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Ramsbottom transmitter

Discussion in 'Freeview Forum' started by henryv, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. henryv

    henryv Member

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    While we were 'analogue only' on the Ramsbottom transmitter ITV1 & Channel 4 were always poor pictures, compared to the BBC. They did not transmit Channel 5 then!
    Now we are all digital, the picture is very good and we can now get Channel 5.
    The problem is we lose the picture completely from time to time.
    While watching 'Nanny Mcphee' on ITV last night the picture went off "no service" for ten minutes or so, as did Channel 5.
    It may have happened with BBC also, but I am not sure.
    I can see the transmitter from my window, so I cannot figure out what is going on??
    Is this normal for Digital TV?




    Henry.:):):)
  2. mike7

    mike7 Active Member

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    What sort of aerial are you using?. Even in quite close proximity to a small transmitter the alignment of it can be quite critical. Freeview is a bit more fussy than analogue and an outside aerial is usually a better option than an indoor one.

    Also small 'fill-in' transmitters (I'm making an assumption here) are usually vertically polarized. This means the aerial elements are vertical, not horizontal. A quick check on neighbourhood houses will confirm if this is the case.
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  3. Rodders53

    Rodders53 Active Member

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    Analogue BBC1=c58 2=64 ITV=61 c4=54. Poor pics on ITV & C4 with good BBC1 in-between in frequency indicates a standing wave issue with reception. (where some frequencies are reinforced and others cancelled out).

    You could try relocating the aerrial slightly higher/lower, left/right, nearer/further from the transmitter while always pointing at it. Moving it in a 3-D box of up to 1 metre (less, probably). Unfortunately, this may move the problem to the other bunch of tv channels you receive. An aerial installer would use a spectrum analyser to do this and ensure all the available signals are received equally.

    Your poor analogue reception was due to lack of received signal, it will mean digital reception is borderline and will come and go as you've found. Improving the aerial installation is the way to go to get more signal into the receiver and then you'll have rock steady pictures.

    PS Mike7 is correct in that Ramsbottom require a vertical aerial (short cross-rods up and down, the long boom arm joining them together pointing to the top of the transmitter mast).
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  4. henryv

    henryv Member

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    Most of my neighbours can get reception from the main transmitter, but I will seek out anyone else on Ramsbottom.
    The small cross pieces on my aerial are horizontal so that is something to look at.
    The other stations are fine, including ITV most of the time?
    I wonder why it varies?


    Henry.:):):)
  5. henryv

    henryv Member

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    OOoops!
    I have to correct myself!
    The aerial is vertical.
    I think is a high gain aerial for analogue.
    Do you need a 'digital' aerial?
    It picks up weak signals of stations we should not get like 'Dave'.
    I assume it is picking these weak signals from Winter Hill.


    Henry.:):):)
  6. Rodders53

    Rodders53 Active Member

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    There is no such thing as a digital aerial.
    However, there are differences in performance between good and bad aerials.

    In the Ramsbottom area people generally have to watch the Ramsbottom and Haslingden relays - although those on higher ground might get Winter Hill as well.

    The good news is that, both Winter Hill and Ramsbottom remain group C/D aerials so it MAY be possible to re-use your aerial horizontally polarised for Winter Hill - like your neighbours - and get a much wider range of digital channels. You can check your predicted reception at Digital UK - Postcode checker (do tick the in the trade box).
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  7. henryv

    henryv Member

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    I am stuck with Ramsbottom!
    I would need a 40ft aerial to get Winter Hill, Rodders.
    I get excellent pictures - apart from the odd transmission break!!
    It must be the Ramsbottom transmitter if my aerial is OK?
    Is there anyone I could contact to find out what the problem is?
    Thank you for the excellent link!
    It says I am 3km from the transmitter, bearing 61.
    We don't have Freeview yet on Ramsbottom transmitter.


    Henry.:):):)
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  8. Adrian_F

    Adrian_F Active Member

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  9. Rodders53

    Rodders53 Active Member

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    You ARE receiving Freeview from Ramsbottom as the Granada region has switched to digital only.

    The fact you get breaks in reception is because of the nature of digital signals: perfect pictures and sound or NOTHING......

    It indicates a borderline level of signal being received via your aerial. Your aerial installation needs attention to get the signal well above this borderline. An amplifier may be needed - but it may just be poor cabling and connections. Your description of your previous analogue reception suggests that the aerial needs adjustment by an installer.

    YOU said " Most of my neighbours can get reception from the main transmitter" and that you could sometimes get Dave which MUST be from Winter Hill via the wrongly polarised aerial. So surely it MAY be possible for you to get reception if they do? An aerial installer could advise.

