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Derby region-corrector TV relay on the move

A Freeview relay transmitter which primarily provides a correct regional service for parts of the East Midlands city is on the move.

The Derby relay offers some households in the area the option to switch to East Midlands local news on BBC One and ITV, instead of the West Midlands-based service that is widely available.

But the relay at the site of the former Derbyshire Fire and Rescue HQ on Burton Road, Littleover has got to move. Following the decision to merge Fire, Rescue and Police HQs in Derbyshire, the site has been sold for development and that affects the mast, which has provided both mobile and TV coverage in the area.

Once completed, the Derby relay will be located on the roof of the nearby Royal Derby Hospital, around 800 metres to the north. The new location is on the northern side of the ridge that Burton Road is on, so coverage over to the southern side of the ridge will be reduced.

According to BBC Reception Advice, engineering work to facilitate the move takes place on the 8th August 2018 and 22nd August 2018 and will result in some households losing reception as the transmitter is taken offline. Engineering work is weather dependant.

No retune
No frequencies are being changed at this point in time (although a change is planned for early 2020), so affected viewers should regain access to channels without retuning once the transmitter is back on-air in its new location.

The official Freeview and Digital UK coverage checker hasn't yet been updated to reflect changes in coverage and location of the transmitter.

Households in the area who have aerials pointing east south-eastwards and who receive the East Midlands TV service are not affected: they are receiving their signal from the main regional TV transmitter at Waltham in Leicestershire.

The new home for the relay is almost 800 metres NNW of the current site (Google Maps)

Local topography affects which regional service you can receive in Derby. Many areas can only receive the West Midlands TV service, despite being firmly in the East Midlands.

Most users of the Derby relay are located to the north-east of the site. Viewers in a line running north-eastwards from the site including parts of the city centre, who have their aerials pointing towards Sutton Coldfield (W Mids) for their TV service can also receive Derby's signals, due to being in the same or similar direction. This means that in addition to the West Midlands regional service, East Midlands TV is also available. Being a region-correcting relay, only a limited number of services have historically been broadcast from Derby; following digital switchover these are the multiplexes that carry BBC East Midlands and ITV Central, plus the HD variants, although these don't currently carry regional news for the East Midlands.

The signal from the Derby transmitter is directional, which means viewers immediately to the west and south-west, including most of Mickleover and Heatherton are out of range.

Due to the way Freeview receivers work, many in the coverage zone may find the main West Midlands service from channel 1, but the East Midlands service via Derby in the 800 channel range. Indeed many households may be unaware that this option exists.

Following the site switch, there won't be much of an excuse for the Royal Derby Hospital to continue offering BBC One West Midlands on TV sets within the complex...

(Updated to include second date issued by BBC Reception Advice. Timings determining the completion of the job are weather dependant.)