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Full Freeview on the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) transmitter

first published this on - UK Free TV
sa_streetviewGoogle Streetviewsa_gmapsGoogle mapsa_bingBing mapsa_gearthGoogle Earthsa_gps51.324,0.520 or 51°19'25"N 0°31'13"Esa_postcodeME5 9RD

 

The symbol shows the location of the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) transmitter which serves 200,000 homes. The bright green areas shown where the signal from this transmitter is strong, dark green areas are poorer signals. Those parts shown in yellow may have interference on the same frequency from other masts.

Are there any planned engineering works or unexpected transmitter faults on the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) mast?

Bluebell Hill transmitter - Bluebell Hill transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 29/11/2021 Possible Pixelation or flickering on some or all channels Digital tick


Choose from three options: ■ List by multiplex ■ List by channel number ■ List by channel name
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Which Freeview channels does the Bluebell Hill transmitter broadcast?

If you have any kind of Freeview fault, follow this Freeview reset procedure first.

Digital television services are broadcast on a multiplexes (or Mux) where many stations occupy a single broadcast frequency, as shown below.

MuxH/VFrequencyHeightModeWatts
PSB1
BBCA
 H max
C32 (562.0MHz)242mDTG-320,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) South East, 2 BBC Two England, 9 BBC Four, 201 CBBC, 202 CBeebies, 231 BBC News, 232 BBC Parliament, 250 BBC Red Button, plus 15 others

PSB2
D3+4
 H max
C34 (578.0MHz)242mDTG-320,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV (SD) (Meridian (East micro region)), 4 Channel 4 (SD) South ads, 5 Channel 5, 6 ITV 2, 10 ITV3, 13 E4, 14 Film4, 15 Channel 4 +1 South ads, 18 More4, 25 ITV4, 29 E4 +1, 34 ITV +1 (Meridian south coast),

PSB3
BBCB
 H max
C45+ (666.2MHz)242mDTG-620,000W
Channel icons
72 Shopping Quarter , 101 BBC One HD (England no regional news), 102 BBC Two HD (England), 103 ITV HD (ITV Meridian Southampton), 104 Channel 4 HD South ads, 105 Channel 5 HD, 204 CBBC HD, plus 1 others

COM4
SDN
 H max
C40 (626.0MHz)242mDTG-820,000W
Channel icons
 CCXTV, 12 Quest, 20 Drama, 21 5USA, 28 ITV2 +1, 31 5STAR, 32 Paramount Network, 41 GREAT! movies action, 45 Channel 5 +1, 55 5SELECT, 57 ITVBe +1, 58 ITV3 +1, 59 ITV4 +1, 63 Blaze, 66 CBS Reality, 68 Horror Channel, 73 Drama +1, 77 TCC, 80 Blaze +1, 203 CITV, 211 Ketchup TV, 212 YAAAS!, plus 15 others

COM5
ArqA
 H max
C43+ (650.2MHz)245mDTG-820,000W
Channel icons
11 Sky Arts, 17 Really, 19 Dave, 30 4Music, 35 pick, 39 Quest Red, 42 Food Network, 46 Film4 +1, 47 Challenge, 48 4seven, 56 Smithsonian Channel, 69 Quest +1, 74 Yesterday +1, 82 Together TV, 233 Sky News, plus 9 others

COM6
ArqB
 H max
C46 (674.0MHz)245mDTG-820,000W
Channel icons
23 Dave ja vu, 26 Yesterday, 33 GREAT! movies, 38 DMAX, 40 CBS Justice, 43 HGTV, 67 CBS Drama, 81 Talking Pictures TV, 84 PBS America, 234 RT, 235 Aljazeera English, plus 18 others

com7
 H -6.3dB
C55 (746.0MHz)242mDTG-64,700W
Channel icons
from 8th April 2014:  Together TV +1,  Merit, 64 FreeSports, 70 Quest Red +1, 76 Now 70s, 86 More4 +1, 87 PBS America +1, 89 Court TV, 96 Forces TV, 106 BBC Four HD, 107 BBC News HD, 113 RT HD, 114 Quest HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 2 others

