Free to air channels gone

Just out of interest, we live in the Gard (30) near Uzes, up to now have had perfect free to air channel reception on all channels. Approx a week and a half ago, tv started going a bit funny, yesterday morning everything gone. I’m hoping it’s just due to the weather as we have had such hot weather and then storms for the past 2 days.Has anyone else been having problems? I find it strange that we have totally lost every single channel.

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We are down in th Aude (11) near Limoux and the same thing is happening here extensively and across the whole region. A friend who works on satellite dishes, and who is inundated with phone calls at the moment, has tried to explain it to me so I will pass on what he says and hopefully it is not too wrong in my remembering! We have only been here 2 years so don’t have much personal history and our TV has been fine previously.

Apparently, each summer the signal down to this part of France is reduced. The direction that the signal is sent is also adjusted. It now gets sent to us in a pattern that looks rather like a spread hand, where down here we are where the fingers are. If you fall within one of the fingers your signal is good, if you are in a gap then there is nothing. Each year, the size of the fingers seem to be thinner and thus the gaps wider. In addition to the above, what signal there is will be affected by the weather. We all know we lose picture quality if it is raining heavily or very windy, but the biggest signal degradation comes from radiation when the weather is very hot, So we are pretty much getting hit all ways!

I am not sure whether installing a bigger dish is the answer, although I suspect that any advantage will be slight compared to the cost. I guess in this area we will just have to drink Blanquette and suffer. But perhaps not suffer so much that we decide French TV is the way to go! :slight_smile:

Thanks Dave for the explanation, sounds good to me. At least I’m not the only one. It did happen 2 yrs ago, we had no tv for the summer, came back from holiday and it was back perfectly. Yep…Blanquette sounds a good alternative and hopefully it will come back soon.

You could always watch french TV :laughing:

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Out of boredom this morning Mark…I did switch on the French TV via Orange and hahaha no signal lol…fault on the line :wink:

What satellite - I assume you mean UK “freesat” services on Astra 2E at 28.2°E in which case Uzes is quite a way out of the UK spotbeam.

Might be worth making sure that your dish/LNB has not moved, speaking of which, how big a dish are you using?

Mind you my wife reported loss of channels in Brittany at the end of May - a retune seemed to sort that, no idea what the actual problem was.

I’m not sure what you mean about hands & fingers - the spot pattern looks like this - more a sort of claw with one pincer reaching up past the Faroe islands.

Phil we are on astra 2A-B-D…up to now have had perfect reception…even all the channel 5’s which some people don’t get. I’m sure as Dave said it is the weather :slight_smile:

Splitting airs a little Astra 2A, 2B and 2D no longer transmit and the current satellites are 2E, 2F and 2G. Freesat is on Astra 2E having moved from 2D in 2014 (2E is the footprint above), some UK channels are on 2G as well.

Paul, out of curiousity when they they stop transmitting coz as I said up untill yesterday we were still receiving. Weirdly enough though this afternoon I recanned hoping something might have changed and I can find astra 2abd on the satellite list but now it is not on the tv if you understand what I’m saying…so what you are saying makes sense. Unfortuneatly…astra 2efg are not on the list !!! But if they moved in 2014…how can we still have been receiving ? Is free to air the same as freesat as we are free to air. Just trying to figure it all out…

Freesat is a convenient name for the UK free-to-air channels on Astra 2, so I think we are talking about the same service.

2D was taken out of commission in 2012 with the channels moving to 1N, then everything was moved back to 2E (same frequencies as 2D) in Feb 2014. The UK footprint was improved so that signals could be received over the whole of the UK with a 45cm dish - this also improved reception in Northern France but probably worsened it everywhere south of Brittany. E&G carry European signals with a footprint which covers most of the continent.

I think all the Astra2A channels had moved to the new satellites as of Feb 2014 & the old Astra 2A satellite was moved to a new orbital position in 2015

Astra 2B moved to the 19.2°E position (Astra 1) in Feb 2013.

All info from Wikipedia and - while I take an interest in most things technical it’s difficult to remember details for everything.

If your decoder is relatively old (i.e pre 2012, maybe later if it was already an older model when bought) it probably just knows about A, B & D and as long as it can see signals on the frequencies that it expects for those it will report those as what is transmitting. The new satellites use the same frequencies as the old ones.

