Do you know what a boiler has to do with frozen trolleys and antennas?

Do you know that a heating boiler can interfere with radio and television reception? Can frozen trolleys make it difficult to listen to your favorite shows? Frozen antennas can make life difficult for operators and TV viewers. Do you know that even if the ice is already melting, you don't have to win yet?

In relation to the winter season and freezing weather, the Telecommunications Union of the Slovak Republic draws attention to interesting problems with the use of telecommunications services and interference with radio and television reception.

Heating period, period of disturbance by boilers

One winter day, Mr. Emil's doorbell rang. When he opened, he learned from an unexpected visitor that his boiler was interfering with the radio reception of residents in half of the village. How is it possible? The home heating boiler thermostat caused the interference problems. The electric arc, which was created during the switching off and on of the thermostat, caused interference with radio reception, which was manifested by a regularly repeating crackle.

In the past, in the days of analogue terrestrial television broadcasting, the start of the heating season was often also the beginning of TV interference caused by the boiler thermostat next door. In Slovakia, we switched from analog to digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DVB-T) years ago, and currently television services via optical networks, which are not affected by such interference, prevail.

Trolleybuses and trams caused interference

Mrs. Darina lives in an apartment building, which is located next to a busy road in the north of Slovakia. She likes to listen to her favorite radio shows while preparing lunch. During the winter morning, she was unpleasantly surprised by the crackling sound in the loudspeaker, which repeated itself at irregular intervals. She tuned the radio to a different station, tried turning it off and on, but the crackling came and then went away. She didn't know what to do, so she visited a neighbor. While they were talking about the problem, the neighbor caught the attention of the approaching trolleybus, whose "sticks" were pulling an electric arc behind it. As he got closer to their house, the crackling on the radio grew louder. It was the same with the incoming tram. As they later learned, the electric arc was caused by the fact that the trolleys were covered with a layer of ice. In the course of the afternoon, it warmed up, the ice disappeared and so did the problems with it.

Even warming can cause unexpected problems

Melting ice on an old, damaged TV antenna connector can cause unexpected problems. Mr. Peter was convinced of this as well, whose satellite television antenna was covered by a layer of snow after the overnight snowfall. The morning sun rays melted the snow. Mr. Peter turned on the TV receiver, but the picture squared, the sound "chopped" and finally the signal dropped out completely. He called his carrier's customer service line and checked everything as instructed, but the situation didn't improve. The called service technician found that water from the melting frozen snow had flowed into the damaged connector and caused the problems.

Telecommunications operators occasionally experience similar problems on their broadcast antennas. If, after warming from melting ice or during rain, water flows into the connectors on the transmitting antenna, it will cause a deterioration of the standing wave ratio and, as a result, the radiated power will drop significantly. Citizens in a given location may experience a reduction in the quality of services provided or their outages. The operator detects the change in the monitoring center and sends technicians to the site to perform a service intervention and eliminate the problem.