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Full Freeview on the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmitter

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The symbol shows the location of the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmitter which serves 1,870,000 homes. The bright green areas shown where the signal from this transmitter is strong, dark green areas are poorer signals. Those parts shown in yellow may have interference on the same frequency from other masts.

Are there any planned engineering works or unexpected transmitter faults on the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) mast?

Sutton Coldfield transmitter - Sutton Coldfield transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 06/12/2021 Possible Pixelation or flickering on some or all channels Digital tick

Choose from three options: ■ List by multiplex ■ List by channel number ■ List by channel name

Which Freeview channels does the Sutton Coldfield transmitter broadcast?

If you have any kind of Freeview fault, follow this Freeview reset procedure first.

Digital television services are broadcast on a multiplexes (or Mux) where many stations occupy a single broadcast frequency, as shown below.

 H max
C43 (650.0MHz)433mDTG-3200,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) West Midlands, 2 BBC Two England, 9 BBC Four, 23 BBC Three, 201 CBBC, 202 CBeebies, 231 BBC News, 232 BBC Parliament, 250 BBC Red Button, plus 18 others

 H max
C46 (674.0MHz)433mDTG-3200,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV (SD) (Central (West micro region)), 4 Channel 4 (SD) Midlands ads, 5 Channel 5, 6 ITV 2, 10 ITV3, 13 E4, 14 Film4, 15 Channel 4 +1 Midlands ads, 18 More4, 25 ITV4, 30 E4 +1, 35 ITV +1 (Central west),

 H max
C40+ (626.2MHz)433mDTG-6200,000W
Channel icons
73 Shopping Quarter , 101 BBC One HD (England no regional news), 102 BBC Two HD (England), 103 ITV HD (ITV Central West), 104 Channel 4 HD Midlands ads, 105 Channel 5 HD, 204 CBBC HD, plus 1 others

 H max
C42 (642.0MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
Channel icons
 CCXTV, 12 Quest, 20 Drama, 21 5USA, 29 ITV2 +1, 32 5STAR, 33 5Action, 42 GREAT! movies action, 45 Channel 5 +1, 56 5SELECT, 58 ITVBe +1, 59 ITV3 +1, 60 ITV4 +1, 64 Blaze, 67 CBS Reality, 68 Horror Channel, 74 Drama +1, 78 TCC, 81 Blaze +1, 203 CITV, 211 Ketchup TV, 212 YAAAS!, plus 16 others

 H max
C45 (666.0MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
Channel icons
11 Sky Arts, 17 Really, 19 Dave, 31 4Music, 36 pick, 40 Quest Red, 43 Food Network, 46 Film4 +1, 47 Challenge, 48 4seven, 57 Smithsonian Channel, 70 Quest +1, 75 Yesterday +1, 83 Together TV, 233 Sky News, plus 9 others

 H max
C39+ (618.2MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
Channel icons
25 Dave ja vu, 27 Yesterday, 34 GREAT! movies, 39 DMAX, 41 CBS Justice, 44 HGTV, 68 CBS Drama, 82 Talking Pictures TV, 84 PBS America, 234 RT, 235 Aljazeera English, plus 17 others

 H -13dB
C51 (714.0MHz)433mDTG-1210,000W
Channel icons
from 31st October 2014: 7 Big Centre TV,

 H -3.5dB
C55 (746.0MHz)433mDTG-689,200W
Channel icons
 Together TV +1,  Merit,  Court TV, 65 FreeSports, 71 Quest Red +1, 76 Now 70s, 86 More4 +1, 87 PBS America +1, 91 That's TV , 96 Forces TV, 106 BBC Four HD, 107 BBC News HD, 113 RT HD, 114 Quest HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 2 others

DTG-3 64QAM 8K 2/3 24.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
DTG-6 256QAM 32KE 2/3 40.2Mb/s DVB-T2 MPEG4
DTG-8 64QAM 8K 3/4 27.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
DTG-12 QSPK 8K 3/4 8.0Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
H/V: aerial position (horizontal or vertical)

Which BBC and ITV regional news can I watch from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter?

regional news image
BBC Midlands Today 2.9m homes 10.9%
from Birmingham B1 1RF, 15km south-southwest (200°)
to BBC West Midlands region - 66 masts.
regional news image
ITV Central News 2.9m homes 10.9%
from Birmingham B1 2JT, 15km south-southwest (201°)
to ITV Central (West) region - 65 masts.
All of lunch, weekend and 80% evening news is shared with Central (East)

Are there any self-help relays?

