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Sudden Reception Issues - Sydney Northern Beaches


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#1 OzRob

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:16 PM

I'm at Warriewood on Sydney's Northern Beaches. The last few weeks I've been getting random reception issues on channels 7, 9 and occasionally ABC. Every few days I seem to lose signal on those channels for a few hours and then suddenly they're all back on with perfect (100% quality) reception. Channel 7 goes completely, and 9 and ABC get really pixillated and jerky and unwatchable. It's mostly been happening on weekdays, so I don't know when it starts, I only notice when I come home from work that my recording of the channel 7 News has failed due to no signal being availabl.

Is there any current transmission system or tower maintenance going on that would explain this?

The problems are typically happening in the early evening, so it could be atmospheric issues. But given that I've had good reception on these channels for years, there must be something else at play.

I've quizzed my neighbours, but all seem to have satellite pay tv installed and don't watch FTA directly. Though one person did say they noticed that FTA channel 9 wasn't working for them the other night.

I am in a bit of a marginal signal area, but I have a pretty decent antenna system installed. And as I said, everything has been perfect for about 6 years since the new antenna system was installed.

Any ideas?

#2 Tazzy2Heads

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 04:21 PM

Have you done a resent auto rescan on the tv lately , you maybe tuned to some channels that are not for your area and/or antenna direction or type ?

Put your address into the Govt 'myswitch' site and see what your signal is expected to be and what channels you should be tuned too and then check you have the right antenna and do a manual tune on each of the channels for your area after clearing the previous channels from the tuner memory.

You need the signal strength and quality measured at the antenna for your correct channels to see what the problem/s are.

cheers Tazzy.

#3 alanh

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 07:26 PM

Ozrob, The digital cliff characteristic of digital TV means that instead of the signal getting stronger and stronger snow as the signal becomes weaker, you get a perfect picture and sound until a particular signal strength when pixellation and sound breakups occur, a small drop in signal strength stops reception all together. I suggest you put your exact address into www.digitalready.gov.au and find out if you are in the coverage area of the Artarmon/Willoughby/Gore Hill main transmitters or if you have a stronger signal from either Bouddi or North Head. The terrain in your area will determine this. The other possibility is interference from arcing high voltage power lines. Moisture on salt laden insulators causes arcing which will cause signal breakup. Alanh

#4 OzRob

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 11:51 AM

Thanks all. I'm a bit of an 'old hand' at this, having gone through a big antenna upgrade about six years ago. So I'm very familiar with the digital cliff phenomenon.

I've put my address into the relevant web sites. I can only get signals from the main Artarmon/Willoughby/Gore Hill transmitters. I have no 'sight' of any other transmitters.

I'm in a 'variable' reception area, so when I first moved into the (brand new) house I spent a fair bit on money getting a good dual antenna setup installed and optimised for digital reception by an accredited professional installer.

@Tazzy2Heads, it's not a frequency or rescan issue. All channels are tuned to the correct primary frequencies.

Basically, I'm just trying to find out if there's been any changes from a transmission point of view in the last month. Up until then my system was working perfectly. I just want to rule out transmitter 'maintenance or upgrade' issues before I call the antenna installer and spend more money on this already quite costly system.

#5 Storm AV

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:23 PM

Call Debruis-he is in your area and comes highly recommended.
Your issue does sound transmitter related and most likely easily fixed.

#6 GlennP

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:03 PM

I know the Warriewood/North Narrabeen areas a bit of hit & miss, depending on the exact location, for the main Artarmon signals. Some spots can get the North Head signals, other spots can't too.

As above, give Debruis a call.

I doubt it's anything transmitter related though, most likely somethings changed locally.
There'd be more people in here, & on other media forums, complaining if it was transmitter related.

I watch the Sydney digital channels, at the Northern end of Lake Macquarie (almost 100km to the meter, from the Artarmon triangle, & yes I receive them from the main VHF sites, not a Central Coast or other translator site) & have had no change, or difficulty in watching/receiving any of the channels over the past month, except for times during the last week, when my neighbour was/is using a jigsaw or sander that needs new brushes, & is creating interference.

I don't watch any TV of a morning, & only some early afternoons (usually at work & don't bother recording anything), so can't say 100% of daytime quality, but late afternoons/night time is still OK.

Another reason to rule out any tower work or transmitter problems is, that the 3 channels you mention you have trouble with, are all transmitted from different sites/towers, 9 comes from Willoughby, 7 comes from Artarmon & ABC comes from Gore Hill.

