December 14th, 2011 at 06:59am
As part of the changeover to digital television, the southern Canberra suburbs of Conder and Banks will have analogue television switched off today. These two suburbs are, for the most part, unable to receive television transmissions from Tuggeranong Hill clearly and instead utilise a small relay transmitter at the back of Banks.
The transmitter, which is located within the compound of the water tank on the hill behind Orange Thorn Crescent, receives transmissions from Tuggeranong Hill and then retransmits them across the area which is in the shadow of Tuggeranong Hill. The transmitter site is not large enough to accommodate analogue and digital transmission equipment at the same time, so the analogue equipment has to be removed before the digital equipment can be installed. According to workmen who were on-site yesterday, this should take about a week.
Some residents in Conder and Banks are able to receive transmissions from Tuggeranong Hill, especially those which are closer to the relay station than to Tuggeranong Hill, as they are in an elevated position which is not in the shadow of the transmitter site. Others in the valley put their antennas on large polls to receive signals from Tuggeranong Hill. It is interesting looking at some parts of Banks and Conder and seeing almost every house have an antenna which is pointing in a different direction to the antenna of their neighbour, especially in areas where reception from the Banks Water Tank would be clearer but people have gone to the extra effort to try and receive digital signals from Tuggeranong Hill. The people who use the Banks transmitter may very well decide to try and get a signal off Tuggeranong Hill when they turn on their TV this evening and find that they are no longer receiving a signal.
By the middle of next week, when the upgrades at the Banks transmitter site are completed, digital television reception in Conder and Banks should be greatly improved.
The rest of Canberra is due to have analogue television switched off on the 5th of June next year and will not have to do without television when that happens, as the rest of Canberra’s transmitter sites are large enough to accomodate analogue and digital transmission equipment at the same time, and have been running the services in parallel for a number of years.