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Freeview Signals Across the UK Set to Go Down This Week

Update 13.06.2023:

The Freeview website is once again re-issuing the warning to viewers that the continued heatwave could be causing interference. The high-pressure system is remaining strong, and keeping the atmosphere particularly turbulent for TV signals.

As per the original article advice, please refrain from re-tuning Freeview boxes on the off-chance they suffer from this disturbance and wind up losing channels! We recommend using a home aerial whenever possible, and not using smaller portable aerials while the pressure is in place.

The end of this week sees thunderstorms across areas of the South East, which can cause signal disturbance themselves! If you find a perfectly good and working device suddenly acting up, these reasons could very well be why.

Here's hoping the situation improves soon, and we'll keep a weather eye on the horizon.

Original Article:

Following a rise in high pressure weather systems and the inkling of another yearly heatwave, Freeview have issued a warning that many signals may be interfered with in transit, causing Freeview to be down for many viewers.

What is causing the outage and more importantly, what can we do about it?

Is Freeview Down?

This week (Commencing 22nd of May) Summer has really kicked off, which has made a lot of the population happy to start barbequing, picnicking and otherwise behaving with much frivolity.

Unfortunately for us still cooped up inside and wanting to binge some TV, the weather has an adverse effect on Freeview DTT signals. The very same air pressure and warm winds that make summer so appealing to many are wreaking havoc with Freeview signals!

This disruption is expected to last until the end of May.

Why Does The Weather Make Freeview Go Down?

DTT stands for Digital Terrestrial Television and is the network that provides us free-to-air TV channels across the UK. The channels are broadcast in electromagnetic waves and received through digital aerials, then that signal is decoded and put up on your screen!

The important part of this background science is that the Freeview TV channels we watch every day are transmitted through the air, that's how they get from the broadcasting centre to you at home.

The reason that high pressure weather systems and the start of the heatwave are affecting Freeview signals is this reliance on air. Electromagnetic waves propagate (travel) using the air and atmosphere.

When that air and atmosphere is disrupted by an event like a heatwave or high pressure system, then all the waves being carried through to air are also at risk. When the air currents are so fast, curved, and constant the Freeview TV signals are essentially caught up in the current and bent out of shape.

This is called "Refraction" and is the same effect as seeing light change angle when it hits water.

Put simply: The atmosphere is distorted by pressure and heat, so the waves travelling through that atmosphere can become distorted too.

How To Get Freeview Signal Back

In situations like these we cannot simply re-tune our Freeview box, as the scan it performs to re-tune would not have access to the Freeview channels that are being distorted!

So, if we can't retune, what can we do?

Unfortunately, there is not much we can do when the weather is the cause of the signal loss. You can try moving your portable aerial to a higher location or by a window, switching from a portable aerial to a home rooftop one, or using a more directional high gain aerial and pointing it directly at the transmitter.

These options maximise the chance of surviving electromagnetic waves getting through to you and giving you signal, however they do not stop the overall issue of high pressure and heat in the atmosphere.

The current advice is to not re-tune your box, and to instead wait until the end of May for the pressure / heat to have passed.

Good luck to all our avid Freeview fans who are left signal-less this week!

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