So, you had your aerial replaced only a couple of years ago, and yet in that time over the last few months you have been losing channels and on the channels that you have still got you get the typical picture fracture and freeze, indicating you have a signal problem. This is frustrating since the aerial should last more than a few years at the very least! And you’d be right.
Why do TV Aerials Fail after only a few years of being fitted?
OK, well this is not going to be a complete answer, yet it will go some of the way to explaining why many newly installed television antenna need replacing after only a few years. Also, this article doesn’t really relate to aerials fitted in lofts as they don’t get effected by the weather.
1. Poor Quality Antenna
Yes, this is probably one of the most common reasons for the need to replace an aerial after only a short period of time since its installation. The thing is, even if it was installed correctly and set up right, if the aerial itself is of a poor design or quality it is only a matter of time before the ravages of the brutal British weather will start to take its toll on it. And the way that antennas usually fail is 9 times out of 10 due to water ingress.
2. Badly Designed TV Aerial
You may be surprised at this one, and to be honest so was I at first, but once the same faults keep on appearing in the same pieces of equipment, it all points to a bad design. One of the most common faults is for water to get into the diode connecting to the coax cable that is kept within a weather proof plastic box on the aerial. See Image below of the RX12 TV Aerial (Poorly Designed in my opinion).
The problem is that these boxes are terrible at keeping the weather out. They maybe Ok for use on the continent where the weather is a lot less intense, and wet. But, for UK homes these type o TV aerial will often start to let water in within a few months and by the end of a year or two they’re completely ruined.
3. Poor TV Aerial Installation Work
So, this one I come across somewhat less than the other two reasons, yet when I do see an amateurish installation it makes me cringe. The reason I don’t see too many of these kind of aerial installations is due to the nature of where the antenna needs to be fitted, usually on a chimney. Due to this is has usually been put up by a roofer or another construction worker because they were working on the roof or re-pointing the chimney stack. In cases like that the roofer will often times attempt to fit the original or a new aerial to the chimney if required to at the time.
The problem comes if the connections are not fitted correctly and with water tight seals. Too often than not water will find its way into an aerial if any of the connections are exposed to the weather.
What Kind of TV Aerials will last a Very Long Time
In my experience and after many years of using various types and make of aerial I now only use the ‘Log Periodic’ television aerial, since they are excellent at bringing in a quality signal, but they are built to withstand the British weather. The coaxial cable connects via an F-plug connector within a weatherproof sheath, and in the years I’ve been fitting these I have never had a call out saying that the aerial is failing, not even one!! See image below of the Log Periodic Digital TV Aerial which we fit.
Also, to avoid having to replace your aerial every few years it is best to call a professional local aerial fitter from the Stoke on Trent Area Click Here since he will know the best transmitter to point to, the problems with any local 4G interference and more likely than not provide you with a warranty in case of any problems in the future.
Ever noticed why some houses have 3 or 4 TV aerials on the roof, and others have only 1? Yet, within the homes with only one digital television aerial, there are a number of rooms that are feed by the single TV Aerial. Why is this, and which is the best set up for having multiple rooms in the home set up for Freeview TV? Well, to answer the first question as to why there are homes with multiple TV aerials on the property usually is because the additional aerials are put on after the original one had been fitted, and the home owner requested that another room in the home was fitted with a TV point. Many times, an aerial fitter will, rather than choose to put a simple signal splitter onto the coax cable and then run a new cable into the room, they will instead tell the customer that they need another antenna, since they can then charge much more for the service. In reality, the simple splitter is the best way to go if there is enough quality signal to split the signal.
The best practice for adding an additional aerial point to a room or rooms in the home is to employ an aerial splitter, either a passive one or an amplified version. With only one quality aerial on the property there is less likelihood of strong winds bringing down the mast with one aerial on as opposed to multiple antennas. Also, it looks much nicer and is aesthetically pleasing to have fewer antenna protruding off the chimney stack. With the use of say an amplified splitter, there are no end of how many TV points can be supplied equally with a good strong, quality signal. Think of it, with blocks of apartments, there is usually only one aerial feeding all of the flats in the block. Why can’t the same go for a domestic property? Well, it can and it is often a cost effective way of doing this rather than using an aerial for each point.
So, if you are looking to have fitted another TV point in your home or your looking for aerial installation work done & you would like a professional job doing, then think about us, give us a call and see how affordable it can be for you.…Read More
We were asked to install new aerial system for a small hotel in Stoke, so firstly we went down to take a look at the potential work needing to be carried out. The owner had recently taken over from the previous proprietor & was beginning a renovation of many of the rooms of which are let out weekly. Many of the previous guests had complained about the televisions having a poor reception, including problems such as missing channels, picture break up and loss of picture altogether. Brian, the new owner was keen to get this sorted for his new customers and was happy to hear of our suggestions.