#7 Storm AV

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:59 PM

Glen, I agree the transmitter where the op is getting signal from is unlikely to be at fault.
There have been a lot of issues due to new transmitters and altering of existing ones.
The number of homes effected vary.
I had another one last week up the arse end of Silverdale where similar issues as reported were occurring. Thankfully they were getting reception from wollongong and artarmon so remove VHF antenna, point uhf to razorback and problem fixed-some TV's dont like looking at 2ch's of the same physical number even though they are on different frequencies from different transmitters....
My customer queried why their daughter who lived a few hundred meters away was having no issues-she was a little lower and a nice line of gums were blocking razorback.

#8 OzRob

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 04:25 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I've given the guy who did the original antenna install a call and he's coming over on Saturday to see if he can figure out what's going on. If I don't get any sensible answers from him I'll contact Debruis, as suggested.

Unfortunately my house is in the shadow of an escarpment. When the antenna was originally installed there was a lot of mucking around to optimise the position and height to get good reception on all channels. I'm hoping that the problem is as simple as a corroded terminal or some such, rather than a degradation of signal from changing local conditions. If it's the latter, I suspect there may not be anything easy or cheap that can be done about it.

Anyone know how difficult it is to get VAST satellite access?

#9 Tazzy2Heads

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:23 PM

Hi OzRob,

Anyone Australia wide can get to receive ABC and SBS if you apply, the commercial channels are a different matter, you have to be approved to have the smart card activated for them . You can go to the 'myswitch' site and do an application using a 'dummy' card number of 42000000000 and see how you go.

The down side is you need a VAST receiver for each tv you want for satellite tv reception.

Have a read of the 'myswitch' and 'myvast' sites to get the idea of how it all works etc.

Cheers Tazzy.

#10 timj

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 04:53 PM

Your location (Warriewood) may indicate corrosion.

#11 OzRob

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 03:07 PM

Just an update on this - in case anyone is interested. I had a local antenna installer take a look. He came over while the signal was bad and found that there was some local interference being generated. He wandered around the neighbourhood with a meter and antenna to try to isolate the source, but he couldn't get an exact location, only a general direction. Eventually the interference stopped.

The installer filled out an ACMA investigation request form, and I'm about to send it in. Hopefully it won't take too long to get them to have a look.

#12 OzRob

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:58 AM

ACMA is investigating. Apparently there's be a few complaints of signal loss in my area, so it looks like it's not just me or my equipment. ACMA vans have been driving around my street for the last few nights trying to pinpoint the issue, but as luck would have it the signal has been fine. I hope they persevere.

#13 OzRob

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:34 AM

And to conclude the saga, they tracked the interference down to some LED downlights in a house on a ridge over a kilometre away. Turns out a particular brand of LED downlights (replacements for 12V halogen bulbs) is incredibly noisy and has been recalled. I believe Bunnings were selling them.

So normal programming has been resumed.

#14 ashleyf

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 06:33 AM

Hi guys, Read this with interest. I live at Clareville with direct line of sight to Lion Island and North to Bouddi . In the last few months I have lost my digital signal to my TV and VD/PVR.
I have been using Foxtel to get the FTA channels , but decided to get off my bum and see what was the issue/s.
I checked the antenna cable visually (zilch electronic expertise) and then autoscanned the TV .
I now get SBS and Channel 7 digital only

Any suggestions before I get the aerial guy out. I though being digital it is all or nothing . Weird that I can get SBS and 7 or perhaps that is an indicator to the brains trust out here as to what is possibly wrong.....

#15 Z2TT

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 10:46 PM

If there is reception issues in all rooms in house, first thing to check would be Antenna, but without a Signal meter to measure signal at different points of the system you'll just be guessing

#16 GlennP

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 06:58 AM

Hi guys, Read this with interest. I live at Clareville with direct line of sight to Lion Island and North to Bouddi . In the last few months I have lost my digital signal to my TV and VD/PVR.
I have been using Foxtel to get the FTA channels , but decided to get off my bum and see what was the issue/s.
I checked the antenna cable visually (zilch electronic expertise) and then autoscanned the TV .
I now get SBS and Channel 7 digital only

Any suggestions before I get the aerial guy out. I though being digital it is all or nothing . Weird that I can get SBS and 7 or perhaps that is an indicator to the brains trust out here as to what is possibly wrong.....

Hi Ashley,
I assume you've been getting you're reception from Bouddi previously?
SBS & 7 are strange channels to be getting from Bouddi without being able to get any others. Frequency wise, they aren't close together & there's other channels in between, I wonder if you're picking up SBS & 7 from Artarmon on RF VHF Channels 6 & 7, the 2 lowest & therefor (generally) the strongest frequencies?

To start with, from Clareville if you're looking straight up the Pittwater to Lion Island, you can't see the Bouddi transmitter behind it, if anything you'd be looking straight up into Gosford & the Gosford/Rumbalara transmitter, but I doubt it's signal would reach that far South?

