Sun outages expected March 1-9

Twice a year, all television customers (not just TDS TV and TDS TV+ customers) may experience some degree of television interference due to sun outages. This spring, the solar satellite interference is expected from roughly March 1-9.

Sun outages happen due to solar interference. For a few weeks every spring and fall, the sun is directly behind the line of sight between TV satellites. One satellite is on Earth receiving signals, the other is in space sending signals. When the antenna on earth is looking into the sun, the interference from the sun overrides the signals from the satellite.

“Macro-blocking” or “tiling” of channels occurs during sun outages.

At first, the effects of a sun outage are minimal. Some channels will experience “macro-blocking” or “tiling” of the picture before and after peak times (see image on the right). But the interference can gradually worsen to the point of blocking the satellite signal entirely. Some TDS customers may receive a message on their screens saying “this channel is temporarily unavailable.” (see image at bottom right)

Sun outages typically last as long as 15 minutes a day. The effects of a sun outage vary in degree from minimal to total outage throughout the impacted days. Once it reaches its peak, the interference will gradually decrease, becoming less noticeable each day after.

Unfortunately, there is nothing TDS can do to prevent sun outages from occurring. Each satellite service that we receive signals from will experience this interference in the time frame mentioned above. If, however, you lose the signal on channels for more than about 15 minutes, or all your channels are impacted, please give our repair team a call (1-888-225-5837).

Main image courtesy of the NOAA.

About Mark Schaaf

Mark is a manager of communications for TDS Telecom. Prior to TDS, he worked for 10 years as a journalist and four years in local government. When he's not writing blogs, you might find him at a live music venue, bike trail or baseball stadium. Mark lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Jordan and Pippin (his wife and cat -- not the Chicago Bulls legends).
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