Freeview, FM and DAB reception problems likely


Current weather conditions may cause disruption to your Freeview, FM or DAB radio reception this week.

High pressure and the associated current situation in the troposphere is helping radio waves to travel further, in turn interfering with local signals using the same frequencies - so-called 'co-channel interference'. Forecasts indicate that the problem, which started to appear over the weekend, could affect more people as the week progresses.

The advice being given to viewers who experience picture blocking, or suddenly lose some or all Freeview channels is not to retune - as the channels should return on their own when conditions return to normal. Retuning could in this instance make matters worse - as it could allow the TV to store channels from normally weaker transmitters with the wrong regional news or channels from neighbouring countries, which in turn will require a further retune to rectify when conditions improve.

Viewers with YouView (BT TV, TalkTalk TV or Plusnet TV) are also liable to have some reception problems - channels in the number range 1-299 and 600-799 are delivered via Freeview.

On DAB, interfering signals may at times affect reception, and you may temporarily be able to tune in to stations from out of your local area, but things will return to normal when weather conditions change. On FM, stations from further afield may be audible above local stations, and you may see some new station names on your car radio RDS display.

While the problems are proving to be very irritating for many viewers and listeners, for some the current conditions are ideal for their hobby. Radio enthusiasts use such conditions to record and log the different stations they can receive and will go to great efforts to identify the weakest of signals coming in from abroad. The DX Info Centre website provides a forecast indicating when weather conditions are likely to be suitable for long distance reception.

Getting worse before it gets better
The DX Info Centre website forecasts that the tropospheric conditions currently affecting TV and radio reception will steadily get worse, peaking midweek. The Met Office reports that by the weekend, low pressure will begin to affect the UK's weather. This will make the weather more unsettled but will help restore TV and radio reception back to normal.

In Southern England, additional TV transmitters were set up at digital switchover to improve the robustness of TV reception. Where problems persist for longer periods, viewers along the South Coast may want to check with a local aerial installer if there's a better option for Freeview reception, especially if their aerial system hasn't changed since before switchover.

Satellite TV reception (Sky or Freesat) is not affected by these weather conditions.

Alternative - Stream live TV
You can also stream live TV channels via the BBC iPlayer (BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba and S4C), ITV Hub (ITV (1)-4, ITVBe, CITV), All4 (Channel 4's services). TVPlayer.com offers live streaming of many major free-to-air channels all in one place.


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