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THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY

The development of the UK UHF transmitter network
By Martin Brown

The UK UHF transmitter network evolved from planning and negotiations at the ITU conference held in Stockholm from 26th May to 23rd June 1961. The plan is commonly abbreviated ST61. The UK delegation submitted requests for 4 allocations at 195 sites. 64 sites with ERPs from 5 to 1000 kW and 131, 1kW sites. All with horizontal polarisation.

 

The ST61 plan was based on standardised 8 MHz wide channels from 470 - 958 MHz with the channels numbered from 21 - 81, using the 625-line standard. However the ST61 plan only allocated UHF channels up to channel 69, and only for transmitting stations with ERPs above 10 kW. In the UK and many other countries, there were restrictions on the use of channels 35 - 37, due to existing or planned radio navigation systems, and channel 38 is reserved for radio astronomy. The UK broadcasters were allocated the use of 44 UHF channels. 14 in UHF band IV, channels 21 - 34, and 30 in UHF band V, channels 39 - 68.

 

With 44 UHF channels available, the UK submission was based on 11 standard channel groups of which 10 of the groups were to be used at the 64 high power main stations.

These are those 11 channel groups.

 

21

25

28

32

23

27

31

33

22

24

26

30

34

40

42

44

41

43

45

47

46

48

50

52

54

56

58

60

59

61

63

65

62

64

66

68

51

53

55

57

33

39

49

67

 

The French delegation was planning for a three programme network and proposed the use of these standard 15 channel groups.

 

21

24

27

22

25

28

23

26

29

30

33

36

31

34

37

32

35

38

39

42

45

40

43

46

41

44

47

48

51

54

49

52

55

50

53

56

57

60

63

58

61

64

59

62

65

 

It seems likely that to ease planning between the UK and France, the UK modified their channel groups such that three of the four UK allocations were the same as a standard French group.

This reduced the number of standard UK channel groups to nine and gives us the familiar UK analogue channel groupings.

 

21

24

27

31

22

25

28

32

23

26

29

33

39

42

45

49

40

43

46

50

41

44

47

51

53

57

60

63

54

58

61

64

55

59

62

65

These are the details of the 64 Main stations. (Variations from the ST61 plan are in red lettering)

 

1 Kirkcudbrightshire Lat/Long 55.07, -3.83

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

21

25

28

32

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

100 kW

143 Cambret Hill

41

44

47

51

16 kW. In service from 1977 as site number 137.21

 

2 South Yorks Lat/Long 53.62, -1.67

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

21

25

28

32

1000 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

1000 kW non directional

104 Emley Moor

41

44

47

51

1000 kW directional. In service from 1966

 

3 Anglesey Lat/Long 51.37, -2.52

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

21

25

28

32

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

53

57

60

63

100 kW

118 Llanddona

53

57

60

63

100 kW directional. In service from 1967

 

4 Bristol Lat/Long 51.37, -2.52

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

21

25

28

32

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

54

58

61

64

500 kW

110 Mendip

54

58

61

64

500 kW. In service from 1969

 

5 Guernsey Lat/Long 49.43, -2.58

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

21

25

28

32

20 kW

ST61 Allocation

48

52

54

56

20 kW

Les Touillets

48

52

54

56

2 kW. In service from 1976

 

6 Fermanagh Lat/Long 54.42, -7.48

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

21

25

28

32

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

22

25

28

32

100 kW

151 Brougher Mountain

22

25

28

32

100 kW. In service from 1978

 

7 South East Kent Lat/Long 51.12, 1.25

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

21

25

28

32

100 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

50

53

56

68

100 kW directional

113 Dover

50

53

56

66 [1]

100 kW directional. In service from 1967. Channels 50/53/56 form a standard French group.

 

8 Shetland Lat/Long 60.12, -1.1

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

23

27

31

33

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

32

34

45

49

100 kW

Bressay

22

25

28

32

10 kW vertical. In service from 1976

 

9 East Lothian Lat/Long 55.97, -2.78

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

23

27

31

33

250 kW

ST61 Allocation

21

24

27

31

250 kW

147 Craigkelly

21

24

27

31

100 kW. In service from 1969

 

10 North Lancs Lat/Long 54.2, -3.17

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

23

27

31

33

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

40

43

46

56

100 kW

Lancaster

21

24

27

31

10 kW vertical. This ITA publication from 1969 lists Lancaster using the ST61 allocated channels with horizontal polarisation

 

11 Huntingdon Lat/Long 52.47, 0.03

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

23

27

31

33

1000 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

21

24

27

31

1000 kW non directional

124 Sandy Heath

21

24

27

31

1000 kW directional. In service from 1969

 

12 Carmarthenshire Lat/Long 51.75, -4.15

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

23

27

31

33

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

53

57

60

63

100 kW

119 Carmel

53

57

60

63

100 kW. In service from 1971

 

13 Isle of Wight Lat/Long 50.68, -1.37

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

23

27

31

33

500 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

21

24

31

41

500 kW directional

108 Rowridge

21

24

27 [1]

31

500 kW directional. In service from 1966.