DTG-3 64QAM 8K 2/3 24.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
DTG-6 256QAM 32KE 2/3 40.2Mb/s DVB-T2 MPEG4
DTG-8 64QAM 8K 3/4 27.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
H/V: aerial position (horizontal or vertical)

Which BBC and ITV regional news can I watch from the Bluebell Hill transmitter?

regional news image
BBC South East Today 0.8m homes 3.2%
from Tunbridge Wells TN1 1QQ, 28km southwest (219°)
to BBC South East region - 45 masts.
regional news image
ITV Meridian News 0.7m homes 2.7%
from Maidstone ME14 5NZ, 5km south-southeast (156°)
to ITV Meridian (East) region - 36 masts.
All of lunch, weekend and 50% evening news is shared with all of Meridian plus Oxford

How will the Bluebell Hill (Medway, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1984-971997-981998-20122012-1319 Jul 2018
EEEW TW T
C21_local
C28_local
C32com7
C34com8
C39+ArqA
C40BBC1wavesBBC1wavesBBC1waves+BBCBSDN
C43ITVwavesITVwavesITVwavesD3+4ArqA
C45SDNBBCB
C46BBC2wavesBBC2wavesBBC2wavesBBCAArqB
C54tv_offArqB
C55tv_offcom7tv_off
C56tv_offCOM8tv_off
C65C4wavesC4wavesC4waves

tv_off Being removed from Freeview (for 5G use) after November 2020 - more
Table shows multiplexes names see this article;
green background for transmission frequencies
Notes: + and - denote 166kHz offset; aerial group are shown as A B C/D E K W T
waves denotes analogue; digital switchover was 13 Jun 12 and 27 Jun 12.

How do the old analogue and currrent digital signal levels compare?

Analogue 1-4 30kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB, BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-1.8dB) 20kW
com8(-7.8dB) 5kW
com7(-8.1dB) 4.7kW
Mux 1*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-10dB) 3kW
Mux 2*, Mux A*(-11.8dB) 2kW

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Bluebell Hill transmitter area

Sep 1955-Jul 1968Associated-Rediffusion†
Sep 1955-Jul 1968Associated TeleVision◊
Jul 1968-Dec 1981Thames†
Jul 1968-Dec 1981London Weekend Television♦
Jan 1982-Dec 1992Television South (TVS)
Jan 1993-Feb 2004Meridian
Feb 2004-Dec 2014ITV plc
Feb 1983-Dec 1992TV-am•
Jan 1993-Sep 2010GMTV•
Sep 2010-Dec 2014ITV Daybreak•
• Breakfast ◊ Weekends ♦ Friday night and weekends † Weekdays only. Bluebell Hill was not an original Channel 3 VHF 405-line mast: the historical information shown is the details of the company responsible for the transmitter when it began transmitting Channel 3.

Comments
Friday, 13 December 2019
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

6:20 AM

Kif:

I wasn't suggesting that you attempted to mislead, merely what you had written about the channels on C40 had moved to C39 would be taken that there had been a change at Bluebell Hill which there hasn't.

I can categorically state that the SDN multiplex you are receiving on C39 is NOT London, Crystal Palace, nor any other transmitters that you might receive as none use C39 except Dover which is also the only one using it for SDN and the reason I couldn't be 100% is that without your postcode, there was a possibility you might have been receiving another transmitter with SDN on C39, and although the reception conditions using the Freeview Detailed Coverage Checker do not work on partial postcodes, I can categorically say that for ME10 postcodes it will not be any other transmitter except Dover.

And for the same reasons I cannot say if your predicted reception for C43 may be variable without a full postcode.
Bert's postcode is also an ME10 and for his location the SDN multiplex is the only one that is predicted to be good, the others being variable, yet for another ME10 postcode all multiplexes are predicted to be good except the BBCB HD multiplex which is variable. Having said all that, precise predictions are not always free of errors and can in some cases be affected by the aerial that you have, where it's located and how well it's aligned.

