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JEREMY BILLINGHAM

Television Reception Specialist

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


Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Pershore
Kidderminster & Stourport

15/02/18
The following news item was taken from my "Cowboys & Bodgers" gallery (Installer fault 21)

Location - Droitwich

Complaint - Picture break-up and cable mess just inside the loft hatch.

Fault - Insufficient filtering of 4G transmissions and inappropriate use and location of mast head amplifier.

The sight of these amplifiers and TV aerial equipment inside a loft seems to be increasingly common and guess it's the work of unscrupulous and dishonest Aerial installers.

The Vision masthead amplifier marked "1" in my photo was installed as a replacement for the Fringe electronics amplifier "3" There was nothing wrong with the Fringe amplifier but to install a Masthead amplifier designed for outdoor use was not only dishonest but also technically incorrect too.

The 12 volt power unit "2" in my photo is used to feed voltage to the amplifier when it's located outside and a long way from a power source. Of course, in this case there was no problem obtaining power as it is in the form of a double, 240 volt socket right next to all of the equipment. 4G interference also continued to be an issue during the evenings for this customer.

Remedy - Return the 4 coax's to the perfectly working Fringe electronics amplifier and add one extra 4G filter. Remove the unrequired masthead amplifier & power unit.
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.