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JEREMY BILLINGHAM

Television Reception Specialist

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


Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Pershore
Kidderminster & Stourport

28/11/17
The following news item was taken from my "Cowboys & Bodgers" gallery (Installer fault 20)

Location -
Fernhill Heath

Complaint - Sudden loss of all TV channels.

Fault - Masthead amplifier damaged by water ingress. Getting up into the loft at this property where the amplifier had been installed by the previous Aerial installer I immediately noticed it was water logged. Rain water had entered the coax via a small cut on the outer sheath allowing it to flow down on the inside. This situation is really not uncommon but what is rare is next to the amplifier was another rusted/damaged masthead amplifier, not connected but just left discarded to one side. It was then obvious that the last installer had no morals or interest in finding out why the amplifier was damaged by rain water.

Remedy - Change the coax from the TV Aerial outside back into the loft, this then improved the signal so now there was no need to replace the amplifier at all but just a simple connection to the coax running down the cavity to the TV in the lounge.
31/10/17
As of today (Tuesday 31st October 2017) there is a strong likelihood that TV reception problems may be experienced by some people who have their TV Aerial pointed towards the Ridge Hill transmitter near Ledbury. This transmitter serves large parts of Worcestershire and is occasionally susceptible to interference from other TV transmitters when certain weather conditions prevail.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2635167

Looking at the current weather / atmospheric pressure readings today (Click on BBC link above) would suggest that this interference is caused by the current High Atmospheric Pressure which is centred over Europe. Also, current weather forecasts and predictions indicate that this High Pressure may persist until this coming Saturday.

While this current spell of cool but settled weather persists there is one very important thing to remember, if, at at any time, now or in the future you ever experience pixelation / breakup or a sudden loss of TV channels.....



DO NOT RE-TUNE YOUR TV



Many people now know how to access the "Auto re-tune" in their TVs setup menu, unfortunately I'm often finding that customers use this new found knowledge as a "cure all" for any problems that may arise with their TV, whether that be reception related or otherwise.

Re-tuning a TV during periods of poor reception or loss of picture will usually only delete the TVs memory of frequencies / channels which were originally saved from the transmitter that your TV Aerial is pointing at, creating a bigger problem, often meaning you will be without TV pictures for much, much longer than people who didn't re-tune their TV.

With the exception of an on screen message suggesting a re-tune is necessary or advise from someone like myself or TV retail shop etc, a willy-nilly re-tune of a TV in the hope that it will restore the channels should be avoided and is almost always counter productive.

The on-screen message "Weak or no signal" which sometimes appears on a TV screen while experiencing poor reception is NOT an invitation to re-tune the TV!
03/10/17
Unfortunately my landline number is not available during the process of a house move to a new location in Droitwich.

When BT eventually get round to re-connecting me I will still retain my old telephone number which I've managed to keep for the past 27 years, until then I will always be available via my usual mobile phone number.

My website updates may not be as prolific as normal but should anything major happen to TV signals or TV transmitters within our area I will do my best to update my website accordingly.
07850 969 307
14/08/17
I recently received a call from a customer I've known for some years. He asked me if I could take a look at a TV Aerial which was installed on a roof of a property he owns but lets out to a family in Bromsgrove. The complaint from the family was that every time it rained TV pictures were lost.

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 generally of good quality and well made.

The Aerial could be aged quite accurately at around 10 years as this is when all the properties were built on this particular development of around 30 or so houses.

The original Aerial installation would have been straightforward as it had a clear line of site direct to the transmitter at Bromsgrove which was less than a mile away.

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 or indeed how much it may have cost etc etc if the person who initially installs it, installs it incorrectly it WILL FAIL, in time, GUARANTEED!

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 whatever 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 being a damaged printed circuit board within the dipole housing.

Unfortunately looking around this estate in Bromsgrove with a pair of binoculars it appears that almost every single TV Aerial had been installed in the same way, Upside Down!

Although I often find individual TV Aerials which have failed due to upside down installation this is the first time I've come across a whole estate with the same problem.

I find it really hard to believe that the guy/s installing these TV Aerials was installing them upside down in order to secure repeat business many years earlier than if the Aerial had been installed correctly so I can only think that this Aerial like many others I've seen over recent years was installed with a large helping of ignorance!
30/07/17
Walking around the corner of a path that led up to my customers home last Thursday it quickly became clear as to why they had called me in to help restore their TV pictures.