The Bouddi transmitter is North East of both you (Clareville) & Lion Island (more East North East). From Clareville you'd be looking over Whale Beach to the Bouddi transmitter. The hils between you & the Ocean would block your line of sight to Bouddi (most likely, I don't know exactly where you're located).

Has anything changed in that direction between you & Whale Beach/Bouddi, (trees fallen down with thick leaf bunches now in your way, new buildings, etc)?
Is your antenna still facing the correct direction, if it's moved to be facing Lion Island, it's probably facing the wrong way, (but will need a signal strength test done, maybe you get a reflected signal off Lion Island)?

Wonder if you were getting reflected signals off the bushland on Barrenjoey & now it's no longer there since the Bushfire a few months back, is that about the time your troubles started?

Having a quick look around on Google maps, most or all antennas around Clareville look to be pointing Southwards (roughly), towards Artarmon, Willoughby, Gore Hill, so I dare say that's where your reception's is & has been coming from?
Has anything changed in a Southerly direction from you (as per above)?

Edited by GlennP, 22 December 2013 - 07:13 AM.


#17 ashleyf

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 09:03 AM

Thanks Guys.

Glenn , appreciate the detail . The antenna is pointing NNE. We can see Lion Island and the 'orrible white mostrostity (Mantra) . You are right , we don't have sight of Bouddi according to Google - and the fact we can't see it from the deck , so I guess we were getting Gosford .

We are on the top of a hill with nothing in front of us so no problems with trees, branches etc.
You are right with the southward pointing aerials. (my neighbours are probably wondering why I'm suddenly interested in their roofs.) . Would hate to have to repoint as we have a pitched roof and it would involve quite a bit of pain.

Inspired detective work about the Barrenjoey bushland tho. I think it was about the time it happened. Still weird as to why SBS/ 7 only .
Ok. Just auto tuned and now Ch 7 only...

Annoying. I would think it was antenna / amplfier / connection failure , but why Ch 7 only. ? Will start pushing and prodding the connections again.

#18 CMatten

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 07:18 AM

Thanks Guys.

Glenn , appreciate the detail . The antenna is pointing NNE. We can see Lion Island and the 'orrible white mostrostity (Mantra) . You are right , we don't have sight of Bouddi according to Google - and the fact we can't see it from the deck , so I guess we were getting Gosford .



The 3 central coast transmitters are in a SFN network (all tx on the same frequency) which makes it hard to tell which site you're using. A month ago you could have used the frequency of one of the analogue channels to determine which tx you were using.

Based on these plots, I think your best bet is Bouddi (Red = Good Signal)

Bouddi

Posted Image


Gosford (Blackwall Mt is blocking the signal)
Posted Image

Edited by CMatten, 23 December 2013 - 07:20 AM.


#19 strangerep

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:21 AM

This intermittent reception has been happening to me for quite a few years. (I'm high on the hill at Bilgola Plateau.) Normally, I can get all the channels perfectly, both from the Sydney towers and also from the Central Coast.

Sometimes in the evenings, the ABC channels would fail from one direction, but still work from the tower in the other direction. [I have a antenna booster which is set so that it normally gives a signal strength in the low 90's, with signal quality in the high 90's.]

Very recently, all ABC, SBS, 9, 10, etc have totally failed. My tv says the signal is very strong (99%), but 0% quality.

From the posts earlier in this thread, it sounds like the problem is likely to be from some neighbour (installation of LED lights?). But, since it's happening in the morning, maybe it's some other source of interference?

This started happening around 20 Feb 2014, and this morning (Sun 23 Feb 2104) it happened from around 8.45am onwards. Has anyone else in the Bilgola/Clareville/etc area noticed this?
If so, please keep a diary of when it happens, and post to this thread.

And now I'll try to put a complaint in to ACMA... :hmm:

Edited by strangerep, 23 February 2014 - 10:26 AM.


#20 leemack

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:35 AM

Hi strangerep, we are also at Bilgola Plateau & are having issues with all the channels you mentioned. We have tried a masthead booster & that hasnt helped either. Have you found a fix for your problem? We are thinking of getting someone in to tune our antennae but it sounds like there may be more of an issue at hand?



#21 alanh

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:48 AM

The issue is not with main transmitters because these are continously monitored for power and can be changed to back up transmitters on other towers.

 

Are you watching the transmissions of the same programs from Bouddi national park. You need a vertically polarised UHF phased array for good reception, however it depends on your exact location as to which is best.

 

Interference is a possible cause so fill in their digital TV reception interference form which is on their website. They will not fix the cause unless the transmissions are illegal.

 

Alanh