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JEREMY BILLINGHAM

Television & Radio Reception Specialist

TV Aerials, Radio Aerials, Sky & Freesat

Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Pershore +

08/10/19
The following is copied from my
Cowboys and Bodgers gallery.

Location - Hampton Lovett, near Droitwich

Complaint - Poor pictures and sometimes total loss of channels, especially during or after rainfall.

Fault - Although I see this fault quite often, what's unusual with this one is the fact that this gentleman (new customer to me) had previously called out another TV Aerial man when he'd experienced the same problem some time ago.

I was able to see from the invoice / receipt that was left behind that the previous engineer / cowboy had identified the fault correctly as being water ingression into the Aerials dipole housing but then instead of turning the Aerial the correct way up with the drainage hole underneath he returned the Aerial, after emptying it of water, back to the position he had just found it, allowing any future rainfall to continue to enter via the drainage hole pointing skyward.

Remedy - Unfortunately the simple printed circuit board inside the dipole, having been continually submerged in water was now no longer salvageable and so the Aerial had to be replaced.



The photo below is unconnected with my news item above with the exception that they both share exactly the same fault. It also illustrates just how common this problem is, as both photos were taken last week and just 3 days apart.

This time the location was in Worcester and although this Hospital Doctor inherited the Aerial when he moved into the house 2 years ago there were similarities which indicate the same rouge, cowboy Aerial installer was responsible for this poor installation too.







16/08/19
As of mid morning today, Friday 16th of August the fault affecting two local TV transmitters ability to transmit many of the ITV channels has been resolved.

For those who have been affected by the loss of ITV channels over the past 10 days or so and who've resisted the temptation to NOT retune their TV will now find that the channels have returned with nothing further to do.

For those who have re-tuned their TVs over the past 10 days in the hope of restoring TV pictures will not notice any difference as the channels will still be missing. Willy nilly re-tuning of a TV after a sudden loss of channels will only (normally) serve to completely wipe the TVs memory of those channels.

So NOW is the time to re-tune your TV, one last time!
09/08/19
There is currently an ongoing transmission / reception issue with the channels I've listed below. These channels all use the same individual frequency of 490.0 MHz
or Multiplex 23, so if you are missing one of these channels you'll be missing them all. The fault first appeared around Tuesday August 6th.

3 - ITV
4 - Channel 4
5 - Channel 5
6 - ITV2
10 - ITV3
13 - E4
14 - Film4
15 - Channel 4 +1
18 - More4
24 - ITV4
33 - ITV +1
45 - Film4 +1


There are three transmitters that transmit into our part of Worcestershire that use this multiplex, transmitters at Bromsgrove, Lark Stoke and Wrekin all use MUX 23.

Having recently carried out some tests regarding this fault it would seem that it's TV Aerials which are either pointed towards the vertically polarized transmitters of Lark Stoke near Stratford or the Bromsgrove transmitter at Worms Ash which are affected, the Wrekin transmitter near Telford which is horizontally polarized appears to be unaffected and working normally.

I can't be certain but I have a feeling that this problem may be a transmitter synchronization fault between the 2 transmitters I've mentioned above, in which case I would expect / hope the fault to be fixed over the coming next few days.

In the meantime, if you have a High Definition TV or a HD receiving / recording device, such as a Talk Talk or BT box etc you should be able to watch ITV, CH4 and CH5 in HD on channel numbers 103, 104 and 105.

As always, in a situation like this and especially following a sudden loss of TV channels / pictures you should NEVER attempt to re-tune your TV.

If you've been unable to resist and have succumb to the temptation to hit the auto re-tune button on your remote in the hope of restoring the lost channels then the result will be 1 of 4 possible outcomes. I've listed below the possible results with the most likely first.

1 - The TV's memory of where on the TV band this multiplex is located will now be lost and your TV will now no longer display any of the 12 channel numbers, so, as and when the fault is finally rectified your TV will be oblivious to the fact.

2 - The TV's tuner will lock onto a transmitter that is not affected by the current fault and possibly store / memorise a multiplex with the missing channels, unfortunately it's almost certain that this signal is going to be very weak as your TV Aerial will not be pointing at this transmitter. The result being a picture that is constantly pixelating and breaking up.......possibly more frustrating than having nothing at all!

