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