POOR television reception continues to plague Shoalhaven viewers but the local antenna installers can’t help.
Following a number of television reception complaints from viewers in parts of South Coast, particularly in the Shoalhaven, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) visited Nowra in January to investigate the issue.
ACMA’s investigation in Nowra and signal monitoring of the Knights Hill transmission indicated that the reception difficulties could be caused by phenomenon known as seasonal ducting.
A spokeswoman from the ACMA said ducting was an irregular form of radio wave propagation that can cause distant television transmissions to broadcast further and cause interference to local services operating on the same channels.
“Ducting occurs in many parts of Australia, predominately coastal regions, in the early evening during periods of hot weather, and is not unique to the Nowra region,” she said.
“In some localities, for short periods of time, co-channel ducting interference from Newcastle services can adversely affect the reception of Knights Hill services.
“Seasonal ducting or any intermittent transmission problem at the Knights Hill could also potentially affect the input feed of the Nowra North transmission site, causing reception difficulties to all viewers watching the Nowra North services.
“The ACMA will continue to monitor the level and quality of the signals from Knights Hill and, if necessary, consider further steps in consultation with the Department of Communications and relevant broadcasters,” she said.
While the poor reception is frustrating viewers it’s also making life difficult for local antenna installers.
Daniel Dean from Worrigee is run off his feet fielding calls from clients annoyed because they’re not able to get a decent picture, or any picture at all, on some stations.
He has been in the industry locally for about 15 years, knows which areas have reception problems due to geography and has a good idea of what causes most problems with TV reception in the Shoalhaven.
“I’m busy all the time but with this ducting problem I have had to change my voicemail, directing people to phone the ACMA. I know a few other installers have done the same thing,” he said.
“The ducting problem started to show up in that really hot week about a month ago. People were complaining about the issue of frequencies dropping out on channels Seven, Nine and Ten.
“At first we were going around testing things and thinking this can’t be right.
“Then other antenna guys called me and then I spoke to the ACMA and discovered it’s most likely ducting.
“People are getting pretty stressed about it. But I would urge them to be patient and remember many of the antenna installers are booked out,” he said.