Wales Aerial Installer Newsletter
Moel y Parc Edition – October 09
Less than a month to the switchover in north-east Wales – are you ready?
Important information for installers and their customers to help make final preparations for the transition to digital TV in
the Moel y Parc transmitter group area.
Digital switchover (DSO) for the Moel y Parc transmitter group, serving the Transition period: 28 days
north-east Wales area, is on track. Switchover will happen in two stages on DSO Stage One DSO Stage Two
28 October and 25 November. Consumers may need guidance on accessing
the mix of analogue and digital services in the 28-day transition period, Wednesday Wednesday
after which all remaining analogue services will cease. 28 October 2009 25 November 2009
COM Mux power increase and UHF channel change on 2 December 2009
There is an additional step when transmission powers for the three commercial multiplexes from the Moel y Parc main
transmitter *increase on Wednesday 2 December 2009 with a UHF channel change. This requires the user to re-tune
their Freeview equipment for a third time. (*Arqiva B is the only one of the commercial muxes that will adopt its full
power on this date.)
The relay chains and switchover timings
The Moel y Parc transmitter group has 20 broadcaster relays. These are:
Bala, Betws yn Rhos, Cefn Mawr, Cerrig y Drudion, Corwen, Cyffylliog,
Glyn Ceiriog, Glyndyfrdwy, Llanarmon yn Ial, Llandderfel, Llanddulas, Llangernyw,
Llangollen, Llanuwchllyn, Pen y Banc, Penmaen Rhos, Pontfadog, Pwll Glas,
Storeton Wales and Wrexham Rhos. These operate in a chain as shown opposite.
There are no relay re-attributions within the Moel y Parc transmitter group.
Analogue relay closures
The Bagillt, Fflint and Holywell BBC One Wales and S4C analogue filler relays, designed
to serve the Deeside communities outside Moel y Parc coverage, are to close at DSO
and be replaced by the new Storeton (Wales) transmitter.
Analogue BBC One Wales at Bagillt, Fflint and Holywell will close the day before DSO
Stage 1 (27 October 2009). Analogue S4C at Bagillt, Fflint and Holywell will close the
day before DSO 2 (24 November 2009). The closures the day before switchover will
enable both Storeton Wales and Wrexham Rhos to be on-air the next day by 6am.
Storeton (Wales) - a new site at switchover
Storeton (Wales) is a new 3 mux transmitter at DSO to serve the area of Deeside with
Wales services. Prior to switchover, this area was served by Winter Hill, with the filler
relays Bagillt, Fflint and Holywell providing BBC One Wales and S4C limited coverage
into the area. As Bagillt, Fflint and Holywell required a second aerial and had limited
coverage, take up was low.
At switchover, households in this area will be able to receive Wales services from Storeton (Wales) using their existing aerial
pointed at Winter Hill, as Storeton (Wales) is in line with Winter Hill. As a result, households in this area will receive 9
muxes: 3 PSB Granada (from Winter Hill), 3 PSB Wales (from Storeton (Wales)) and the 3 COM muxes (from Winter Hill).
They will be able to receive different regional services such as BBC One Wales and BBC One North West.
Cefn Mawr B
Cefn Mawr B carries analogue BBC One, BBC Two, ITV and S4C and closes at DSO. It is to be replaced by Cefn Mawr as its
coverage increases to include the area previously served by Cefn Mawr B. At Cefn Mawr B, BBC Two will be switched off at
DSO 1 and BBC One, ITV1 and S4C at DSO 2.
Cefn Du is solely a filler link transmitter and not watched by anyone. Its only purpose is to feed Conway, which is being fully
re-attributed to Llanddona at DSo. As it is no-longer required, it does not switch to digital and will be off-air at 6am as of
18 November 2009, i.e. a week before the Moel y Parc DSO.
There are two self-helps in the Moel y Parc transmitter group, Gwyddelwern and Ll-Glyn-Myfyr, the owners of which have
not yet applied for a digital licence.
All masts switch on the same day - but at different times:
What happens on Wednesday 28 October?
Just after midnight, the switchover process for the Moel y Parc transmitter group will start:
• At around midnight, analogue BBC Two ceases broadcasting permanently at all transmitters in the Moel y Parc group
• At Moel y Parc the low power Multiplex (Mux) 1 will be switched off permanently.
