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Full Freeview on the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmitter

first published this on - UK Free TV
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The symbol shows the location of the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmitter which serves 1,870,000 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 Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) mast?

Sutton Coldfield transmitter - Sutton Coldfield transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 06/12/2021 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

Which Freeview channels does the Sutton Coldfield 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
C43 (650.0MHz)433mDTG-3200,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) West Midlands, 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 18 others

 H max
C46 (674.0MHz)433mDTG-3200,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV (SD) (Central (West micro region)), 4 Channel 4 (SD) Midlands ads, 5 Channel 5, 6 ITV 2, 10 ITV3, 13 E4, 14 Film4, 15 Channel 4 +1 Midlands ads, 18 More4, 26 ITV4, 30 E4 +1, 35 ITV +1 (Central west),

 H max
C40+ (626.2MHz)433mDTG-6200,000W
Channel icons
56 5SELECT, 101 BBC One HD (England no regional news), 102 BBC Two HD (England), 103 ITV HD (ITV Central West), 104 Channel 4 HD Midlands ads, 105 Channel 5 HD, 106 BBC Four HD, 109 BBC Three HD, 204 CBBC HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 1 others

 H max
C42 (642.0MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
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 Player, 211 Ketchup TV, 212 YAAAS!, plus 15 others

 H max
C45 (666.0MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
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 9 others

 H max
C39+ (618.2MHz)433mDTG-8200,000W
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, 91 Classic Hits, 235 Aljazeera English, plus 18 others

 H -13dB
C51 (714.0MHz)433mDTG-1210,000W
Channel icons
from 31st October 2014: 7 Big Centre TV,

 H -3.5dB
C55 (746.0MHz)433mDTG-689,200W
Channel icons

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
DTG-12 QSPK 8K 3/4 8.0Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
H/V: aerial position (horizontal or vertical)

Which BBC and ITV regional news can I watch from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter?

regional news image
BBC Midlands Today 2.9m homes 10.9%
from Birmingham B1 1RF, 15km south-southwest (200°)
to BBC West Midlands region - 66 masts.
regional news image
ITV Central News 2.9m homes 10.9%
from Birmingham B1 2JT, 15km south-southwest (201°)
to ITV Central (West) region - 65 masts.
All of lunch, weekend and 80% evening news is shared with Central (East)

Are there any self-help relays?

Burton (shobnall)Transposer1 km W Burton-on-Trent60 homes
CoalvilleTransposer18 km NW Leicester600 homes
SolihullTransposerLand Rover building400 homes

How will the Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1950s-80s1984-971997-981998-20112011-137 Mar 2018

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 7 Sep 11 and 21 Sep 11.

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

Analogue 1-4 1000kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB, BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-7dB) 200kW
com7(-10.5dB) 89.2kW
com8(-10.7dB) 86kW
LB(-20dB) 10kW
Mux 1*, Mux 2*, Mux A*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-21dB) 8kW

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Sutton Coldfield transmitter area

Feb 1956-Jul 1968Associated TeleVision†
Feb 1956-Jul 1968Associated British Corporation◊
Jul 1968-Dec 1981Associated TeleVision
Jan 1982-Feb 2004Central Independent 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. Sutton Coldfield 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.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

2:28 PM


An "interesting" area for Freeview reception is all I'll say to start !!

Just also to clear up any possible misunderstanding there maybe about SFNs from what you've said, they are not like old AM radio transmissions, nor are they analogue transmissions being repurposed. But you are correct in the remark about problems in fringe/overlap areas from two or more transmitters - that's the bit that could be thought of a similar to old AM transmissions, but this is supposedly minimised by the signals being "synchronised"! As far as equipment goes, it is (we think) the digital but pre-dso equipment being used in SOME instances to provide the COM78 transmissions. Not all that equipment was capable of being tuned to the new SFN channels (so some transmitters have lost them) and a lot of it has power limitations as well (we believe). So unless someone from Arqiva can educate us as to the exact facts, that's what we think from the gleanings we've made from the limited information available.

LCN113 is RT HD, I only asked because if you are getting it, you are getting COM7! QVC HD is on COM8.
I'll come back and post a bit about aerials later as right now I must get on with some things here.

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Chris.SE's 3,039 posts GB
6:44 PM

Chris.SE - I take it you use the word "interesting" the same way a Doctor would about an illness; rare, poorly understood and difficult to treat...

Anyway, just before you reply fully I wanted to say that C4+1 HD and 4Seven HD have both come back! And yes I was/am getting RT on 113, as you say a Com7 channel. I have no idea where they went to, I'm tempted to say it's a result of being in a difficult area but how come RT remained? I'll await your full response when you have the time.

