What TV Transmitter For My Area?

May 28, 2019
by
Tom

What Is The Best TV Transmitter In My Location?

 

If you wanted to know what TV transmitter that you should choose to align your TV aerial, or just wanted some information on TV transmitters in your area or what you’re already using. Read this blog for tips & advice on how to identify the best TV transmitter for you.

 

There are many ways to find this out, but it isn’t always black and white as your will find out in this blog as there are several things that may affect the way you point your TV aerial. For instance, you may be able to receive more TV services pointing it one way, or better TV reception another. There may even be obstructions in the way like trees which may mean that you have to point the antenna a different way than you would have thought. In this article I discuss everything that you should need to know. If you have any questions please feel free to post the in the blog comment section below this blog and I will get back to you as fast as I can.

 

The information provided below is true to the best of my knowledge at the time of writing it, please be aware that the TV industry is constantly changing so some of it may not apply at the time of reading. Sorry if that sounded a bit like I was testifying in court!

 

Information on Transmitters 

Before starting helping you identify the correct TV transmitter I think it will be helpful to first provide some information on TV transmitters. Obviously there is a lot more to it than just below but this will help you on your way.

 

Main Transmitters

A main transmitter is what it says, it is the main TV transmitter for the region that you’re in. Main transmitters are typically around 25 miles apart from each other and broadcast in a much stronger strength than relay transmitters and can serve great distances. The Crystal Palace transmitter I have used as far away as Tenterden in Kent when the transmitter is actually in London. For a full range of TV services, it’s usually best to receive your TV signals from a main transmitter.

 

Relay Transmitters

It is not always possible to receive TV signals from a main transmitter. This is because being land based the travelling signals can be blocked by landmasses, trees and buildings. In which case relay transmitters have been strategically positioned to be able to receive a signal from another transmitter and relay it on a different frequency to nearby aerials. Some relay transmitters receive their signals from another relay transmitter before ultimately being fed by a main transmitter. There is a transmitter in Eastbourne in Upperton Road which only serves a small amount of homes which receives it’s signals from the Eastbourne transmitter (which is a relay), which receives it’s signals from the main Heathfield transmitter. I know there are similar situations elsewhere like in The Valleys in Wales.

 

Freeview Lite Transmitters

A lot of the Relay transmitters are also Freeview Lite transmitters. As there is very limited space in the UHF band for TV signals nowadays. This has got smaller over the years with bandwidth being sold off for 4G and soon the 700Mhz band too. This means that there isn’t enough room for all these transmitters to provide a full Freeview service on new frequencies, so it only offers around half of the services and channels. This is Freeview Lite.

 

Postcode Checkers 

Perhaps the easiest way to find TV transmitters in your area is with the postcode checkers. You simply enter your postcode and house number into the TV transmitter it checker and it will come back with the most likely transmitter in your location along with the services you can receive. I say most likely because it doesn’t always work like that. For instance, you may have a large block of flats between you and the TV transmitter that is being suggested which means that a good TV reception can not be obtained and you have to use a different transmitter. Or you may only be able to get a reduced amount of services from the transmitter suggested, for example Freeview Lite so you may want to align the aerial a different direction for more TV services. It was common in my area of Sussex to point aerials to the Hastings transmitter prior to the digital switch over in 2012 to be able to get Freeview in areas that should be aligned to the Heathfield transmitter. The postcode checker doesn’t take this into account. I remember I had a customer tell me until she was blue in the face that she was receiving her TV from a transmitter that she wasn’t because of what the postcode checker had told her.

 

The big downside of the postcode checker is that it just gives you information on the most likely TV transmitter in your area, if you wanted information on all of the transmitters then you would need to try alternate methods. Below are some links to the most common TV postcode checkers:

Digital UK

Freeview

BBC

Look At Your Neighbours Aerials

Perhaps the quickest way to identify which transmitter that you may want to use is to look at your neighbours aerials. Obviously you would need to have an idea already of what transmitters are in your area but this would help you determine which ones are being mostly used. If you live in an area with lots of tall masts and aerials pointing in different directions it’s most likely that you are in a weak or borderline signal area. If in your area there are lots of high-gain aerials pointing one way and smaller aerials pointing another, it’s most likely that you have a relay transmitter that is nearby and offering a stronger signal and perhaps less TV channels like is the case with Freeview Light and another main transmitter which may be further away and weaker but offering more TV services so efforts have been made to obtain reception from this transmitter instead. You may also notice a masthead amplifier on the aerial poles to help this along too. You may have noticed I that the above has been written quite vaguely as reception and aerial installations can differ massively from region to region.

 

Also when checking you neighbours aerials check to see how the aerial polarisation has been mounted as this will help you identify the transmitter. A rule of thumb but not always the case is that main transmitters use the horizontal polarisation so the aerials will need to be mounted on their side with the elements pointing horizontally and relay transmitters broadcast in the vertical polarisation, meaning that the antennas need to be mounted upright with the elements pointing vertically.

 

UK Free TV – Transmitter Maps

Of all the sites that you can use to identify the nearest TV transmitter to you I would recommend the UK Free TV website. On the website it has pretty much all the information you will need regarding digital TV transmitters in the UK. There is a transmitter map in which you can select the main transmitter for your area. Then from there you will be able to see all of the relay transmitters that it feeds. When on the transmitter pages it has info on channels available, broadcasting frequencies, polarisations and broadcasting strengths. Once you have this information you are much more informed on choosing the right aerial and what direction to point your aerial.

 

Nearest TV Transmitter To You

I hope that you can see from the above that aligning your TV aerial to your nearest TV transmitter may not always be best idea. It may not even give the strongest signal as it could be broadcast at a lower strength anyway and include less TV services. Where possible I would advise aligning your aerial to a main TV transmitter where you can, failing that you may be able to find a relay transmitter that broadcasts most the Freeview service anyway, like the Hastings transmitter in my area.

 

A prime example of this was an installation I did recently for a block of flats in Lewes. It was immediately next door the East Sussex County Council building on top of which is a relay TV transmitter. Rather than aligning the TV aerial to this transmitter I instead aligned the antenna to the Heathfield transmitter for a full range of services instead of Freeview Lite only. I also installed a couple of band-pass filters to remove the unwanted signals from the Lewes relay transmitter from the system. If I was to just leave the signals there, this can overload the amplifiers and TV tuners if it is above a certain strength and also if the residents performed an auto-tune on their TV. They run the risk of storing the TV channels from the wrong transmitter which could result in loss of signal and pixilation.

TV Transmitter Questions - Please Post Them In The Comment Section

This is now the new sign off to all of my blogs. If you have any TV transmitter questions please post them in the blog comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP so please be patient. Please do not do any of the following: Call our phone lines - We do not have the time or resources to provide free technical advise over the phone and the phone lines are reserved for customers only. Fill out our website contact forms - Again these are reserved for customers only and you will either not receive a response or you will receive one asking you to post your comment in the blog comment section of the blog that you have read. E-mail - For the same reasons above we do not have the time or resources to help you this way. By posting your questions in the blog comment section it gives us a central location to answer all of the questions we are asked and also everyone reading the blog will get the benefit of the question asked and the answer given.

Until next time,

Tom

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