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Old 21-02-2005, 02:13
Esbo
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I know my current analogue aerial is not mounted in the
correct plane for digital as it should be vertical.
It is however correct for my analogue horizontal signal.

Does it make a great deal of difference to the received
signal (I currently get about 4 muxes ok but I am missing
a couple), so i am wondering if twisting the aerial 90 degrees will help.

I don't like heights but I have to weight up my fear of
heights against my fear of forking out money for
someone to do it for me!!

Also will I lose my (excellent apart from C5) analogue signal if I twist it?

I assume the aerials with squiggly X shaped cross-bars
(directors?) are duel purpose ones which kind of defeats the
purpose of using seperate polarisation!!!!


What puzzels me is that my analogue signal is excellent
(7 miles from transmitter I think) so I am thinking that
my aerial might just need a 90 (or 45 for a duel purpose
compromise) twist?

Both signals come from the same transmitter (area?).
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Old 21-02-2005, 02:40
Zenith
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Generally, main transmitters are horizontally polarised & relays are vertically polarised. I assumed that the digital aerials would have been polarised the same as the analogue aerials on the transmitter mast.

Which transmitter do you receive your signals from?
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Old 21-02-2005, 08:21
David (2)
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There are no "dual" aerials. All of them must be vertical or horizontal. Even those with the X style elements need to be one way or the other.

Dave
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Old 21-02-2005, 08:44
PedroB
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Originally Posted by Esbo
I know my current analogue aerial is not mounted in the
correct plane for digital as it should be vertical.
Where did you get this information?

It is HIGHLY unlikely that you will need a vertically polarised aerial for DTT if you are getting good analogue reception with your horizontally polarised aerial.

Have you tried a post code check using, for instance, http://www.dtg.org.uk/retailer/coverage.html. It could be that you will have trouble receiving one or more Muxes.

Maybe the aerial is not pointing exactly at the transmitter, or you could need some amplification - preferably a head amp (i.e. as close as possible to the aerial) A booster could also help if the head amp is not a practical option.
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Old 21-02-2005, 15:31
Esbo
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OK here is my transmitter info, note I am pointing at the nottingham from the site.
(Edit - Actually I am unsure, see below).

Waltham
Muxes received: ALL
Compass bearing: 123
Distance: 30 kilometres
Aerial group: W Horizontal
Location: Grid Ref SK809233
Aerial elevation: 411 metres

Nottingham
Muxes received: ALL
Compass bearing: 311
Distance: 7 kilometres
Aerial group: W Vertical
Location: Grid Ref SK503435
Aerial elevation: 181 metres


Now I am a little confused now I just noticed that these
two transmitters are almost in a straight line as they are
123% and 311% and 123%+180%=313% (%=degree),
so there is only a 2% difference in the 'line' of the transmitter,
and I cannot judge that by looking at my aerial.
However I am actually pointing at the futher Waltham transmitter
judging by the direction of the reflector (I just assumed the aerial
was set up 'backwards' and that the his did not make much
difference to the signal (doesn't seem to matter for a portable
radio)).

Of course this info is for digital not analogue (which mine would have
been set-up for).
Where can I get the info for the analogue transmitters?
I seem to remember seeing it somewhere but I can't find it.
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Old 21-02-2005, 15:38
Jim Rae
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Are we getting confused here between DAB digital radio aerials which should be vertical and DTT digital television which should be horizontal?

Just a thought...
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Old 21-02-2005, 15:44
Esbo
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Originally Posted by David (2)
There are no "dual" aerials. All of them must be vertical or horizontal. Even those with the X style elements need to be one way or the other.

Dave
Well why are they X shaped then?

So the look more expensive and you can charge more
for them?
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Old 21-02-2005, 15:49
Esbo
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Originally Posted by Jim Rae
Are we getting confused here between DAB digital radio aerials which should be vertical and DTT digital television which should be horizontal?

Just a thought...
I'm getting more confused by the minute

But I am talking about roof mounted aerials
which I assume are all for television.

Not that much point in DAB if you can get most radio
via DDT (as you can). I like radio on my TV as you can
control it by remote control so much easier.
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Old 21-02-2005, 15:59
John259
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Originally Posted by Esbo
Waltham
Compass bearing: 123
Distance: 30 kilometres

Nottingham
Compass bearing: 311
Distance: 7 kilometres
While your house and the two transmitters are roughly in a straight line, one transmitter is in one direction and the second in the opposite direction:

Waltham ----- House ----- Nottingham

Any decent aerial will have a reflector which will reject signals from the "opposite direction".