3 - As the TV goes through it's tuning cycle there is a chance that you will not only wipe the TVs memory of the channels you're trying to restore but also other multiplexes / groups of channels too, i.e all of the BBC channels.

4 - By pure luck, as you start the tuning sequence with remote control in hand, miraculously, and at that very moment the transmitter fault is rectified and everything is back to normal with all the missing channels restored..........This is EXTREMELY unlikely to happen but I guess it's all you can possibly hope for once the auto-tune button is pushed as the other 3 results are much, much more likely!

Regardless as to whether you have tried tuning your TV or not, as soon as the problem is resolved I will post that information here.
20/07/19
It was while visiting a Bromsgrove resident who had been complaining about their poor TV reception this week that my memory was jogged, remembering that we must be close to the anniversary date of the great flood which had a devastating impact in Droitwich.

Although we've not experienced the huge quantity of rain in such a short period of time as we did 12 years ago, this particular Spring and Summer, so far have produced more than average rainfall so consequently I'm seeing more rain water related faults than normal.

What is also a little unusual about this year is that sunshine has often been accompanied with some unusually high, early summer temperatures.

This all being a good recipe for making outdoor TV coax cables split and crack allowing rainwater easy entry into the coax cable.

Sometimes (as in this case in Bromsgrove) the coax cable runs down from a TV Aerial to a wall plate, it was obvious from the accumulation of rust on the back of this plate that water had been flowing down the coax for a considerable length of time.

Although the end result is the same, water that's dripping into the back of a wall plate takes much longer before any reception problem will arise and overall usually does much less damage than a coax cable that is connected directly to a TV or Digital recording box.

For more on this subject click HERE and scroll down to "Coax cable"
06/06/19
I recently received a call from a frustrated, Bromyard based new home owner who had attempted to install his recently purchased TV Aerial in his loft.

After repeatedly trying to get a TV signal from his loft he eventually admitted defeat and gave up!

On receiving his cry for help I was asked if I could try and use the TV Aerial that he had recently bought from a well known, large trade supplier. On hearing the name of the organisation, the one that ends with the word "Fix" I advised him that often and despite what may be written on the packaging, most if not all of the TV Aerials sold at this trade/retail outlet are not really suitable for mounting outdoors, but I was willing to take a look and advise accordingly.

On arrival at the property I could immediately see why it had been nigh on impossible for my customer to obtain a sufficient signal from inside his loft.

First of all, I'm increasingly seeing more and more roofs being internally supported in the way that this roof was. Instead of the loft being supported by standard wooden A frames the central part of this loft has multiple wooden vertical supports direct to the roofs apex making it almost impossible to move around in the loft especially with a TV Aerial in hand.

Secondly this TV Aerial or any other TV Aerial for that matter was never going to work from inside this loft anyway. The location of this property was not only in a dip but only one transmitter was available, as I was to find out later, even that transmitter was extremely weak.

As can be seen from my photo above, I never had the opportunity to try out my customers bought TV Aerial as frustration got the better of him and it ended up in a heap on the back lawn.

Needless to say, especially in poor TV reception areas mounting TV Aerials inside a loft is never a good idea.
14/04/19
Recently installing a TV Aerial on a newly built house in Droitwich I was asked to also install a Sky mini Dish for Freesat.

Only problem was that the house was finished in a beautiful cream render and without going to great expense by having the dish mounted on a ugly bracket and long pole on the back wall enabling the Dish to see over the roof I suggested to my customer to have it spray painted to match the coloured render.

From my initial telephone enquiry to the Dish being handed back to my customer, spayed to a perfect render matched colour was only a couple of days.

So if you just have a alternate colour preference or more importantly an architectural reason to have a satellite dish any other colour other than black, you now know it can be done.
09/04/19
I was recently called out by a customer to change a SKY dish that had become so rusty it continually left ugly rust marks on the patio below every time it rained.

Also my customers wife was put off sitting on the patio with the sight of an ugly rusting, perforated, metal plate above her head.