    Theres a wealth of info on the internet about aerial installations: I recommend, for starters:-

    Indoor or outdoor best aerial

    Planning Your TV Installation
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  10. henryv

    henryv Member

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  11. henryv

    henryv Member

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    When we were analogue only, we could not get a good reception from Winter Hill.
    We got ghosting and poor pictures on all channels.
    There was something in the way, a hill I think.
    The aerial installer said that unless we had a very big pole on the bungalow, we had to use Ramsbottom.
    We have been on Ramsbotom transmitter for 20 years.
    Is a digital signal different?
    As I type ITV1 is off again.
    BBC is perfect, as usual.
    Why is it always just ITV that blanks out?
    Thank you for the links.
    Funnily enough, on the Satcure link the aerial he has "relegated to the scrap heap" is the one I have!!:) The Unix 52!


    Henry.:):):)
  12. Rodders53

    Rodders53 Active Member

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    It is much more immune to ghosting problems.
    Because it is the weaker of the two multiplexes you receive from Ramsbottom.
    The Unix isn't a bad aerial (its actually rather good) but it can be easily damaged by strong winds etc.,.. You may need a masthead amplifier for Winter Hill but ought not need one for Ramsbottom.

    It is possible that the receiver may have tuned to the wrong frequency for the ITV mux.... some do it in ascsnding frequency from ch21 to ch68 taking the first one they find. Can you check? It should be ch 53 (BBC PSB1 mux) and ch 60 (ITV PSB2 mux) from Ramsbottom - Winter Hill would be ch 62- (PSB1) and ch 59 (PSB2) (with 58, 61- and 55 for the commercial muxes).

    A delete all channels and manual tune may be required.
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  13. henryv

    henryv Member

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    ITV 1 is back on!!
    It is tuned to Channel 60 and the signal strength is approx 9 out of 10.
    BBC 1 is channel 53 - same signal strength.

    Re' the aerial.
    I have had it many years and a couple of cross pieces have dropped off.
    I still cannot see why it is just ITV 1, Channel 4 & Channel 5 that are a problem.
    Could it be the transmitter?


    Henry.:):):)
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  14. LV426

    LV426 Administrator

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    It could - but then again it might not. In fact it is FAR more likely to be your aerial installation or cabling.

    You have to understand - in the digital realm, the difference between {not quite enough to get any reception at all} and {just enough to be absolutely perfect} is tiny. So you might easily have a marginal signal that varies between these two states depending on - who knows? Wind strength and/or rain; nearby electrical appliances (including street lights, for example) and so on.

    The solution is to get the base level of signal quality well away from this threshold so that, when it deteriorates for whatever reason, it remains within the {enough to be absolutely perfect} area.
  15. henryv

    henryv Member

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    Thanks Nigel.
    With it being an intermittent problem how do I ensure that if I get a new aerial/cabling the problem will be solved?
    Do they have meters that can establish that my current set up is at fault?
    I have been down this road before!:)


    Henry.:):):)
  16. LV426

    LV426 Administrator

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    Yes, they do. Where they may come unstuck is if the problem is caused by something like electrical interference from an appliance that's not working when they call. In a neighbour's house or nearby factory or ... or... or. Can't offer a more specific answer because there isn't one to offer. Call a CAI installer; it's the only realistic thing you can do, I'd say.
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  17. henryv

    henryv Member

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    I am most obliged Nigel!


    Henry.:):):)
  18. henryv

    henryv Member

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    I thought I would canvas the area.
    It seems that everyone is having the same problems as me.
    Both on the Winter Hill and Ramsbottom transmitter.
    Signal loss & pixalated pictures!
    The consensus is that it must be the transmission?
    Who can I contact to find out?
    There must be some organisation responsible.
    The general feeling is that we have been conned with Digital TV.!!


    Henry.:):):)
  19. Rodders53

    Rodders53 Active Member

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    You call the TV company concerned. Granada ITV see ITV Contact Us . They have the contract with Arqiva for the transmission service. I'd be very doubtful if the problem is at WRH, although there is always a potential for a fault at the relay.

    I know the BBC's contract with Arqiva requires remote monitoring of the eqiuipment at all DTT transmitter sites for the BBC services. It would be (relatively) trivial for Arqiva to do the same for their commercial services for ITV et al.

    So, in fact, it is probably unlikely that there is a fault at Ramsbottom either.

    I'd encourage you to check over all the cables and connections inside your home before contacting an installer. Also, if you can, borrow a different receiver from friends, neighbours or family to see if there is a difference.