I agree with the other posters - from the same transmitter, the same polarisation is (nearly?) always used for analogue tv and digital tv. I can't say anything about digital radio though - it's not something I know anything about.

John
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Old 21-02-2005, 16:35
David (2)
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Originally Posted by Esbo
Well why are they X shaped then?

So the look more expensive and you can charge more
for them?
The X shape bits pick up more signal than the regular ones, hence they cost more. The "dipole" part of the aerial (the bit the wire connectes to), and the "reflector" (the panel at the back) are sensitive to vertical/horizontal changes. These 2 parts make the most difference.

Having a "mis match" between the signal and aerial (eg, the aerial is vertical but the signal is horizontal) can stop digital signals from working or may show interminent breakup - especialy if the signal is not that strong where you live. On analogue, you can sometimes get away with a mis match provided there is loads of signal.

Dave
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Old 21-02-2005, 17:03
Esbo
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Originally Posted by John259
While your house and the two transmitters are roughly in a straight line, one transmitter is in one direction and the second in the opposite direction:

Waltham ----- House ----- Nottingham

Any decent aerial will have a reflector which will reject signals from the "opposite direction".

I agree with the other posters - from the same transmitter, the same polarisation is (nearly?) always used for analogue tv and digital tv. I can't say anything about digital radio though - it's not something I know anything about.

John
Thanks John, I am beginning to become 'unconfused',
I found the analogue transmiter info

http://www.wolfbane.com/cgi-bin/tva.exe?DX=L&OS=NG7+

Hope that link works.

Anyway it looks like my aerial points to the further
Waltham transmitter (37 miles) as that, like my aerial is
horizontal, rather than the nearer (just 4 miles) nottingham
transmitter which is vertical.

A quick look around from my back garden shows 3 vertical
aerials pointing north (Nottm) and 3 horizontal (like mine)
pointing south (Waltham), so unless my aerial is 'upsidedown' and back to front it is pointing at the further Waltham transmitter.

So it seems to me I would do well to turn my aerial around
and through 90 degrees?

However rather than risk breaking my neck, or worse, I think
I would probably get away with a cheapish loft aerial
as the transmitter is only 4 miles away.

Does anyone in the 'know' think I would get away with such an aerial considering I am just 4 miles away, I am not very high up though there is no huge hill in the way.
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Old 21-02-2005, 17:21
John259
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Are there any houses nearby with no aerials on their roofs? You might ask their residents about their reception (assuming they've got loft aerials) especially if they've got Freeview.

The distance to the closest transmitter seems so short that a loft aerial is worth a go.

BTW, in theory a wrongly polarised aerial should receive absolutely no signal since the cosine of 90 degrees is zero. In practice I guess you'd get a very weak signal indeed.

John
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Old 21-02-2005, 17:31
dawson
 
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Originally Posted by Esbo
So it seems to me I would do well to turn my aerial around
and through 90 degrees?
Er...You could do this if you have a wideband aeriel (nornally has a black cap on the end). However, according to the link, Nottingham is Group A (Red) whilst Waltham is Group CD. If you dont have a wideband aeriel, you'll need a new one!

*edit* sounds like its a Group CD aeriel which may be why C5 is poor - that requires a Group E for Waltham
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Old 21-02-2005, 18:08
Esbo
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Originally Posted by John259
Are there any houses nearby with no aerials on their roofs? You might ask their residents about their reception (assuming they've got loft aerials) especially if they've got Freeview.

The distance to the closest transmitter seems so short that a loft aerial is worth a go.

BTW, in theory a wrongly polarised aerial should receive absolutely no signal since the cosine of 90 degrees is zero. In practice I guess you'd get a very weak signal indeed.

John
Yes there do seem to some without an aerial but its
not easy to be sure unless I can see both sides.
I fear people may suspect I am burglar checking out
which house to break into.
I am not too keen knocking on peoples doors to ask either!
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Old 21-02-2005, 18:44
Esbo
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Originally Posted by dawson
Er...You could do this if you have a wideband aeriel (nornally has a black cap on the end). However, according to the link, Nottingham is Group A (Red) whilst Waltham is Group CD. If you dont have a wideband aeriel, you'll need a new one!

*edit* sounds like its a Group CD aeriel which may be why C5 is poor - that requires a Group E for Waltham
I doubt mine is a wideband aerial as I guess it is the original
aerial from a house built in the 1980's so it is probably
a CD but I could not see any colour cap (was getting
dark when I looked), it had eight directors though, if thats
any significance.

Yes channel 5 is poor, I see the band of the aerial gets wider as the letter goes higher.

