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<  Freeview, TopUp and TV  ~  4G interference or masthead amp issue?

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odie
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:43 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Dec 2006 Posts: 101 Location: Coventry, Transmitter: Sutton Coldfield.
Our Toppy started playing up a few days ago - unwatchable across all channels. I checked with Signal Monitor and it showed Strength to be approx 80% and Quality at zero. I got an old Freeview set top box out the loft to check, and that's also showing the same symptoms - 2/3 strength but zero quality.

We have a masthead amplifier (fitted 6 years ago) with power source in our lounge - if I switch that off the signal strength drops to nothing.

We're in Coventry, using the Sutton Coldfield transmitter. A few months ago we received a "Lets be clear at 800" filter due to the up coming 4G base stations in the area, so when we received it I placed it as requested between aerial and Toppy "RF In". I've tried swapping aerial leads, rooms (there's 4 feeds from the masthead amplifier), or removing the supplied 4G filter with no change.

Does this sound like 4G signal saturation, or a cabling / masthead amp issue? I've not found reports of actual issues from the 4G rollout, just discussions when they announced the free filter rollout.

Thanks,
Gary.

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ccs
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:59 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Oct 2007 Posts: 2537
I had a problem about 3 weeks using the Belmont transmitter, but it had cleared the following morning.

At about 22:00, picture quality started to deteriorate.

I ran signal monitor, and over a period of about 15 minutes, signal quality on all mux's fell to 0%, with signal strength remaining at 100%.

All I found was that 4G testing had recently started about 20 miles away.

There were no reported problems with the transmitter.

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odie
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:06 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Dec 2006 Posts: 101 Location: Coventry, Transmitter: Sutton Coldfield.
I think this started sometime during the day on Wednesday, and has continued since (it's now Friday evening).

Although we tried using the toppy to play back existing recordings, it started randomly rebooting, and then I remembered reading about issues with low signal, so it's now sitting with the power off. It had a PSU exchange with Andy a few weeks ago, so shouldn't be PSU causing reboots.

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MikB
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:46 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 23 Sep 2006 Posts: 285 Location: West Midlands
odie wrote:
We're in Coventry, using the Sutton Coldfield transmitter


Me too!

odie wrote:
A few months ago we received a "Lets be clear at 800" filter due to the up coming 4G base stations in the area


Me t... hey, we only got a bit of cardboard .... does that mean we're safe?

There has been a lot of "signal crashing" around the Belmont transmitter area, seen reports of trouble on uk.tech.digital-tv group. There was already doubt that the filters would work in areas where the 4G and TV signals are close (adjacent channels) but I don't think that's a problem here.

What was your signal strength/quality before? 100/100?

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odie
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:07 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Dec 2006 Posts: 101 Location: Coventry, Transmitter: Sutton Coldfield.
Quote:
What was your signal strength/quality before? 100/100?

I think it was more like 97-100/98-100 before. We weren't a solid 100/100 but usually no visible issues. I've recently (few weeks ago) noticed some little white boxes with aerials mounted to traffic lights just round the corner, and come to think of it there were a couple of engineers in the last week working on the cabinets at the bottom of the mobile masts (usual tall 3G style) at that junction too. May pop round to try and work out what those white boxes are!

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MikB
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:20 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 23 Sep 2006 Posts: 285 Location: West Midlands
odie wrote:
I think it was more like 97-100/98-100 before.


I think I'm right in saying that 4G interference wouldn't decrease the signal LEVEL (quality, yes!) -- it may INCREASE it, with all the extra lovely interfering signal and intermodulation with other signals. So you could have a masthead amp/power issue lurking.

What about immediate(ish) neighbours also on SC (watch out for people with North-East-facing aerials, they are on Waltham) -- have they had trouble?

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ryclark
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:20 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 10 Jul 2005 Posts: 1604 Location: Shropshire
Unfortunately if you have a mast head amp the 4G filter needs to go before it as the signal may overload the amp degrading the signal before it goes anywhere else. So I expect it needs an expensive man up a ladder to insert it. Don't suppose they tell you that in the instructions that come with the free filter. Sad

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odie
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:08 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Dec 2006 Posts: 101 Location: Coventry, Transmitter: Sutton Coldfield.
I've contacted at800 (http://at800.tv/) and their phone techy confirmed there was a 4G mast enabled on Thursday within 200m of our house.

They're sending out an engineer in a couple of days to investigate - and if it is 4G that's causing it, then they'll resolve it free of charge! If it's not 4G after all, then they'll advise on options.

I checked around the corner, the little white boxes mounted on the traffic lights say "Mesh4G" which (by the power of Google) are apparently for local bus / council service communications, rather than anything 4G phone related. As the crow flies, we are about 120m from the O2/Vodafone mobile phone base stations at that junction though - so good chance they're the ones causing the issue.

Perhaps I was wrong about the signal strength before - I can't quite remember since it's been a long time since I had reason to look. It was definitely not 100/100, but was good enough that we didn't see any issue most of the time (only occasionally getting problems).

Most houses just here have dishes or aerials pointing at the Allesley repeater transmitter, we're one of the few pointing at SC.

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noncom
Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:08 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 01 Sep 2006 Posts: 542
Anyone seen problems on Wrekin in the last couple of days? We're at a fair distance from that Transmitter (near Kidderminster) and yesterday morning all channels were unwatchable. By lunchtime it was OK again. All today, all channels have been unwatchable.

Signal Monitor shows Strength at 97-99% (as usual), but Quality between 0 and 60 on all 5 muxes.

I've swapped the Toppy to a spare, with no difference, and also plugged the aeriel directly into the back of the TV. Still the same.

Could this be 4G problems? Wrekin is not supposed to have any issues at the moment. It hasn't been particularly windy, and the aeriel itself still looks secure and pointing the right way.

Cheers
Andy

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