the same problem!
20/11/15
Over the past few days I have been inundated with cries of help from people who have lost their TV pictures, many of which can be attributed to the strong winds that have recently been battering the UK.

It was while I was on a roof in Winslow Ave, Droitwich today repairing a storm damaged Aerial that I received one such call.

Finding my website during a Google search the gentleman informed me that he lived in Elmbridge and that he'd had a new Digital TV Aerial installed only 10 days before by another TV Aerial installer but now he was unable to watch all of the ITV channels and other channels were also breaking up or missing. He also informed me that he had telephoned the original installer but the installer was now too busy and it would be a while before he would be able to return to fix the problem.

As this gentleman was without some of the main TV channels I did give him the option of a service call the following day (Saturday 21st Nov) but despite my precairous position (all be it with a beautiful view over the North end of Droitwich) I allowed him to continue and describe the problem and equipment he had, following a 5 minute conversation I was able to reassure him that if he were to follow my advice I would be confident that there would be a 80 to 90% chance that he could completely resolve the problem himself.


Click HERE and scroll down to see the Thank You email from Mark in Elmbridge.
03/10/15
It was a case of third time lucky for a disgruntled Worcester resident yesterday (Friday 2nd October)

I received a call from a gentleman the day before, after he'd found my website during a Google search.

He told me over the phone that the TV in the bedroom had lost many of it's channels and the channels that were still available were breaking up. He also informed me that he had invited two other local companies out to quote on rectifying his poor TV reception.

The first guy had turned up a few days before and without entering the customers home suggested that the Aerial was at fault as it was not a Digital one and should therefore be replaced, which would in turn cure the reception problem.
​The customer was immediately suspicious as the bedroom TV had been working perfectly for years before it's current problem and it was only in the past few days that he'd experienced any problems. Questioning this guys rapid diagnosis the customer was still not satisfied with his response or the quotation which was well in excess of £100, so it was back on the internet to find another company offering a free quotation.

The second guy arrived the following day and although this time there was no suggestion of the Aerial being at fault he did enter the customers loft and quickly diagnose a fault with one of the two boosters that was up there. A completely different diagnosis but a similar quotation of £100 plus was given to replace the booster, not satisfied with this guys diagnosis or explanation either he was shown the door and it was back to Google.

So it was with a little trepidation that I arrived at this property in Blackpole, Worcester yesterday. I glanced up at the TV Aerial on the roof before pushing the doorbell. Entering my customers home I first checked the main TV in the lounge which was predominantly used for watching SKY then proceeded to the bedroom and confirmed that indeed there was a reception fault.

I was intrigued to take a look in the loft and find out why there were two boosters there and also at the same time check the incoming signal from the TV Aerial. As expected the incoming signal from the Aerial was good and although the Aerial was an older grouped analogue type pointing at the Malvern transmitter it is of simple design and good quality with a life expectancy often greater than 25 years.

(See my blog on my troubleshooting page regarding "Analogue TV Aerials"
HERE)

While in the loft I also confirmed that both boosters were also working fine and without fault but as one of them had been fitted years before the Digital switch over in 2011 it could be removed as the two amplifiers / boosters together were now producing too much signal and so the one was now no longer required.

Closing the loft hatch I turned my attention back to the TV in the bedroom.
As with the 7 or 8 calls out of 10 that I receive each week from people complaining of TV reception problems this TVs reception fault lay under their nose or more precisely, in this example, at the foot of my customers bed.

Opening the 4 piece coax plug it was obvious as to what the problem was.

(Click on my photo above to see the fault in the image on the left and how a coax cable should be prepared prior to coaxial plug fitting in the two images to the right)

​The coaxial braid in this instance had got wrapped around the solid copper conductor causing a dead short and subsequently little or no signal was received. Although slightly embarrassed my customer was delighted that at last he could watch TV in bed again and all at a fraction of the cost of the previous two quotations.

I have written a short blog about this simple, easy to fix fault regarding coax plugs as it remains in my top five of the most common causes of TV reception problems.

(See my "Coax Plugs" blog HERE)

So the moral of this news item is - if your gut feeling tells you that someone could be telling you porkies then they probably are. Unfortunately in the 25 years that I've been in the TV Aerial industry the story above is a common one but what makes the outcome of this one different is that this customer was brave enough to act on his gut feelings, also learning the lesson at the same time that when it comes to finding someone to diagnose and fix a TV reception fault, ringing round companies that advertise and offer free quotes could cost you dearly.

Clicking on the coax cable photo above will reveal 3 images.

Left Hand Image = Coax cable with common fault - No signal
Middle Image = Coax cable prepared for new type twist-on coax plug
Right Hand Image = Coax cable prepared for standard old type coax plug

22/08/15
These multimedia wall plates could be the answer with regards to new properties having to have satellite coax cables run externally from the dish down and across walls and up and over roof tops by SKY engineers, as they now provide a solution to an ugly problem that has existed for many years.

Although these expensive wall plates have been around for some years it seems that many property developers are specifying them as standard and with the amount of construction work that is going on around our county at the moment the aesthetic problem I'm about to describe will only become more common.