I notice I get the best reception for BBC1 (digital) which
come up as channel 49 which is inside the CD band
48-68.
Channel 5 digital is channel 26 (welll outside, sometimes its OK but I can't get it at the moment)
Also I get The Hits on Channel 42 (usually OK ish)
And Sky sports on 45(usually OK ish).


I think those are the only ones I pick up ( I will check that)

I don't know what the channel numbers are for my missing muxes, I assume they are higher than 68?

Anyway if I get 26,42,46 and 49 what would the missing channel numbers be?

Anyhow I guess a broadband aerial is the solution to it all.

It's just a question of risk involved in going for a less expensive aerial.
I think a not too expensive dual purpose aerial tried in the
loft first is the best option.

Hopefully the shop will allow me to return it for a more
expensive one if required, as they will make a bigger profit
that way.
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Old 21-02-2005, 20:01
dawson
 
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Now Im getting confused!

Lets go back to the basics.

TV signals in the UK are broadcast in the frequency range 470MHz 860Mhz. This spectrum is split into groups of 8MHz and characterised by a set of channel numbers 21 thru 68.

TV aerials are also grouped by the spectrum of channels they receive. E.g. Group A covers channels 21-37, Group C/D covers 48-68. Wideband does not mean high gain, it refers to the channels that are received (i.e. all of them, 21-68)

Generally, the greater the number of elements on the aerial simply translates to the greater the gain. (but you can have too large an aerial if close to a powerful transmitter)

Originally, with analogue TV, each transmitter would send signals within these groups, so that interference from neighbouring transmitters would be minimised. However, C5 (the tv station) messed that up because there was often no spare frequency available so that they were then forced to use a frequency outside the current grouping of the transmitter.

So looking Waltham (excluding C5) analogue you see the channels used were 54,58,61 & 64. So a Group C/D aerial would be best suited. However, with C5 on channel 35, you would need a Group E aerial (35-68).

However, wideband aerials which cover the full spectrum (21-68), have been available for as long as I can remember, but were not usually considered best practise.(Grouped aerials tend to have a higher gain). They are often sold by DIY stores, whereas a professional would, more often than not, use a grouped aerial.

Now, Im not so hot on DTT signals, but I understand they are transmitted on 6 different muxs each with its own channel. But sometimes 2 of the muxs may be less powerful than others from the same transmitter.

Again looking at Waltham, the mux channels are 23,26,33,42,45 &49, so the only way to receive these would be on a wideband aerial.

Similarly, if you want the Nottingham digital signals, which are in the range 29 67, a wideband aerial is also needed.

HTH
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Old 21-02-2005, 21:33
Esbo
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Originally Posted by dawson
Now Im getting confused!

Lets go back to the basics.

TV signals in the UK are broadcast in the frequency range 470MHz 860Mhz. This spectrum is split into groups of 8MHz and characterised by a set of channel numbers 21 thru 68.

TV aerials are also grouped by the spectrum of channels they receive. E.g. Group A covers channels 21-37, Group C/D covers 48-68. Wideband does not mean high gain, it refers to the channels that are received (i.e. all of them, 21-68)

Generally, the greater the number of elements on the aerial simply translates to the greater the gain. (but you can have too large an aerial if close to a powerful transmitter)

Originally, with analogue TV, each transmitter would send signals within these groups, so that interference from neighbouring transmitters would be minimised. However, C5 (the tv station) messed that up because there was often no spare frequency available so that they were then forced to use a frequency outside the current grouping of the transmitter.

So looking Waltham (excluding C5) analogue you see the channels used were 54,58,61 & 64. So a Group C/D aerial would be best suited. However, with C5 on channel 35, you would need a Group E aerial (35-68).

However, wideband aerials which cover the full spectrum (21-68), have been available for as long as I can remember, but were not usually considered best practise.(Grouped aerials tend to have a higher gain). They are often sold by DIY stores, whereas a professional would, more often than not, use a grouped aerial.

Now, Im not so hot on DTT signals, but I understand they are transmitted on 6 different muxs each with its own channel. But sometimes 2 of the muxs may be less powerful than others from the same transmitter.

Again looking at Waltham, the mux channels are 23,26,33,42,45 &49, so the only way to receive these would be on a wideband aerial.

Similarly, if you want the Nottingham digital signals, which are in the range 29 67, a wideband aerial is also needed.

HTH
OK so it seems I am receiving Waltham channels 26, 42 45
and 49 and I am missing 23, and 33 which matches with the TV channel I cant get, ie ITV and BBC Parliment are on those channels I think (and BBC 4?). I can't find the page
which lists what is on what mux.