The ST61 allocations may explain why BBC2 used ch24, rather than the usual ch27.

 

14 Durham Lat/Long 54.87, -1.77

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

22

24

26

30

500 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

54

58

61

64

500 kW non directional

109 Pontop Pike

54

58

61

64

500 kW. In service from 1966

 

15 Staffordshire Lat/Long 52.97, -2.33

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

22

24

26

30

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

23

26

29

33

100 kW

121 The Wrekin

23

26

29

33

100 kW. In service from 1975

 

16 London Lat/Long 51.42, -0.07

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

22

24

26

30

1000 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

23

26

30

33

1000 kW non directional

101 Crystal Palace

23

26

30

33

1000 kW. In service from 1964

 

17 East Devon Lat/Long 50.82, -3.1

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

22

24

26

30

250 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

23

26

29

33

250 kW non directional

132 Stockland Hill

23

26

29

33

250 kW. In service from 1971

 

18 Belfast Lat/Long 54.6, -6.02

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

22

24

26

30

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

21

24

27

31

500 kW

107 Divis

21

24

27

31

500 kW. In service from 1967

 

19 Banff Lat/Long 57.62, -2.97

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

34

40

42

44

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

23

26

29

33

100 kW

153 Knock More

23

26

29

33

100 kW. In service from 1974

 

20 Lanarkshire Lat/Long 55.85, -3.82

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

34

40

42

44

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

40

43

46

50

500 kW

105 Black Hill

40

43

46

50

500 kW. In service from 1966

 

21 North Yorks Lat/Long 54.4, -1.2

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

34

40

42

44

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

23

26

29

33

500 kW

116 Bilsdale

23

26

29

33

500 kW. In service from 1969

 

22 Birmingham Lat/Long 52.52, -1.95

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

34

40

42

44

1000 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

40

43

46

50

1000 kW non directional

102 Sutton Coldfield

40

43

46

50

1000 kW. In service from 1964

 

23 Pembrokeshire Lat/Long 51.95, -4.78

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

34

40

42

44

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

40

43

46

50

100 kW

129 Presely

40

43

46

50

100 kW. In service from 1973

 

24 East Sussex Lat/Long 50.88, 0.53

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

34

40

42

44

100 kW directional

ST61 Allocations

49

52

64

67

100 kW non directional

139 Heathfield

49

52

64

67

100 kW. In service from 1970

 

25 Londonderry Lat/Long 55, -7.37

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

34

40

42

44

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

100 kW

Londonderry

41

44

47

51

3.2 kW vertical. In service from 1970

 

26 Kincardine Lat/Long 57, -2.38

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

41

43

45

47

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

22

25

28

32

500 kW

112 Durris

22

25

28

32

500 kW. In service from 1967

 

27 Cumberland Lat/Long 54.75, -2.38

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

41

43

45

47

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

22

25

28

32

500 kW

137 Caldbeck

28

30 [2]

32

34 [2]

500 kW. In service from 1971

165 Sandale

22

67

 

 

500/126 kW. In service from 1979

 

28 East Lincs Lat/Long 53.45, -0.3

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

41

43

45

47

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

22

25

28

32

500 kW

120 Belmont

22

25

28

32

500 kW. In service from 1966

 

29 Caernarvonshire Lat/Long 52.87, -4.52

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

41

43

45

47

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

100 kW

144 Arfon

41

44

47

51

3.5 kW vertical. In service from 1975 as site number 118.06

 

30 Hampshire Lat/Long 51.32, -1.25

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

41

43

45

47

250 kW

ST61 Allocation

39

42

45

68

250 kW

126 Hannington

39

42

45

66 [1]

250 kW. In service from 1970

 

31 East Cornwall Lat/Long 50.52, -4.43

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

41

43

45

47

500 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

22

25

28

32

500 kW non directional

131 Caradon Hill

22

25

28

32

500 kW. In service from 1969

 

32 Jersey Lat/Long 49.22, -2.1

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

41

43

45

47

20 kW

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

20 kW

128 Fremont Point

41

44

47

51

20 kW. In service from 1976

 

33 Armagh Lat/Long 54.23, -6.6

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

41

43

45

47

20 kW

ST61 Allocation

54

58

61

64

20 kW

Never built

 

 

 

 

Allocation used at Camlough from April 2000.

