Breakthrough from radio transmissions
Breakthrough can manifest itself in a wide variety of ways. TV pictures and sound can break up or fail entirely for periods of time. Sometimes pops, thumps and distorted sounds can be heard on other equipment such as digital set-top boxes and DVD players. Even cordless phones, baby monitors, hi-fi equipment, computer speakers and hearing aids can be affected.
TV sets and associated equipment aren't designed to pick up non-broadcast transmissions such as radio communications. If there are no transmissions nearby, there is normally no problem. However, if there are nearby transmissions, and the equipment hasn't been designed with good immunity to these signals, they can 'break through' in visible and audible ways. This is more likely occur if your equipment is damaged or poorly installed. It is very rarely the result of a faulty transmitter.
Many amplifiers or boosters can be unduly susceptible to breakthrough from strong local radio communications. Moreover, poor connections in the aerial system or inadequately screened interconnecting leads between pieces of equipment can allow breakthrough to occur. Regarding the equipment itself, unfortunately the householder can't easily tell if it has good immunity to breakthrough when buying it. Often the first he knows about it is when a radio transmitter begins to be used nearby. Nowadays equipment has to conform to regulations designed to protect against breakthrough in a typical domestic setting, but this was not always the case, and sometimes other steps must be taken to help overcome the problem.
Who is responsible?
It is important to appreciate that just because someone has begun using a transmitter in the near vicinity, and you are suffering disruption as a result, it is not necessarily their ‘fault'. Provided they are operating within the terms of their licence-and the vast majority are-they are generally under no obligation to change or curtail what they do in order to avoid causing breakthrough to neighbours' equipment. Indeed, you may change a piece of equipment to a different brand and discover that although the previous model worked perfectly well, the new one suffers breakthrough. It would obviously be quite impractical to place the onus on the person transmitting, and wholly unjustified-yet such problems with equipment changes are not unknown.
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