I am a little surprised I can't get channel 33 at all but I can
get channel 26 which is futher 'out of band' but this may be due to less 'redundancy' on the channel (less margin for error due to more info being crammed on) but I am not sure
if that is correct or not. I think I read that channel 26 which I
can get sometimes is more 'crowded'.

Anyway I think trying a broadband aerial, firstly in the loft is
the best way to go. The other alternative is twisting the
existing aerial 90 degrees and pointing at the nottingham
transmitter, but that requires climbing a ladder (no head for
heights) and it probably wouldn't work anyway.

Also I assume a broadband aerial is a narrow band
aerial with less of a bandpass filter on. I was thinking I
could locate the filtering circuitary and 'rip it out' !!

Also which ever mast I point the aerial at there are some
higher houses (3 storey) close by, but that having said that my analogue picture is great (bar C5) so it should not be a problem.
Also the Nottingham mast is a relay so it is, I think on lower
power (it's also lower in height).
However it only requires a high gain aerial not an amplified extra high gain aerial so that is something to consider.
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Old 21-02-2005, 22:34
dawson
 
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Originally Posted by Esbo
Also I assume a broadband aerial is a narrow band
aerial with less of a bandpass filter on. I was thinking I
could locate the filtering circuitary and 'rip it out' !!
Lol.
You seem to assume a TV aerial is far more complicated than it really is. There is no circuitry in the aerial - it's just a mass of metal parts assembled together.

(Apologies to any aerial specialists out there - I know much more design and engineering goes into one than this, but that is essentially what the end product is)

So no, you cannot easily modify a group aerial to a wideband aerial.
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Old 21-02-2005, 23:48
Esbo
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Originally Posted by dawson
Lol.
You seem to assume a TV aerial is far more complicated than it really is. There is no circuitry in the aerial - it's just a mass of metal parts assembled together.

(Apologies to any aerial specialists out there - I know much more design and engineering goes into one than this, but that is essentially what the end product is)

So no, you cannot easily modify a group aerial to a wideband aerial.
Yes well I am pretty unfamiliar with aerials and my initial
belief was/is that aerials are just a lump of metal and i should be able to make one out of a few old coat hangers
rather than pay say 50 for one.
I don't really see anything wrong with putting a bandpass
filter on an aerial though, and there does seem to be
a black box 'thingy' on some aerials so i wonder what is
inside those? mind you I guess there is a bandpass filter
in the tuning circuitary anyway!!
Seems to me a broadband aerial is several aerials
rolled into one. (thats what they seem to look like anyway).

The funny thing is that I can always get better reception
on say, a portable radio, by touching the aerial with my
hand!!
It seems all humans are walking broadband aerials!!

I can actually get a fuzzy picture (and good sound)
by sticking a paper clip into the aerial socket oon my TV.

Just moving about the room affects the picture (seems
I am a director!!).

Using a bit of cable to allow some movement gives a picture
as good as my current aerial channel 5 reception!!


I am sure that with a few suitable bits of metal I could get
a fairly good reception
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Old 22-02-2005, 00:23
dawson
 
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Last bit of advice for tonight...
A simple aerial as traditionally used for analogue (like the one I guess you already have) should retail for less than 10. A more complicated, high gain version as usually required for digital may retail at upto 50 for a good model.
The black boxes you refer to (sometimes they are red) is a masthead amplifier - to which there is a power supply by the TV - but that opens up a whole new set of questions/problems.
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Old 22-02-2005, 07:09
John259
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The precise lengths of the rods on the aerial determine what frequencies it will pick up best.

The dipole (the split rod connected to the downlead) actually receives the signal.

The directors (in front of the dipole) increase the signal strength in the direction the aerial is pointed and help to reduce interference from other sources at other angles within the forward semi-circle.

The reflector (behind the dipole) helps reject signals from the opposite semi-circle. Sorry, I don't know whether it also affects the gain.

Unless there's a masthead amplifier, there are no electronic components at all in an aerial.

John
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Old 22-02-2005, 08:38
SimonBlackham
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Originally Posted by John259
The precise lengths of the rods on the aerial determine what frequencies it will pick up best.

The dipole (the split rod connected to the downlead) actually receives the signal.

The directors (in front of the dipole) increase the signal strength in the direction the aerial is pointed and help to reduce interference from other sources at other angles within the forward semi-circle.

The reflector (behind the dipole) helps reject signals from the opposite semi-circle. Sorry, I don't know whether it also affects the gain.

Unless there's a masthead amplifier, there are no electronic components at all in an aerial.

John
Adding to this...
The electronics on aerials - if any - are ampolifiers if they need power - and a balun which makes it work properly with co-ax cable - neither of these should be removed as they both improve things.