When you are in an area/location that can receive signals from more than one transmitter, TV postcode tuning may not give you the desired transmitter and it may not be the correct region where you may receive overlapping regions if your set doesn't ask you to specify the region. Where you receive two of the same multiplex on different UHF channels, often one set will be put in the 800 LCNs in your set's listing.
In such cases you often have to resort to manual tuning to get the one you want in the correct LCNs.

Check if your neighbours are having the same problem, and if so when you contact Freeview Advice, I suggest you make it clear that you are aware of other ME10 postcodes that have the same problem and get your neighbours to contact Freeview Advice as well.

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Chris.SE's 2,570 posts GB
B
Bert
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

2:58 PM

Chris.SE

Further to your questions, my neighbour is not affected. In 2013 I had the aerial refitted on the same chimney as the holding ties or wire straps had become loose. At the same time they fitted a new masthead power supply, a PSF1200 12V 100mA sort. The masthead amplifier, a UXFR2-20 was fitted in the loft. this had one aerial lead going to the front of the house & another lead going to the rear. The aerial lead from the amp to the aerial had an Optima OBF3453 UHF Band-Pass Filter Ch34-53 574-734MHz inline in it. The fitter said this was to limit the interference from Crystal Palace which was only a few degrees off of the line to Bluebell Hill. From 2013 we have not had any problems, re-tuning whenever necessary, the last time was in June 2019.
I tried connecting the aerial lead direct from the Toshiba to the aerial socket, this resulted in lower signal strengths & lower quality, the screen was pixallating on all channels except BBC. At this time I tried a manual scan of C40, surprisingly it did find Quest but it was unwatchable.
With more fiddling about & everything connected again I tried another manual scan on C40, it was showing the signal strength bar at 3/4 across & the signal quality was poor, then as I looked at it, the strength bar went fully across & the quality went from poor to good But before I could select scan they returned to where they were.

On the LG tv a manual scan on C40 returns a "No Signal" message, I have not tried to do that with the Panasonic DVD HDD.

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Bert's 30 posts GB
B
Bert
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

3:40 PM

Chris.SE

A bit more info for you, we have wide band aerial & we are in a bit of a dip. I have previously looked at a terrain map & we do just about have a line of sight to the top of the mast at Bluebell Hill.
For some reason whenever I enter our postcode into the reception checker for freeview they return our nearest Tx as being Dover, which is just plain daft. I know we can get signals from Crystal Palace as we did previously. When Bluebell Hill was upgraded to 20,000W & HD came in everybody's aerial around here points at Bluebell Hill.

I think we have an intermittent fault on the lead from the aerial to the amp, that's my guess, why only C40 & not the others beats me.

I looked at a manual tune on the Panasonic for C40. Signal Strength was 10, the max. Signal Quality was poor & coloured red, about 3 on the scale.

Here's hoping for fine weather on Monday PM, the aerial man cometh!

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Bert's 30 posts GB
K
Kif
8:43 PM

Chris.

It's come back! Just before 8pm 13/12/19.

I was posting an update to provide additional info and about to send, with everything still looking dead, then the signal bars sprang to life.

CH40 is showing some quality variance at the upper end. CH43 is still middling, but not fluctuating as wildly as last night. So far Film4+1 (which I'm using as a test subject for CH43) hasn't had picture break-up. Obviously I haven't been able to do the same with CH40 while it's been down.

I'll monitor over the weekend, but in anticipation of things remaining stable or better, I'd like to say Thanks for your comments and advice.

Kif

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Kif's 6 posts GB
Saturday, 14 December 2019
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

12:41 AM

Bert:

Yes it can be annoying that the predictor sometimes gives a different transmitter, it may be biased towards the predicted reception of PSBs 1&2, but at least it usually shows predicted reception from potentially available transmitters. Thanks for those updates, and well done for those checks.

