Contact

Mobile-07850 969 307


Home - 01905 799152


8am to 8pm 7 days

JEREMY BILLINGHAM

Television Reception Specialist

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

Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Rubery

19/03/19
I was called out today to a customer in Hartlebury who had suddenly lost their Freesat TV reception.

This particular dish was a little difficult to access as it was mounted on a long 12 foot pole, to the side of the garden patio, this was to allow for the clearance of some very tall trees which were in relative close proximity to the dish.

Doing the normal and easier checks first which include checking the Humax satellite receiver was powered up and not in need of a simple re-boot as well as following the coax cable run from the receiver to the outside, along the garden wall and up the length of the pole to the dish.

On finding both the receiver and the coax cable not to be at fault it only then left either the dish being off line or a possible faulty LNB (Low Noise Block) Click on photos above to enlarge.

Should we have been in late April or May there would have been the possibility of a growth spurt from the trees which lay in the direction that this dish was pointing, partially blocking the view to the orbiting satellite. As we have only just come out of winter and despite the record high temperatures we've recently experienced there was little chance that this was even a possibility.

Also, when vegetation growth does impact on the reception of a satellite signal to a dish its a relative slow process, often with pixitlation and break-up warning signs in the days and weeks preceding a total loss of signal, also with wind movement of any foliage the signal/reception will come and go in unison with the force of the wind.

Standing on the top platform of a set of 6 foot high steps and at full stretch the next easiest thing to check is the white feed-horn LNB cap.
.
Applying light pressure with my thumb on the white plastic feed horn cap will confirm or otherwise it's ability to stop rain water entering the LNB.

Once this plastic become brittle it almost always splits at the top first (click on & see photos 2 & 3 above) allowing rain water to enter but then having no where to escape.

Putting light pressure on this particular cap allowed it to brake with ease, showering me with a quantity of collected rain water. Although I carry spare caps on the van once rain water enters the horn the LNBs days are numbered.

Over the past few months I've been called out to half a dozen or so of these LNBs with this particular fault, with vast quantities of these dish's having been installed in excess of 10 years ago this particular problem is going to be round for a long time to come.
15/02/19
I've been made aware of the possible activation of a mobile phone mast in Crowle near Worcester.

I believe this mast may have been switched on sometime yesterday morning (Thursday 14th of February)

Due to Crowle's rural location and it's distant position relative to TV transmitters many households use UHF TV mast head amplifiers to receive TV.

It's these amplifiers that are picking up the 4G signal from the masts resulting in either poor TV reception or often NO reception at all if the mast is in close proximity.

My advice, as always is to call at800 if you believe that your TV reception problem is a direct result of the activation of a mast.

at800 - 0808 131 3800

Just in case at800 are unaware of a particular mast activation (see my news item below dated 28th March 2018) or they are unable to help within a reasonable period of time then please don't hesitate to contact me direct.

I'm often able to attend on the same day......Sunday included!

Jeremy - 07850 969 307
10/02/19
Due to the recent high winds we've had over the past few days I was called out to this TV Aerial at Offerton farm near Droitwich on Saturday 9th of February 2019.

The following news item is taken from my Cowboys & Bodgers gallery.

Location - Offerton near Droitwich

Complaint - Sudden loss of all TV channels.

Fault - This particular fault is not over common as I only attend to a few each year but I do see many more potential problems while on my travels around the county.

PVC tape or occasionally plastic cable ties combined with a installer ignorance / incompetence is the primary reason for the loss of channels.

Firstly plastic cable ties should never be used to hold a TV coax to a pole.
Sunlight / UV light will make them brittle long before anything else needs to be replaced, allowing the coax to eventually swing in the wind, as can be seen in my photo above.

In this case it was PVC tape (industry standard) that was used.
Normally the tape will last as long as the Aerial, in this case perhaps as much as
40 to 50 years but because this particular installer was tight or possibly ignorant he only passed the tape around the pole once.

Sunlight will soon degrade this single layer of tape which in turn will allow the coax to come loose and flap in the wind, eventually snapping the soft copper inner core inside the dipole cap, as can be seen in my photo above.

Remedy - If the tape had have been passed around the pole by a minimum of 2 or 3 times then this TV Aerial could have gone on for another 5 to 10 years or so.

As this particular TV Aerial was an old grouped type and not efficient at receiving some of the lesser watched TV channels it was decided to upgrade to a wide band Digital type while I was there.
29/10/18
From Wednesday 31st of October 2018 onward there is a very good chance that you may have the words "Weak or No Signal" displayed on your TV screen, if your TV Aerial is pointed towards the Kidderminster transmitter, sometimes referred to locally as the Birchen Coppice transmitter.

