Why is TV Antenna Installation in Sydney so Difficult?
15 July 2018
It’s not! You just have to know about your specific area.
The team at Install My Antenna constantly have questions from our customers asking us why TV antenna installation in Sydney is so difficult. The answer is – it isn’t! The reason so many people (customers trying to do a ‘Do It Yourself’ installation, or other installation companies) have difficulties getting perfect digital TV reception in Sydney is due to Sydney having a number of unique characteristics across its vast land area. But once you are familiar with the various issues experienced in your local area, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you never experience TV pixelation again.
So Why is Sydney Different?
Sydney is huge! It has a total land area of 12,368 km². Although this isn’t the largest land area of a capital city in Australia (Brisbane has 15,826 km²), Sydney is not flat. It is mountainous, it is hilly, it has rivers everywhere, it has a large CBD full of highrises, it has huge metallic structures and it has long coastal stretches.
Unfortunately, for transmission of radio frequencies, like TV signals, that is not great news.
What are the Ideal Circumstances for TV Signals?
All radio frequency transmissions are ideally sent over short distances and in circumstances where there is line of sight between the antenna receiving the signal, and the antenna transmitting the signal. However, building TV transmission towers on every street corner of Sydney is just not practical!
Fortunately, TV signals in Australia are broadcast on low frequencies. Despite their names, VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radiowaves are very suitable for TV signals.
(For the tech lovers out there, VHF radiowaves are generally those broadcast in the range of 30 to 300 megahertz (MHz). And UHF radiowaves are generally those broadcast in the range of 300 megahertz (MHz) and 3 gigahertz (GHz))
Although low frequency radiowaves have lower capacity as compared to higher frequency ones, they are able to more easily penetrate through objects. They can penetrate through water (rain), some trees, and can even survive bouncing off large objects and mountains.
But the bottom line is – they don’t require line of sight! This is great news, as not many houses in Sydney (or Australia for that matter) have line of sight with their nearest TV transmission tower. Even from their rooftop!
What Frequencies Are Used For TV Antenna Installation in Sydney?
Like all other capital cities in Australia, Sydney has multiple TV transmission towers. To avoid reception issues caused by receiving competing signals on the same frequency, the TV transmission towers use a combination of VHF and UHF, depending on your specific local area.
However, this can also cause issues for DIY installers and inexperienced antenna installers, who get mixed up between using a VHF or UHF antenna. As a result, some use a ‘combination’ antenna. This is an antenna that receives both VHF and UHF signals. Sounds awesome, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, these antennas are normally more costly when compared to VHF only or UHF only antennas. Also, they can suffer from interference as they receive a wider range of channels and might try to pick up a distant VHF signal, even if you are in a UHF area. If you TV tuner then tunes in this very weak signal, it will result in pixelation on your TV!
Finally, these signals can be transmitted either horizontally or vertically (polarity). And that is why in some areas, you will see antennas that look like they are sitting on their side. That is all very normal – it just means they are pointing to a different transmitter than what you are used.
What Are The TV Reception Issues Experienced In Specific Areas of Sydney?
Sydney has so many pockets of ‘black hole’ or problem areas that experience TV reception problems. Below we have listed a few common issues to look out for and suburbs that are exposed to these issues.
Common issue(s): Neighbouring buildings are completely blocking line of sight to the main transmitter.
Potential solution: Change antenna (VHF or UHF) and realign the antenna to the correct transmitter. Alternatively, you may be able to apply for VAST.
Affected suburbs: Sydney CBD, Darlinghurst, Haymarket, The Rocks, Alexandria, Ultimo, Pyrmont, Glebe.
Common issue(s): Properties close to the coast are at a low height and are hidden behind the hills or steep streets. Another common issue is rusting of the antenna and/or the mast caused by salt in the onshore winds.
Potential solution: You may require a taller mast – sometimes you may even need up to a 50 foot mast! For the rust, ask us about our range of stainless steel antennas and stainless steel masts, unless you want to risk them falling off your roof!
Affected suburbs: Bondi, Vaucluse, Rose Bay, Woollahra, Bellevue Hill, Waverley, Dover Heights, North Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Randwick, Clovelly, Coogee, Maroubra, Malaba, Little Bay, La Perouse, Matraville.
Common issue(s): Sydney CBD buildings are blocking line of sight to the main transmitter or causing the TV signal to bounce around.
Potential solution: Change antenna (VHF or UHF) and realign the antenna to the correct transmitter. Alternatively, you may be able to realign the antenna so you are receiving the signal after it has bounced off a particular object or group of buildings.
Affected suburbs: Alexandria, Erskineville, Surry Hills, Newtown, Redfern, Rosebery, Eastlakes, Mascot, Botany, Tempe.
Common issue(s): Hills and ‘holes’ in TV signal reception are common in certain areas of St George.
Potential solution: You may require a high gain antenna and/or a TV signal booster in order to receive strong signal levels. Alternatively, if you are in a very bad signal area, you will need a taller mast or an application for VAST.
Affected suburbs: Bexley, Beverley Hills, Blakehurst, Brighton-le-sands, Hurstville, Kogarah, Kyle Bay, Lugarno, Sans Souci.
