PAL Television

 What Is PAL TV ? DVD Video Symbol With PAL Format VHS PAL DVD PAL Most of us are used to seeing VHS PAL and DVD PAL labels on VHS cassettes or DVDs, but what does PAL  mean? It stands for Phase Alternating Line and is a technical term indicating the colour system that is used which applies to analogue Television signals. Back in the 1950s when black and white TV was king, RCA of America developed a colour Cathode Ray Tube which meant colour TV was on it's way! Colour TVs would be very expensive to begin with and so millions would still be watching black and white for a while until mass production brought prices down. So how do you send the colour signal to the privileged few who could afford colour without effecting those who had black and white? Luminance and Chroma The black and white TV signal is also called the Luminance signal and is used to drive the CRT in varying intensity depending on the picture. You would need to keep this signal so that those with black and white TVs

DIY TV Aerial


Make an Aerial Cheap and Quick

Have you moved into a new place and found that the aerial doesn’t work, or has no aerial at all?
Or your TV suddenly says ” No signal received, check your aerial” – almost certainly due to your aerial blown down or the coax downlead has snapped.

Make Your Own

Grab yourself a length of coax, between 1-2 m long, and put a coax plug on one end. You should be able to use the one that is already in the TV if you already had an aerial. If not, have a look and see if there’s a coax fly lead lying around. Usually they have a male plug on one end and female the other. Keep the male plug, it will connect to the TV. You can cut the plug on the other end off. You should have a length of coax with a plug on one end, we’ll call this A, and nothing on the other, (B).

Cut back about 6″ of sleeve off end B, exposing the outer braid. Some poor quality coax may only have a few strands of braid. However you do this, be careful with those fingers, we want you to be watching Casualty, not be the Casualty!

Coax wire TV aerial
Coax outer sleeve stripped away

Outer sleeve of coax wire stripped
Outer sleeve and braid stripped away

Remove the braid up to where you cut the outer sleeve leaving 6″ of the inner coax wire which should still have it’s sleeve around it.

That’s it ! You’ve made a cheap and effective indoor aerial. Find the best position and keep it in place with a clothes peg.

Tuning and Reception

If you suddenly lost your signal, don’t fall into the trap of retuning your channels. It is rare for a TV to just lose it’s channels. It is nearly always down to a faulty aerial or coax lead.

All that will happen when you do an auto tune is that you will wipe your channels, making it difficult to test your homemade aerial.

Digital terrestrial TV signals are quite strong and robust. I have achieved excellent results with the aerial method above. The higher you are, the better. You can still get a good signal even at ground floor level.

Signal Strength and Quality

Getting the best, steady reception will be down to trial and error. It is best doing this with a TV that is already tuned in so that you can monitor the picture as you position the “aerial” so that the picture doesn’t freeze or becomes blocky with “tweets” on the sound.

It will be difficult if the TV is not already tuned in. You could try it in one position and do an auto tune. If you don’t get anything, try it again in another position.

Most TVs allow you to tune manually. With this you need to know the channel numbers. This does not refer to the program numbers, but the channel frequency numbers on the UHF band.

If you live in the area that is served by the Winter Hill transmitter, north west England, here are the channel numbers you can try one at a time. Most manual channel search will display a signal strength and quality meter. Use this while you are moving your aerial around, you are looking for the best Quality rather than signal strength.

Channel (CH) 29, 31, 32 (BBC Channels) 34, ( ITV,Chan4,5) 35 (HD Channels) 37.

BBC Transmitter and tuning Information

Don’t waste your money buying an indoor aerial. In my experience, they never work. The home made aerial above will do a better job.

Any aerial can pick up the signal only if it is there in the first place. You can spend hours holding the aerial with your arm stretched above your head while shuffling around the room, but if the signal is not there, then there is not much you can do apart from investing in an outdoor aerial on the roof, or finding another way to get a tv signal into the TV.

DIY coax aerial working on TV.
Perfect picture with the aerial
held in place with a clothes peg.

TV and Video Repairs from the 1980s

Buying a New TV

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