Although my customer had noticed the Mast Head Amplifier (MHA) box was dangling from the pole he had not realised the consequences of it being this way up and was not sure that the lack of TV pictures on their TV's was a direct result of this MHAs orientation.

If you have a MHA or any similar looking box for that matter that is attached to a TV Aerial pole and you notice that it's come away from the pole (as seen in my pic above) don't delay in calling me or any reputable TV Aerial installer (if you are reading this from outside my coverage area) as it's guaranteed that in a very short space of time the cost for putting it right will probably double!

This is a very common fault which I often only see once the cost of putting it right has gone beyond just getting up on to the roof to turn and secure it the right way up.

Over the years the plastic cable tie that secures the MHA to the pole becomes brittle with the constant UV light that's emitted by the sun, once the cable tie breaks it allows the MHA to drop forward allowing (more often than not) rain water to enter. The plastic housing which once kept all the electronic components dry now acts as a reservoir, often allowing the components to be partially or completely submerged.

On some callouts I have managed to save a few amplifiers as well as many other types of TV Aerial equipment that are also housed in this type of box but once the electronics have been swimming in water for more than a few days it's usually only their replacement that will restore TV pictures.

So in short, if you notice a box like the one in my pic above has fallen / come away from the pole don't delay in doing something about it.
19/06/17
I have received a large number of calls today from people who are experiencing TV reception problems.

I am not currently aware of any TV transmitter faults at the moment so until I have more information on possible other causes I'm putting the recent spate of calls down to the extreme heat and high atmospheric pressure.
11/06/17
I was called out to Littleworth near Worcester yesterday by a customer who was complaining of a loss of channels on their SKY.

They told me over the phone before my arrival that they were sure that the picture breakup as well as loss of channels on their SKY TV was due to a bird nesting at the back of the Dish.

Although I have noticed pigeon and doves nests in this position before this was the first time I had been called out to a sitting / nesting bird.

As I walked down my customers drive I immediately noticed the dish and resident Collared dove on the side wall of the property, breathing a sigh of relief I was sure that what ever the cause of the problem this Collared dove was not going to be to blame.

As always, I stood directly underneath the dish, then using the LNB arm that protrudes out from the dish I followed an imaginary line in the direction of the Astra satellite to see what might be blocking the dishes view.

In this case it was part of a very large hawthorn tree / hedge barely 3 meters in front of the dish, I guess with all of the rain we have been having recently it's put a bit of a spurt on over the past few weeks. Anyway this particular problem was easily solved after just 5 minutes of pruning the SKY pictures were restored to their full glory and the Collared dove was left in peace to continue rearing it's brood of two.
30/05/17
I've had several calls over the past week from people experiencing TV reception problems in and around the Blanquettes Estate in Worcester.

I believe the reception issues I've seen so far have been caused by a mobile phone mast located nearby on the Gregory's Mill Industrial Estate.

Most households in the area have their TV Aerials directed towards the Malvern transmitter. This transmitter is very susceptible to interference from mobile phone masts as the masts frequencies are very close to the TV signals emitted by the Malvern TV transmitter.

When 4G data is sent and received via these mobile phone masts interference can be expected in a range of up to a mile radius from the mast.

An additional problem for many around Blanquettes is that many TV Aerials have TV amplifiers fitted in line or somewhere in the TV Aerial system, these amplifiers having been fitted in large numbers over the years as this part of Worcester was notorious for being a poor TV reception area.

Generally TV reception is not affected if there is not a TV amplifier connected to the TV Aerial / mast, at the back of the TV or in the loft but this changes dramatically once an amplifier is used to boost poor TV reception.

One thing always worth a try before any calls are made is to disconnect the Aerial coax lead that enters the amplifier and put this direct into the back of the TV, of course this is only possible if the amplifier is close to the TV, also if you have easy access into your loft and you know a TV amplifier is up there, try coupling the the incoming TV coax cable from the Aerial on to the cable going down to your TV.

I often find that it's now possible to bypass TV amplifiers altogether as the Digital TV signals being received are much stronger than the old analogue ones and it was for those old weaker signals that so many amplifiers were fitted.

