This is the term used to describe interference from various communications or transmitting devices used by radio amateurs, taxi firms, police and fire services, among others. Symptoms vary and can include sporadic break-up and freezing of TV pictures or hearing distorted speech through your loudspeakers.
Most cases of breakthrough are found to be a problem with the receiving equipment in your own home. A poor connection, joint or booster can be vulnerable to unwanted signals.
It is important to health check your installation and often a filter will help. We have a guide on the different filters available.
Broadcasters share the airwaves with a number of others who either have a licence from Ofcom to use certain frequencies or can use a limited number of unlicensed frequencies. Equipment, such as baby alarms, are designed to work within an allocated frequency band and when used correctly they will not cause problems to television or radio reception.
Breakthrough can manifest as flashing, jumping, break-up and freezing of TV pictures and ‘voices’ or rhythmic thumps and pops over the radio. It is sometimes possible to hear distorted speech through your TV loudspeaker or radio. In addition, breakthrough can be experienced on other equipment such as cordless phones, baby monitors, hi-fi equipment, computer speakers and even hearing aids.
The interference can come from many sources. The two that are usually blamed are radio amateurs / CB enthusiasts and digital communications (TETRA). However, experience has shown it is very rarely either of these, the likely cause of the problem is normally linked to the users own installation.
The first thing to do is to swap any interconnecting leads. For example, the leads from your aerial wall plate to your television or leads to external speakers. Poorly screened leads can be an ‘entry point’, allowing unwanted radio waves into your television or radio system.
If your installation is in good order a simple filter may help solve the problem. For more information see the help guide on filters.