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Full Freeview on the Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) transmitter

first published this on - UK Free TV
sa_streetviewGoogle Streetviewsa_gmapsGoogle mapsa_bingBing mapsa_gearthGoogle Earthsa_gps52.130,-0.242 or 52°7'47"N 0°14'33"Wsa_postcodeSG19 2NH


The symbol shows the location of the Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) transmitter which serves 920,000 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.

This transmitter has no current reported problems

The BBC and Digital UK report there are no faults or engineering work on the Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) transmitter.

Choose from three options: ■ List by multiplex ■ List by channel number ■ List by channel name

Which Freeview channels does the Sandy Heath 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.

 H max
C27 (522.0MHz)291mDTG-3180,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) Cambridge, 2 BBC Two England, 9 BBC Four, 23 BBC Three, 201 CBBC, 202 CBeebies, 231 BBC News, 232 BBC Parliament, 250 BBC Red Button, plus 15 others

 H max
C24 (498.0MHz)291mDTG-3180,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV (SD) (Anglia (West 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, 26 ITV4, 30 E4 +1, 35 ITV +1 (Anglia east),

 H max
C21+ (474.2MHz)291mDTG-6180,000W
Channel icons
56 5SELECT, 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, 106 BBC Four HD, 109 BBC Three HD, 204 CBBC HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 1 others

 H -0.2dB
C33 (570.0MHz)291mDTG-8170,000W
Channel icons
12 Quest, 20 Drama, 21 5USA, 29 ITV2 +1, 32 5STAR, 33 5Action, 41 Legend, 42 GREAT! movies action, 46 Channel 5 +1, 58 ITVBe +1, 59 ITV3 +1, 64 Blaze, 67 CBS Reality, 74 Dave ja vu, 78 TCC, 81 Blaze +1, 89 ITV4 +1, 203 CITV, 208 POP MAX, 209 Ketchup TV, 210 Ketchup Too, 211 YAAAS!, plus 15 others

 H -0.2dB
C36 (594.0MHz)289mDTG-8170,000W
Channel icons
11 Sky Arts, 17 Really, 19 Dave, 31 E4 Extra, 36 pick, 40 Quest Red, 43 Food Network, 47 Film4 +1, 48 Challenge, 49 4seven, 57 Smithsonian Channel, 60 Drama +1, 70 Quest +1, 75 Yesterday +1, 83 Together TV, 233 Sky News, plus 8 others

 H -0.2dB
C48 (690.0MHz)289mDTG-8170,000W
Channel icons
 FreeSports, 25 W, 27 Yesterday, 34 GREAT! movies, 39 DMAX, 44 HGTV, 71 Quest Red +1, 73 HobbyMaker, 82 Talking Pictures TV, 84 PBS America, 88 Classic Hits, 235 Aljazeera English, plus 19 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 Sandy Heath transmitter?

regional news image
BBC Look East (West) 1.0m homes 3.7%
from Cambridge CB4 0WZ, 29km east-northeast (66°)
to BBC Cambridge region - 4 masts.
70% of BBC East (East) and BBC East (West) is shared output
regional news image
ITV Anglia News 1.0m homes 3.7%
from Norwich NR1 3JG, 119km east-northeast (60°)
to ITV Anglia (West) region - 5 masts.
All of lunch, weekend and 80% evening news is shared with Anglia (East)

How will the Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1965-80s1984-971997-981998-20112011-1312 Feb 2020

tv_off Being removed from Freeview (for 5G use) after November 2020 / June 2022 - 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 30 Mar 11 and 13 Apr 11.

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

Analogue 1-4 1000kW
BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-7.4dB) 180kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB(-7.7dB) 170kW
com7(-13dB) 49.6kW
com8(-13.1dB) 49.1kW
Mux 1*, Mux 2*, Mux A*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-17dB) 20kW
Analogue 5(-20dB) 10kW

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Sandy Heath transmitter area

Oct 1959-Feb 2004Anglia Television
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.