This TV Transmitter sits up on a hill to the West of the Kidderminster to Stourport dual carriageway.

Frequency re-allocation work to move all of the existing TV channels in their individual blocks (Multiplex's) to lower frequencies on the ever shrinking TV band has been planned for sometime. The reason for moving the TV frequencies is to make way for new mobile phone services coming in 2020.

The work is likely to be completed in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but could possibly take place at any time during this coming Wednesday.

If you scroll down below this News item you will notice that I have often, strongly advised against the re-tune of TVs if reception is lost.

Well of course, on this rare occasion the only way to restore TV reception is to actually re-tune your TV. So my advice this time is to Auto Re-tune your TV, IF you loose TV reception on Wednesday 31st of October 2018 and you have a good idea that your TV Aerial could point towards the Kidderminster TV transmitter.

Once you have completed a re-tune your TV should work normally again and normal TV reception should be resumed! I use the word "should" as some people may find that a re-tune will not restore all of the channels and even if it does there is still a chance the reception of those channels could be poor.

Many homes still have the old Narrow Band TV Aerials (Analogue TV Aerials) pointing towards this transmitter and have not ever needed an upgrade to a Wide Band (Digital TV Aerial) to receive all of the channels..

These older TV Aerials have worked fine over the years because the frequencies they were designed to receive were, by luck, within the range of the digital frequencies being transmitted.

From Wednesday onward some of these older Narrow Band TV Aerials may struggle to efficiently receive the new allocated lower frequencies, especially those who are towards the outer limits of the transmitting range of this transmitter.

If you find that after re-tuning your TV or recording box you are still unable to receive normal TV pictures then please give me a call.



Jeremy - 07850 969 307
19/10/18


As of today (Friday 19th October 2018) there is a strong likelihood that TV reception problems may be experienced by some 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, causing picture breakup or in some cases, total loss of TV reception.

Looking at the current weather / atmospheric pressure readings today would suggest that this interference is caused by the current High Atmospheric Pressure which is currently centred over the southern half of the UK.

Weather forecasting and predictions strongly indicate that this High Pressure may persist until the middle or end of next week.

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.

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 that 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 NEVER an invitation to re-tune the TV!

For a permanent solution to this weather related problem please scroll down to my News Item, dated 09/05/18 and titled "Poor reception from the Ledbury / Ridge Hill transmitter"
11/10/18
Over the past week or two I have noticed an increase in calls from customers complaining of poor or non-existent TV reception of BBC channels.

On arrival at customers properties the TV's all seem to show a significant drop in signal level and signal quality in comparison to other non BBC channels/multiplex's.

All properties I've visited so far have all had their TV Aerial orientated towards the Malvern transmitter and have been using multiplex 41 to receive BBC.

Should you have a problem with reception of only the BBC channels then there is a good chance that your TV Aerial is pointed towards Malvern.

As of today (Thursday 11th October) there is no official reason as to why this should occur or indeed as to how long it may last but if you are experiencing difficulty in receiving BBC I have found that by making small adjustments to either the TV Aerial/TV amplifier or the coax cables connecting the Aerial to the TV/s I've been able to restore BBC reception, every time.

In the meantime I will monitor the ongoing reception problem and will post an update here on my website once I have more information or the problem gets resolved.
24/08/18
​​​​Over the years I've been called out a few times by people who are convinced that the nesting Collared Dove is the reason for their loss of SKY TV pictures.

Although I can easily understand how there may be a possible split second interruption to viewing should the dove fly in front of the dish and then moving back and forth to it's nest, a sitting dove at the back of the dish, as seen in my photo should have no detrimental effect on TV/SKY reception.

As in this example in Wychbold recently the doves family home was NOT the cause of the "No TV signal being received" displayed on my customers TV

Click on image to enlarge..
17/05/18
I was recently called out by a lady in Crowle who was complaining about the loss of TV channels, although she did know her TV Aerial had taken a tumble what she didn't realise was that as it came down it hit one of her solar panels.

I'm guessing the the cost of replacing the TV Aerial and pole was considerably less than the replacement of the solar panel!

So my advice is, if you have solar panels and your TV Aerial is within reaching distance of those panels should it come down and you know your Aerial/Aerial pole is more than 30 years old then prevention is going to be cheaper than the cure.

I'm always willing, at minimal cost to get up to an Aerial and assess the condition of the Pole, Bracketery & Aerial, before, during or after the installation of Solar Panels.