If you suspect that you may be suffering with 4G interference please don't hesitate to contact me on my usual numbers for further advise or call At 800 directly, if At 800 identify that you do indeed have a 4G interference they will either send you a filter in the post or an engineer who will arrive in a van normally within a day or two.
26/04/17
​​​​​​I had a reminder today of just how often I see this DIY repair.

I received a request for help from a customer in Sinton Green near Worcester who was complaining that one of her TVs had no signal.

On arrival it was clear to see the problem without the need of any test equipment or ladders.

Any outside TV coax that's been cut and then repaired using PVC tape WILL FAIL eventually, guaranteed!

I've lost count as to how many I've seen over the years but this is one of the most common DIY mistakes I see.

This TV coax had been accidentally cut by a gardener while pruning the pyracantha two feet from the ground it was then re-joined using coax plugs and a coupler and then bound tightly with yellow PVC tape.

This very common DIY repair will normally work just fine for perhaps up to a year or two but rain water will ALWAYS find it's way in, so it's just a matter of time before the constant moisture and inevitable corrosion will destroy the joints ability to pass a TV signal.

I would guess that a joint that's left open to the elements without using PVC tape could last longer than one that is covered in tape.

One thing is for sure, PVC tape will NEVER stop rain water from entering, no matter how tightly bound the tape may be.

In this case there was still an excellent signal from the coax entering the joint but little or no signal at all passing through the badly corroded connection so it was decided to re-join rather than replace the coax back to the Aerial.

Using the superior F type plugs rather than standard TV coax plugs (as seen in the lower of the two images above) and then wrapping this with water proofing, amalgamating, rubberised tape will ensure that no water can enter, giving the joint a life expectancy similar to the coax that it's connecting.

Another example I will never forget despite it being almost 10 years ago was on a cold, snowy winters day when I received a call from a well known BBC TV presenter who was convinced that his Aerial must have moved in the wind as he was not getting a TV signal and had lost all TV channels.

Arriving at his home and noticing that the Aerial was mounted on his garage I quickly assessed it to be unlikely that any movement of the Aerial would have had such a dramatic effect on a TV so I questioned him with regards to the unusual coax cable run which ran for some distance underground down the garden before reaching the TV in his lounge.

After a short period of time it became clear that my customer was getting a little agitated and upset with my questioning relating to the TV coax's route and direction of travel down the garden, making several strong suggestions that I should just get on with the job and stop wasting his valuable time with questions unrelated to what he believed to be a misaligned Aerial.

On asking the question " Has the coax cable ever been joined? " it was with some reluctance that he then admitted to having once accidentally put a spade in a little too deep and it being severed, but he did assure me, in no uncertain terms that it could not possibly be the cause of his reception problem as he had wrapped it tightly with PVC tape and covered it with plastic bags before re-planting it back underground and it had worked perfectly for years. Of course, on hearing this I immediately knew what the problem was but convincing my customer was still anything but easy.

With the snow now falling and several holes dug in the garden (he couldn't remember exactly where the join was) he was anything but happy. As you can guess, the joint was eventually found, soaking wet and corroded beyond recognition. I wasted not a moment longer, repairing it as described above which of course immediately restored his TV signal / TV pictures.
16/04/17
I was recently called out to a customer in Hillery road, Worcester who had been experiencing TV reception problems for some considerable time.

On arrival at the property it was obvious as to what the problem was.

Looking up at the Aerial before knocking at the door it was clear to see that this TV Aerial was missing a quantity of it's elements, later my customer did admit that he had not looked up at the TV Aerial prior to calling me.

As a general rule of thumb the more plastic used in the design and make up of a TV Aerial the shorter its life will be. This Aerial made by Diamond Colour is a common example of the problem.

I often see TV Aerials which are missing one or two elements, surprisingly tho there is often little or no significant drop in signal strength but this does very much depend on which elements are missing, in this particular example the Aerial had lost 5 elements and because of their position relative to the Aerials dipole those missing 5 elements dramatically reduced the Aerial's ability to deliver a sufficient signal to the TV.

The plastic parts of a TV Aerial are often the parts of a Aerial that fail first with the UV light from sunlight being the catalyst. Over time the UV light makes the plastic brittle and crumble allowing the aluminium elements to come loose or fall from the Aerial's boom.

In this case a poor design regarding the attachment of the aluminium elements to the Aerials boom via it's flimsy plastic insulators/holders was to blame.