Monday, 28 March 2011
Mike Dimmick

5:58 PM

Andy Maltby: I think there's a reasonable chance that any problems you're currently having are caused by too much signal rather than too little. I've plugged the numbers into Megalithia's Field Strength Calculator, which suggests that with a 10dBd aerial and 10m of downlead, you could be getting up to 78-80 dBuV of signal on the digital multiplexes, and well over 100 dBuV on analogue. The recommended levels are 45-65 dBuV for digital (some say 45-60) and 60-80 dBuV for analogue.

Field Strength Calculator - you're 13.7km away.

At switchover, the PSB multiplexes could be up to 92-93 dBuV. Past switchovers, e.g. Mendip, have shown that high digital signal levels cause more problems than the old analogue signal levels did. You may experience more problems after switchover than you had before.

If you have any amplifiers, you should remove them. You will probably need to add an attenuator to bring the levels into spec. (RG47SH)

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
9:55 AM


When will we actually see an increase in power - tomorrow or when it is all finished at the end of the year?

Also, what time will things change around tomorrow?


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Hertfordshaz's 7 posts GB
Mike Dimmick

4:36 PM

Hertfordshaz: You will see increased power on BBC channels tomorrow, and on the Multiplex 2 channels listed above on the 13th of April.

ArqB (Multiplex D) reaches full power on 14 September, ArqA (Multiplex C) on 23 November, and SDN (Mux A) some time in 2012 after Hemel Hempstead switches over. You need to retune on each date, and also on 31 August when SDN moves out of the way of a change at Sutton Coldfield.

The main transmitter will be off-air from shortly after midnight to around 6am on both days. It's recommended to retune after 6am to ensure all changes are final.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB

5:10 PM

Hertfordshaz: The easy bit first, services are expected back on air at Sandy Heath by 6am. The schedule for channel changes and power increases is rather complicated though.(1) Mux BBCA (C27) launches at high power on 30th March 2011 for switchover step1.... (2)Switchover step2 on 13th April 2011 will give Mux D3+4 on C24 and Mux HD on C21+ both at high power. Mux ArqB will be on C67 in 8k mode with temporary reduced power working....(3)On 31st August 2011 low power MuxA changes frequency to C31....(4)On 14th September 2011 Mux ArqB changes frequency to C48 at high power and MuxC transfers to temporary frequency C67...(5)On 23rd November 2011 MuxC/ArqA changes frequency to C52 at high power and 8k mode...During 2012 (dates tba) MuxA/SDN will change to 8k mode on C51 at high power. A power increase is also shown for the PSB muxes suggesting that initially the high power signals will be at (slightly) reduced power until switchover is completed in other regions.

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KMJ,Derby's 1,811 posts GB
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
12:10 AM

I have a loft mounted Group-A aerial pointing directly at Sandy Heath Tx (aligned with a compass) from Cambridge, distance is 30km.

Currently the analogue TV receives all the main channels, including Channel 5, with excellent picture quality.

However with a TVonics MD-252 freeview box there is no reception of any digital channels.

As I understand it currently Analogue Ch5 is on C39 @ 10kW (-20dB), and the nearest digital signal is MuxC on C40 @ 20kW (-17dB).

Is this correct? - if so I'm confused why the TVonics box can't see at least MuxC as I would have thought that the 3dB difference in power between would more than compensate for the roll-off on a Group-A aerial between C39 & C40.

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Charlie's 1 post GB

7:46 AM

Charlie: You will not be able to receive the commercial multiplexes with a group A aerial after switchover, and loft aerials are unsuitable for reliable Freeview reception.

You have two weeks to sort out a wideband rooftop aerial.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Mike Dimmick

8:06 AM

Charlie: High-power digital services don't start until 6am. Between about midnight and 6am, the transmitter is off-air.

You should now be able to rescan your Freeview box and see whether a loft aerial is likely to work - although a wideband aerial small enough to fit in a loft often won't provide enough gain. You might get usable results from a log-periodic type. Still, you will nearly always get better results by mounting an aerial in clear space outside.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB
11:51 AM

Interestingly, a TVonics MDR-250 box I have couldn't find the BBC A mux this morning. It reported "Signal quality: None" on ch 27.

I found an RF signal attenuator fixed the problem - too much power from Sandy Heath !

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Bob's 1 post GB
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