Having worked in this area my whole life I’d like to say I know it better than most. I served a real apprenticeship as a television engineer, this also included aerial installation. Over the years I have learned which areas are easy when it comes to reception and which ones are more difficult. There are places that easily receive Mendip ( the main transmitter for this area ) and some that need a little help from one of the local relays or even Stockland Hill in Devon or one of the Welsh transmitters like Wenvoe or Carmel. Then there are times an aerial simply won’t do the job and a satellite dish and receiver are needed.
Unfortunately West Somerset can not claim to be a consistently good reception area, our main transmitter at Mendip does a fairly good job along the coast but can really start to struggle in places like Williton, Stogumber and Carhampton to name just a few. In order to overcome this several relays have been added over the years to serve these poor reception areas. These can be found at Carhampton, Countisbury, Exford, Kilve, Monksilver, Porlock, Roadwater, Washford, Woodcombe and Wooton Courtenay. Prior to the installation of these relays these areas had to put up with unreliable reception from Mendip, Welsh TV or nothing at all. Being relays they do not transmit the full Freeview channel lineup, this is referred to as ‘Freeview Light’ and the channels you can expect are BBC1, BBC2, ITV, CH4, CH5, ITV2, BBC3, BBC4, CH4 + 1, E4, More4, Film4, ITV1 + 1, CBeebies, CBBC, BBC News, BBC Parliament and a handful of radio channels. Very limited when compared to the full lineup available from Mendip.
However, all is not lost, in most of these places a second aerial can be used to pick up the extra channels from Wenvoe or Carmel in Wales ( both main transmitters supplying the full channel lineup ).
I have seen many bodged jobs over the years carried out by people that were not aware of the sometimes demanding reception in this area, these may be people picked from the Yellow Pages ( never do that ) or people that have come in to the area assuming it would be an easy job. For instance, the chap that thought he could get Mendip at the bottom of Tower Hill in Williton, this is impossible, but he didn’t know that…he didn’t know about the local relay at Washford either, or he would have used it. What he did in the end was charge his customer for an aerial system that didn’t work at all. I come across this a lot and my advice is to always go with someone local, someone that will be reachable if there are problems afterwards. Working for myself my reputation is everything and I’ll always be at the end of a phone if there is a problem or you just need some advice.