This Aerial was only 12 years old whereas a good quality, well installed TV Aerial should last in excess of 30 years.

The TV Aerials I supply, install and recommend contain less than 1% plastic material in their design with an expectant life in excess of 30 years.
22/02/17
Over the past few months I've noticed a steady increase in the amount of calls I'm receiving from people who are experiencing poor TV reception at certain times of the day, some have completely lost TV reception altogether.

As the nationwide 4G upgrade of all mobile phone masts reaches it's peak it's more than likely that this problem will only get worse before it gets better.

When I receive a call from someone complaining about their poor TV reception I automatically run through series of questions to try and establish if their reception problem is related to 4G.

If I suspect 4G interference I will normally advise a call to an organisation called "At 800" this company is funded by UK mobile phone operators such as EE, Telefónica UK, (O2), Three and Vodafone, it was setup some years ago in preparation for the roll out of the 4G mobile phone network and amongst other duties it is also responsible for rectifying TV interference caused by 4G

There are some notable exceptions with regards to my general advise to call
At 800, the most common being for all SKY subscribers or anyone who has
Free-sat installed, secondary TVs which are connected to a terrestrial TV Aerial in other rooms in the house will NOT be covered by At 800s free service in which case I am always available to come out and independently assess your TV reception difficulties and rectify any interference, regardless of cause.

Also, for those that are affected by interference who can be sure that their TV Aerial points either towards the Malvern or Kidderminster transmitters and can at the same time be certain that their TV Aerial has not been upgraded within the past 12 years or so may just find that a call to At 800 is also counter productive. Both of these transmitters will cease to transmit within the receiving range of the current, older grouped / analogue Aerials, so a TV aerial upgrade is likely to be necessary before the end of April 2018.

Both the Malvern and Kidderminster transmitters will undergo frequency / channel re-allocation work which is due to be completed before the end of April 2018. This will then make way for and allow the roll out of the next-generation mobile internet services" 5G " these new mobile phone services are due to start from 2020.

I'm aware of some, not so honest TV Aerial engineers who don't inform their customers that there may be a possible Free of Charge solution available to them.

I recently received a call from a distraught elderly lady from Worcester who was unable to watch her TV during the evenings, she'd made a call to a local aerial rigger who over a period of a couple of weeks made as many as 4 call outs to her home in an attempt to cure powerful 4G interference, each time he tried something new but each time he missed the obvious solution, although perhaps in this guy's defence it was more likely through sheer ignorance rather than dishonesty that all of his attempts to cure the problem were futile, needless to say this particular TV Aerial system was in need of a long term solution which may not have been covered by the free service provided by At 800 but much to this lady's delight just a short time after I arrived at her home she was able to watch interference free TV for the first time in weeks.

If you do suspect that you may be suffering with 4G interference please don't hesitate to contact me on my usual numbers for further advise or call At 800 directly, their details are available by clicking on the image below.

01/02/17
There seems to be a problem for some people trying to receive the following channels from the Bromsgrove
transmitter -




11 Pick
12 Dave
17 Really
29 E4 +1
32 Movie Mix
41 Food Network
46 Challenge
48 Movies4Men
68 TruTV
69 Tru TV +1
72 YourTV
126 Tiny Pop
132 Sky News
23 Create and Craft
43 Gems TV
49 The Jewellery Channel
65 TBN UK
173 ADULT smileTV3
175 ADULT PARTY
176 ADULT Blue
177 ADULT Babestn2
207 Kiss Me TV
208 Proud Dating
723 talkSPORT
730 RNIB Connect.


I believe this particular reception issue which is currently affecting just one of Bromsgrove's 6 multiplex's (multiplex 44) may have existed for some time and despite the large number of channels on this one multiplex I suspect that many people who do have difficulty receiving these channels may possibly have put it down to their individual TV or TV Aerial being at fault.

Although it is highly unlikely that it would be an individual TV fault that's causing the reception problem there is a good chance that any reception difficulties of the above channels may be partly due to the TV Aerial or TV amplifier / booster or even just the location of the Aerial / property relative to the transmitter at Worms Ash.

I'm sure that some people reading this may just think......ahhh, but surely if it was my TV Aerial at fault then I wouldn't be receiving all the other channels, BBC and ITV etc etc.