The problem is often seen on a new housing development when a new property is chosen and then purchased by it's new owner, the moving in date would arrive often then closely followed by a couple SKY guys all geared up as if their going to climb Everest. They would first drill a hole to anchor their ladders to the wall of the house (so it doesn't slip while climbing it) fit the dish and run the satellite cable/s back to the lounge TV / SKY box, so far, not so bad you may think, but if you had just paid perhaps in excess of 250 thousand pounds for your new home would you really want ugly, black cables run around your house, unnecessarily!?

A situation even worse than this sometimes arises when for positioning reasons the dish needs to be sited on the opposite side of the house from the SKY box / lounge, the cables are then often run up and over the roof and all the way down to the lounge on the other side, this very ugly cable route is standard and normal practice for SKY engineers when the property is a mid terrace.

The last thing that the site manager / sales team wants to see on a newly occupied home are black cables run across the front or over the roof of that property. Over the years there has often been a need to run as many as four or even five cables from the different pieces of Aerial / satellite equipment from the roof or in the loft back into the lounge.

Two cables or one twin cable would normally be run from the satellite dish to the SKY HD or SKY Plus box, sometimes one cable from that SKY box back to the distribution amplifier to distribute SKY around the house and occasionally a fourth cable for either a DAB or FM radio Aerial, if required. With some TVs being positioned in lounges that are not directly accessible from an outside wall or a situation where the cables have to be run across or around a doorway to get to the TV, things can start to look very ugly, very quickly.

So what a fantastic idea this multimedia plate is, so long as it's correctly fitted of course. (Click
HERE and then scroll down to the multimedia plate image in my "Faults Gallery" for further reading)

All the cables required to do the job/s as I've described above arrive at the back of the TV / SKY box from the loft via this plate. The dish is then fitted high up just under the eves and with an absolute minimum amount of cable a short length is run upwards into the loft with almost no cables visible at all.......the answer to all the unsightly cables strewn across roofs you might think!

Well, as with many stories like this there is some good news but also some bad.

The good first - I personally think the multimedia plate is a really great idea and it does do the job very well as I've described above, completely doing away with the need to have any unsightly cables covering the house. When requested by a customer to install a TV Aerial and SKY dish etc I will always but always use any multimedia plate that is available in the property, every time and without exception.

Now for the bad - As SKY offer a free house move to all of their subscribers it is their engineers that currently install around 99% of all new dish's. The problem is that SKY's health and safety policy does not allow for their engineers to enter lofts which means that despite the multimedia plate being available in most new properties now and in the future, SKY will carry on as before and will ignore the plate, so unnecessary holes will be drilled through walls, cable clips hammered into mortar joints, cables run across and down walls and even sometimes up and over and then around internal doorways too.

So if you are lucky enough to be purchasing a new property over the coming weeks, months or years give a little thought as to how the property may look once SKY have been and had their way and just in case there's not a multimedia plate specified for your new home, so long as your'e early enough with regard to the build schedule, request one to be installed by the builders electrician and then call an independent installer like myself to install your equipment in the way that the builder / architect intended.
15/07/15
Over the past few weeks I have been contacted by an increasing number of distraught and frustrated customers as they attempt to keep their patios and conservatory roofs clean.

During the past 25 years I have always had a few calls each year from customers asking if there is something I can do to stop birds making a mess on their patios, outside doorways and on top of conservatory roofs. This year is turning out to be exceptional with regards to that request as I've had more than 10 calls in the past month alone.

The biggest culprit appears to be the fat and lazy Wood Pigeon although I do notice other birds such as Starlings, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws sitting on TV Aerials for shorter periods of time, it's the Wood Pigeon that seems to enjoy the aluminium perch as it's preferred place of rest.

Over recent years there has been a mini invasion of Wood Pigeons in to urban areas and gardens. I also notice that they appear to have more spare time than many other birds and I've often noticed them sitting around with little to do for long periods of time.

From my childhood memory the Wood Pigeon of the 1960s was a different bird altogether, living out in the countryside in large flocks they always seemed to be busy, settling in a cornfield only to be moved on shortly after with the bang of a farmers crow scarer or the sound of a double barrel shotgun. Back in those days it was the arable farmers that were taking the hit but it now appears that the adaptable Wood Pigeon has found an easier, urban way of life.

Although a double barrel shotgun could still have the desired effect for obvious reasons it's not the best solution so over the years I have perfected an idea and remedy which leaves the pigeons feathers unruffled and patios, door ways and conservatory's clean.

For a humane and permanent solution to the problem give me a call on my mobile - 07850 969 307 or my home number between 7 and 8pm. Droitwich - 01905 799152

My photo above was taken from a roof top standing next to the TV Aerial looking directly down the Aerial pole onto the conservatory roof and
 garden/patio below. ​Click to enlarge.
07/07/15
I'm aware of a new 4G mobile phone mast that has just been installed and activated a week or so ago in Barbourne, Worcester.

