Some towns throughout the UK will have a dedicated TV Transmitter located very close to the town’s location. One town that has this is Kendal in Cumbria, which has recently been in the news because of the flooding. Kendal transmitter is actually a relay transmitter meaning it receives its transmission from the Main Mast at Winter Hill near Bolton. The Kendal Mast then repeats the signal on a different wavelength for the homes in and around the area. Why Kendal? Well with all radio transmissions, the signals struggle to get in any kind of valley or natural dip in the landscape and Kendal falls into that type of geography, since it is built-in a shallow valley.
Due to the town sitting in a valley the reception from winter hill or the relay near Lancaster is near impossible to pick up, hence a repeater transmitter was erected on one of the hills overlooking the whole of the town. Reception of digital TV is therefore very good, and quite often depending on location there is only need for a small TV Aerial Installation rather than a larger aerial. When looking at the TV Aerial Kendal it is noticeable that the aerials are mounted on their sides rather than set horizontally as aerials are when pointing towards a main transmitter such as the one at Winter Hill. This is because the Kendal transmitter is broadcasting a vertical polarized signal rather than a horizontally polarized signal. This helps to remove any kind of cross signal reception.
TV Aerials can be fitted in the loft space in many properties in Kendal, since the signal strength and quality is very good, to note, the reception is so good, a loft aerial can be split 4 ways in some cases with out the need for a powered distribution amp. In some cases, where the property is located very close to the transmitter, the digital aerial needs to be installed to face away from it, because of the problem of over signalling. Over signalling is where the TV Aerial gets way too much signal over 80db and the result on a TV is similar to that where the aerial receives a poor signal. Ensuring that an aerial is installed correctly would usually require the services of aerial fitters used to installations for aerials Kendal.
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Where is the best place to split an aerial signal? On Many occasions and aerial can be split at the point at where it comes into the room, but this is not a recommend to do this as there would need to be a very strong signal coming in and it must have good signal quality. The proper way to split an aerial signal is to split it near the aerial head itself and to use a purpose made aerial splitter. However there are a few things to take into consideration before splitting the signal from the aerial and that is the signal quality and strength. To check both a signals strength and quality will require using an expensive piece of equipment such as a spectrum analyzer. The analyzer in the hands of a professional will display both strength and quality of a signal, giving the experienced aerial installer the info he requires to make the decision of whether to use a passive splitter or an amplified splitter or amp.
If the signal is both strong with good quality and low interference then a passive splitter may be used depending of course on how many TV points the signal is being split to, too many and the signal will require a boost from an amplifier so either a setback amp or a mast-head amplifier would be used. This would ensure that an even signal strength and quality would be sent to every TV socket. If the signal is strong and good cable is being used, then a passive splitter may do the job without the need for amplification.
If a signal is not strong enough to split more than a couple of times, then what is required if it needs to be split more than twice is an amplifier. There are a couple of amps used when it comes to the digital aerial signal, the mast-head amp and the set back amp. The set back amp usually comes with between 2 – 12 ports ready for the coax cable to be connected. It is usually installed in the loft near to a power point or plug socket which is where it gets its power from. If however there is no plug socket in the loft and no suitable place for the amp to go, it would then fall to the mast-head amp to come into play. The mast-head amp comes in 2 parts; 1. the power unit, 2. the splitter. The splitter unit is normally fitted at the base of the mast, the power unit is located at the end of one of the aerial points that is located near a power point. The unit is plugged in and it sends the power up the coax cable to the splitter box located at the base of the mast. This then powers up the splitter and boosts the signal strength and quality for all of the aerial feeds.
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What some potential customers want to know before going any further with the conversation to an aerial fitter is how much does an aerial installation cost? In response to the question there is a number of answers to that question, and the reason is it depends. It depends on how many TV points that particular aerial is going to feed, where the aerial is going to be situated, either in the loft or outside. If the lace where the aerial is going to go accessible or is it a hard to reach location. These variables will impact on the cost of a typical aerial installation, but having said that there are a range of average prices that can be discussed.
- Loft Aerial – If the digital aerial is required to be located in the loft space of a house, then the cost is between £120-£170 depending on how many points it is required to fit and if there requires an amplifier of some description.
- Aerial Mounted outside to feed 1 point – This is a basic aerial installation and has a price range of £90 – £140. Why the difference in price, is due to it being required at a later date to feed more than one TV point and in that case a splitter is used and left ready for more inputs to be connected.