Given that everything was working recently it is more likely that the problem is with your dish, LNB or cabling - which might just be normal ageing. Also if your system was installed when Astra 2D was transmitting with perhaps a 60cm - 90cm dish it is now probably going to be marginal with 2E. Digital signals suffer a “cliff edge” where reception can go from perfectly OK to nothing with only a very small change in signal at the critical point so it might have been just OK after the move to 2E and just a little reduction of the signal strength over time has got you to the point that it is dropping out. It is also weather and temperature dependant.

Do you have a reliable antenniste that you can get to look at the installation?

We live in Manche (Sud) about 60 km east of Mont St Michel. We have a four-year-old FreeSat decoder and have had no problems at all with reception. I don’t know anything about the technicalities but we have small south-facing satellite dish and a fairly high elevation in a fairly steep valley,

You live as close as possible to the UK, the OP is very much on the edge of the possible reception area. Down there the problems are quite different to the locations that receive a good strength signal.

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Thanks David, this forum is a very helpful resource in all sorts of ways, and it’s very interesting (with a touch of Schadenfreude) to see what problems other people face and how they cope with them: not just the technicalities but also the mental resources people find to survive and thrive. Inspirational. :male_detective::policeman::woman_student::woman_farmer::man_pilot::woman_mechanic::woman_singer:

There are reports of Astra 2E reception being possible in Spain so Uzes should be well within the realms of the possible and Jane’s system obviously did work so chances are it can be made to work again.

Now, at Peter’s location you almost certainly will get good reception using a standard Sky minidish, we have a 60cm dish in southern Brittany - at least it looks like a 60cm dish, the previous owner had it installed and I just got someone to aim it at 28.2E, and I get all the UK channels that are on Freesat.

For Uzes, looking at the few reception reports for that region you should be good with a dish in the 90-130cm range and a decent LNB and a view of the satellite unobstructed by local vegetation. However you are far enough off beam that an element of luck might well be needed. As I said your best bet is a local antenniste, preferably one with experience of getting UK channels.

Alternatively if Jane has decent internet an IPTV package such as FilmOn might be viable (there are other suppliers and quite a few threads on the forum on this topic).

Thanks everyone for your comments and help, really appreciated. My dish is approx 80-90cm…the decoder is quite new…approx 3 yrs old. Anyway have gone and lost everything now since doing a scan, just will not fimd astra 2abd at all now, is on the satellite list but won’t show up. Might try and manually add efg and see what happens…too technical for me now. Will have to get someone in as Paul suggested.

The footprint that you yourself posted shows the difference between the Channel coast and the Gard. I didn’t say that reception would be impossible in the south, just that the signal strength was very different in the two locations and that a weak signal brings its own problems. These are well documented.

We are dept 32 the Gers, SW France. We have a 1m20 dish which works well. The weather is a factor heavy rain will block the signal. We cannot get ITV HD that’s all. we also have a quad LNB which is running 2 tvs. one on a Sky box, paid for and one on Humax bos paid for, viewing free. Note we bought the big dish years ago for over wintering in Spain and Portugal.

I’m not totally following your point David - I think we are in agreement and I never said reception would be impossible but I did point out the difference between Normandy and the Gard and say that, being off beam you will need a larger dish.

I mostly posted the footprint in response to Dave Sheriton’s comment about the pattern which did not seem to correspond to the published footprints - unless he has been shown something very specific which takes account of local topography.

120cm sounds about right. ITV HD is actually on 2G at 11097MHz Vertical, do you get other 2G channels? (5USA being one) It doesn’t sound a great loss though if you get the standard definition ITV.

My point is simple. I was pointing out that the fact that one person found it straightforward to receive U.K. TV in Normandy was not relevant to someone in the Gard where the signal was much weaker. I never cast doubt on the fact that reception was possible in the south just that everything, dish size, dish tuning, state of LNB and cables had to be right as there is no room for error. The quality/condition of these items would be even more important farther south in Spain.

Yes we can get 5USA, although I have not looked lately. Yes we can get ITV as well so haven’t bothered about HD.