 

34 Lewis Lat/Long 58.18, -6.58

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

46

48

50

52

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

23

26

29

33

100 kW

154 Eitshal

23

26

29

33

100 kW. In service from 1976

 

35 Orkney Lat/Long 58.92, -2.93

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

46

48

50

52

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

40

43

46

50

100 kW

134 Keelylang Hill

40

43

46

50

100 kW. In service from 1975

 

36 Northumberland Lat/Long 55.55, -2.12

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

46

48

50

52

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

39

42

45

49

100 kW

155 Chatton

39

42

45

49

100 kW. In service from 1974

 

37 South Lancs Lat/Long 53.63, -2.52

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

46

48

50

52

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

55

59

62

65

500 kW

103 Winter Hill

55

59

62

65

500 kW. In service from 1965

 

38 Suffolk Lat/Long 52.12, 0.95

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

46

48

50

52

250 kW

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

250 kW

115 Sudbury

41

44

47

51

250 kW. In service from 1968

 

39 South Wales Lat/Long 51.45, -3.4

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

46

48

50

52

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

500 kW

106 Wenvoe

41

44

47

51

500 kW. In service from 1965

 

40 Dumbarton Lat/Long 56, -4.63

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

46

48

50

52

50 kW

ST61 Allocation

54

58

61

64

50 kW

122 Rosneath

54

58

61

64

10 kW vertical. In service from 1976 as site number 152.11. The change to vertical polarisation was due to concerns about tidal fading in the service area. [3]

 

41 Inverness Lat/Long 57.63, -4.07

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

54

56

58

60

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

39

42

45

49

100 kW

156 Rosemarkie

39

42

45

49

100 kW. In service from 1970

 

42 Ayrshire Lat/Long 55.57, -4.3

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

54

56

58

60

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

23

26

29

33

100 kW

152 Darvel

23

26

29

33

100 kW. In service from 1972

 

43 West Yorks Lat/Long 54.13, -2.25

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

54

56

58

60

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

21

24

27

31

100 kW

Never Built

 

 

 

 

 

 

44 Norfolk Lat/Long 52.6, 1.17

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

54

56

58

60

250 kW

ST61 Allocation

55

59

62

65

250 kW

114 Tacolneston

55

59

62

65

250 kW. In service from 1967

 

45 Herefordshire Lat/Long 51.87, -2.48

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

54

56

58

60

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

22

25

28

32

100 kW

149 Ridge Hill

22

25

28

32

100 kW. In service from 1972

 

46 South Devon Lat/Long 50.57, -3.5

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

54

56

58

60

100 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

53

57

60

63

100 kW non directional

136 Beacon Hill

53

57

60

63

100 kW directional. In service from 1973

 

47 West Sussex Lat/Long 50.88, -0.25

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

54

56

58

60

100 kW directional

ST61 Allocation

27

55

58

66

100 kW non directional

125 Midhurst

55

58

61 [1]

68 [1]

100 kW. In service from 1972

 

48 Buchan Lat/Long 57.53, -2.23

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

59

61

63

65

50 kW

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

50 kW

Never built

 

 

 

 

Allocation used at Rosehearty with vertical polarisation at 2 kW.

 

49 Selkirkshire Lat/Long 55.55, -2.78

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

59

61

63

65

50 kW

ST61 Allocation

55

59

62

65

50 kW

161 Selkirk

55

59

62

65

50 kW. In service from 1972

 

50 Flintshire Lat/Long 53.28, -3.38

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

59

61

63

65

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

39

42

45

49

100 kW

145 Moel-y-Parc

42

45

49

52

100 kW. In service from 1969.

