Although I am yet to see one myself, I have been told by a few people now that SC10 Newcastle are advertising that ONE HD is coming soon to SC10. I am happy to hear that, as that would put some confusion to rest, but still don’t know why they would not have done that earlier.
It is interesting to read about the trouble some people on Newcastle are going to to get ONE HD. I found a forum with a number of posts from people in various parts of Newcastle who are already watching ONE HD or are trying to get it. From Newcastle, they have the choice to either trying to receive their TV direct from Sydney or to pick up UHF re-transmissions of Sydney TV from the Central Coast. You can read one of the forums here.
Depending on weather conditions, sometimes you can receive distant TV stations, but not on a full time basis. I remember, back in the early-mid 80’s, when I lived in Sydney, we would regularly receive WIN-4 from Wollongong as well as NBN-3 from Newcastle on a fine summer afternoon. The phenomenon is known in ametuer radio circles as “skip” where a signal from a distant transmitter literally “skips” or bounces off the ionosphere (an atmospheric layer) allowing it to travel further as the signal generally can travel in without much loss. The signal received would sometimes flow in and out – changing in strength – but was definitely watchable.
There was one day in particular where all 12 analogue channels were filled (except for ch 5, as this frequency is also used for FM radio). At the time, we had SBS on ch 0. A regional ABC filled ch 1. 2 was ABC-Sydney. 3 was NBN Newcastle. 4 was WIN-Wollongong, 5A was ABC probably from Newcastle, 6 was from Orange I think, 7 Sydney, 8 was NEN from memory from Taree, 9 and 10 Sydney, and 11 NRN-Coffs Harbour. On that day, I was able to watch Neighbours (yes, I watched it back then) at 5.30 on NRN rather than waiting to see it at 7pm on 10 (in 1988, Neighbours was on at 7pm).
Now, in the digital age, you could not have this happen in Sydney anymore as channels 6,8 and 11 are used as the digital components for channels 7,9 and 10 respectively. However, out in the country, the reverse could be true. You may be able to receive Sydney TV when atmospheric conditions are right and “skip” happens on a fine Summers’ afternoon. Which means, you may be able to catch glimpses of ONE HD outside of the city.
You would to make sure you have a VHF TV aerial, and have to re-tune your digital receiver when the conditions are right. If you are lucky, you’ll get the Sydney (or other capital city channels) but only briefly. Obviously you could not rely on this happening regularly. Also, fluctuating signal strength may mean that digital signal will drop out from time to time.
Enough reminiscing of the days of being able to flick through TV channels to see what was there. With most of them on UHF now in any case, chances of seeing distant channels are much lower. Furthermore, with the regionals being much the same as the city channels (other than digital channels and break away programming) there is little point going to any effort in any case.
I had read, that one possible reason why ONE HD is not on SC10 yet is because they are putting together a new digital facility in Canberra, and it is not until the middle of the year they will have the facility fully functional. With 10 HD breakaway programming running since late 2007, they have had plenty of time to prepare for the expansion of multichanneling. Apparently, this new facility will pretty much control all of SC10’s coverage area including dealing with insertion of local ads to feed to numerous different areas.
There is also a rumour, that I cannot seem to be able to confirm anywhere, that ONE HD and/or ONE SD will be broadcast through Foxtel from July. Sounds like, in the middle of this year, there will be alot of action as far as multi channeling is concerned.