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

first published this on - UK Free TV
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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.

This transmitter has no current reported problems

The BBC and Digital UK report there are no faults or engineering work on the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmitter.

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, 26 ITV4, 30 E4 +1, 35 ITV +1 (Central west),

 H max
C40+ (626.2MHz)433mDTG-6200,000W
Channel icons
56 5SELECT, 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, 106 BBC Four HD, 109 BBC Three HD, 204 CBBC HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 1 others

 H max
C42 (642.0MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
Channel icons
12 Quest, 20 Drama, 21 5USA, 29 ITV2 +1, 32 5STAR, 33 5Action, 41 Legend, 42 GREAT! movies action, 46 Channel 5 +1, 58 ITVBe +1, 59 ITV3 +1, 64 Blaze, 67 CBS Reality, 74 Dave ja vu, 78 TCC, 81 Blaze +1, 89 ITV4 +1, 203 CITV, 208 POP MAX, 209 Ketchup TV, 210 Ketchup Too, 211 YAAAS!, plus 15 others

 H max
C45 (666.0MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
Channel icons
11 Sky Arts, 17 Really, 19 Dave, 31 E4 Extra, 36 pick, 40 Quest Red, 43 Food Network, 47 Film4 +1, 48 Challenge, 49 4seven, 57 Smithsonian Channel, 60 Drama +1, 70 Quest +1, 75 Yesterday +1, 83 Together TV, 233 Sky News, plus 8 others

 H max
C39+ (618.2MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
Channel icons
 FreeSports, 25 W, 27 Yesterday, 34 GREAT! movies, 39 DMAX, 44 HGTV, 71 Quest Red +1, 73 HobbyMaker, 82 Talking Pictures TV, 84 PBS America, 88 Classic Hits, 235 Aljazeera English, plus 19 others

 H -13dB
C48 (690.0MHz)433mDTG-1210,000W
Channel icons
from 31st October 2014: 7 Big Centre TV,

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 / June 2022 - 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.

Sunday, 31 March 2013
ian from notts

8:46 AM

Watt- have you tried by-passing the humax and going direct to tv ? just to see if the tv is ok or takes up the fault itself ?
some recorders do boost the signal through themselves when feeding the tv ?
can you check signal/ quality lavels on the tv when you do this?
also do you know what strength the distributter is ?

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ian from notts's 253 posts GB
11:32 AM

jb38: Many thanks for your continued interest. The TV is a Philips 37PFL5522D/05

Looking at Lark Stoke vs Sutton Coldfield, I'm loath to move to LS because - according to my calculations - the signal strength which I'm likely to receive (1,260 watts at 23.3 kM vs 200kW at 38.4 kM) would be lower by a factor of 60! Also, we seem to be line for some additional HD muxes from SC in a year or two, but I'm not sure when - if ever - LS will carry those.

I suppose that I could hedge my bets by investing in a Group K aerial, which should work for either.

Ian: I've just tried what you suggested. When I plug the downlead directly into the TV, the picture is fine and it reports "excellent" quality on the same channels which are poor, with picture breakup, on the Humax.

I would have been surprised if the Humax provided a better signal to the TV than it used for its own purposes - added to which, "quality" implies signal to noise ratio rather than just signal level. It looks to me as if the Humax is seeing some noise which the TV isn't seeing!

The distribution amp is a Wickes CM7297 (probably made by Labgear) which I've had since Adam was a lad. It claims to have a gain of 6dB on each of its 6 outlet ports.

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Watt's 12 posts GB

2:17 PM

Watt: Thanks for the update, but just a little query regarding the signal passing through the Humax and which I am not quite sure about the answer.

If you view the TV whilst its aerial is being looped through the Humax is this when reception on the TV is poor? because if it is then have you tried using another jumper lead between both? because the signal from the aerial passing though the Humax should not really be that much different (if at all) to when its connected directly into the TV, maybe you could clarify on that point.

Secondly, although you may have already done this, but go into the Humax's power management settings and make sure that the "power saving on standby" is switched off, because if not that kills the aerial loop though facility when the Humax is sitting on standby.

On the subject of the power levels between Lark Stoke a Sutton Coldfield, although a massive difference does exist between the two it has to be looked at in another way, insomuch that the signal from Lark Stoke (@ 14 mls) is relatively line of sight as well as being nearly 10 miles closer than Sutton C at nearly 24 miles away, but with the signal path from it travelling close to the ground in the latter stages of its travel.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
3:28 PM

jb38: Thanks for your further input.
I'm not sure I totally understand your first question, but here goes. When I'm viewing TV using the TV's own tuner, the picture is perfectly ok regardless of whether the downlead is plugged directly into the TV or looped via the Humax. It's only when viewing (or recording) using the Humax's tuners that breakup occurs. Removing the RF lead between Humax and TV makes no difference to this.

Power saving on standby is definitely turned off. But, in any case, that would only affect trying to use the TV's own tuner with the Humax on standby - which I don't ever do. And, as I've said, I haven't got a problem with the TV's tuner.

I understand what you're saying about uninterrupted signal path being more important than power output, but there are limits! For example, I can SEE the Leamington Spa transmitter from my house but it wouldn't be any use to me because - besides only carrying a few channels - its power output is diddly sqat. Having said that, about 20% of my neighbours have their aerials pointing at Lark Stoke (the rest being SC) so there must be an acceptable signal.

Thye more I think about it, the more convinced I'm becoming that something changed last December. Prior to that, the first Humax had worked perfectly ok for 15 months or so - and then suddenly this problem started happening. I've tried to eliminate everything I might have done to cause it - for example, by removing my power-line ethernet adapters. So what sort of external factors might there be? Some equipment or other installed by a neighbour? A new building along the signal path? [To have any effect, that would probably need to be within the final 3 or 4 miles where the ground clearance is low, and I'm not aware of anything.