Common issue(s): You are starting to get a long way from the main Sydney transmitter. Premises in valleys may not receive good signal power and quality.
Potential solution: Adding a TV signal booster to the system may help, otherwise, you may need to install a tall mast. Also be mindful of proximity to the coast, and rusting metals. Alternatively, you might want to try a different transmitter.
Affected suburbs: Bangor, Burraneer, Caringbah, Cronulla, Gymea, Kirrawee, Miranda, Sutherland, Sylvania, Taren Point, Woronora, Yowie Bay.
Common issue(s): Not a bad signal area, depending on your individual premises or suburb.
Potential solution: If there is not enough signal power, a TV signal booster may be required.
Affected suburbs: Bankstown, Bass Hill, Campsie, Canterbury, Condell Park, Earlwood, East Hills, Kingsgrove, Milperra, Padstow, Panania, Punchbowl, Revesby, Sefton.
Common issue(s): You are starting to get a little further away from the main transmitter and so signal power may be an issue.
Potential solution: Consider aligning your antenna to a different transmitter if you are in a viable suburb, otherwise, a TV signal booster may help.
Affected suburbs: Ambarvale, Blair Athol, Campbelltown, Eagle Vale, Glenfield, Macarthur, Minto, Ruse.
Common issue(s): One of the best areas in Sydney. Make sure you don’t have too much signal as this can cause issues as well.
Potential solution: If you are having issues, it may be time to retire the old antenna as it may no longer be working up to specification.
Affected suburbs: Abbotsford, Annandale, Ashfield, Balmain, Cabarita, Concord, Croydon, Drummoyne, Five Dock, Forest Lodge, Glebe, Lilyfield, Petersham, Stanmore, Strathfield, Tempe.
Common issue(s): The new Liverpool CBD area has resulted in many new high rise buildings blocking TV signal.
Potential solution: You may need to try a different transmitter in the area.
Affected suburbs: Blacktown, Carlingford, Dundas, Eastwood, Epping, Fairfield, Lidcombe, Liverpool, Northmead, Parramatta, Penrith, Rydalmere, Telopea.
Hills Shire District
Common issue(s): It’s all in the name. This is a particularly hilly area of Sydney, and those contours may be hindering your TV reception.
Potential solution: Depending on the exact location, you may need a higher gain antenna, or a TV signal booster (with a filter attached) to increase the signal, whilst blocking out unwanted interference.
Affected suburbs: Annangrove, Asquith, Baulkham Hills, Beecroft, Bella Vista, Box Hill, Castle Hill, Cherrybrook, Glenhaven, Hornsby, Kellyville, North Rocks, Pennant Hills, Thornleigh, Wahroonga, Waitara.
Common issue(s): Another coastal region in Sydney. As with the Eastern Suburbs, properties close to the coast can be at a low height above sea level and may be hidden behind hills or steep streets. Another common issue is rusting of the antenna and/or the mast caused by salt in the onshore winds.
Potential solution: You may require a tall mast, hi gain antenna or a booster. It may even be best to try a different transmitter in certain suburbs. As for rusting, continue to monitor the antenna and the mount to ensure it remains safe.
Affected suburbs: Allambie Heights, Avalon, Balgowlah Heights, Balgowlah, Bayview, Bilgola, Brookvale, Church Point, Clontarf, Collaroy, Cromer, Curl Curl, Dee Why, Frenchs Forest, Freshwater, Manly, Mona Vale, Narrabeen, Newport, Palm Beach, Seaforth, Whale Beach.
Common issue(s): As you are close to the main transmitters, you may actually be directly underneath them. Believe it or not, this can be an issue.
Potential solution: You may want to try a different transmitter, or combine two antennas to ensure you get all channels.
Affected suburbs: Artarmon, Asquith, Berowra, Cammeray, Castle Cove, Castlecrag, Chatswood, Cremorne, Crows Nest, Gordon, Killara, Kirribilli, Lane Cove, Lavender Bay, Lindfield, McMahons Point, Middle Cove, Milsons Point, Mosman, Neutral Bay, Normanhurst, Pymble, Riverview, St Ives, St Leonards, Turramurra, Waitara, Warrawee, Waverton, Willoughby, Wollstonecraft.
How To Avoid Common Pitfalls With Your TV Antenna Installation in Sydney
Above all else, make sure you get an experienced TV antenna installation technician that is familiar with your local area. At Install My Antenna, we have ~20 technicians working across their local area of Sydney every day. Sometimes they don’t make it out of one suburb for the whole day!
And our most experienced technicians have been working in those areas for over 20 years! They know all the different transmissions around Sydney, they know all the issues experienced in their local area, and they know what works.
In other words, they are local experts! And remember, TV Antenna Installation in Sydney isn’t difficult, you just need to get the right help from a local expert.
If you are experiencing TV Reception issues in Sydney and are after a TV Antenna Installation Sydney wide, call the team at Install My Antenna on 1300 800 123 for a Free Onsite Quote for your TV Antenna Installation today!