- A TV Aerial Installation to 2 or more points – When installing a digital TV aerial to feed more than 1 point the price varies per point by between £40 – £60 on average, so there is the initial install of the aerial with splitter at £140 then there is the extra TV points to add so that would be an extra £50 on average from the second point onwards. If the signal is not strong enough for more tha a couple of points an amplifier is required and this will increase the price depending on where the amp is located and the type that is required.
All other variables that could be an issue would need the customer to call up an aerial fitter and talk though the set up and install over the phone with the engineer giving an estimate for the householder to go off. Having an idea of price and guarantee will help the customer to come to an informed decision.
When it comes to free to air Television platforms it falls to 2 main players, Freeview & Freesat. Both offer a wide range of channels such as the BBC’s ITV’s Channel 4 group including film 4, and the channel 5 group, plus lots of other less popular channels such as dave drama channel etc. There are plenty of them to go at including the HD channels which are also free for the Main 4 channel providers. So, the question is which platform is best to go for? Well since the program choice is pretty similar, the question is does it matter which television platform to go for? It depends really on a few factors, such as location, existing equipment & budget.
There are a few different channels that freeview provide which Freesat do not, such as ‘Yesterday’ (a documentary channel), Drama, etc, but on the whole the selection is pretty much the same. The difference is in the way to receive the broadcasts. Freeview operates a terrestrial signal from a large earth based transmitter located with in a 5- 45 mile range from the receivers location, which is a digital TV Aerial Installation in either the loft space or mounted on a bracket on the roof. If the signal is strong enough it can be split a number of times to feed more than just the one room in the home. This is by far the most cost-effective way to getting Free to air TV into as many rooms in the house as is required.
With Freesat the signal is received via a small satellite dish the same that is used by Sky and the signal is the decoded by a set-top box receiver or by the tuner in a freesat TV. Apart from the being a small variation with the channels it is pretty much the same range of channels as Freeview. The up side is that if the house is in an area of poor signal quality from the nearest transmitter mast, the satellite dish will pick up the Freesat satellite signal wherever it is located in the UK. The downside to this system is that for every TV wanting Freesat either it’ll have to be one with a Freesat tuner or a separate receiver box is required. Also there is a limit to how many points come off a satellite dish, 8 being the most before it requires a multiswitch system, and that gets very costly. All in all, both these systems have merit, yet the Freeview pips it to the post simply because of the ability to scale up the system at very little cost compared to the satellite based system.
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Antennas were invented in late 19th century and have been in use since then. Their use and application has just increased with times. The basic purpose of an antenna is to exchange electromagnetic waves, be it receiving or transmitting. Without having the antennas our televisions or radio wouldn’t be able to receive signals from station and hence be unable to show up any stuff. There are a number of factors on which the transmission quality of signals depends upon like location of Antenna, quality of Antenna, orientation of the Antenna, weather. There are basically a couple of types of Antenna that we come across in our day to day life which are :
1. TV Antenna
2. Radio Antenna
The strength of the Antenna determines the number of channels it can relay. The below mentioned information will help understand the working of TV antennas & Radio Antennas.
Around the world the Antennas normally work on two frequencies i.e. Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF). Signals are transmitted at a frequency of 41MHz-240MHz in VHF Band and at 470MHz-60 MHz band worldwide. Different antennas have different designs. To respond to the different wavelengths they have a number of conductors of varied lengths and to relay the signal they require a tuner normally included with the TV set. Normally Antennas are of two types as mentioned below:
-Dipole Antenna: They use to come with the TV Sets and are installed indoors. They normally have two ears whose length can be increased or reduced to fine tune to receive signals. They have not been much popular as compared to the outdoor antennas because the signal receiving capacity is lesser than outdoor antennas.
-Outdoor Antenna: They Use to be bigger in size. The advantage of installing outdoor antenna is that they are more powerful and can receive more signals. They are normally installed on roof tops. The main disadvantage with these antennas is that they are bigger in size and require proper place to be installed at. The quality of the signals can be compromised in bad weather and strong winds. They tend to be a bit expensive as well compared to t he Di pole antennas.
One important factor for Antennas performance is the location of the antenna, if the location is relative to the transmitter it would work fine but farther the transmitter the weaker the signal would be. The orientation of the antenna is of crucial importance, a slight change in the orientation/direction of the antenna can cause it to lose the signal.
Radio Antennas work similarly on the lines of TV Antennas, the sole difference being radio waver into electric currents and vice versa. Just like a Television set, it consist of a receiver and a transmitter. The signals are transmitted when it applies radio currents on to antenna terminals which further radiate the energy as radio waves also referred to as electromagnetic waves. Its a simple process where a transmitter catches the signal and the receiver decodes it to amplify there on.