Fuzzy TV to last weeks

2012-04-27 00:00

THE landmark broadcast tower on World’s View is being shortened for aviation safety reasons.

Besides a slightly altered skyline, Pietermaritzburg residents are experiencing fuzzy TV and they don’t like it.

The bad news is that fuming residents will have to wait another month until the picture on their screens improves.

The reason given for the poor transmission is that the World’s View tower, originally 108,5 metres tall, has had to be shortened by 13,5 metres to 95 metres.

This is necessary to bring it in line with civil aviation requirements.

The problem started more than a fortnight ago, when repairs began at the World’s View tower, without any warning to viewers.

A resident, who did not want to be named, told The Witness: “Our TV signal was fine until about two weeks ago.

“We didn’t know what the problem was.

“We got tired of it and went to TV repair companies for help.”

She was told that the problem was not with her TV, but with the signal itself and was advised to get DStv in order to get a clear signal for SABC channels.

“We don’t even watch that much TV and are not interested in getting DStv. I don’t see why we should be bullied into getting it.”

The furious woman added that there was no warning given. “We pay our TV licence and this is what we get.”

Nyiko Mukhari, client liaison at the SABC, said the problem was not from their side.

“This is a technical problem. We therefore can’t warn people about it. We only warn people if the problem is from our side and if it is going to affect the whole country. Everything is running smoothly from our side,” he said.

Acting manager at signal distribution company Sentech, Naren Dhunpath, said it was only a temporary problem and things should improve soon.

“The mast at the World’s View towers had to be shortened to meet civil aviation requirements. We had to move the antennas to a lower spot,” he said.

He added that the reception should improve by the end of May.

This maintenance process started about two weeks ago resulting in people losing signal for SABC channels.

“Unfortunately this is unavoidable. Our guys are working there every day,” Dhunpath said.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said the mast was a legacy mast from the 1940s.

“It was originally approved to a height below the protection for Pietermaritzburg airport,” she said.

However, in the 1970s Sentech extended the mast by about 20 metres when TV broadcast antennas were added.

Gwebu said permission to extend this mast was not applied for by Sentech.

“The SACAA was not aware of this extension as it had not been notified. During the design of some procedures for Pietermaritzburg Airport between 2009 and 2010, an obstacle survey was done and the non-conformity of the Sentech mast was identified,” she said.

CAA said the issue was taken up with Sentech who were now investigating possible solutions.

• Siyathemba.Ben@media24.com

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