• Other services will be subject to interruption until daytime.
• Analogue channel moves will take place at Llangollen and Glyn Ceirgog relays as below.
• Low powered existing DTT muxes remain on air at Moel y Parc (Muxes 2, A, B, C & D.)
• At all transmitters, the new BBC-A mux (replaces Mux 1) is launched at full DSO power in 64 QAM/8K COFDM mode,
- Bagillt, Fflint and Holywell which continues to run S4C analogue until DSO Stage 2 when they then close fully.
- Cefn-Mawr B, which continues to run BBC One, ITV1 and S4C until DSO Stage 2 when it closes fully.
During the morning, analogue services (BBC One, ITV1 and Channel 4) are restored, and some Freeview channels will be
available from relays for the first time (BBC Two digital, and the other BBC digital channels).
Analogue Channel Swaps within the Moel y Parc Transmitter Group:
At DSO1, for Llangollen and Glyn Ceirog relays BBC One will move to the old analogue BBC Two channel /slot – for the
length of the transition period, until switched off permanently on 25 November. This means that BBC One will appear on
button “2” on analogue TVs and video recorders unless consumers re-tune their products. Any existing advance timer
settings stored on a recorder for BBC Two will record BBC One programmes, unless the recorder is re-tuned.
DSO Stage 1: Target transmitter switch timings*
* These times and the order are subject to change due to events on the day.
On DSO days actual switchover timings can be found at www.digitaluk.co.uk/Moelyparcrelaytimes
MOEL Y PARC, Storeton (Wales), Wrexham Rhos, Penmaen Rhos, Bala, Corwen, Pontfadog, Cerrig y Drudion,
By 6am Llanuwchllyn, Llanarmon yn Ial, Llangernyw, Betws yn Rhos, Glyndyfrdwy, Llandderfel, Llanddulas,
Pwll Glas, Pen y Banc, Cyffylliog
By 9am Llangollen (Cefn-Mawr B: analogue BBC One will be restored by 09:00, but this site does not switch to digital)
By 10:30am Cefn-Mawr
By 12noon Glyn Ceiriog
All viewers will then need to install or re-tune Freeview TVs and boxes (including BT Vision or Top Up TV)
What happens on Wednesday 25 November?
• At around midnight, all analogue services and existing low powered digital services will be switched off and will
stop broadcasting permanently.
• At all transmitters, the BBC-A mux will remain on-air but be subject to switching breaks.
• Cefn-Mawr B is now permanently closed.
• During the morning, new (8K COFDM/64QAM) high power digital services are launched
- At all transmitters: the new PSB DSO muxes D3&4 and BBC B launch. Note that BBC-B will not display services,
having been cleared for the launch of Freeview HD services at a later date, yet to be confirmed.
- At Moel y Parc the new COM muxes SDN, Arqiva-A and Arqiva-B launch.
Technical event: Commercial mux power and UHF channel changes - 2 December 2009
o SDN (already at 64QAM) adopts the 8K mode and with increased power. It does not reach its final transmission
power until late 2011. .
o Arqiva A adopts 8K/64QAM mode, with increased power and moves to its final UHF channel. It adopts its final
transmission power in late 2011.
o Arqiva B adopts the 8K/64QAM mode, its final UHF channels and full power on 2 December 2009.
REMEMBER THESE COM MUX CHANGES REQUIRES THE USER TO MAKE ANOTHER RE-TUNE ON 2 DECEMBER 2009.
DSO Stage 2: Target transmitter switch timings*
* These times and the order are subject to possible change due to events on the day.
On DSO days actual switchover timings can be found at www.digitaluk.co.uk/Moelyparcrelaytimes
By 6am MOEL Y PARC, Wrexham Rhos, Bala, Pwll Glas, Glyndyfrdwy (Cefn-Mawr B is permanently closed by 06:00am)
By 9am Cefn Mawr, Corwen, Llandderfel, Llangollen, Storeton Wales, Penmaen Rhos, Llangernyw
By 12noon Betws yn Rhos, Llanarmon yn Lal, Cyffylliog, Cerrigydrudion, Pontfadog
By 3pm Pen y Banc, Llanuwchllyn, Llanddulas, Glyn Ceiriog
All viewers will then need to install or re-tune Freeview TVs and boxes (including BT Vision or Top Up TV.)
