Contact

Mobile - 07850 969 307

Office - 01905 799 152


8am to 8pm 7 days

JEREMY BILLINGHAM

Television & Radio Reception Specialist

TV Aerials, Radio Aerials, Sky & Freesat

Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Kidderminster +

09/11/20
Over recent months and especially since the first lockdown I've been receiving an unusually high number of calls requesting help from people who have lost reception and all TV channels.

Sometimes, I'm finding that people are convinced that the problem is a major one requiring a new TV Aerial or Satellite dish so they do nothing but sit and wait for my visit.

On arrival I've often noticed a symbol or message displayed on the TV screen that immediately indicates the problem has been self inflicted.

Accidentally pushing the wrong button on a remote control is very easily done without you knowing you've done it.

Some of the most common, accidentally pushed buttons are at the top of many remote controls. I would guess these buttons having been accidentally pushed while feeling for the OFF button which is almost always placed at the top of the remote controls and often alongside buttons that should NOT be selected.

A frequent button accidentally hit is a button marked "Source" this is often found towards the top of many remotes, sometimes the source button is marked just by a symbol, usually in the shape of a rectangle with an arrow pointing into it.

Another button accidentally hit or sometimes selected as an option in the TVs menu, is the Digital / Analogue switch. Unless you have a SKY HD system which feeds SKY into secondary rooms OR you have an older type camera system (CCTV) we don't really use the analogue side of a TVs tuner anymore so you generally need to make sure the TV is receiving Digital TV signals and not Analogue.

Sony as well as other makes have a dedicated button marked "Digital / Analogue" .
On many Sony remotes this button is often found towards the top of the remote. This button is very easily, accidentally pushed.
In this case look for an "A" at the top of a blacked out TV screen when you try to change channel, push this button again and the "A" will revert back to a "D" and TV pictures should be restored.

Should you suddenly loose TV pictures immediately after pushing a button then don't panic, if you call me I'm will often be able to talk you through the sequence to restore your TV pictures.
17/09/20
The following News item is taken from my Cowboys and Bodgers gallery.

Location - Clayhall Road, Droitwich

Complaint - Although I was initially called to improve the poor TV reception that this customer was experiencing I noticed the precarious and dangerous way this TV Aerial had been installed, right above a back-door access.

Fault - Some unscrupulous TV Aerial man had recently made a visit to this property and I guess to maximise his profit and minimise his time he gave no consideration as to where he placed the heavy / high gain Aerial or how it was fixed. He only changed the Aerial itself and placed it on the top of an existing rusting pole which was in turn attached to a totally inadequate bracket mounted poorly on a facia board. At any time during a storm this had a high probability of coming down with possible disastrous consequences.

Remedy - Take everything down and replace with a wall mounted, 18 inch galvanised
T & K bracket, an inch and a half steel pole and re use and realign existing TV Aerial.
17/07/20
Many TVs and TV viewers will experience poor reception (pixilation) throughout the year regardless of what the weather is doing outside, but the long sunny, warm days are sometimes uniquely responsible for producing poor picture quality.

For a couple of reasons, this summer of 2020 is very unique. Firstly, the UK has just experienced one of its longest, driest warm Springs in living memory which has meant that the usual, early spring foliage growth spurt was largely delayed this year until the rain started falling again from the middle of June onwards. Secondly, and because of the Covid19 pandemic and lockdown many more people than usual have relied on their TV as a source of information and entertainment.

Deciduous trees coming back into leaf and putting on a spurt in growth can often be the cause for a relatively rapid deterioration in signal quality if the line of sight from the TV Aerial to the TV transmitter is obscured. Even evergreens such as the fast-growing leylandii conifer can put on a substantial growth spurt, not just upwards but sideways too. The likes of wisteria and other creepers on the same wall as a satellite dish will often smother the face of the dish over a short period of time, given the right conditions.

A TV Aerial that’s had its view towards a TV transmitter impaired by a tree or foliage can often be redirected towards a transmitter that has a better line of sight. Satellite / Sky dishes that suffer the same problem can sometimes be moved higher on a wall or even sideways across a wall, cutting or pruning the offending obstruction is also often an option.

TV coax cable and Satellite coax cables which have been exposed to the sun that run down or across a roof will eventually start to breakdown and the outer waterproof plastic coating will become brittle and crack, in turn allowing rain water to enter. On entering the coax the water will then often take the easiest path downwards. Most of the time the water will drip, slowly and relatively harmlessly into the back of a TV wall plate but occasionally and especially if the coax cable is connected directly to a TV or a Sky / Freesat box etc it will enter into the equipment’s tuner, occasionally creating an expensive repair but more often than not the equipment will need to be replaced.

For obvious reasons, any TV coax cable that is exposed on a South facing roof is much more vulnerable to this problem than one which is run down a North facing roof. Coax cable which is in full sunlight on a south facing roof will sometimes start to breakdown in as little as 10 years but cable on a North facing roof can last well in excess of 25 years.

For a full list of possible reception related TV problems go to my Troubleshooting / Self-Help page.
29/12/19
As of today (Sunday 29th December 2019) there is a strong likelihood that TV reception problems may be experienced by many 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 and in some cases, total loss of TV reception altogether.

Looking at the weather / atmospheric pressure readings today would strongly suggest that the current bout of interference being experienced by those who have their TV Aerials pointed towards the Ledbury transmitter will be caused by the High Atmospheric Pressure / anticyclone which is centred over the Western part of Central Europe.

Although the position of this anticyclone is not expected to remain stationary for too long, it is impossible to predict precisely as to how long it's impact on the Ledbury / Ridge Hill transmitter may last but I would be surprised if much more than three or four days.

In the meantime and certainly while this current spell of settled weather persists there is one very important thing to remember, not only now, but also if at at any time 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, mistakenly 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, 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 advice 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!
31/10/19
There is currently an ongoing fault affecting the reception of the majority of BBC channels being transmitted via the Bromsgrove transmitter.

Not everyone is affected but those who have amplifiers / boosters connected to their TV Aerial are more likely to suffer with intermittent or no reception of the BBC channels.

For those who have a HD TV, don't forget BBC 1 and BBC 2 can be viewed on channels 101 and 102 respectively, the HD channels are not affected.

At this time there is no indication as to the cause or indeed how long it may last but as soon as the problem is resolved I will post the news here.

In the meantime - DO NOT RE-TUNE YOUR TV

Retuning a TV when all or some channels are suddenly lost or go missing is totally counterproductive and will cause more harm than good, regardless as to how long they have been missing for.

For further advice, you can call me on my usual mobile number - 07850 969 307


UPDATE - As of Saturday November the 2nd, the BBC channels transmitted from the Bromsgrove transmitter seem to be running normally so if you did re-tune your TV in an attempt to regain the lost channels, you will now need to retune your TV one more time.
08/10/19
The following is taken 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 exact same problem some time ago.

I was able to see from the invoice / receipt that was left behind by the previous engineer / cowboy, he 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 probably 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.