700Mhz Clearance - All You Need To Know

August 22, 2019
by
Tom

What is 700Mhz Clearance?

 

If you have come across the term 700 Mhz Clearance and wanted to know more about it and how it can affect your Freeview TV reception read on for all the info that you need. The 700Mhz clearance is the removal of all terrestrial digital TV services from the 700Mhz frequency band. This is the UHF channels 50-60. All the TV transmitters that are currently broadcasting within this frequency range will be relocating their services to a lower frequency band which is currently approx. 464Mhz to 700Mhz.

 

Why Are TV Transmitters Vacating The 700Mhz Band?

Much like the 800Mhz clearance which saw the UHF channels 60-69 be auctioned off to the telecommunications companies and mobile phone operators for fourth generation services (4G), the 700Mhz clearance is so that further frequency spectrum can be sold off for fifth generation devices (5G). The part of the spectrum that is being sold off is expected to bring in vast revenue for the government.

 

Will The 700Mhz Clearance Disrupt My TV Signal?

It is very possible with the vast number of extra mobile phone masts that are going to be required for 5G that those broadcasting within the 700Mhz frequency range could interfere with your TV signal. This is because nearly all TV aerials that have been installed, even ones that are designed to reject 4G are designed to pick up this frequency band. This means that the aerial picks up the signal and when delivered down your coax cable can disrupt your digital TV services like Freeview, Soarview when the interfering signal is above a certain strength. This is when the signal is too strong and overloads the TV tuner or distribution equipment which can cause loss of TV reception and/or the picture becoming blocky and pixelate.

 

What To Do If You Experience Poor TV Reception?

If you suspect that you are getting poor TV reception as a result of mobile phone transmissions in the 700Mhz band this can usually be solved with the installation of a TV aerial filter. It needs to be one that filters out UHF channels 50 upwards. For those who had 4G interference on their TV signal will remember this, unfortunately the 4G filters that were fitted to resolve this issue will not also be appropriate. However going forward the same filters can be used to filter out both 4G and 5G. It’s important to install the filter before any amplification and distribution equipment so that this doesn’t become overloaded interfering telecoms signals and so that all TV’s connected to the system get the benefit of the filtering. This may mean a trip up to the aerial mast if you have a masthead amplifier which is not as easy as it sounds.You may need a professional aerial installer to do this for you. I recommend the CAI if you’re looking for a good installer in your area.

 

It is also possible that the 700Mhz Clearance may just be a red herring and you have poor TV reception for another reason. Faulty TV aerials, cables, faulty TVs, other types of interference and many other things can also cause poor TV reception which will present itself in very much the same way.

What Is 700Mhz?

700Mhz is a frequency, in reference to digital TV services 5G it is a frequency range is approx. 700-800Mhz. Hertz (Hz) means cycles per second, the mega prefix means million. This means that 700Mhz means 700,000,000 cycles per second. This is referred to as an Ultra High Frequency. (UHF)

 

Will I Need To Retune My TV?

Most likely a simple retune of your TV will resolve any issues related to the vacating of the 700Mhz band. Not all TV transmitters will be affected by this change and you will likely receive a pop up message on your TV screen warning to retune your TV on a certain date. This will be a different date in different regions so I can’t advise you exactly when this will be. I recommend manually tuning your TV where possible to ensure that the correct TV services are being stored and not those from other neighbouring transmitters which could offer a poor TV reception. The downside of doing this is that you will need to know the frequencies/ UHF channels that the TV transmitter you’re using is broadcasting on and how to input them into the TV. It’s a bit trickier than a conventional auto-tune. You obviously will also know what TV transmitter that you’re using which not everyone knows.

 

Other TV Related Issues

It’s possible that the 700Mhz Clearance can cause other TV related issues. It may be that you have to remove an existing filter that is in your TV system as this could filter out some frequencies that your TV transmitter will use after it has relocated it’s services following on from the 700Mhz Clearance. If you have a Sky playback system or some other type of modulated TV system, it’s also possible that you may need to change the frequency that this is outputting as retune all your connected TV’s as the 5G frequencies or relocated TV services could sit on top or too close to this frequency.

 

Will I Need A New TV Aerial?

It’s highly unlikely that you will need a new TV aerial as most issues will be resolved with the installation of an appropriate filter. There are some occasions where a new TV aerial may be needed or is desirable to maximise your TV signal strength.

 

A working example of this is in my area where the Heathfield transmitter. Prior to the digital switch over the Heathfield transmitter used to be a group C/D band transmitter operating between UHF channels 49-67. This meant that it was common to install Group C/D band aerials which are designed for frequency range 48-69. After the switch-over the transmitter moved down to 41-52 to clear the way for 4G mobile internet. In practice the drop off of signal wasn’t too dramatic for those frequencies outside the scope of the aerial but after the recent 700Mhz Clearance the transmitter now broadcasts 40-47. This means that all of the TV services are now outside what the aerial is designed to receive. This could mean that you have low TV signal and could cause problems especially in weak signal areas. If you have had an aerial installed in the last 15 years it’s likely that it is a Wideband which is designed to pick up the whole UHF (inc 4G and 5G) so most likely you will be fine, but if you have an old TV aerial there is a chance that you could need a new one or benefit by having one.

 

What TV Aerial Should Be Installed To Future Proof The 700Mhz Clearance?

If you are having a new aerial installed and wanted to know which aerial is best to install to protect against interference from nearby phone masts. I recommend a Group K aerial which is designed to receive UHF channels 21-48. For the meantime however until your TV transmitter has completed the clearance this may not be a good idea as you could remove/filter out some of your TV channels that you want to keep!

Will It Affect Sky/ Freesat & Satellite TV Reception?

It's not impossible that the introduction of new telecommunications signals could disrupt Sky or satellite TV reception but it is highly unlikely owing to the frequencies that satellite uses and the way a satellite dish receives it's signals. The clearance is only like;y to affect digital terrestrial TV services like Freeview in the UK and Soarview in Ireland.

700Mhz Clearance Questions

If you have any questions and/ or comments please do not hesitate to POST THEM IN THE BLOG COMMENTS SECTION and I will respond to you as soon as possible. I appreciate your patience when doing so as I may not be able to respond as fast as you like. Please note that we are a small company that operates in Sussex & Kent only, we do not sell aerial parts or filters so I advise looking elsewhere for these. Please DO NOT CALL OUR TELEPHONE LINES with your questions as these are intended for customers only and there is no one here who can help answer your questions and I do not give my personal mobile telephone number out so please don't ask. Please also DO NOT E-MAIL OR FILL OUT OUR WEBSITE CONTACT FORMS, again these are intended for customers only and you're very likely to not receive a response. Please instead post your comments in the blog comments section directly below. Thank you.

Until next time,

Tom

Useful links:

https://www.arqiva.com/views/blog/what-is-700mhz-clearance/

http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/operations/700mhz_clearance

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