Consumers should wait for each stage to end the process before tuning or re-tuning.
Before the completion of switchover at each stage, channels may appear at different times. We advise that
consumers wait until the expected completion time for switchover at their transmitter on both dates, before
re- tuning their Freeview TV, box or recorder (including BT Vision and Top Up TV)
On screen messaging to Moel y Parc transmitter group homes started in April 2009. Captions run on analogue services
right through to switchover. In the two weeks running up to each switchover stage, messages will flag the loss of channels
if the viewer is not prepared for digital, and the need to tune or re-tune digital equipment.
At Moel y Parc, the public service muxes move into the analogue aerial group B. The commercial muxes do the same on 2
December 2009. At Cefn Mawr all muxes will be outside the analogue aerial group B and replacement group C/D aerials
may be required to ensure reliable reception. At all relay sites, all multiplexes will be within the analogue aerial group
from switchover. Consequently, in most cases existing aerials giving good analogue reception will also be fine for digital.
Households with supplementary aerials directed at the Bagillt, Flint or Holywell analogue 2-channel relays can remove
them from DSO stage two, as these transmitters are replaced by Storeton (Wales) and will close.
UHF Channel changes at Cefn Mawr, Llangollen and Wrexham Rhos will mean that communal systems will need to be re-
tuned at DSO Stage 1 and DSO Stage 2. UHF Channel changes at Moel y Parc on 2 December 2009 will also mean that
communal systems will need to be re-tuned. Channelised (fixed) and filtered systems will need to be upgraded or
replaced. Any system using Bagillt, Flint or Holywell will also need to be adjusted to receive from Storeton Wales.
Any system currently only receiving from Winter Hill may also be able to receive Welsh services from Storeton Wales if in
coverage and suitably adjusted.
2 and 5-mux Coverage
After switchover, the Moel y Parc transmitter will carry five multiplexes (muxes) offering around 40 standard definition
channels. All relays in the group will carry the new two public service muxes, providing around 15 standard definition
channels. The increased transmission powers will mean more viewers may be able to get five muxes from the Moel y Parc
mast if they chose to re-align or replace with a suitable aerial. In due course the BBC-B mux will launch with ‘Freeview HD.
The use of BBC-B means that all Freeview homes, be they on a primary or relay transmitter, will be able to receive the
future HD broadcasts, on dates yet to be confirmed , provided they have the necessary DVB-T2 based HD receiver.
Transmitter groups adjacent to the Moel y Parc transmitter group
Households in north-east Wales are most likely to be watching the
Moel y Parc transmitter group, or they could be watching the
Winter Hill, Sutton Coldfield, Long Mountain, Llanddona,
Storeton Wales or The Wrekin transmitter groups.
A note on Wrexham
The Wrexham area is well served by television, both analogue and
digital, but the “best” service from the viewers’ perspective comes
from transmitters outside Wales:
Winter Hill serves the majority of the area with analogue and digital,
but only provides English (Granada) services.
Some parts can receive analogue television from The Wrekin, but this
only provides English (Central) services. i s also the wrong Nation (Central).
A few parts can receive analogue television from Moel y Parc, which
provides Welsh services.
Wrexham also has its own analogue relay transmitter (Wrexham Rhos)
which provides good coverage of Welsh services to the town. Winter Hill
tends to be the transmitter of choice in the area because it carries Channel 4
Five and Freeview. The Wrexham relay is not widely used because it carries S4C, rather than Channel 4. This has given rise
to complaints of “poor” reception because Welsh digital services are not currently available. At switchover, the situation
improves through the conversion of the Wrexham relay to carry digital. This means that S4C, Channel 4 and Five will be
available to those who choose to access services from the relay transmitter. Viewers need only use Winter Hill if they wish
to access the commercial multiplexes. It will also be possible for viewers to access Welsh and Granada services, plus the full
range of channels carried on the commercial multiplexes, by the use of two aerials, one directed at Winter Hill, and the
other at the Wrexham relay. This gives more choice to Wrexham homes than will be available to many.
8K transmission mode and impact on 2K-only equipment
The move to 8K for all multiplexes is now agreed by Ofcom for the whole UK DSO programme. Any homes already receiving
signals from Moel y Parc and using legacy 2K-only equipment, (including old ONdigital and some very early Freeview
equipment without the digital tick logo) will find that it will stop working when the Moel y Parc transmitter group
commences switchover on 28 October 2009.
