Why Am I Missing Some Sky Channels?
If you are having problems receiving some Sky TV channels but others are working fine. This blog is for you. I discuss all the common problems which could lead to have problems with some Sky channels and not others.
General Sky Box Issues, Viewing Card & Subscription
All of the following suggested and solutions are to do with the Sky subscription-based services like the TV channels included in your Sky package, the recording facilities including live pause and stored recordings are all likely to do with the viewing card, subscription or the Sky box itself. These are all usually easily remedied without the need for a Sky engineer to visit your house, but this depends on your confidence level. You may need to give Sky a phone call, however. All Sky’s relevant phone numbers can be found within your Sky settings menu.
Viewing Card Not Inserted Properly
If you notice that your “subscription” services are not working and the free services like BBC and ITV are working fine. It could be as simply as your Sky viewing card is not inserted correctly. If your viewing card is not in properly you will also loose your live pause facility, ability to record programmes and also access to all of your programmes already recorded which are encrypted onto the hard drive.
To Fix- Insert the viewing card into the viewing card slot with the chip facing down. Push into position as far as it will go. Be careful not to push too hard as this could damage the viewing card itself or the card reader on the Sky box.
Viewing Card Not Paired To Sky Box
If you have had a new box installed or if you have received a new viewing card in the post from Sky, after inserting this you will need to pair this to the Sky box. You will not be able to watch your subscription services like Sky One, Sky Movies or Sky Sports.
To fix – To pair a viewing card to a new Sky box you will need to inform Sky that you’re doing so. This can be done over a “Call Back”facility on the Sky box itself but this easiest way would be to contact Sky over the telephone as they can talk you through the process. You will need to have ready some information from your viewing card and Sky box including the viewing card number, version Number & the serial which can all be found by accessing the ‘System Details’ page.
Problem With Subscription
If for whatever reason there is a problem with your Sky subscription this too could be what is causing you to lose your subscription-based services, like Sky channels and recording facility. This could be as simple as a missed payment on your subscription.
To fix- You will need to give Sky a call and discuss your subscription. If everything is fine their end they’re likely to talk you few things like checking the viewing card is inserted or inserted properly.
Faulty Sky Box Causing Some Channels To Be Lost
It could be that you have a faulty Sky box. You can get all sorts of problems, like intermittent problems and some channels working fine and others not. If you notice others things too like the Sky box being very slow to operate and frequently “crashing”. Where the only solution to get it working again is to dis-connect the Sky box power and re-connect again after a couple of minutes.
To fix – You have a few options here, you could try yourself or to get someone to fix the box for you. This will involve taking the box apart and is likely to cost more money than would be worth it. The best solution would be to just install a new Sky box. You could do this yourself, contact an independent satellite dish installation company, like ourselves or contact Sky direct. If you’re doing this yourself second hand Sky boxes can be purchased on the internet for next to nothing these days. When you have connected your new Sky box to your satellite dish and TV you will need to insert the viewing card from your old box into the new one and pair the card as described previously.
General Satellite Dish Problems
All of the following suggestions and solutions could be to do with your satellite dish itself, the LNB or connecting cables which could cause your Sky box to lose some channels. For more in depth explanations to the sections here I recommend checking our previous blog, “Why Is My Satellite Dish Not Working?”
Satellite Dish Not Correctly Aligned For Peak Reception
When aligning a satellite dish you need to be incredibly accurate, a small adjustment of only a couple of a millimetres or a fraction of an inch could cause you to lose your satellite signal altogether, but as all of the satellite channels come down in varying strength a small adjustment or movement off the correct alignment could cause problems with some channels and not others. It’s usually some of the more obscure channels that go first.
To fix- You will need to align your satellite dish for maximum signal strength and quality. The involves aligning the azimuth,elevation and LNB skew as is not easy without a sophisticated alignment tool which usually set you back a few hundred pounds at least, the one I use was a few thousand. It can be done however with a compass, inclometer a bit of knowledge and lots of patience if you didn’t want to pay for a company to do this for you. For your reference the satellites used for Sky are at 28.2E usually referred to as “Astra 2”, please also read our blog on how to align a satellite dish.
Faulty LNB – LNB Not Switching
Perhaps the main reason why you are having trouble with some Sky channels and not others would be a faulty LNB. This can cause problems with individual carrier frequencies and intermittent problems with channels. Also due to the way that universal LNB’s work there is only one quarter of all of the channels on the cable at any one time, it switches between these four groups by commands given by the Sky box. You can get a problem with your LNB where you lose approximately 1 quarter of the channels or one half of the channels.
To fix- A new LNB will need to be installed onto your satellite dish. This is a relatively easy job with a screwdriver. You will need to make sure that you purchase the correct LNB for your satellite dish and that when installed the skew adjustment is set correctly as this makes a huge difference to your satellite signal. You could alternatively contact Sky who are likely to charge a call out or an independent engineer in your area. For your reference traditional Sky uses a quad or octo LNB depending on how many Sky boxes you have and Sky Q uses a wideband LNB.
Nearby Obstruction Blocking Satellite Signal
You could have a nearby obstruction like a tree or scaffold blocking your satellite signal. Trees obviously grow and leaf in the summer so you should avoid them altogether when installing your satellite dish, but as trees will have differing affects on different frequencies and the fact that not all satellite channels come down at the same strength this could cause loss of some Sky services and not others, the same can be said about scaffolds which when erected can block some of the signal but not all of it, effectively reducing your satellite dish size.