Getting a full picture of existing aerial system
Before we set down the road of advising Brian of what was needed, firstly we really required a full picture of the aerial system existing within the property, and to see if a simple repair or reconfiguration would be all that was needed to get the aerial system up and running. After testing the aerial signals coming into the rooms of the hotel, we concluded that the cables were very old and from the outside a number of these had cracks in their sheaths, which was allowing water to enter. Also, since the signal to all of these was poor, we decided to do a little bit more investigation into the aerial system.
The next place to check was going to be the splitter that is where all of the cables should be going to. The splitter was actually a couple of devices conjoined together and rigged in such a way that made the carrying of signal to each of the rooms effective only if everything was working perfectly. One of the splitters was a powered amp, however, this was failing and passing virtually no signal, in fact there was less signal coming out than was going in so we knew this had to go. The signal coming in from the aerial itself was also very poor, so we needed to get on the roof and see what the problem with it was.
Bypassing the existing system and reasons why
It became pretty obvious once on the roof because the aerial bracket had broken away from the chimney breast and the aerial rig was lying in a gully. The aerial head itself was damaged, although if erected again on a new mast and bracket it could still work, but, it had been damaged enough that it would only be a matter of time before water would get in and completely wreck it. So, after concluding that certain cables needed replacing, the amp splitter needs replacing and re-configuring & that a new aerial rig needed erecting, we advised Brian that an aerial installation & a whole new system would be best since so many parts of the old system were knackered and with a completely new system we could also guarantee it for the lifetime of the equipment.
Carrying out the TV Aerial Installation to 12 TV Points
The first place to start is always the aerial itself, and to then work down, and that is what we did. We erected a 28 element log periodic TV Aerial for digital Freeview television. This was connected to a 6ft galvanised steel mast that was held by a galvanised steel bracket that was itself bolted to the chimney stack on the roof. The signal strength was measured at an average of 61db with a pass for signal quality on all the transponders. We then ran the coax cable that was connected to the aerial head into the loft space through a small whole under the eaves. The coax aerial cable was then connected to a 12 way amplified splitter that was plugged into a spare socket within the loft space.
The rest is very standard and basic work, since all it entailed was running the coax cable from out of the loft having first been connected to the amp, and then into each of the hotels’ bedrooms. Along the way we ripped out any old cable making sure not to damage anything whilst doing this. For some of the rooms we were able to utilise the existing holes vacated by the old cable, having been ripped out. Then, in other rooms, it required that we drilled new holes to bring in the new cable. Once all this was done, and each new cable had been terminated with a coax plug, we tested the signal for each room and was able to pass each one for signal strength & quality.
Sometimes if an aerial system has been left without being maintained for such a long time, there can be in some cases nothing that can be done for it. Repairs would be a more costly solution than to just rip out the old aerial system and to install a new one that can then be fully guaranteed. It would have been easier to have fit an aerial in the loft, but because of the poor signal received when we tried this we decide to fit an externally mounted aerial instead to pick up the most of the signal available. To see more about the difference between loft aerials & external go to our post.…Read More
When it comes to repairing a faulty aerial most people will have left it way too late for any significant work to be effective. For instance, a homeowner will suddenly notice water dripping out of the end of the coax cable. At that point, they think about repairing the aerial system, only to find out that the whole system has been ruined by getting water in both the aerial head and also in the cable. They will have noticed that the previous to water dripping out of the coax plug, the picture started to break up from time to time & that on occasion they would lose the BBC channels altogether. However, it would then right itself and they would forget that there had been a problem until it happens again. It is at that point that should be looking at getting in a professional to check over the aerial system and find out what is behind the signal problem. In most cases in our opinion it is usually too late to carry out any kind of repair, simply because people leave it until there is either water coming out of the aerial cable or they have lost the signal altogether.
How to repair a TV amplifier
The sub title is sort of a trick since usually there is no cost effective way to repair a signal booster. They are usually sealed units and unless you are pretty skilled at repairing small electrical circuits then repairing one would be a no no. However, it is worth understanding how to tell if the amp has failed or if it is something else. Quite often over the years in which I have worked for TV Aerials Stoke I would go to call outs where the customer has replaced an amplifier thinking that this was the problem. Unfortunately, after replacing the aerial amplifier with a new one, the problem hadn’t been fixed, and they had just wasted their money on replacing a booster that wasn’t faulty. The only way to check is to be able to test the signal coming into the amp, and if the signal is good, then test the signal coming out of the amps output connections, if they are poor, then it points to the amp being faulty, if it is good, it tells you that the problem is further down the cable, and could be the cable itself.
