Ask LH: Why Is Channel 7 Reception So Bad?

Ask LH: Why Is Channel 7 Reception So Bad?

Hi Lifehacker, My TV works fine except for Channel 7 — the signal quality can drop for no apparent reason from 10 to 5 or even 3. This can happen at any time during the day but is most prevalent at night after 5pm. It’s been a real problem ever since we went digital. Any suggestions? Thanks, Seven Strikes

Dear SS,

Being a Blue Mountains man, I can relate to poor reception of individual channels — it’s an issue that’s plagued regional viewers since the dawn of the analogue era. As a kid, I missed out on most of the Angel/Shane saga on Home & Away due to crappy reception. It’s an emotional loss that I’ve never fully recovered from.

But I digress. Your televisual woes could be caused by a number of factors. Let’s look at these in turn and then discuss some possible solutions.

The reason you’re noticing it more now is probably because digital artifacts and audio dropouts are far more disruptive than old image noise. The most likely explanation is that your house is on the edge of a “digital cliff”, which is right on the perimeter of the signal for your area. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to encounter a problematically weak signal if you live more than 50km away from the nearest transmission tower. Naturally, your reception can also be hampered by large objects obstructing your external television antenna such as trees or mountains.

You can find out how far away the nearest transmission tower is by paying a visit to the Oz Digital TV website. This provides a comprehensive list of digital TV transmitter locations and frequencies within all Australian states and territories.

You mentioned that the reception tends to be worse at night — this suggests that tropospheric propagation could also be playing a role. This is an electromagnetic quirk caused by fluctuating temperatures at dusk. (i.e. — TV signals bounce off the boundary between warm and cooler air layers. At night, this boundary becomes less distinct, which results in a drop in reception quality.)

Your TV equipment could also be to blame. This is less likely when a single channel is affected, but stranger things have happened. Start by checking the coaxial cable connecting your TV to the antenna: is it old, frayed or tangled? If so, a replacement might be in order. Also reset and retune your television — use the Government’s myswitch website to ensure your channels are tuned into the correct frequencies. It also can’t hurt to experiment with light switches in your house — some LEDs are known to interfere with TV signals.

If all else fails, get a technician to take a look at your roof antenna, especially if it’s never been repaired/replaced before. People tend to assume that these things are impervious to damage despite being exposed to the elements 24/7.

You can find some additional tips in Digital Ready’s guide to tackling poor reception. If any readers have solutions of their own, please let SS know in the comments section below. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    • Also, if the antenna is from decades ago it is likely a sub-optimal design for digital TV as they moved the frequencies around a bit.

      • That’s what they told me, then couldn’t explain why my home made coat hanger and tin foil aerial I made performed better than their fancy ass digital aerial they had aligned to Moon or w/e

  • I’ve got the same problem. Channel 7 works fine in the lounge TV, but doesn’t work on the TV in the room. i’ve tried re-scanning all channels but the problem persists. I’ve got the same TV in both rooms. All other channels are fine.

    • Re-tuning does nothing, you only should need to retune if you move between regions where the broadcast freqs are different. However since you have 7 already, means that you have a bad connection between where it’s good and your other tv. Try wiggling the antenna cable at the plug/wall/tv, different cables, replace the in wall cable etc.

    • look at your digital tv and look at strength and quality indicators.. one will be lower than the other in the different TV’s/rooms.

      It may be there is interference on 1 and not the other.. it could be the plug.. the cable.. or the connection..

  • I think a lot of regional towns probably suffer from this.. For us it’s ABC and Nine..! Just had the frequency reshuffle too, but no change unfortunately. Tried complaining to the stations, but they just tell you it your problem not theirs, because they haven’t received enough complaints to warrant investigation..? 🙁
    BTW that “Oz Digital TV website” is out of date too..!

  • I have the same problem in Perth, Channel 7 and any other channels owned by 7 do not work when my antenna is positioned in a way that every other station works perfectly. My solution was to configure my TV to hide all of those channels as well as the other “quality” channels. why is it that we need so many infomercial channels?

  • Don’t be cheap with your antenna cable, grab a decent quality one with gold connectors and all that fancy stuff.

  • I live in Artarmon which has 2 local antennas – would i be right in thinking that the 7 fleet versus 10 etc use the different towers and thus the strength of the picture determined which channel and direction you were facing at that time ? you would have thought living within 1KM of the towers you’d get a decent picture. NOOOOoooooo ! one or the other and sometimes 10 went missing altogether.

  • Unfortunately I get perfect picture quality…it’s the program quality that sucks…. Sunrise, The Morning Show, Bringing Sexy Back …. anything with Grant Denyer.

    • I know it’s not a total solution but the ones in black and red are either shooting up or talking to lawyers, the ones with white and blue hoops are diving for free kicks, the red and blue are standing around watching their opponents play footy, the red and white are talking to their Bondi real estate agents, the black and white stripes are planning which limb to tattoo next, and the ones in gold and brown are just playing excellent football.

  • You could even try using it without an aerial. I have a coax cable going from DVR to wall, but found out i get perfect reception by unplugging it from wall and letting it dangle.

    Also don’t assume pointing it at the transmission tower will be better, I have another aerial pointed at the floor and away from the tower.

  • My channel Seven(s) turn to blocky crap whenever there’s a puff of wind or a hint of rain while all the other networks remain fine.

  • I have the same problem in inner west Melbourne with abc. It’s apparently pretty common in this area. I had assumed it was the buildings in the CBD blocking the signal but could it just be that shoddy old aerials are common here?

  • i live in a small country town called bellbrook 50 k west of kempsey nsw mountain area before the changeover i was getting 27 tv channels 5 radio all great reception now all channel 7 are complete crap one day they work perfect all day next day unwatchable it seems like we are going backwards instead of forward so get with it channel 7 we miss all of your crappy comercials

  • Like many other subscribers, I have transmission problems with all Channel 7 stations. I live in Perth but can’t find a local address to whom I can complain. Obviously, this network doesn’t give a hoot about its viewers or their viewing issues. Perhaps it’s time to start a class action and target 7’s advertisers, letting them know that we will no longer be watching this network until they pull finger, and actually address the problem. Just watch them leap into action if enough of us can attract the attention of their major sponsors and let them know we will no longer be supporting their station and its crappy programmes.
    What do you think? Worth a shot?

  • David,ive just spent half a day trying to re-tune 3 TVs been on the roof to check the antenna,turned everything off at the plug left off for 10 mins and re-tuned then lost channels 7 &9 .This all happened about a week ago and im in Perth

  • OK is anybody out their that might be able to give me some advise on what to do to fix my lose of channel 7 & 9 cheers

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