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Poor reception... in Heathfield!


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Old 16-11-2010, 21:10
edwardar
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 7

Can anyone give me some tips on improving my reception? I live in Heathfield, about 2 miles from the transmitter!

If I go through my setup, then perhaps someone can point out where I'm going wrong.

Aerial
I installed a new aerial inside my loft (slate roofed). I was hoping the signal would be strong enough in my area for this to be sufficient.
This is the aerial I installed:
http://www.commteluk.com/catalogue/a...fixing-kit-cai
I think the aerial is pointing in the correct direction (I tweaked it to maximise the signal strength readout from a freeview box). However, there's limited space in the loft, so I had to remove the last 2 elements of the aerial to get it to fit.

Cable
I have Webro cable (WF100 I think) running down from the loft, then along 2 sides of my house into the living room (approx 30m total).

Booster
The first thing I noticed when connecting up to the TV was that the signal was too weak for Freeview, and analogue reception was poor too. So I installed this Labgear variable masthead amplifier (one-way version) as close to the aerial as possible (less than 1m):
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Labgear-Vari...9941115&sr=1-1
This did a great job improving the reception, though I was surprised that I would need amplification for my single TV setup.

Freeview box
I recently retired my old Thomson DHD4000, and replaced it with a Humax 9150T. I had the occasional break-up on my old box, but the Humax seems much more sensitive, and I get 2-3 break-ups per minute now.

I'm guessing the aerial is the source of my problems - is there any way I can work with my current setup without resorting to an external aerial?
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Old 16-11-2010, 22:18
ProDave
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If you are only 2 miles from the transmitter you should NOT need a booster.

So remove that.

Then go look for the problem causing your weak signal.

Check VERY CAREFULLY that you have not shorted a whisker of the braid to the inner core of the cable either in the aerial plug or at the aerial connection.

Check with a compass that you have pointed the aerial in the right direction.

Check that you have in fact tuned in to the correct transmitter, not some weaker distant transmitter.
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Old 16-11-2010, 22:18
StoppingService
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Location: Western Anglia; Sandy Heath TX
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Hi

Passing-over the quality of your (wiring) work, these occur to me:

Is your Humax tuned (solely) to Heathfield TV mast?

Make sure by following these instructions.

Are you overloading the (notably sensitive) Humax PVR tuner?

Masthead amplifiers with variable amplification such as your Labgear are typically sold set to maximum! During your setup phase, turn it down to half-power to eliminate overload as an issue.

Is your aerial aimed and optimally positioned for Heathfield TV mast?

You may previously have been adjusting the aerial to optimise a different mast! Now you're correctly tuned, re-adjust aerial aim for the best Signal Quality on Freeview "Channel Five" (i.e. for your weakest signal, which'll be Mux 2).

Having achieved the best aim for the correct mast, adjust amplification (back) up toward maximum until the best Signal Quality on Freeview "Channel Five" is achieved.

You may need to reduce the amplification on 24 November when Heathfield's Muxes 1 & 2 transmission power levels are raised.

Regards
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Old 16-11-2010, 22:33
StoppingService
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Hi

Are you overloading the (notably sensitive) Humax PVR tuner?

During your setup phase, turn it down to half-power to eliminate overload as an issue.
I just remembered Humaxes have a built-in ability to supply power to masthead amplifiers so the usual external PSU used with those isn't necessarily required (or advantageous).

Therefore, there's a (more convenient, remote controllable) alternative to adjusting the amplification directly on the masthead amplifier. Try, instead removing the Labgear PSU from your (living area) aerial leads and in the Humax's "Installation" menu, set "Antenna Power" to ON. You might find this alternative measure suitable not only during your present remedial work, but for permanent use too (especially from 24 November).

Regards
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Old 20-11-2010, 09:55
edwardar
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Thanks for the advice, I have now tried the following:

1) Bought a Compass and checked the orientation of my aerial. It looks pretty much spot on to me (though it is pointing very slightly down). I did notice that the aerial is "pointing" 50% onto a beam - would this be enough to cause me a problem?

1) Turn off the booster. Unfortunately the F-F connector I ordered has not yet arrived, so I could only try this with the booster left plugged in - and I reckon it acts as an attenuator in this configuration, the reception is much worse. I also tried turning down the amplification, but this makes it worse, it's best on >80% power. What I can try is wiring the long cable directly to the aerial, but this was my original setup before I bought the booster.

2) Set Humax to "Antenna Power On" with the booster turned off. Again no freeview reception at all in this mode. Incidentally I also checked that my Humax was receiving transmission from Heathfield.

3) I checked the connections at the booster, and there are no stray whiskers of braid. I'll check the TV connection now, though I know I was careful when preparing these.

I should also point out that my analogue reception isn't particularly great either.

Any ideas? If I try to shift the aerial to avoid the beam, I'll have to remove some of the elements, as there is very limited space in my loft. It's a 52 element aerial, and I have already removed the end 2 as they don't fit. Will this cause a problem for me?

Thanks again for your replies.
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Old 20-11-2010, 10:27
albertd
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I wonder if this is one of those cases, reported occasionally, where the vertical beam width from the transmitter is narrow enough for it to be going straight over the top at a distance of two miles, leaving only sufficient signal near ground level for outdoor aerials.
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Old 20-11-2010, 21:33
goggled
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IIRC there is a contour ridge that runs near Heathfield. If my recall is from my time in Crowborough just up the road, are both the Tx and your property the same side of it?

I ask, as a long shot, because you do not have good analogue, making me wonder if you are on the appropriate Tx.
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