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OT - Amateur radio interference


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Righty then, I know there are a few amateur radioists on here so hopefully some of you have some helpful advice.

Recently, of an evening, the TV signal at my house has been very patchy. It blacks out all together for a couple of minutes then comes back good 'n' strong for a few minutes, repeatedly. If it was just me I'd turn the telly off and bugger off out to the workshop, but the wife likes her cooking programs.

Anyway, my next door neighbor but one has these two large vertical aerials fixed to the back of his house, and also some wire with a coily thing in it that runs the length of the garden. I'm no expert, but they look a bit like amateur radio type stuff. I can get a pic tomorrow to help clarify.

I suspect what might be happening is that when he (of possibly she) is transmitting, it wipes out the signal for my TV (just standard freeview). The house I lived in when growing up we had an amateur radioist next door and his activity used to wipe out the radio (didn't have a TV then).

Sound plausible?

If so, is there anything I can do about it? Like some kind of fancy shielding aerial I can get? Or just dress like a ninja and arm myself with some wire snips... :ph34r:

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If he/she is an amatuer radio enthusiast I would pop around and ask them if they think they might be causing the interference. Most Hams are usually very helpful people when you approach them politely. If it's not them they may be able to help you work out what is interfering and if it is them they will probably apologise and be embarrased that they caused a problem.

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Tell him/her straight away, but do it in a friendly way.

Almost always the receiving equipment (your tv installation) is at fault but there are mitigation techniques to solve most cases.

Its a bit like having a hole in a shed roof, during dry weather all is fine. As soon as it rains the water comes in.... its not the fault of the rain.

If your TV, its antenna and cable plus very often the connectors are not in very good condition they can be just like that leaky roof, his radio is the rain.

Make a note of what channel your watching and when the problem occurs and ask them if they were using the radio at the time.

He *should* be very proactive and help sort the problem but the initial contact can make it a nightmare to solve, emotions can run very high.... he's doing nothing wrong and you are having your personal space invaded by him.... gawd it can get nasty!

Thankfully modern tv receivers and the new tv system (freeview) are quite good these days so if its installed properly and your in areasonable signal area it should be straightforward to fix. Simple filters that plug in line with your antenna can often help the problem.

Edited by GW8IZR
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Continued..... can often help the problem but should be a last resort.

And I said "he is doing nothing wrong" that should have been PROBABLY doing nothing wrong, the privilege of having an amateur radio licence comes with the responsibility of not causing interference! Some forget that.

Edited by GW8IZR
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As the above. I as a Radio Amateur would be horrified if I was causing interference to someone. Sadly, I get loads of interference from everyone else, particularly Plasma TV's!

Most Hams are very professional about it and so long as you ask nicely (as it may well be nothing to do with him), he is likely to go the extra mile for you to help you (or him) fix the problem. I know I would without hesitation.

I once had a complaint (but a nice one) from the guy nextdoor (in my last house) and I explained that I only had a Receiver connected. If I'm not transmitting, the antenna might just as well be a washing line for all the interference it will cause! After a bit of investigation, it turned out to be the compressor in his freezer which was causing the problem! We ended up being friends and having a laugh about it!


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Thanks all - some top advice, as always.

Si - Good call on the electrical interference. I'd not thought of that. Next time it plays up I'll unplug the fridge and see what happens.

Tim - I read that too, but it seems to be 4G related, which hasn't found it's way down here yet. A retune didn't help.

Next time it plays up I'll pop round and introduce myself. Hopefully we can sort it out amicably between us.

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One thing that can cause problems with free view TV tuners is the auto setup.

If you can see more than one transponder and they are of adequate signal strength the TV will sometimes not pick the best one.

This can work fine but at certain times of the day when the path between the TV transmitter and your TV change ( many causes, not important to understand in this discussion)then the picture can break up.

Its worth identifying the correct transponder for your area and making sure your TV is using it.

Do you get additional copies of (for example) BBC 1 on channel 01 and channel 800?


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