​I've recently been called out to three properties in Barbourne. All of which had the same things in common. 1 - TV picture breakup on almost every channel. 2 - TV Aerials point towards the Malvern transmitter 3 - A masthead amplifier installed on the TV Aerial mast. 4 - All properties were within a half mile radius of Security House, Barbourne and finally 6 - A high level of 4G signal arriving at the TV end of the coax (as indicated on my meter)

So if you live in the Barbourne area of Worcester and already know that you have a signal amplifier/booster attached to your Aerial mast as well as it's associated power supply at the back of your TV set and have recently started having reception problems (from early July 2015 onwards) then it's more than likely going to be caused by 4G

Most if not almost all homes in Barbourne have their TV Aerials pointing towards the Malvern TV Transmitter. This transmitter is unique in the area that I cover in that it uses part of the TV band to transmit TV which is also very close in frequency to the frequencies used by 4G which in turn increases the possibility of interference.

​If you have a HD receiving TV there is also an increased chance of seeing breakup on the HD channels, BBC1 101, BBC2 102 and ITV 103 etc. The reason for this is that the Malvern transmitter transmits it's HD TV channels at a frequency of around 790 MHz which is the last frequency used on the UK TV band and just a short distance away from the 4G mobile phone transmissions starting at 806 MHz.

For further advise you can call me on my mobile throughout the day on -
07850 969 307 or if you are sure that you are seeing interference caused by 4G you can call a freephone helpline number on - 0808 1313 800.
31/05/15
Since the launch of the new 4G mobile phone mast in Droitwich (See my news item below) I have been receiving calls from customers who are experiencing interference on their secondary TVs.

Also since January this year I've become aware of a few more of these 4G masts popping up so the TV reception problems due to 4G is set to continue for some time to come.

Due to HDMI lead connections, this type of interference is not normally visible when Sky is viewed on the main TV but only shows itself as being short bursts of interference across the screen on TVs which are indirectly connected to the sky box, these TVs sometimes often being in either a bedroom or kitchen. Most of the time the sound is simultaneously affected too.

Unlike the 4G interference I have written about in my news item back in January this interference although only affecting Sky TV viewers has a transmission range far greater than previously thought, so I'm seeing TVs affected which are more than a mile from the 4G transmitter/interference source.

CAUSE - Up until approximately 2 years ago all Sky Digital box's that had been manufactured in the previous 15 years or so came out of the factory with their output frequency set to channel 68. One of the main reasons we now all watch Digital TV was to enable the government to sell off the old part of the TV band which was previously used to transmit analouge TV. So channels 63 thru to 68 are now being used to transmit and receive mobile data by the likes of O2, EE, Orange and Three etc

As there are many millions of Sky digital box's that have not had their frequency altered from when they were new and with many of these box's currently connected to other TVs around the home the problem is potentially a big one but at least a simple one to cure.

Unlike the interference caused directly to TVs by 4G this type of interference will not be covered by help from the Freephone number, as mentioned in my January news item.

SOLUTION - If you think that you have this type of interference bursting on to your screen every now and then while watching sky the answer is to change the output frequency of the Sky box from 68. Over the years I have often used channel 36 or 38 as these two frequencies are spare and not currently used within my working / coverage area.

Just remember if you already know how to change your Sky's output frequency you will also need to adjust/re-tune any TVs that are connected to your Sky box to match that same frequency.

If you are clueless as to how make these adjustments then I am more than willing to talk you through this relatively simple procedure over the phone.

​Mobile - 7850 969 307. Home - 01905 799 152
12/01/15
Sunday the 11th of January 2015 saw the switch on of the new 4G mobile phone services from a mast in Droitwich. An established mobile phone mast has recently been upgraded to include 4G transmissions. The mast is located just off the junction of George Bayliss road and the Kidderminster road, near DFS and Homebase.

Although this is great news for mobile phone users it's bad news for many homes located in and around Honeymans gardens and the Ledwych road areas of the town.

At around 2pm Sunday the 11th of January the new 4G signals got airborne delivering powerful signals just above the TV broadcast frequencies.

Some TV's will not be affected but many TV's that have pre-amplifiers/boosters connected to the Aerial system will now either display a pixilated picture or no picture at all.

Prior to the digital switchover in November 2011 the two locations I mention above were often seen as poor TV reception areas with regards to obtaining a good TV signal. Consequently there are more pre-amplifiers in these areas than many other locations around Droitwich.

Many, but not all modern day amplifiers/boosters have built in filtering components to filter out the unwanted 4G signals, but as the two housing developments are now well established it is unlikely any of these amplifiers are currently being used meaning that most will be unmodified older types which are susceptible to interference from the close proximity of the 4G mast.

Making some enquiries today (Monday 12th January 2015) I've been informed that there is a freephone telephone number you can call if you think you are affected by 4G interference.

The freephone number from a landline is - 0808 1313 800.

In the mean time, if you live in Droitwich but don't live in and around the Ledwych road or Honeymans gardens areas of the town it is unlikely that any loss of TV reception or indeed poor TV reception could be attributed to 4G.

If you are unsure as to the cause of your poor TV reception or lack of some TV channels you are more than welcome to call me for help and advice.

Mobile - 7850 969 307. Home 01905 799 152