Question Troubleshooting missing Freesat channels

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by setekh, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. setekh

    setekh
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    Hi folks,

    I've got a bit of a problem with missing channels on FreeSat whose cause I'm finding it hard to grasp, so I was hoping I could draw on your collective experience.

    As a short background, I live in a large block of flats, and this type of infrastructure is managed by a (management) company. Reception was fine a couple of years ago, but some channels were missing at some point over Christmas (a rainy, windy Christmas). We figured the box might have packed up and put it away. This year I figured it'd be nice to watch some TV, so I tried the old box - channels still missing. Someone lent me another box, and the problem was the same. I got in touch with the building management, but they are adamant there is no problem (from what I understand, largely on the basis that noone else has complained). They offered to call a technician...provided I would pay a £200 fee in case there is, in effect, no problem. Ours is not the most trusting relationship, so I would really like to have an idea of whether the problem is likely to be inside our outside the house.

    I've been reading the forums, looking for similar problems and suggestions for diagnosis. Based on what I've read, I ended up

    1. Iteratively connecting both boxes to the socket that comes from outside the house, but the same channels were missing in both. I only have the one cable, though, so I am conscious I did not remove that as a variable.
    2. Trying to get the boxes to do an automatic channel search, which failed in both cases because the boxes could not find the EPG.
    3. Checking which channels were missing. This was useful, because it made clear that the majority of the missing channels were horizontal, but unlike what I had seen in other threads, this wasn't a case of all missing (and there were some vertical ones missing too).

    So, this morning, I spent half an hour looking for a more detailed pattern of which channels were / were not working and the channel quality / strength. I compiled them in this google doc (in case it isn't clear, horizontal polarisation has a yellow background and vertical a blue background; frequencies which work have text in green and frequencies which do not have text in red; I have also added two sheets with only horizontal and vertical frequencies, in case you do not want to play around with filters)

    OK, to my eye it does seem pretty clear that something might be wrong with horizontal transmissions. However, the fact that there is reception at 10964 H is something I find difficult to interpret. Similarly, I'm struggling to understand why there would be reception difficulties in those three vertical frequencies / why there seems to be a parabolic pattern to the signal between 11479 V and 11686 V.

    Anyway, any insights you may have and / or suggestions for further troubleshooting are very welcome.

    Cheers
     
  2. REPASSAC

    REPASSAC
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    The quality readings you are getting on the channels you can receive should be a lot higher and near to 100%. What unit are you measuring them on?

    What do you get on 11428 H?
     
  3. setekh

    setekh
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    I'm using the output of the freesat box. There isn't a clear scale, but since it goes from 0 to 100 I figured it would be percentage. If it is of any help, the quality is colour coded: anything under 10 is red, between 10 and 30 yellow, and beyond that it goes green.

    11428H returns a big, fat zero - zero quality, zero signal strength.
     
  4. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    That's the Freesat home transponder, don't be tempted to factory reset without this transponder you will lose the channels you already have.

    What's the make and model of the box ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  5. logiciel

    logiciel
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    Do you have an outside balcony?
     
  6. TJT1

    TJT1
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    Facing south(ish).
     
  7. logiciel

    logiciel
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    Indeed:)
     
  8. setekh

    setekh
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    Sure.

    The old one's a Bush SD box (BFSAT02SD, I think); the newer one a Technisat HDFS.

    No, afraid not (EDIT: and the flat's north-facing). I should also clarify that the dish(es?) / the rest of the infrastructure is shared and on the building roof, as I figured these things usually are.
     
  9. Biryets

    Biryets
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    It certainly appears that you have a very poor signal reaching your flat.

    It would require a technician to verify the signal levels. It could be a faulty cable or component in the signal chain to your flat.
     
  10. Rodders53

    Rodders53
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    Talk to a neighbour. See if any have $ky or Freesat... If yes, ask if they have any problems.

    See if they'll let you connect your box to their feed from the communal system in their dwelling to see if the problem is the same.

    But two boxes with same / similar issues suggests a common cable or outlet problem. Ensure the cable you use between the wallplate and socket is undamaged and not kinked, that the centre conductor 'pin' isn't bent and goes in correctly.

    An option you have is to call in a satellite/aerial technician with the appropriate test gear to check the wallbox outlet and write a 'report' for the management company. That would be cheaper than the demands of the company.