Wideband aerials usually look like they have a long aerial with another shorter aerial stuffed in...

[ |0|||||||| | | | | | | | | | |

Note the extra elements near the 0 which is the actual Aerial loop or Dipole (Quadripole if X shaped?) - with the small terminal box on it.

The X element aerials are like having two aerials one on top of another - ie 3dB improvement (twice as good as a straight element aerial). The Televes aerials have three stacked aerials built into one. The shield/reflector at the back should reject signals from the back (by 25dB a huge amount) and increase the forward gain a little. If you put up a loft aerial with the rear shield removed you may get away with one aerial - except you need to deal with the H/V problem. A horizontal aerial should reject vertical signals by about 25dB and vice versa. You can twist the aerial (known as slant polarization - FM radio signals are slant polarised so vertical car aerials and horizontal home aerials can both get them).

If the signals are both reasonably strong - and in opposite directions - put in a loft aerial pointed to the weaker signal - with the rerflector removed (simple flat ones just clip on - and off) - and the aerial twisted to about 45 degrees (try one way then the other as it may be better one way due to reflections and try different amounts of twist). The front of the aerial will be much more 'directional' (small acceptance angle - more directional the longer the aerial) - the back end will accept signals from a wide area and so can be troublesome if the signal (you want) is not strong or if you have reflections.

By twisted I mean if you look from the front or back its at an angle - neither horizontal nor vertical.

The best thing is to choose the most powerfull transmitter at a reasonable distance and use a hefty wideband aerial to get the signal (eg televes DAT45 or Triax Unix 52 or 100) - this will give your house aerial 'bling' (especially a Yellow Televes) and impress the local kids!. This is likely to give the least problems over time - IMHO the close transmitter should only be used if its the only way - after all its only there because some cannot get the other transmitters - ask kev for advice as he seems to have spent many happy hours trying to get a signal in Nottingham.
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Old 22-02-2005, 10:31
David (2)
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First of all, FM radio signals are broadcast in the following methods in the UK...

Vertical
Horizontal + vertical combined (mixed mode).

Note there are no fm services in the horizontal. The large fm transmiters broadcast their signals mixed mode (horizontal + vertical), while the smaller transmitters just broadcast in vertical. Therefore you should use a vertical aerial (not on a "slant") for fm reception.

DAB signals are all vertical, so again a DAB aerial should be only vertical.

As for large tv aerials like the Televes DAT75 and 100 element Triax, you might want to make sure your brick work can take the weight in windy weather.

Dave
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Old 22-02-2005, 13:45
kev
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Esbo....

From what you have been saying upto now.

1. You have a Group C/D aerial and are recieving analogue from Waltham (The poor 5 implies Group C/D)

2. You are getting the exact same multiplexs as me (complete with the occassionally there Five on UHF 26!) - all are from Waltham

Nottingham is vertically polarised, and is towards Junction 26 of the M1. Analogue Group A, Digital Group W

Waltham is horizontally polarised and is towards Melton Mowbury. Analogue group E and Digital Group W

7KM from Nottingham with Waltham on the same angle would imply City/The Meadows?

Don't bother with the existing aerial - turning it to Nottingham will give you a crap analogue picture.

If you are NORTH of the city center try :-
1. Buy a Wideband Aerial
2. Mount it vertically, pointing towards Nottingham
3. Get the best picture you can on Channel 4 (this is the hardest to get right for some reason).

If you are SOUTH of the city center/The Meadows try :-
1. Buy a Wideband Aerial
2. Mount it vertically, pointing towards Nottingham
3. Get the best picture you can on BBC TWO

If that failes...
4. Point it towards the other transmitter
5. Twist it round


I have used 14 and 8 element loft aerials with varying degrees of success in NG5 (Both pointing towards Nottingham) - but not had any luck in NG2 (But i have a flat above me now so no loft space)
Probably best to leave it until after the current snow shower SDN tended to suffer from co-channeling with a distance analogue relay in the summer, and ITV tended to suffer by virtue of being at the top end of the band.

The following channels will give you an indoication as to weather or not you have got everything

1. BBC News 24
2. ITV-3
A. Five
B. BBC Parliment/BBC Four
C. Sky Travel
D. The Hits

Good Luck!

By getting a wideband aerial your Five from Waltham should improve at the very least!
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Old 22-02-2005, 13:47
kev
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Originally Posted by David (2)
Note there are no fm services in the horizontal.
6 BBC National relays are Horizontal only

These include 5x BBC RnaG/Scotland (as well as the 4 nationals) and Keswick Forest carrying BBC Radio Cumbria (as well as the 4 nationals)
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