    Your aerial, having missing elements, would be expected to have an 'odd' frequency response (and polar pattern) which may be the cause. It may only require adjustment as mentioned earlier.
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  20. henryv

    henryv Member

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    Thanks Rodders,
    I will get the aerial man in just to eliminate that possible problem.
    It may be that everybody needs aerial attention!!:)
    Other people seem to be having more problems than me!
    What do you mean by a different receiver?
    I have 4 Digital Tv's.
    I do not use any set top boxes.
    I checked all my connections. They seem fine.


    Henry.:):):)
  21. Rodders53

    Rodders53 Active Member

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    You keep adding to the information you give us.... which makes it rather difficult to give you accurate advice in the first place. :rolleyes:

    If there are four DTVs off the one aerial how is it split between them and where is it split? i.e. Passive or active, set-back, loft or mast-head ? Do ALL FOUR lose the signal at the same time, every time?

    Are the DTVs all the same make or different? What signals strengths / quality indications do they all give when OK and when the ITV mux 'disappears'?
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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  22. henryv

    henryv Member

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    Sorry about that Rodders.
    The aerial cable goes into the Sky box in the main bedroom. This connects to the main bedroom TV. Also another cable goes from the Skybox up into the loft, and into a powered/adjustable amplifier.
    This then feeds the other 4 TV's.
    All five TV's lose their signal at the same time.
    When they are working well all the TV's (4 x Panasonic & 1 x Sony) read 90% signal strength.
    When they go off there is no signal at all. A short red line I think.
    It says "No signal" on the TV's.
    When you lose ITV1 you also lose Channel 4 and Channel 5.
    The BBC channels are all fine I think?
    It only happens maybe once or twice a day.
    A neighbour said that it was happening to her but she was not bothered.
    However, when, she lost 10 minutes of Coronation Street, she changed her spots!!:)
    The picture quality is excellent on all TV's, and on all the channels we get.
    Is 90% signal strength as good as you can get or is 100% possible?


    Henry.:):):)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  23. henryv

    henryv Member

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    Just a PS.
    I have booked the CAI installer for this thursday pm.
    The installer says that the engineers are still working at the transmitters so it may be just that?
    I am having a new arial fitted to we will see!!


    Henry.:):):)
  24. LV426

    LV426 Administrator

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    Do not need 100% signal strength; it doesn't help.

    Now we have A LOT more information, the Sky box might be causing the problem. Is it related at all to whether the Sky box is on? Next time the issue arises, take the Sky box out of the aerial system (by removing the aerial in and out cables and connecting the two directly together.
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  25. henryv

    henryv Member

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    The Sky box has always been ON when the problems occurred.
    I will try your suggestion when it happens again.
    It is only a problem with ITV/Chan4/Chan5.


    Henry.:):):)
  26. LV426

    LV426 Administrator

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    Quite plausible. If it's the Sky box causing the issue when it's on (only) then it should be easy to remedy. ITV/Ch4/Ch5 come in from your transmitter (Ramsbottom) on UHF channel 60, I believe. If the Sky box is radiating its own signal on UHF60 it will bork up your reception of these Freeview programmes on all the slave TVs. Change the output of the Sky box to another UHF channel - not 53, 57 or 60. The further away, the better.
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  27. henryv

    henryv Member

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    I have Sky on Channel 38.


    Henry.:):):)
  28. LV426

    LV426 Administrator

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    Try the "disconnect" thing anyway...
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  29. henryv

    henryv Member

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    My aerial man came this afternoon!
    He said my signal was fine from Ramsbottom.
    He said my aerial was better than the ones they fit.
    He suggested we try Winter hill, so he reversed the aerial and bingo!!
    It works fine.
    He could not say why I had been having problems with ITV etc but asked me to see how I go on. Fingers crossed!
    If it happens again he will come and check the cable.
    I was very impressed with him and his honesty.
    He could easily have sold me a new aerial.
    They are A.I.R of Radcliffe.
    I have used them before and they know their job. He mentioned the problems people further south were having picking up Wales channels.
    Thanks again to every one who assisted me on the forum!:thumbsup:


    Henry.:):):)
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  30. Rodders53

    Rodders53 Active Member

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    I'd have been even more impressed if he'd given you, and you'd posted, the signal levels and bit error rates for Ramsbottom's 2/3 muxes and for Winter Hill's 5/6.... ;)

    Now you've got all those lovely shopping channels to watch! If reception is good its always best to watch the main transmitter rather than a relay. (Less to go wrong). :thumbsup:

    Let us know how it goes.
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