Picture Break Up - Sutton Coldfield Transmitter

Hi,

Really struggling with an issue that has started in the last few weeks, I am tuned to the Sutton Coldfield transmitter. The aerial was only put up a few months ago and has been working fine until mid-January. The cabling is routed from the chimney mounted aerial, under the tiles and into the loft space. A splitter is fitted there and it runs down to the lounge and the back of the Humax HDR Fox T2. The reasons for the splitter is that when I get around to it I plan to run a cable into the bedroom. The cabling is all new Webro WF100.

It has been working without issue then for some reason it has recently started to have picture break up.

I watch 99.9% of my TV from recordings, the box's storage is almost full, only about 20GB of storage left though at times it has got to 0GB left, though it has been like this in the past and not had any issues (the reason I raise this point is that I read this as a possible cause while trying to find a solution)

I have done all the usual searches on the internet and still I am getting the issues having tried various things raised in the threads I have read.

What seems to happen is that the Quality goes from 100% to 0% or very low for a short period then springs back up to 100%.

I can't figure out a pattern for the time of the day, it seems to happen randomly. Likewise it seems to happen to all channels that I have had recordings done on.

The aerial doesn't seem to have moved at all and as I say 99% of the time it seems to work fine but just when you get to that crucial bit of a show it seems to break up and jump forward say 60 seconds, or it seems to break up and kind of be watchable but not really.

I am really getting frustrated by it as I can't seem to figure out a way to fix it and it is spoiling a lot of shows I have recorded, especially series that I record then watch all in one go only to find them breaking up and no longer being on catch up so just have to put up with missing bits.

I am going to try and get a different box from a friend, a non Humax box, and see if it is perhaps the box coming to the end of its life???

Any help or advice would be fantastic and very much appreciated!
 

Ezra Pound

Well-Known Member
As you are not using the splitter at the moment, I would remove it, at best you will get a 3dB loss from the splitter and possibly a lot more if the splitter is not making good connections, try temporarily replacing it with a straight coupler and make sure that coupler is making good connections to both of the co-ax plugs
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
Really struggling with an issue that has started in the last few weeks, I am tuned to the Sutton Coldfield transmitter. It has been working without issue then for some reason it has recently started to have picture break up.
So what is the signal strength (I think you are saying quality is 100% ) when working properly?
 
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Leonthefixer

Member
Thank you for your replies.

I will try removing the splitter and using a straight coupler, though it will be a few days until I can try that as I will need to borrow some ladders to get into the loft. I would have thought that if that were an issue though it would be causing the problem the whole time not just intermittently?

The signal Quality on all Channels is at 100% except during the break up when it drops right off from what I have seen when I have managed to catch it happening. It is hard to catch the signal break up as I watch most of my tv via recordings so become aware of it after the event and also it is sporadic, so you can be watching fine for an hour or more only for it to start breaking up.

The signal strength is as follows:

Channel = Without Booster > With Booster (after the splitter at the end of the cable run into the lounge, then a cable going from the booster into the Humax)

33 = 40% > 54%
39 = 48% > 69%
40 = 48% > 69%
42 = 48% > 67%
43 = 48% > 68%
45 = 48% > 68%
46 = 50% > 70%
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
Channel = Without Booster > With Booster (after the splitter at the end of the cable run into the lounge, then a cable going from the booster into the Humax)

33 = 40% > 54%
39 = 48% > 69%
40 = 48% > 69%
42 = 48% > 67%
43 = 48% > 68%
45 = 48% > 68%
46 = 50% > 70%
You didn't mention a booster before. Does the problem occur without the booster in the circuit? A signal strength of 40% ought to be enough (we worked with a strength below 30% for some years without significant problems).
 
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Leonthefixer

Member
Sorry my mistake - I forgot to mention it in my initial post.

When I first installed the aerial (I also forgot to state in the initial post that I did the install) I thought I would do without the signal booster as it seemed to get okay pictures. But I did notice some picture break up from time to time, much like I am now experiencing. So I thought I would try using a signal booster I already had. This seemed to solve the issue and has been working fine for the last few months until the picture break up of the last few weeks.

Sorry for missing out that information before hand.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Anyone using a microwave or power tools nearby coincident with the drop-outs? 4G overloading?
 
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Leonthefixer

Member
I live in a row of terraced houses, so can't be totally sure what the neighbours are doing but I am quite confident that the issues are happening when no other neighbours are in so microwaves are unlikely to be an issue. This had crossed my mind.

Power Tool usage is a no.

4G Overloading - not really sure how I could determine that? As far as I am aware we don't have 4G in our area yet, we barely have a normal mobile phone signal.
 
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Leonthefixer

Member
One idea I had was to run from the splitter in the loft a second cable down into the lounge to BT PVR box that I can borrow on the weekend. Then set both boxes up to record the same shows. Then watch my recordings and when I see break up on the Humax, switch to the BT box and see if that two has picture break up as I would have thought if it was the aerial/splitter it would break up on both boxes at the same time?
 

ian_j

Member
Yes, a few years ago we had our aerial blow down in the wind and the little cup with the connections on was soaking wet & the terminals were covered in rust..
 
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Leonthefixer

Member
Was that causing intermittent picture break up for you before it was blown down?

I guess the only way to see if that is the case is to take the aerial down and check it, I was very careful in how I routed the cable on the aerial to ensure any water ran away from the balun on the aerial and there was a good seal on it and it has drainage holes on the bottom should any water ingress. So I really hope that isn't the case.

I think I will make taking the aerial down the last thing I try as it is not a simple job and the weather at the moment isn't ideal for going up on the roof.
 

ian_j

Member
We did have breakup but we put it down to the aerial being on a long pole to get enough height to see the transmitter (bouncing about in the wind)

Since the new aerial has gone up we have had very little breakup even though the signal strength & signal quality are the same as before.
 
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Leonthefixer

Member
Can I ask if the new aerial is also on a long pole? As my aerial is on a long pole as the house is low down and I have witnessed it moving about in the wind but I didn't think it was excessive movement, but now you have mentioned it it is something I had not considered before. I will upload some photos of it tomorrow when it is daylight.
 

Trev

The Dumb One
What about where the cable goes under the tiles? Is this OK? Could it have worn through?
 
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Leonthefixer

Member
Where the cables go under the tiles should be fine, I can't be 100% sure until I get on the roof to check but the way I installed it there shouldn't be any issues as the cables run through a pipe so are protected and the cables are held in place on the tiles with wire clips.

Ian - how does that pole compare to your previous one where you had picture break up? Als does this new pole move about in the wind?

Many thanks.
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
Take the booster out. If you are going to put it anywhere, then it needs to go at the top of the cable, probably after the splitter in this case.
There is very little to be gained (if anything) by putting it at the bottom.
 
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