    £200 is an excessive fee imho. £50 would be a reasonable call-out charge at an agreed prearranged time on a normal working day to effect the check needed in your home on the communal system. (A weekend emergency call-out would, perhaps be different).
     
  11. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    There is a current list of freesat transponders in Excel and html format that can be downloaded from here.

    What can I record and watch using 1 or 2 cables « My Humax Forum

    Check one channel from each transponder and post what is missing this should give enough evidence as to your problems.

    Channel 999 is Freesat Info on all first generation Freesat boxes. If it's missing on both boxes it's clear evidence that there is something wrong, firstly check that all your internal cables don't have loose screw on F connectors.
     
  12. setekh

    setekh
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    Thanks for the feedback, guys.

    OK, if the signal is bad coming into the flat, that would make it the management company's responsibility. It would be good news.

    I've asked the neighbours either side, but they have no TVs. The management people have told me there are multiple dishes in the roof, though, so I'm not sure whether different houses will be connected to different dishes. No harm in trying, though.

    On cables / outlets. I only have one cable, which I bought when I got the first box. It was the cable I used when things were working fine (a few years ago) and it is in pretty good condition - no kinks anywhere, no corrosion, tight seals. I could go out and buy another one, but given this description, could it still reasonably be the source of the issue? I also opened up the outlet earlier for a visual inspection, and there are no real red flags - no kinked/frayed cables; everything dry as a bone (the building is recent, so everything should be watertight). I'm happy to play amateur technician if there is anything else I could test, though.

    And yes, the £200 fee is outrageous. Thanks for the tip on getting my own report drawn up if push comes to shove - that's a nice way of demarcating responsibility.

    I think I posted (almost all of?) that on this google spreadsheet (if that's not what you were looking for, please do let me know). Every entry in red (font) is for a transponder which is not working. Unfortunately, it's not a neat story of just horizontal channels missing (there's a couple horizontal which work, and a couple vertical which do not), and I'm puzzled by what appears to be a parabolic curve of signal between 11479 V and 11686 V. There is no signal no 999 either.

    Cables are tight - I've triple checked the connections.
     
  13. REPASSAC

    REPASSAC
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    I had a good look at your spreadsheet and it puzzled me. It is also missing quite some transponders.
    Now you have posted the brands of your kit it opens more possibilities.
    The brands you mention do not fully comply with first generation freesat specifications, one of which is automatic channel updates.
    I wonder if both units are years out of date with the quite frequent channel updates. Do you have any friend with a dish that would let you do a new freesat scan at their home.
    However this would not explain the missing freesat transponder which has not changed at all.
     
  14. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    Check your boxes have made the following recent changes, without the home transponder I can't see how any updates can have been actioned.

    19-Apr-18 Transponder changes 11223 H to 11582 H 724 Absolute, 726 Absolute 80's, 733 Heart and 786 BFBS Radio
    24-Apr-18 Transponder changes 11223 H to 11582 H 250 Front Runner and 734 LBC
    3-May-18 Channel removed 808 TJC Choice 11082 H
    15-May-18 Name change 814 Rocks and Co1 to Jumela UK 11552 H
    17-May-18 Channel deleted 505 Vintage TV 11597 V
    22-May-18 Transponder changes 122 E4 10729 V to 10714 H and 301 Film4 + 1 10714 H to 10729 V
    4-Jun-18 Transponder change 694 GOD Channel 11265 V to 11567 V
    19-Jun-18 Transponder change 171 YANGA! 11597 V to 11552 H
    21-Jun-18 Transponder changes 11836 H to 11914 H 750 RTE RADIO 1, 751 RTE 2fm, 752 RTE Lyric FM and 753 RTE RNAG
    28-Jun-18 Name Change 205 France 24 to FRANCE 24(ENG), channels added to 12421 H 980 BBC RB HD, 982 BBC RB2, 983 BBC RB3, 984 BBC RB 4, 985 BBC RB 5 and 986 BBC RB 6
    17-Jul-18 Transponder Change 121 Channel 4 + 1 10729 V to 12304 H, 208 Bloomberg TV deleted from 11082 H (SD version), 208 Bloomberg TV added to 11685 V (HD Version), Channels deleted from 12421 H - 980 BBC RB HD, 982 BBC RB 2 983 BBC RB 3 984 BBC RB 4 985 BBC RB 5 and 986 BBC RB 6
     
  15. setekh

    setekh
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    If the problem was that the box was simply not finding the channels where it expected them to be, would I be able to find them manually in non-freesat mode? The reason I ask is that I tried to look for Heart TV as an example (on 12544H, 22k, DVB-S and DVB-S2), but the box found nothing. I did have success with manual tuning of channels which I know worked, so the problem shouldn't be with the manual tuning.