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Roy's 18 posts GB
Sunday, 17 November 2019

2:55 AM

Hello Roy: You said you are currently using your old contract aerial outside, I take it looks something like https://www.aerialsandtv.….jpg and if it's always been pointed at Sutton Coldfield (& I hope still is - not moved in the wind) then I'd guess it was a Group B (got/had a yellow bung in the end) I'd also hope post 1995 and hopefully just got sufficient gain at it's top end for UHF 55&56. Do you have the two 4G filters in circuit at present, if so try taking one of them out and see how it affects performance/signal on 55&56.
I don't think I ever asked, are you using any amplification and/or distribution/splitters at all?

So why is it a "difficult" area - I don't know about rare, uncommon certainly but this won't be the only example, not really poorly understood - the reasons are known, difficult to treat ...... definitely. The reasons are that signals are reaching your area from 4 different transmitters (that doesn't mean they are all useable). Sutton Coldfield obviously but also Bilsdale, and much weaker Emley Moor and Sandy Heath & that's ignoring others that may come and go when there's a lift on (propagation). There's also that local transmitter that may be causing some very strong input to your TV's front end if you are close enough to it.

The way of cutting down on the unwanted signals is a highly direction aerial but here comes the difficulty, it needs very low side lobes, good cross-polarisation rejection, and a damned good front to back ratio, as well as good gain at 55 &56. The aerial that could have fitted that bill would have been a Log40 with the help of some masthead amplification, but these log40s have not been available in recent times. The "replacement" is the log36 but because of the in-built 4G filtering it's response at 55&56 drops off and it might just not have enough gain when the 55&56 signals aren't very strong.

The trouble with many of the other "highly" directional aerials is they can have some horrible side-lobes and not always good front to back ratios. A compromise might be a well made Yagi, a Group K looking like a better option from the gain & frequency response point of view but then again it may not be any better at not receiving the signals you don't want.
Do you know exactly what model your Group T aerial is? It might be ok (in the loft) with some amplification, but getting some idea of it's performance would be helpful.
Do you still have that Labgear LAB450T? Whilst it maybe a bacofoil aerial that doesn't matter in a loft. As well as trying tweaking the position of your group T, I think the 450T might be worth another try for comparison if nothing else.

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Chris.SE's 3,039 posts GB

12:16 PM


A correction to my previous post - it was late and I didn't have the checker open at the time I posted :o
I meant Belmont not Bilsdale (getting my B's mixed up - there's been retunes at Bilsdale recently) and I forgot about Waltham that can also come in quite strongly.

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Chris.SE's 3,039 posts GB
6:40 PM

Yes very like that one you link too. Old and basic. Likely to be post 1995, but wasn't bought by me so can't be sure. Can't easily make out the bung colour, but post 1995 and pre-Freeview makes it likely a typical analogue transmission era aerial.

After moving here I found most of my Freeview channels gone. Taking knowledgeable advice from another forum lead me to a signal booster (Vision V20-4260L 20dB Gold Plated Aerial Masthead Amplifier/Booster from Amazon) which did indeed bring the full set of Sutton Coldfield channels back. This remained fine until the Freeview rearrangements of the last year, when Ch55 & 56 became hit & miss and I complained to UK Freeview. They eventually sent out a contractor, I was expecting an aerial upgrade but instead they diagnosed 4G interference from a transmitter on a not hugely dissimilar angle to the Sutton Coldfield one. They put a filter up in the loft (marked Channel 60) before the booster (which they complimented as not the usual junk they see') and upon still finding 4G interference on their meter downstairs (which had a small built in TV screen), perhaps from poor coaxial able internally, they added another filter down before the PVR, this marked Channel 59. They said the old aerial was still pumping out what it should roughly in the middle of power range' (though this was post amplifier obviously) and was even picking up Waltham as well. The filters have largely fixed things until the latest round of transmitter meddling, or whatever you like to call it.

I no longer have any splitters, I removed these on the basis of the aforementioned Sheffield installer's site warning these made bad situations worse.

Yes the new cheap loft aerial I tried was a Labgear LAB450T, mostly chosen on the basis of many good reviews after loft installs. I agree its Bacofoil, not something I'd expect to last long outdoors and as the Sheffield site says the end mounting puts a hell of a strain on the pole. But if it had worked, the build quality indoors would not have mattered.

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Roy's 18 posts GB

7:05 PM


I presume you want Sutton Coldfield because you'd prefer Central West rather than East from Waltham?

