Freeview – final installment

The Freeview reception was so much better with a freeview box than with the computer, but it still wasn’t perfect. On very windy days we would get some signal drop out on TVNZ channels, but it was close enough to give us hope.

So, I started looking at the antenna again. The Freeview website said that our address had a high probability of getting reception with a high mounted aerial.The aerial was on the ridge line of our roof, but not the higher ridge line. We also had a VHF aerial diplexed in, and an amplifier behind the TV set. A last ditch plan was hatched!

Firstly, move the aerial from the lower ridge line to the higher ridge line, just 1 metre away, and just 600mm higher. Doesn’t sound a lot, but we have a steel roof, and a satellite dish close by, so we had to get some benefit from moving it. The aerial is a phased array antenna, which has a very broad pick up pattern, which we need as we don’t quite have line of site on the Baxter’s Knob mast, which is just a couple of km away, but about 30metres of hill between us and it.

It’s also a relatively low power transmitter, so we definitely need an amplifier. So I bought a Hill’s masthead amplifier, which I actually installed just underneath the mast, but in the loft, where I can get to it without putting my life at risk again and again! The amplifier also has a much higher gain than the set side amp, so the signal should be even better and with the bonus that all the other  possible TV locations have an amplified signal too.

As I use a splitter between the TV and the antenna, I had to get up to that, in a different loft space, and change it so the power from the set side amplifier power supply could actually go through to the antenna.

So all set up and tested for power reaching the antenna, I switched on the Freeview box and watched a bit of the usually weak TV One. Perfect, and has been for several hours. The acid test will come when we get a windy day. Just to see how good it was I let the Freeview box tune itself again, and while it was tuning I saw that the signal on one channel (51H – TVNZ) was up around 96% for strength and quality, and on the other channel around 80% on both. So it looks good!

So good, I tried the computer TV card next, where we have been getting pretty miserable TVNZ reception since the last lot of antenna work I did. So far, reception is perfect there also!

So a good result at last – a great looking antenna on the roof (I also removed the UHF antenna while I was up there), a powerful amplifier on the main cable, no horrible amplifier behind the TV, and what looks like very acceptable performance.

So do your worst TV companies, I am now totally ready for when you turn off the analogue TV signal, and I am not paying $20 per week for SKY! Now I just need to get a non CDMA phone, and I am ready for the 21st century.

About

Dave Glover is a director of Signs of Success Ltd. married to Lynn (the other director of SOS) with 3 grown up kids. We live in Whitby, in New Zealand. After 30+ years in IT as everything from Trainee Programmer to Project Manager, Dave now runs a Computer Maintenance and Sign Making shop near his home.

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