During the spring and fall of each year, TV service for TDS customers experience a technical phenomenon called “sun outages.” This fall, the solar satellite interference are expected from Sept. 25 to Oct. 14. During this period the sun causes solar interference for all geostationary satellite signals.
At these times, the sun crosses the equator and it traces an arc that places it directly behind the geostationary satellites. For a little over two weeks, the sun is directly behind the line of sight between an Earth station and a satellite that is sending signals to a receiving satellite antenna here on Earth. When the antenna is looking into the sun, the interference from the sun overrides the signals from the satellite. The sun causes “solar interference” to all geostationary satellite signals. It generally happens from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The effects of a sun outage vary in degree from minimal to total outage throughout these 19 days. Sun outages typically last as long as 15 minutes a day. Once it reaches its peak, the interference will gradually decrease, becoming less noticeable each day. Some channels will experience “macro-blocking” or “tiling” of the picture before and after peak times. These are the channels we receive digitally from the satellite. The duration and severity of the outages will vary from a slight interruption in reception for a few seconds to complete loss of signal for several minutes at a time.
In general, fall sun outages in the United States will take place during the last week of September and the first two weeks of October.
Unfortunately, there is technically 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.