When to throw away and start again
Digital TV Aerials are inherently flimsy and unless it is a very good quality make it, so if it has been damaged by the wind or has got water in it then there isn’t much to be done with it that will repair it. With these pieces of equipment it is best to invest in good quality and a professional aerial installation to begin with. If you are thinking of getting an aerial installation, but wasn’t sure whether to go for a loft aerial or one fitted externally to the chimney, see my recent post on the subject. When a good quality aerial and cable is used along with any other pieces of equipment, then the likely hood of the aerial system lasting a very long time are highly likely. It is worth the extra money to get it done right and to invest in this service since it will lead to trouble free viewing for many years to come.…Read More
Aerial Installation for the loft or outside.
There are many people who haven’t the foggiest idea of what kind of aerial is going to be best for the home. All that they want is to be able to watch uninterrupted television without the curse of the poor signal. Problems with poor signal can present itself as the television picture freezing, or the picture breaking up in to blocks followed by a loud screech. If you have ever had the misfortune of experiencing these problems, you will know exactly how annoying this problem is. If the problem of picture glitch has been occurring since having the digital aerial installed, then it points to one reason why this is happening. Assuming that the aerial has not been damaged, then it is likely that the antenna has been situated in the wrong position.
At TV Aerials Stoke we have notice that with the increase of new build properties popping up all over the place, there is a rise in the number of loft aerials being fitted. It is often due to the rule that in some new build sites it is encouraged to have an aerial installation in the loft, for the purposes of aesthetics rather than what is going to be best for the reception and function of the aerial. Is this the wrong thing to do? Well, it really does depend on the signal strength & quality being received within the loft space and also on the skill of the aerial fitter carrying out the aerial installation work.
Benefits of a TV Aerial Installation in a Loft
There are a few reasons why if it is possible, to have the TV aerial installed within the loft. As opposed to having an external antenna, the benefits of having a loft aerial are that it out of the way of the ravages of the UK weather. Wind and rain can take its toll on anything externally fitted, particularly if it requires a degree of electrical current. It also can expire that if a cheap quality aerial has been fitted externally, that the cheaper aerial will get water ingress and suffer a terminal failure shortly after this happens. Only quality aerials should be used for external use.
The loft aerial can get away with being of a cheaper make due to the fact that it will never be effected by bad weather and because of this will last for decades without failing. As long as it has been fitted correctly and is picking up a strong enough signal it will carry on working for a very long time.
Benefit of an externally fitted TV Aerial
As opposed to the antenna installed in the loft, the externally fitted aerial should be of a good make that has the quality of manufacture for it to be able to withstand the worst of the weather, year in and year out. There are plenty to choose from and a good quality, aerial even when externally fitted to a chimney, should keep operating for well over a decade. It is usually only old or cheaply made aerials that need to be replaced over time. The benefit of having an aerial installation on the chimney is that unlike in the loft, where you can lose up to 50% of the signal due to interference, the externally fitted antenna is able to pick up the strongest possible signal available in that particular location. This can work out cheaper in some cases, as it may mean that an amplified booster is not required, whereas it may often be needed to be used on a loft aerial.
Loft Aerials & Boosters
Due to the possible interference of the actual roof, a TV aerial installed within a loft can pick up 50% less of the signal that is actually being transmitted. This all depends on where the property is in relation to the TV transmitter, and also, whether there are other factors that are causing the reduced signal reception, such as trees. So if a loft aerial is what is wanted, & yet the signal is somewhat poor, the solution to the poor signal is to boost it using an amplifier design specifically for this purpose. It is important to measure both the signal strength and quality before installing the amp since, if the signal quality is very poor, there isn’t much chance that putting a booster on there will actually help. In most cases it will increase the signal strength but not the quality and the end result is still picture glitch on the television. If however, the signal is poor but the quality is yet good, then it is ideal for an amp to be fitted to boost the signal. If there is a spare power socket in the loft, then a setback amp is the kind to go for. If there is no power supply to use, then a mast head amplifier should be used.
Amplifiers used for externally installed aerials
As previously mentioned the setback amp is used when there is a power socket handy. The aerial coax will plug into the input of the amp, then the output feeds are taken for the number of aerial points in the home. If there is no power supply in the loft, or it is for an externally fitted aerial, then the amp to use is the mast head amplifier.
This is where the amplifier is design in two separate parts instead of one. The amplifier and splitter unit it fitted into a water proof box and is usually secured near the aerial itself, usually attaching to the base of the mast. All the aerial feeds for the TV points in the house are connected to this splitter device. The second part of the mast head amp is the separate power unit. This is usually plugged in to the power in most cases sitting behind one of the TV’s in the home. To get the power up to the amplifier on the base of the aerial mast, the power unit sends its charge up the coax cable directly into the amp. This charges the amp and it now boosts the signals being sent down each of the coax cables connected to the unit. This is a very reliable way of amplifying and externally mounted aerial or any aerial that is situated in a place with no power.
Aerial Fitters Best Practice
Which aerial installation is best really depends on the signal that can be received once the aerial is erected. One thing to keep in mind is to use professionally trained aerial fitters, preferable ones that are accredited by some trade body such as the Rdi or the CAI.…Read More