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Watt's 12 posts GB

6:25 PM

Watt: That's OK, as my query was only really concerned with that mentioned in the first paragraph of my reply, and which you have now clarified.

As far as the power saving in standby is concerned, the only reason I mentioned this is because most people leave their PVR box in standby when its not actually being used, and which in most boxes does not kill the aerial loop through whereas it will in a Humax "if" the power save is on.

Regarding external factors, I very much doubt if anything external is responsible for the problem if your TV is capable of receiving the same mux "glitch free" that the Humax has difficulty with, as otherwise I would not really consider that any problem exists, and especially so with knowledge of S.C's signal path routing, but though by the fact of you having observed that a number of aerials are seen to be facing towards Lark Stoke (same programmes as Sutton.C) is strongly inclined to indicate that your area is one where reception can vary quite considerably within relatively short distances, hence the reason for an aerial installer possibly deciding that Lark Stoke is a better bet for reliability.

On a lighter note though, I think that the problem is really caused by that "super tuner" used in your Philips, something that I intend to check on at the first opportunity I get, because I feel that even if you temporarily installed the Humax on one of your extension TV's (even using a scart) its liable to perform just the same.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
8:11 PM

jb38: I think we may be getting somewhere. I have also been discussing my problem on one of the Humax-related forums, and some of the people there have been suggesting that I may have too much or too little signal, and that some experimentation with additional amplifiers and/or attenuators may shed some light on the matter. Some were also pointing the finger of suspicion at the Wickes distribution amp.

The first thing I did was to connect an additional Micromark 12dB booster immediately before the Humax. This had the effect of raising the signal level from 55% to 72%, but made no difference to the quality. I then took the Wickes distribution amp out of circuit, joining its input and (the appropriate) output cables with a passive co-ax coupler. This reduced the signal level to about 60% BUT the quality was now rock steady at 100%, even on the troublesome muxes. I then removed the booster which I had just inserted. The signal level went down to 40-odd% BUT the quality remained at 100%

I've now installed the Mircomark booster in place of the Wickes amp for the Humax and main TV (with another output from the Micromark going into the Wickes amp for the other TVs). Incidentally the only other TV in frequent use is a 26" Philips with virtually identical innards to the main TV - and that had always been ok, and continues to be ok despite getting its signal from the Wickes amp.

So although I need to run with it for a bit longer and, in particular, give SWMBO a chance to break it ('cos it seems more likely to fall over when she's watching it!) before being sure that I've fixed it, I'm moderately optimistic.

If this turns out to be the case, it leaves the unanswered questions:
1. What is the Wickes amp doing which the Humax doesn't like but the Philips TVs don't mind?, and
2. Why did it suddenly start doing it only recently (after upwards of 25 years of faultless operation?

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Watt's 12 posts GB

9:23 PM

Watt: Now you have just touched on something I was going to ask about regarding that Wickes unit as I was unable to find out any details about it, as I wanted to find out if its a self contained unit or powered by an external power supply via its coax downlead from one of the outputs, because a fault condition on this type of system can cause a DC voltage to appear on the aerial output socket and which can cause problems on receivers not fitted with an isolation capacitor behind the aerial input socket.

Although judging by your latest reports it would appear that the device is working by the fact of the signal being reduced if its bypassed, pity that you dont have a simple test meter though as you could measure if there was any voltage (approx 9 volts DC) across the coax connector that plugs into the Humax.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
11:06 PM

jb38: The Wickes distribution amp is extremely similar to one currently available from Screwfix, and has a lead which plugs directly into the mains. See:
Labgear MSA262/S Distribution Amplifier 2 Input 6 Output |

I'm not sure why you assume that I don't have a simple test meter - I have several! I have just plugged a flylead into the (now vacant) outlet socket to which the Humax had used to be connected, and applied my digital multimeter to the other end. On either AC or DC it reads 0.00 mV

I guess that I would need a very high frequency scope (which I don't have!) to be able to look for noise on the output signal. Is it possible that a capacitor in its power supply could have gone tits up after 25 years and started to generate noise? (CV358SE)

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Watt's 12 posts GB
Monday, 1 April 2013

12:15 AM

Watt: If the distribution amp referred to is similar to that shown in the illustration then you can safely disregard any concerns that I may have expressed regarding the possibility of a DC voltage appearing across the coax connector, as I am acquaint with that model.

Can it be assumed though that you are not using the full output facility? because if you are then there is always the possibility of overloading the input on whatever its connected into.

With regards to the possibility of noise being generated from within the amplifier, although that there is always a chance of RF instability occurring in any RF amplification device, this can usually be killed off by varying the loading on the circuitry, and so try connecting the lead that goes to the Humax on a different output on the amp (not full) and with the Humax being the only device connected into it.

Also, some SMPS (switched mode) supplies are capable of creating considerable noise on a system, but I believe that this unit uses a standard older fashioned (but safer) double wound transformer power supply, you can check by setting your meter on say 10K ohms (or more) range and connecting it across the 13 amp power connector, if its a transformer supply it will read roughly the same with the test leads connected both ways around whereas NOT if SMPS.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB
ian from notts

9:15 AM

Watt- looks like its sorted an a 25 yr old distributor wants to retire ?
just to ask, why is there a 6 way feed in the loft for 2 tv points ?
and do you need a powered distributor foe 2 tv points ?
if ive read this right you now have 2 devices plugged into the elec supply in your loft ?

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ian from notts's 253 posts GB
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