    I'm afraid there is noone I know with a dish that is close by, so doing a scan somewhere where things work will be hard.

    OK, I had a look at the changes you mentioned (expect for the radio ones - for some reason I'm not finding radio channels):

    15-May-18 Name change 814 Rocks and Co1 to Jumela UK 11552 H
    17-May-18 Channel deleted 505 Vintage TV 11597 V
    22-May-18 Transponder changes 122 E4 10729 V to 10714 H and 301 Film4 + 1 10714 H to 10729 V
    (this explains why I thought E4 worked at some point, but does not anymore)
    4-Jun-18 Transponder change 694 GOD Channel 11265 V to 11567 V
    19-Jun-18 Transponder change 171 YANGA! 11597 V to 11552 H
    (I do remember seeing this channel, although it does not work anymore)
    28-Jun-18 Name Change 205 France 24 to FRANCE 24(ENG), (the BBC channels were added and removed)
    17-Jul-18 Transponder Change 121 Channel 4 + 1 10729 V to 12304 H, 208 Bloomberg TV deleted from 11082 H (SD version), 208 Bloomberg TV added to 11685 V (HD Version), (the BBC channels were added and removed)

    If these changes are transmitted through the home transponder, there has to be at least some signal. I have noticed that there were some small fluctuations in the signal (e.g., in the 11836H transponder, one channel was showing as 33 / 9.9dB, while the other two were 34 / 10.6dB). Hypothetically, would a very weak signal reaching in the home transponder frequency every now and then be enough to update things?

    Also, I am confused as to why C4+1 did not change, when everything else did.

    Anyway, if you guys have any other ideas for tests I could try I'm all ears.

     
  16. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    Guessing your channel database is way out of date and still points to the original transponder. Select one of the channels that doesn't work and press opt+ (opt+ on a Humax G1 box shows the transponder data). eg Select E4 and press opt+.

    Not sure what you mean by the other 2. The actual frequency used for the home transponder changed when it was moved to a SES Astra satellite and the frequency that was used isn't available but it's closest enough for the tuner to lock onto it. You could try adding this transponder in manual tune and looking at the signal.

    Astra 2E UK beam 11425 H DVB-S QPSK 27500 2/3

    Using non freesat mode you should be able to tune all of these (note DVB-S2 transponders require a Freeview-HD box).

    Astra 2E / Astra 2F / Astra 2G (28.2°E) - All transmissions - frequencies - KingOfSat

    Heart TV - 11553 H DVB-S QPSK 22000 5/6 Heart TV moved here July 2017.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  17. setekh

    setekh
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    OK, just tried adding that transponder manually. The box does not identify any signal or channels then. However, and because nothing about this is turning out to be simple, I also had a go at adding 11426H (the frequency the box was showing in the freesat info channel); at this frequency, the signal strength is still at 0 dB, but the quality oscillates between 0 and 1. I tried adding channels a handful of times, and about half the time it showed no channels, but the other half added 19 (18+1 encrypted). There was no image or sound in any of them (I figure at least the Fashion One channel should be showing something).

    I also tried adding the first few horizontal transponders and varying the frequency slightly, but no joy. Is this enough to conclude the problem is not in the channel database - i.e., we're back to hardware as the source of the problem?
     
  18. TJT1

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    On the MUXs that you can receive, do you get the TV channels that you are expecting on that MUX?
     
  19. setekh

    setekh
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    As far as I can tell, yes. The only potential discrepancy I'm aware of is C4+1, but the website grahamlthompson linked to claims it is also (still?) being broadcast on 10729V.
     
  20. kevkbuk

    kevkbuk
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    You seem to have done all you can yourself, it's time for the technician visit. Check the small print of your agreement for the exact terms of the potential charge, but it's extremely unlikely to be applied from what you've reported.
     

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