Taking a "virtual" stroll around the area, it seems relatively flat, but some ground seems to be about 10m higher than others. But even in absolutely flat areas, the predictor was giving very variable results from one adjacent road to another !! I don't know if you happen to be at one of the slightly higher points.

Try taking that Ch.59 filter out and see what difference it makes to anything. Is it the same make/quality as the Ch.60 one?
For some stupid reason I was thinking your group T aerial was a different one from the LAB450T ! Did you try the LAB450T with your amplifier or without it and with or without filters?
As I think you probably know, RF and aerials can be a bit of a black art. I think it's a case of try this, try that, try a different position, even slightly off bearing, but my primary concern would be that Ch.59 filter, too close to 55/56 for my liking.

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Chris.SE's 3,039 posts GB
9:42 PM

Chris - Waltham is both more distant and less powerful than Sutton Coldfield (50kW vs 200kW per Mux) so I've never considered it an alternative, unless you disagree?

Yes I tried the Labgeat 450T both with and without the amplifier, it certainly needed the amp. I tried various combos but didn't get as far (but may yet) of pulling through some quality satellite cable to replace the run from loft to living room. I had assumed that the remaining 4G interference found by the installers despite a loft filter must mean the old coax was still letting signal in? I agree that a Ch59 filter is rather close to 55 & 56, given these things are a curve not a slot response. I will try without it and report back when I can.

I wouldn't say I'm elevated at all, fairly flat here and uncomfortably close to sea level, as the recent floods here have reminded everyone.

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Roy's 18 posts GB
Monday, 18 November 2019

12:28 AM


Double screened cable may certainly help reduce interference getting in via the downlead.

As far as transmitters go, if you are not fussy about which news region you get, you might want to give Waltham a try if predicted reception looks as good/nearly as good on the other/all channels.
When you go to look when you put your postcode in at Freeview | All your favourite TV shows, all in one place and all for free put your house number in as well in case it changes the prediction a bit. Scroll down the page and click "Detailed view".
Obviously figures in green boxes are good (the higher the better), orange boxes mean variable, red means poor and you'll possibly struggle to get a signal that's reliable.

Here's a trick you might want to try. Point your 450T at Waltham and see if you can get a reliable 55/56 signal from there (no filter at the top). If all multiplexes are reliable and news region isn't an issue, go for Waltham, it's only 2.5km further away IIRC never mind the power. BUT look at any predicted reception changes upto March/April next year. Without being able to look at your specific postcode, on the few random ones I've done, overall Sutton Coldfield seems better.
Now if the Waltham 55/56 is reliable and if the 55/56 signal on Sutton Coldfield is poor to non-existent (&/or can be clobbered with the C59 filter before the booster on you outside aerial), then you could think about combining the two using a low-loss (inductive) splitter in reverse. So no filter on the 450T unless it's giving an interference issue then try the C60 on it. If it's not needed you could put the C60 in series with the C59 on the Sutton aerial all other things being equal. (Note using a splitter in reverse only works with two different groups of channels in this way because each aerial can't get the same channels either because of filtering and/or different transmitters).

Leaving aside the above & any interference you may see on removing the C59 filter in your current setup, if the signal on 55&56 increases then I'd give At800 a ring (0808 13 13 800) and see what filters they actually do, and at worst get them to send you another C60 one if they don't do say a C61. Whether it's wise to mention you already have the C60 one, or just say they fitted this C59 one and it's clobbering your COMs 7&8 on 55&56, I don't know. You could play it by ear, as they say.

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Chris.SE's 3,039 posts GB
Sunday, 1 December 2019

8:49 PM


I don't know if you've spoken to At800, but they only do the Ch.59 & Ch.60 filters. The Ch.60 filter is a better filter with a sharper cut-off. The Ch.59 filter might reduce marginal C55&56 signals sufficiently to fall off the cliff-edge.
Any update on the situation?

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Chris.SE's 3,039 posts GB
Monday, 2 December 2019
7:35 PM

Chris.SE - Sorry for the delay, I was away for a while. I did try with the downstairs Ch59 filter removed but it didn't make a discernible difference in terms of the crude signal strength measure via TV channel tuning. I am still getting the Com7 & Com8 workably, generally 6/10. Not sure if the increased exposure to a 4G transmitter makes removal unwise in this case. I haven't tried pointing the unsuccessful loft bacofoil aerial at Waltham, it was no mean feat fitting in my loft space as it is but I will try when I get weekend at home and report back. It would be nice to know what the 'end game' is of all these clearances, i.e. if/when standard density channels will be abandoned to return space now slowly being taken for 5G, but I guess no one knows that.

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Roy's 18 posts GB
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