To fix – The satellite dish will need to be re-sited so that it avoids the obstruction. This doesn’t always mean that it needs to go higher but often it is necessary to install dishes on chimneys to avoid the obstruction. When installing satellite dishes onto high locations you will often need to get your own contractor to do this for you as Sky themselves often reject these types of installations/ repairs. Although they do have a special heights team. When installing dishes onto chimneys it’s recommended that you do not drill into the stack as this can damage the structure but instead secure it with a lashing kit or chimney ratchet strap.
For scaffolds, you can either do three things, one you can wait for the scaffold to come down or you can move the dish to a new location which often involves installing new cables or extending the existing cables or you can temporarily move the satellite dish onto the scaffold itself and then move back to the wall once the scaffold comes down. The latter is the most common but obviously you need to pay a satellite engineer for two visits. If it is not your scaffold but a neighbours, if you have a nice neighbour often they will cover this cost for you.
Faulty Satellite Cable
Faulty cables can do all sorts of things with satellite signals. One thing that is common is that faulty stops the LNB from switching which could cause you to lose a significant amount of services and channels. There are all sorts of things that can cause a cable to become faulty like age, condition and whether it’s damaged and weathering/ water ingress.
To fix- A new coaxial cable or two new coaxial cables may need to be installed for Sky+ boxes and Sky Q boxes. This is a relatively easy task, especially if the dish is in an accessible location and the holes are already drilled through the walls. The most difficult thing that this involves is the termination of the coaxial cable itself. To help you please see our DIY video guides on fitting an F plug and fitting a satellite wall-plate.
Very Long Cable Run
If you have a very long cable this could be the reason why you're losing some channels and not others. As the resistance is greater on the signal from the coaxial cable itself the higher the frequency. It could cause some channels to become too weak while others are fine. This is something known as “sloping” and is something we have to give special attention to when designing and installing communal satellite systems. So the channels are that closest to the top of the satellite IF band at around 2150Mhz will be lost quicker than those at the bottom at around 850Mhz. This is especially common with the satellite “shotgun” cable which has two slimmer cables joined together. This cable is only suitable for short cable runs no longer than 40m.
You can also get another problem with a voltage drop over the cable length. As universal LNB’s switch between vertically and horizontally polarised signals by the receiver apply either 13V DC or 18V DC, this could cause a problem where the voltage drop due to cable length is too much so that LNB doesn’t receive the commands it requires. This could cause some channels to work and others not.
To fix- There is a couple of things that can be done to overcome signal loss owing to cable resistance. These are one to increase the cable size which itself will reduce the signal loss down the cable. If you have a long run of “shotgun” 0.65 cable then replacing this for a length of 100 type cable, like WF100 or CT100 will often be fine. You can of course install a bigger cable still like WF125 or WF165 which will reduce the effect further but often this is over kill for a domestic situation and the connectors are much more difficult to attach and it will be difficult to make a direct connection to the satellite LNB. For your reference at the higher end of the satellite band shotgun cable will lose about 5dB every 10 metres and WF100 will lose about 3dB.
Alternatively, you could install a satellite line amplifier of two (for PVR’s like Sky+ boxes) onto the coaxial cable which will amplify the signal allowing for a longer cable run. These often have built in slope adjustment to help with this too. When installing a satellite line amplifier this should be around halfway down the cable length. Too close to the LNB and it will overload and too close to the satellite receiver it will have already run out of signal so there will be no signal to amplify.
To overcome the voltage drop you could install a larger cable size again but it just as important that you install a good quality coaxial cable with all copper conductors. This cable costs a bit more but is well worth it.
Faulty/ Broken Satellite Dish
Anything that could effect the satellite dish signal gain could cause you to lose some services and not other this includes a damaged dish. Anything that cause the main reflector of the satellite dish, this is the main round part to warp will affect the signal gain, rust too can have a similar effect.
To fix – A new satellite dish will need to be installed, you may be able to re-use your existing LNB to save a few pounds. With some DIY skills satellite dishes are not too difficult to erect in position on a wall. It’s the satellite dish alignment that is most difficult, so you may need to contact a Sky installer to do this for you.
Bad Weather – Heavy Rain
It could just be the weather! Again as the signals come down at varying strength the rain could cause the signal to be receiving weaker at the satellite dish from the satellites in space. This is known in the trade as “rain fade”.
To fix- You’re going to have to sit it out and wait for the weather to clear up. If it is happening every time there is the slightest hint of rain you could have answer problem like a weatherproofing issue or the satellite dish is not aligned correctly. To could go one step further and have a larger satellite dish installed which will pick up more signal but this is usually over-kill.
That’s it for this one – Questions In Blog Comment Section Please!
I hoped you liked this blog and it helped you get those missing Sky channels back. If you have any questions I would delighted to answer these for you but only if you post your comments in the BLOG COMMENTS section below. Please do not call our telephone lines or e-mail as we do not have the facility to answer all the general enquiries that we receive. Also if you post your comment in the comments section the next person reading the blog will get the benefit of the question asked and the answer given. Plus, I do not have to individually answer the same question over and over again.
Until next time,
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