Burton (shobnall)Transposer1 km W Burton-on-Trent60 homes
CoalvilleTransposer18 km NW Leicester600 homes
SolihullTransposerLand Rover building400 homes

How will the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1950s-80s1984-971997-981998-20112011-137 Mar 2018

tv_off Being removed from Freeview (for 5G use) after November 2020 - more
Table shows multiplexes names see this article;
green background for transmission frequencies
Notes: + and - denote 166kHz offset; aerial group are shown as A B C/D E K W T
waves denotes analogue; digital switchover was 7 Sep 11 and 21 Sep 11.

How do the old analogue and currrent digital signal levels compare?

Analogue 1-4 1000kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB, BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-7dB) 200kW
com7(-10.5dB) 89.2kW
com8(-10.7dB) 86kW
LB(-20dB) 10kW
Mux 1*, Mux 2*, Mux A*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-21dB) 8kW

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Sutton Coldfield transmitter area

Feb 1956-Jul 1968Associated TeleVision†
Feb 1956-Jul 1968Associated British Corporation◊
Jul 1968-Dec 1981Associated TeleVision
Jan 1982-Feb 2004Central Independent Television
Feb 2004-Dec 2014ITV plc
Feb 1983-Dec 1992TV-am•
Jan 1993-Sep 2010GMTV•
Sep 2010-Dec 2014ITV Daybreak•
• Breakfast ◊ Weekends ♦ Friday night and weekends † Weekdays only. Sutton Coldfield was not an original Channel 3 VHF 405-line mast: the historical information shown is the details of the company responsible for the transmitter when it began transmitting Channel 3.

Thursday, 28 March 2013
4:30 PM

Yes, both the TV and the Humax are manually tuned to SC's 6 muxes, so it's a like for like comparison. The worst problems are with the COM6 mux (UHF channel 39+, 618.2 MHz on both). There are also problems on COM5 (Ch 45, 666MHz) but the ones in between are largely ok. [I first did an auto tune with no aerial connected, to clear out any spurious stuff, so neither has any 'duplicates' in the 800's.]

I've been trying to think whether I could have done anything to cause the problem. Not long before I started having problems, I installed a power-line ethernet link to connect the Humax to my broadband router. I wondered whether that could be injecting noise into the Humax and affecting that but not the TV. But I've now totally disconnected that, and the problem hasn't gone away! I don't know what to try next.

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Watt's 12 posts GB

9:05 PM

Watt: With regards to the problem mentioned, purely for purposes of elimination I would be interested to know the outcome of a couple of tests, albeit that by rights no changes should be noticed if all is in order.

The first is to leave the Humax on its signal condition screen and note if any changes are evident when you remove the daisy chain RF connection from the Humax into the TV.

If not, then try moving the HDMI cable around that links the box into the TV whilst closely observing if any changes are seen in the signal quality whilst doing so.

I did note you mention that both TV and Humax are tuned to the same two muxes, as other than that I would have been inclined to be thinking along the same lines as ian from notts insomuch that the Humax might possibly be tuned to another transmitter, Lark Stoke being the most likely as the predictor does indicate fractionally better reception of ArqA Ch44 / ArqB Ch47 from that transmitter, but though if you have double checked that both are on the same mux channel numbers then that has to be discounted.

