UPDATE / Storm Barra is causing disruption to TV and radio services in the UK and Ireland, as storm force winds cut power supplies and affect transmitter structures.
During the afternoon, viewers in parts of North Yorkshire, Teesside and County Durham lost their Freeview TV service from the temporary mast at Bilsdale Quarry. TV services began to be restored after 2:30pm, but some services and DAB digital radio remained off-air for longer. Heavy snow and strong winds are affecting the transmitter site area.
In a statement, Arqiva said: “We are aware of a brief outage at the temporary Bilsdale Mast during the very powerful effects of Storm Barra; engineers have (2.50pm) now restored the service.”
It later confirmed a fast build up of ice on the mast led to the outage.
Over in Ireland, network operator 2rn has warned viewers that the free-to-air terrestrial TV service Saorview will be impacted due to power supply issues across its transmitter network. Engineers are on standby to resolve these issues. Viewers are advised not to retune if there’s a loss of signal.
Meanwhile, Freeview, FM and DAB relays in western England, Wales, northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also at risk of temporary interruptions in service where power supplies fail. A number of relays were already knocked off-air following the last storm (Arwen) as a result of power supply issues.
In addition to issues with the transmitter network, damage to aerials and dishes may also cause reception problems. Strong winds may cause aerials or dishes to be misaligned. During spells of heavy rain, satellite reception may deteriorate. Water ingress to cabling may also occur. In such instances, viewers will need to call an aerial installer for advice. Sky customers can contact Sky for assistance with their satellite set-up.
How can I tell if a reception problem is a broadcaster issue or an issue with my own installations?
In the UK:
- For Freeview users, you can check the status of your local transmitter via the BBC transmitter checker. Issues at major transmitters will also be reported on the Freeview website and its social media channels. If a fault is not reported, please check your own installation.
- For cable and satellite users, please contact your provider. However, long-term satellite reception issues are normally caused by issues with home installations damaged or misaligned in a storm.
In the Republic of Ireland:
- you can check the status of the transmitter network on Aertel page 169
- or the Saorview website, which includes updates from 2rn.