Now, interesting question, has your C40 returned and is everything stable? You may have noticed Kif's has returned.
This could mean that if yours has returned , it could have been a transmitter issue or of course coincidence.
If yours hasn't returned, taking account of your suspicion of a fault between aerial and amp, that may mean Kif's fault could be an intermittent one which happens to have righted itself for the time being.

Kif:

If your neighbours haven't got a similar problem it could be an individual fault which has righted itself for the time being. Keep us updated, it can be useful if you need further help.

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Chris.SE's 2,570 posts GB
K
Kif
9:43 AM

Chris.

I had spoken with my immediate neighbour, whose aerial is proximate to mine, and aligned the same. Neither have signs of damage.

They advised that they have been experiencing pixilations, but didn't specify which channels/stations were effected. We didn't have long to talk, and they might not be familiar with how digital works.

CH40 is still up this morning (Saturday), but signal quality is still fluctuating with occasional break up, so a little worse than it was last night.

I'm still monitoring, but obviously can't be stuck in front of the telly all day!

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Kif's 6 posts GB
K
Kif
10:10 AM

Additional.

For some reason not all of my post has come up - possibly because I used an emoji, as that's where it cut off.

I'm using Horror Channel as my test subject, as this was where I first encountered the problem trying to watch Star Trek. It's still unstable as I write, with sporadic blips in sound and vision rather than complete picture break-up. Film4+1 on CH43 is poorly again, and worse than CH40 in severity and regularity of disruption. Strength is at 10, Quality is all over the place.

Kif

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Kif's 6 posts GB
B
Bert
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

1:35 PM

Chris.SE

I switched on the TV at 5:50 last night, Friday, went to the guide selected 66 & up came Judge Judy, quickly went into the set-up menu for manual tune for C40 & the strength bar was at max & the quality was good, selected scan & all the missing channels came back. What is going on?

Trouble is I have the aerial bods coming on Monday from the freeview helpline & now everything is OK.

I'm not sure my neighbour gave me the correct info when I asked him had any channels missing, I did not actually see what he beamed up to check. He has Sky so I might have got a bum steer from him. The other houses along here have dishes.

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Bert's 30 posts GB
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

3:06 PM

Bert:

Thanks for that update Bert. I wouldn't worry about those aerial bods coming and everything "seeming" ok. I would play it along the lines of "things seem to have been intermittent" and you are concerned that there's some sort of intermittent fault. Just let them/make sure they give you installation a thorough check out as they will be paid by Freeview in any event!

It's important that your installation is as good as it can be receiving the current multiplexes on their allocated UHF channels as no further changes in UHF channels is planned in the foreseeable future. The final change at Bluebell Hill resulting from 700MHz clearance was in July 2018.

The only changes that are likely to occur in the shorter term are where broadcasters move their programmes/channels around to a different multiplex, or some may close and new ones come along. In a lot of cases this might mean a "retune" but a lot of modern sets do this sort of update automatically.
And of course at some future date COMs 7&8 will close and we expect to see one or more of the other current SD multiplexes convert to T2 (HD) transmissions which will then make room for some of the channels currently on COMs 7&8.

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Chris.SE's 2,570 posts GB
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

3:59 PM

Kif:

Without a full postcode, it's difficult to come to any conclusions about reception at your location as reception of the muxs from Bluebell Hill can vary somewhat across the ME10 postcodes.

I assume you've done obvious checks such as checking all you coax plugs, connections, flyleads etc, unplug connectors check for corrosion or other problems and reconnect them, flyleads can be a common problem, try swapping them.
Just a reminder that problematic connections, water ingress etc. can seem to affect reception of just an individual or several multiplexes. Whilst it looks like the possibility there may have been/still is a transmitter issue and depending on the nature of the problem if that latter, it may take several days to resolve, it's nevertheless prudent to ensure you don't have any latent issues in your own installation.

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Chris.SE's 2,570 posts GB
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