I purposely used the word "partly" above as this afternoon I was able to carry out some of my own tests and could clearly see that to have good reception of this multiplex very much depended on the critical alignment of the TV Aerial and all other components in the signal path from the Aerial to the TV in the lounge being in good / perfect condition.

This is unusual as most modern high gain Digital Aerials will often cope with a large margin of error with regards to their alignment, I often notice a sufficient signal strength and quality being maintained even when the Aerial is way off alignment, even as much as 60 or 70 degrees either side of the correct alignment will still provide a uncorrupted, perfect TV picture.

So in short, I'm sure that there is an ongoing problem with this multiplex which may only develop as a reception problem for some households who have a less than perfect TV Aerial system.

I'm sure that this transmission fault will eventually be rectified but in the meantime I'm keen to hear from anyone who's currently having problems with the reception of these channels. I'm not suggesting a call out from myself to rectify any Aerial issues you may have (although this is possible) I'm more interested in knowing your location relative to the transmitter and to have an idea as to how many households might be affected.

I am always willing to offer free and comprehensive advise over the phone which can sometimes resolve the problem altogether.

Jeremy Billingham - Home / Office - 01905 799152

Mobile - 07850 969 307

8am to 8pm
22/01/17

This week I received a call from an unhappy gentleman who was complaining of his inability to receive HD channels from the Malvern transmitter despite having recently been visited by an organisation set up to help people who experience problems with TV interference from 4G mobile phone masts.

Although the engineer who visited the property in October last year would have been aware of which transmitter the TV Aerial received it's signals from, during his (successful) attempt to stop 4G mobile phone signals interfering with this gentleman's TV reception he inadvertently installed the wrong filter/s, consequently blocking all HD signals from the Malvern transmitter.

Also, although not so important, as both of the filters did seem to be well sealed, they were both designed for indoor use rather than being placed outside on a pole.

Replacing the two incorrect filters for one outdoor (pole mounted) filter allowed the HD channels to pass but continued to block the 4G interference.

(Click on my image above to reveal the two incorrect (59) indoor filters on the left, and the image on the right which displays the correct outdoor (60) filter)

Although the original 4G interference work was carried out Free Of Charge by a sub contractor working behalf of an organization called "at 800" who in turn work on behalf of the UK mobile phone operators such as EE, and Vodafone etc I have now been informed by my happy HD receiving customer that this organisation has agreed to fully reimburse him for the work I carried out to rectify the problem.

This customers - Testimonial, Dated 19th January 2017
06/01/17
I am aware of either a reduction in power or possibly a transmitter synchronisation fault affecting the Bromsgrove transmitter's ITV multiplex 23 which includes the following bouquet of channels -

ITV, CH4, CH5, ITV 2, CH 4+1, More 4,
Film 4, ITV 4, E4, ITV +1.


Interestingly the vast majority of TV Aerials directed towards this transmitter seem not to be affected so I suspect the problem only affects TV Aerials or Aerial systems which may have had a borderline signal strength / quality prior to the fault developing.

Please be-aware that just because your TV pictures on the above channels may have been good prior to this current problem it is not necessarily an indication that your signal strength and quality would have been anything other than just sufficient any slight reduction in signal strength or quality and your reception of that signal will be lost completely, this is known as the "Digital cliff effect"

Regardless of this current transmitters fault it may be worthwhile having your TV Aerial or Aerial system checked, should a fault then be found and rectified it will dramatically reduce the chances of this happening again in the future.

In the meantime don't forget that if you're lucky enough to have a HD receiving TV you can still continue to watch ITV, CH4 and CH5, all of which remain unaffected on multiplex 30, just select the channel numbers 103, 104, and 105.

It's rare for me to offer the following advise (see my previous warnings below in Orange here in my news blogs regarding this) but just so long as you are currently receiving your TV signals from the Bromsgrove transmitter and you do not have problems with any other channels other than the ITV ones (as listed above) then an auto re-tune of your TV may just find a temporary solution by giving your TV the opportunity to lock onto another stronger ITV multiplex from another transmitter.

As soon as the Bromsgrove transmitter is back to it's normal self I will post a blog here in my news section and at that time you may need to auto-re-tune your TV one more time......Watch this space!

UPDATE 11th Jan 2017 - As I've had no recent reports of Multiplex 23 / ITV channels being a problem I can only presume that the recent reception problems have been resolved, please let me know to the contrary.