Channel 39 not used to protect radio astronomy in channel 38 at nearby Jodrell Bank

 

51 Northamptonshire Lat/Long 52.07, -1.03

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

59

61

63

65

500 kW

ST61 Allocation

53

57

60

63

500 kW

117 Oxford

53

57

60

63

500 kW. In service from 1968

 

52 North Devon Lat/Long 51.12, -3.78

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

59

61

63

65

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

55

59

62

65

100 kW

138 Huntshaw Cross

55

59

62

65

100 kW. In service from 1973

 

53 North Antrim Lat/Long 55.02, -6.45

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

59

61

63

65

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

55

59

62

65

100 kW

130 Limavady

55

59

62

65

100 kW. In service from 1970

 

54 East Yorks Lat/Long 54.07, -0.75

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

59

61

63

65

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

53

57

60

63

100 kW

Never built

 

 

 

 

Allocation used at Oliver's Mount

 

55 Caithness Lat/Long 58.4, -3.12

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

62

64

66

68

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

21

24

27

31

100 kW

148 Rumster Forest

21

24

27

31

100 kW. In service from 1973

 

56 Perthshire Lat/Long 56.45, -3.25

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

62

64

66

68

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

53

57

60

63

100 kW

123 Angus

53

57

60

63

100 kW. In service from 1969

 

57 Nottinghamshire Lat/Long 52.87, -1.03

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

62

64

66

68

250 kW

ST61 Allocation

54

58

61

64

250 kW

111 Waltham

54

58

61

64

250 kW. In service from 1968

 

58 Cardiganshire Lat/Long 52.3, -4.02

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

62

64

66

68

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

21

24

27

31

100 kW

135 Blaenplwyf

21

24

27

31

100 kW. In service from 1970

 

59 Dorset Lat/Long 50.85, -2.3

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

62

64

66

68

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

40

43

50

67

100 kW

133 Never built

 

 

 

 

Location is close to the Winterbourne Stickland relay which used the allocation 40/43/46/50 at 1kW vertical.

 

60 North Kent Lat/Long 51.22, 0.8

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

62

64

66

68

5 kW

ST61 Allocation

40

43

46

65

100 kW with easterly directional restrictions

158 Bluebell Hill

40

43

46

65

30 kW. In service from 1974

 

61 Isle of Man Lat/Long 54.13, -4.5

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

62

64

66

68

20 kW

ST61 Allocation

30

34

48

52

20 kW

127 Richmond Hill (ITA VHF TV site)

 

 

 

 

Site not used for UHF TV [2]

 

62 Wigtown Lat/Long 55.03, -4.8

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

51

53

55

57

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

53

57

60

63

100 kW

Never built

 

 

 

 

 

 

63 West Cornwall Lat/Long 50.22, -5.23

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

51

53

55

57

100 kW

ST61 Allocation

41

44

47

51

100 kW

141 Redruth

41

44

47

51

100 kW. In service from 1970

 

64 Argyllshire Lat/Long 56.4, -5.48

1

2

3

4

ERP

Requested

51

53

55

57

20 kW

ST61 Allocation

22

25

28

32

20 kW

Torosay

22

25

28

32

20 kW. Vertical polarisation used. In service from 1976

 

The above information, and further reading, sourced from these two ITU documents.1238 pages and 186 pages

 

[1] The Rowridge allocation of channels 21/24/31/41 is a consequence of channel 27 being allocated to West Sussex (Midhurst), which couldn't used channel 61 with a channel 66 allocation, due to the channel n+5 restriction. As channels 66, 67 & 68 are effectively "spare" channels, not part of either a standard UK or French grouping, the solution to "free up" channel 27 for Rowridge, was to swap the fourth allocations at Dover, Hannington and Midhurst. So Dover & Hannington both changed from ch68 to ch66, freeing up ch68 for use at Midhurst. This also permitted Midhurst to use ch61, as there was no longer an n+5 relationship, releasing ch27 for use at Rowridge.

 

[2] It seems that the change of plan for Cumberland (Caldbeck / Sandale), as well as Isle of Man (Richmond Hill), has much to do with the fact that ITV had a Border region and the BBC didn't, with northern Cumbria part of the BBC Northeast England region and Southwest Scotland part of the BBC Scotland Nation. So effectively two of the Isle of Man allocations (chs 30 & 34), were taken for use at Cumberland to provide 5 available channels for Caldbeck & Sandale to use between them. The ch25 allocation couldn't be used because of the n+5 relationship with ch30. A third Richmond Hill allocation, (ch52) was also now available for use at Moel-y-Parc.

 

[3] Two BBC Research Department reports (1970/22) and (1973/30), concluded that tidal fading was less severe with vertical polarisation. This is the most likely reason for the change to vertical polarisation at Arfon, Bressay, Rosneath, Londonderry & Torosay, all of which have reception areas where the transmission path crosses tidal water.

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