The aspect I find rather puzzling being, that although the tuners used in Philips TV's are generally very good (although model dependant) Humax tuners also come into that category but with no qualification such as that made regarding the Philips, and with this being why I find what you are reporting to be a bit unusual.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
10:55 PM

Many thanks for your suggestions jb38. I'll try them in the daytime tomorrow - which is when the problem tends to occur. It's usually ok at this time (~10pm)of night.
Lark Stoke is in an almost diametrically opposite direction to Sutton Coldfield, and is vertically polarised. Having said that, when I first retuned my TV following DSO (before I bought the Humax) I did pick up some watchable Lark Stoke transmissions off the back of the aerial! I then took to manual tuning, and have always tuned the Humax manually. I surely shouldn't be getting interference from Lark Stoke? It doesn't use any of the same channels as Sutton Coldfield. My most problematic mux is COM6 (39+) and Lark Stoke's nearest to that is its COM4 (41+).

About 25% of my neighbours have their aerials pointing at LS, the rest at SC. In extremis, I could replace the aerial and use LS instead. It might be a better bet in some ways because, although it isn't as powerful as SC, there are less hills in the way. [We're in the shadow of Hatton Hill, with a straight line from SC to my aerial barely clearing the ground in some places]. But that begs the question as to why the Philips TV copes ok but the Humax doesn't! [It's a fairly old (by TV standards) Philips TV - circa 2006. Don't know whether that's good or bad as far as tuner quality goes!]

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Watt's 12 posts GB
Friday, 29 March 2013

12:31 AM

Watt: Yes, as everything you have mentioned regarding Lark Stoke etc is quite correct as far as picking it up on the rear of your aerial is concerned, albeit with it not only being 40 degrees out but also on the wrong polarity.

But though its the content in the latter paragraph of your reply that I also find to be puzzling because it should simply not happen where a Humax device is involved, but the fact that it does is inclined to indicate the existence of some type of oddball problem, this being why I requested that you try these tests whilst the Humax was effectively isolated in the RF sense from the TV, i.e:- no daisy chain link.

The other point I forgot to mention being to make sure that the antenna power supply is switched off on the Humax, this achieved via the installation menu.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
ian from notts

8:09 AM

Watt- do you have other devices sat on or near your humax ? if so you could try putting the humax in the open (as such).
also a lot of coax behind the tv unit may cause problems ? if they are sat on power cables ?
the humax tuner could be accepting the faults more than the tv does, as jb38 said both names are known for reliabillity though ?

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ian from notts's 253 posts GB
12:19 PM

Antenna power is definitely OFF, and always has been. There is not a lot of co-ax behind the TV. There is a single cable all the way from the distribution amp, which is chased into the wall and emerges from an outlet with its innards removed, and goes straight to the Humax with no intermediate socket or fly-lead.

I have removed the RF lead between Humax and TV with no effect on the signal quality bar. Ditto with waggling the HDMI lead.
The TV (with its own stand) sits on a 3-shelf TV unit, with the bottom shelf about 3" from the floor and the other shelves about 9" apart. The Humax has always sat immediatly on top of a DVD player on the middle shelf, so as to be about 12" under the TV. The DVD player is invariably OFF when not in use - although I suppose by that, I mean that it's on standby, and is receiving SOME power, because it can be woken up by its remore control.

Anyway, in case this is having any effect, I've now moved the Humax - on its own - onto the bottom shelf, so that there is now about 20" of clearance from the bottom of the TV. That MAY have made a BIT of difference - but certainly hasn't effected a total cure. The quality bar on Ch39 is still 'tromboning' but only seems to be going between 100% and about 70% rather than down to 50% or lower before. But it would take a longer period of observation to be sure, because the problem tends to come and go. There is still SOME evidence of picture break-up.

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Watt's 12 posts GB

8:16 PM

Watt : Now that having moved the position of the box has "seemingly" (as its not been positively proven) somewhat improved the situation then the variation in signal quality that you report on Ch39 is something that I would not consider as being that terribly unusual in situations such as yours, and where the signal path from the transmitter is known to be sweeping over ground at a relatively low angle such as applies with reception from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter whereas not with signals being received from Lark Stoke.

Checks made on the terrain indicator reveals that the secondary aspect of signal from Sutton C starts being affected from roughly 7 miles away, but though much more so within the last 4 miles of your location, this immediately making it vulnerable to suffer from the effects of the terrain that its passing over such as from trees or other forms of vegetation, this being the thing that introduces the aspect of erratic quality to the signal because of data corruption, plus of course coupled to an indication that the signal being received will most likely be susceptible to seasonal changes of the terrain.