IMPORTANT: At the Moel y Parc DSO Stage 1 on 28 October, those with 2K-only equipment will only lose the BBC channels
served by Mux 1 as it closes and the new BBC–A mux starts at 8K. On 25 November, Muxes A, C and D move to the new
replacement SDN, Arqiva A and Arqiva B services but they do not adopt the 8K mode until 2 December 2009. It is then that
2K-only receivers will no longer deliver any services. Digital boxes will need to be replaced. 2K IDTV’s can display Freeview
services, but only with the addition of a current Freeview box or recorder carrying the digital tick logo.
See www.digitaluk.co.uk/2kequipment for the latest list of affected models. Retailers and installers should prepare their
helplines for calls from consumers that are affected.
Split NIT may re-emerge as an issue
Installers and retailers may receive calls about other old products (without the “digital tick” logo) that stop working. Some
were affected by the Freeview/broadcasters’ “Split NIT” network changes completed in August 2008 and fail when the
owner re-tunes the product. The majority of Split NIT models are expected to have been revealed through the recent S4C
and Freeview National Retune events. However, some may still emerge such as those in little used secondary locations or
through consumers buying secondhand models. See: www.digitaluk.co.uk/splitnit or www.freeview.co.uk for more
information on models affected.
Transmission power and reach increases radically at switchover. For the Moel y Parc main transmitter, the powers of the
3PSB muxes will increase twenty-fold to their final levels at switchover. The 3COM mux powers will increase between ten-
fold and forty-fold when they run at their final powers. The table below gives pre and post DSO transmission powers for
the Moel y Parc main mast.
The following table gives transmission powers for all relays in the Moel y Parc transmitter group from switchover.
Effective Radiated Powers (ERP) all 3PSB Muxes
500W 80W 50W 40W 28W 6.4W 6W 3W 2.5W 2W
Cyffylliog, Glyn Ceiriog, Glyndyfrdwy,
Llangernyw, Llangollen, Pen-y-Banc,
Amplifiers may need to be removed
With the transmission powers increases above, homes with aerial amplifiers could experience service loss or picture and
sound disturbances due to their DTT receiver’s tuner being overloaded. Those using old aerial amplifiers with poor filtering
could experience video/ audio synchronisation problems caused by the receiver trying to read noise as a DTT signal. Simply
removing the amplifiers should rectify both issues.
Prepare for increasing cases of overlapping signals
Installers should prepare for homes receiving signals from more than one mast, because DTT broadcasts from relays for the
first time and the move to higher power transmissions. The widespread use of wideband aerials could also produce
overlaps. This is particularly relevant where relays use UHF channels lower in the band than the main Moel y Parc mast. The
aerial may only be able to receive enough broadcast data to identify the channel in info banners, but not display video and
audio services. Until new products appear that offer assisted or auto re-tuning to allow users to handle storing of
duplicated or different regional channels simply, there are three main ways to set up products to display only the desired
• The manual re-tune procedure - you need to know the UHF Channels for each multiplex.
• Running a tuning search with aerial plug removed and then inserting just before the process gets to the wanted UHF
• Add an attenuator – to knock-out unwanted weak UHF channels. If removing the attenuator afterwards to maximise
signals, remember it will be needed again for future re-tunes.
Alternatively, for some products, “favourite” channels or “edit channels” settings can be used to reorganise services to
the user’s preferred order.
The re-tune challenge
At each stage of switchover, viewers will have to re-tune their equipment to pick up the new digital services. Further re-
tunes will be required when adjacent transmitters switch and again when new channels are introduced or change position
(e.g. S4C on 9 September and Freeview’s National Retune on 30 September.) This is the single most common issue that
causes viewers to contact helplines and retailers. Installers and their retailer partners are reminded to have sufficient staff
available and plan to handle re-tuning for customers not able to manage it themselves.
Some suggestions include:
• Explain re-tuning and its importance when you sell equipment.
• Offer chargeable “Home Help” options around switchover and ongoing.
• Have dedicated (temporary) staff to run an in-store “re-tune area”. This helps separate the customers wanting advice
from those wanting to buy.