Interestingly, I can age this particular TV Aerial and it's installation by the make and design of the Aerial used at around 45 to 50 years old, so this is as about as old as they ever get before gravity takes over. Ideally it should have been replaced when the Solar Panels were fitted a few years before the Aerial took a tumble.

As a very general rule of thumb, a good quality TV Aerial and it's correct installation should last in excess of 30 years but I am aware of one or two local, unscrupulous TV Aerial installers who will often only replace the Aerial head itself, leaving a rusty pole or rusty steel lashing to fail at the next strong gust of wind.

Placing a new TV Aerial on top of a rusty old pole which in turn is then often attached to old and rusty bracketry is only asking for trouble.

It's extremely rare for an Aerial to detach from from a pole and if it does the coax cable will usually prevent it from reaching the roof, 99% of the time it's the pole or bracketry that will fail first.

I note for whatever reasons my website is now getting seen by many people far and wide from all over the UK who are obviously not within my working / coverage area so if I'm not able to install you a shiny new TV Aerial just make sure before you pay the TV Aerial man that it's also attached to a shiny new pole and bracket too!
09/05/18
Over the past few weeks I have been called out by a dozen or so customers who have all complained about the sudden loss of channels and a few who had lost all their TV channels.

One thing in common for all of them was that the TV Aerials were all pointing towards the Ledbury transmitter.

This particular transmitter is officially known as "Ridge Hill" but it's often referred to as the Ledbury transmitter as it's located not too far from the town of Ledbury.

Although, as far as I'm aware and with my research to date I have found nothing to indicate that the transmitter has problems or even the possibility that some Multiplex's / channels may be on reduced power but one thing is for sure, the received signals from this transmitter in Droitwich, the west side of Worcester and the Stoke Heath / South side of Bromsgrove have shown a significant drop in power and quality since the beginning of March 2018.

Should you currently have ongoing reception problems there is a chance that this transmitter could be the reason.

First of all you should try and identify which transmitter your TV Aerial is pointing at. If you're in or near any of the locations I've described above and your TV Aerial is pointing roughly in a Southerly or South Westerly direction and VERY importantly it has its elements horizontal as opposed to being vertical (Click on my image to see the difference) then there's a good chance your reception is being affected by the poor signal quality coming from this transmitter,

One good thing to come out of the major work which was carried out on many TV transmitters in the Midlands at the beginning of March this year was that some now have an (observed) increase in signal strength and quality which often means that should you have your TV Aerial be pointing towards the Ledbury transmitter there is almost certainly going to be the option of finding a better signal just by re-directing the Aerial onto a more powerful transmitter.

Should you have any reception difficulties related to Ledbury or any other transmitter then please don't hesitate to give me a call.


I'm available 7 days per week from 8am through to 8pm.


Jeremy 07850 969 307
05/04/18
Further to the recent telephone conversations, your feedback and the concerns raised are much appreciated. Your professional approach and commitment to your customers is great to see.

We take the same approach in managing the at800 programme which we’ve successfully ran since it began in 2013. On this occasion we can confirm that there was an isolated failure when the mobile mast local to your business and nearby customers in the WR9 8AN postcode area was left activated after testing.

After the Mobile Network Operators’ (MNO) engineers undertook mast configuration work and short-term testing they should then have deactivated the site before notifying their management that it was ready for commercial launch.

The MNO would then usually notify at800 of the readiness and proposed launch date. This allows us to initiate viewer communications and to update our contact centre information systems. On this occasion, due to their contractors’ error, the MNO was not aware that the site had been left active.
Consequently, our call centre agent had no visibility of the mast or its premature activation.

This and Freeview’s own 700MHz Clearance changes being in play at the time compounded the confusion and your frustrating experience.

With your helpful support, we were able to notify the MNO who immediately organised a short-term mast lock-down pending usual routines being restored.
This interim measure would mean that local Freeview viewers would find normal viewing restored. This anticipates that they, or through your services, had made successful retunes or system changes for the 7 March 700MHz Clearance events in the area.

As encouraged by yourself, a number of customers have contacted us and we’ve supported these people by sending filters or arranging engineer visits.
We are keen to provide support for those you reference on your site in the WR9 8AN area that have any 4G related interference.

We remain ready to proactively contact those that you can provide supporting details for. Of course, you should also continue to encourage anyone who anticipates a possible impact from 4G to contact us on 0808 13 13 800. Calls from UK landlines and mobiles are free.

Finally, please be aware that our independent work is governed by the 4G/TV Co-existence Oversight Board which reports to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Ofcom.

There is more information available at https://at800.tv/about/