The other point that should be noted being, that signal indications displayed on Humax boxes are nearer in reality of what might be observed on a professional signal meter (albeit these being in db's) than that displayed on most TV's which are inclined to give indications that are far higher than the true level, the problem there being that a quality indication of say 100% on a TV might well still be erratic but hidden by the fact of the indication being somewhat embroidered, whereby a full scale indication does not necessarily always represent the entire signal whereas it does on a Humax, this being why a more accurate assessment of a situation can generally be made when using signal reports taken from a Humax box in preference to that from other devices.

That said though, there just had to something amiss with your set up when you reported the Humax as indicating dire quality whereas excellent on the Philips, still a report on observations made over the next few days would be interesting.

By the way, is your TV an LCD (LED illumination) or Plasma type?

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB

8:17 PM

Ch39 breaking up and very poor signal here in Worcester today but back to normal in late afternoon.

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Sid's 33 posts GB
9:21 PM

jb38: Based on further observation, I would say that my previous report of some improvement was somewhat premature and that, in reality, moving the Humax further away from the TV hasn't made any difference.

The TV is an 37" LCD model which we bought new in about 2006 - but I have a feeling that it was probably a discontinued model at the time. [I'm not sure that plasma TVs were avaialable at the time].

I understand what you're saying about the respective built-in quality reporting mechanisms. But, aside from that, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! The Humax's picture breaks up, the TV's doesn't.

I also realise that having the signal skimming along the ground doesn't help. [Prior to DSO, digital TV was very unreliable, so I didn't buy a PVR until after DSO]. But that still begs the question as to why the TV is ok but the Humax isn't.

I also find it slightly odd that the two muxes which play up are not at the extremes of the frequency range. Well, actually, COM6 on 39+ is the lowest of the 6 muxes, but well within the range of a Group B aerial, (and Channel 5 analog used to work per4fectly well on Ch 37). COM5 on 45 is flanked by PSB1 on 43 and PSB2 on 46 - both of which are ok.

That makes me wonder whether there's something inherently inferior about the signal quality on the COM muxes relative to the PSBs.

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Watt's 12 posts GB
Saturday, 30 March 2013

5:21 PM

Watt: Well I did have my doubts as to whether or not the improvement found by moving the box was just purely coincidental hence why I mentioned "seemingly", although it does have to be admitted that many flat screen TV's are guilty of emitting quite high levels of "low frequency" RF interference which can in some cases interfere with signals carried in HDMI cables etc and so what ian from notts suggested is a valid point.

On the subject of the Humax suffering from picture beak up whereas the TV on the same channel doesn't, obviously that is something which cannot be disputed irrespective of how alien this might seem to myself or anyone else with knowledge of Humax boxes and their performance, and of course it cant be down to a rogue box by you having said that this is a replacement, although I remain highly suspicious as to the reason for this and feel that some other as yet undiscovered factor is involved, although this could soon be verified or not by the box being given "exactly" the same comparison test (between TV and box on same muxes) but on another installation, as its about the only way of verifying one way or the other as to the exact reason for this apparent anomaly.

Of course, not unless unbeknown to myself Humax have started fitting alternative tuners to that normally used and which are possibly of somewhat less sensitivity than the originals, I might check up on that! although I would appreciate if you could inform me as to the model number of your Philips TV for the similar purpose of checking up on its particular tuner.

I would like to reiterate though, that the main reason for my interest in what you had reported was purely concerning the issue of the signal breaking up on the Humax but not on the Philips, because apart from the fact that in situations such as yours (low signal path etc) reception difficulties are almost inevitable to occur at certain times of the year its also quite common for muxes "not" to be received at the same (or even near to) level as each other for reasons other than that connected to the aerial being used, simply because that no matter how carefully things are planned in the design stages RF signals do not beam out from the mast in exactly the same way, as well as the fact that even if they did, then they can still be received at differing levels connected to the terrain that the signals are passing over.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
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