The dish was fitted around 8 years ago but what makes this very unusual is that also on the same day, at the same time a second, identical dish was also fitted by the same SKY engineer on the wall of a converted garage barely 15 meters away (See my photo above)

Not only was the face of the rusty dish in a very poor condition but also all of the bracketry behind the dish was also affected in the same way.

Whereas the dish on the garage had absolutely NO sign of rust anywhere on its face or bracketry behind.
31/03/19
I'm now aware that there are some people who are unable to receive HD. Not only from the Bromsgrove TV transmitter but also the Wrekin near Telford as well as the Lark Stoke transmitter near Stratford on Avon.

I'm convinced it's related to the problem I've described in my 28th March news blog, below.

I have a good idea that it is only households that have their (rooftop as opposed loft mounted) TV Aerials in a position which is also open to one or more of the other transmitters I've mentioned above.

Although I'm not 100% sure but those who have loft installed Aerials or those who are much nearer to one or other of the TV transmitters I've mentioned above should not have any problems with HD reception.

As this is now becoming a bigger problem, with an increasing amount of frequencies / channels affected I'm expecting the fault to be rectified reasonably quickly.

As soon as I have more information I will post it here in my News section..
28/03/19
I've been made aware of a fault affecting signals/channels coming from the Bromsgrove transmitter.

If you are missing the following channels then you may also be suffering from the same fault.

Something worth noting, unlike in the analogue days of TV transmission when just one frequency carried only one TV channel, with the advent of Digital TV that same one frequency can now contain as many as 40 or more TV channels, so if you notice that you are missing one or some of the channels below you will in fact be missing them all.

Bare in mind the contrary is also correct, if you have just one of the channels I've listed below you will also have them all, that said, just very occasionally you may need to re-tune your TV to be fully up to date.

16 - QVC
20 - Drama
21 - 5USA
27 - ITV2 +1
30 - 5STAR
34 - ITV3 +1
37 - Quest
44 - Channel 5 +1
54 - Paramount Network
55 - 5SELECT
58 - ITVBe +1
59 - ITV4 +1
63 - Blaze
66 - CBS Reality
70 - Horror Channel
76 - Quest +1
77 - TCC
80 - Blaze +1
85 - Hochanda
87 - Keep It Country
203-CITV
211- Ketchup

The Following Radio / Adult channels etc are also affected -
​​​​​​
252 - Kiss Chat & Date
253 - Proud Dating
261 - Racing UK
263 - SonLife
264 - VisionTV
265 - Planet Knowledge
269 - Arise News
270 - Loveworld
271 - Juwelo UK
670 - ADULT Section
671 - Television X
675 - ADULT PARTY
678 - ADULT Xpanded TV
679 - ADULT Studio 66
724 - Capital FM London
727 - Absolute Radio
728 - Heart

As yet I'm not absolutely sure as to the exact cause of this fault but I have an idea that it could possibly be due to a synchronisation issue with another transmitter.

Not everyone on the Bromsgrove transmitter is affected as I'm finding that it's the roof top TV Aerials which have an open aspect looking East towards the Lark Stoke transmitter near Stratford on Avon which is where I mostly observe this particular fault.

Both the Bromsgrove and the Lark Stoke transmitters use the same 6 frequencies or multiplexes. All of the channels I've listed above are broadcast on the same multiplex (multiplex 33) I have an idea that it may be a timing / synchronisation issue which is the cause of the missing channels.

On the other hand we are currently under the influence of a large anticyclone (High atmospheric pressure) and although it certainly won't help with a possible sync issue (if that is the fault) there is just a small chance that it could just be the sole cause of the channel loss, although at this stage I think it unlikely to be a weather related fault.

Clicking on my image above displays this quite unique fault as it clearly shows that there is more than sufficient signal strength and quality but also an unusual error reading of 999.

Should the problem persist for any length of time or you find, for what ever reason that you're unable to endure the loss of you're favourite TV channel any longer I have found a relative inexpensive solution to the problem.

Please give me a call for further advice. JEREMY - 07850 969 307

In the meantime I will make attempts to find the cause of this fault and any results I'll post here in my news section.
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 this geostationary 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 (as seen in my image 2 above)

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.