Merewether Transmitter

Merewether Digital Television Transmission Upgrade Information

The greater Newcastle area is currently serviced by three transmission sites to provide digital free-to-air television coverage to the viewers. These three sites all transmit using the same frequency for each broadcaster in what is called a Single Frequency Network (SFN). These sites all carry the same services and channel information for each broadcaster.

The sites current locations are: -

Mt. Sugarloaf

The main site for Newcastle is located near West Wallsend. This is a high power site and serves most of the wider Newcastle Area

Cooks Hill

This site is located at the NBN Studios in Cooks Hill and is designed to serve viewers in the Merewether Area


This site is located on the Water Tower at Charlestown and is designed to server viewers in the Kotara Area.

Map showing the locations of the three transmitters used in the Single Frequency Network (SFN) that covers the greater Newcastle area

These three sites all broadcast the same services and channels for all broadcasters. The digital receiver in your home is able to decode the correct signal based on the level present that is received from the antenna on your roof. Below is a table showing the frequencies that each broadcaster uses at each site in the single frequency network.

The Frequencies above are what your receiver uses to tune to each broadcaster, which is usually done automatically by your Television. After tuning each broadcaster then has a group of services available that are transmitted on their digital channel. Each broadcaster uses a different number range to designate their channels. This channel number is called a Logical Channel Number or LCN for short.

Cooks Hill Site Changes

The current Cooks Hill site is located in the grounds of the NBN Television studio complex. This site has recently been sold and is going to be redeveloped. As a consequence of this the Merewether transmitter site has to be relocated. The new site chosen for this relocation is the current radio transmission site located at the top of Shepherds Hill, also known as Strzelecki lookout. This is an established site with numerous other users located here. The site was chosen as it is close to the existing Cooks Hill site and will cause minimal interruption to viewers who currently use the Cooks Hill site for their free-to-air reception. As it was also an established broadcasting site there was minimal aesthetic impact to the area with-out the need to build a new site to provide the free-to-air television services.

The new site at Shepherds Hill provides a similar coverage to the old site at Cooks Hill. View-ers should not notice any discernible change to their free-to-air reception. The signal levels available in the Single Frequency Network available from all three transmission sites is more then adequate enough to cover the entire greater Newcastle area. If however you do notice some problems with your reception after the change the best option is to consult with a professional antenna installer who can make any adjustments needed, or provide you with the best solution for optimising your free-to-air television reception.

Antenna Information

The most important part of getting trouble free reception is having the right antenna installed correctly. You will need a UHF antenna pointed towards the transmission site that is best for you with correct cabling into your house. This is essential for good signal quality which gives trouble free viewing. It is best to use an antenna installer who has local knowledge and can provide you with the best solution for your digital television reception needs. In some cases the site closest to you might not be the best site for you to use for your Free-To-Air reception. This may be due to buildings, trees, or the local terrain. An antenna installer is the best way to achieve the best signal results for your location. If your antenna is not pointed towards a transmission site you will not receive the signal correctly which will result in degraded reception and possibly picture and audio breakup, or no service at all.

For best results, an antenna like the one shown is recommended.

This type of antenna would be needed in areas of low signal strength.

This type of antenna is no longer needed in this area. This antenna was used in the analogue television days. It could now be causing problems with digital reception by picking up random interfering signals and degrading signal quality.

Indoor antennas are not the best idea for television reception. They are susceptible to interference from equipment and gadgets inside the house (e.g. mobile phone, refrigerator, etc) and the signal is usually blocked by the house. We do not recommend indoor antennas for digital television reception.

Hills and Trees

The UHF digital television signal can be upset by objects in its path that lie between the transmitter and your home. Hills and trees can pose a problem if they are close to your antenna. They can alter the signal, or in some cases completely block reception entirely. If you find yourself in this situation it is always a good idea to consult an antenna installer as they may have options available to you to improve your reception. You may have to move your antenna to a different part of the roof, increase the height of your antenna from your roofline, try a different type of antenna, try a different transmission site, or use amplifiers to find the maximum amount of signal possible to ensure a good quality signal for your receiver.

Reception Interferance

Digital Television signals can be interfered with by a number of different everyday factors than can degrade the viewing experience. Some of these factors are: -

  • Mobile Phone Towers—Due to the amount of mobile phone towers now installed, especially in population dense areas, the Mobile phone signals can interfere with your free-to-air reception, especially if your home is close to a tower.
  • Out of Area Signals—In certain weather conditions, especially during Summer, signals form outside of your area can be received by your antenna and interfere with your free-to-air reception. The symptoms can be minor breakup, to complete signal loss.
  • Localised Electrical Interference—Electrical devices within a home can sometimes emit radiation that interferes with you free-to-air signals. These devices can be anything, but more often are devices that use an electrical motor

In all of these cases the best option is to consult with a professional antenna installer who can diagnose the situation within your home and provide the best advice to optismise your free-to-air television reception.




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