• Tailor your answerphone message – direct those seeking advice to the Digital UK Call Centre.
• Know where other re-tuning advice is available:
Digital UK Re-tune Tools: To help consumers, Digital UK has created simple re-tune guides that are being included by
manufacturers in their UK DTT model packaging. These are also available on the Digital UK website for downloading
alongside generic guides ideal for retailers. There is also a manual search helpsheet for the more technical user, a webvideo
designed to reassure users and a drop down search area where full instruction manuals can be accessed for many models.
All can be accessed via www.digitaluk.co.uk/retune .
Re-tunes are not just for switchover
In addition to switchover dates, re-tuning can be required when services move, new ones are introduced or transmission
power increases. A good example of this is the Freeview National Retune that took place on the 30 September.
Encourage viewers to learn how to re-tune their Freeview TV, box or recorder. Re-tuning from time to time will ensure
they always have the latest services and best performance from their equipment.
UPDATE: FREEVIEW NATIONAL RE-TUNE – WEBSITE AND IVR TO CONTINUE
The 30 September National Retune led by Freeview and the public service broadcasters was not a switchover - the event
itself did not involve a move to 8K based high power transmissions, or muxes moving to 64QAM mode. Every UK home with
a Freeview TV or box (including BT Vision and Top Up TV recorders) needed to re-tune FROM LUNCHTIME on or after 30
September 2009 to continue to receive Channel Five and other services that moved from their previous multiplex location
to another. The retune paved the way for Five to become as widely available as the other terrestrial channels at digital
television switchover. Freeview homes that had already completed switchover also needed to re-tune. At the same time,
services vacated the BBC-B mux to help prepare for the future launch of Freeview HD.
The TV Re-tune website (www.tvretune.co.uk) will continue to run offering dedicated re-tune guides and full instruction
manuals for many popular models. The National Re-tune phone line (08456 05 11 22) will stay live as an automated
interactive voice response (IVR) service until further notice.
Look out for RF-connected equipment
Recent switchovers have revealed a significant number of cases where digital TV systems have been connected through
RF (radio frequency) modulators and coax cabling, rather than SCART AV inputs. Some viewers find that they miss some
services on a re-tune, because the recorder or Sky box is tuned in to the TV on the same or adjacent UHF channel, to that
of a digital multiplex.
Early TVs may not store all channels
Following Freeview’s latest network changes thare are now potentially more than 100 services for Freeview TVs, boxes,
and recorders to handle. There can be more than this, if homes also receive extra signals due to transmitter overlaps. The
National Retune event on 30 September revealed some older cathode ray tube Freeview TVs (many being 2K only models
that will cease to work at switchover) that cannot store one or two services due to memory constraints.
For some products, overair software updates were broadcast last year to reallocate memory in the model but some
homes missed these. Where no updates are available, the use of the “manual re-tune” and “favorites” options can enable
the consumer to select the channels they definitely want,and discard those they are not interested in.
Key tools on the Digital UK website.
The Digital UK postcode checker provides all relevant and accurate switchover information. It lists the transmitter a home
is likely to be using, aerial groups and UHF allocations pre and post DSO and services that can be received and all available
platforms to a home before, during and after switchover. Go to www.digitaluk.co.uk.
Digital UK planned engineering work web pages carry information on planned switchover related transmitter work at
www.digitaluk.co.uk/engineering_works. If you do not have Internet access when on the road, you can get the same
information by calling the Digital UK contact centre on 08456 50 50 50. One of our agents will check the postcode checker
or engineering work pages for you.
Digital UK is now piloting a trade helpline. It is designed to address switchover based transmission enquiries that the
Postcode Checker and engineering pages do not resolve. Having first checked these tools, Installers can call 0845 270
1708 and subject to answering a few status checks and accepting terms and conditions, a trade case number will be
allocated. You will then be transferred to the trade helpline. Usage is monitored and if the service is abused, we will
review whether we continue provision of this service.
Important things to remind your customers about include:
• Getting every TV and recorder in their home ready for switchover.
• Relays will not all switch at the same time.
• The need to re-tune digital equipment when new multiplexes or services are introduced.
o Be prepared for the three re-tunes required on 28 0ctober, 25 November and 2 December 2009.
Contact 08456 50 50 50 for any further guidance or assistance.