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HOW TO RECOGNISE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BROADCASTING AERIALS FROM A QUITE A LONG WAY AWAY

By Mike Smith

INTRODUCTION

This short feature contains illustrations of some typical aerials currently used for broadcasting television and radio in the UK to assist in spotting them on structures out there in the field. The feature is not intended to be exhaustive, and any additional material, information, comments and corrections will be very welcome.

As broadcast towers and masts are becoming ever more densely populated with additional mobile phone antennas, VHF and UHF utilities equipment and microwave aerials and even amateur radio repeater aerials, it is becoming ever more difficult to precisely identify the various aerials used for broadcasting, which is what this site is all about and what you are obviously interested in.

Thirty-seven years ago, when the (then) ITA had just one VHF television network and BBC had one VHF 405 line TV channel, four national AM (sorry, Medium Wave!) radio networks and three VHF national radio networks, the number of masts and towers used for general broadcasting could be counted in dozens. It was then quite easy to find a broadcasting site and clearly see the aerials used.

With the advent of BBC local radio, UHF colour television in 1967 and Independent local radio in the 1970s the number of sites used for television and sound broadcasting is now over a thousand, and today many of these masts and towers, originally sited and built specifically for broadcasting, have more aerials used by mobile phone providers, utilities and PMR etc.than aerials used by the broadcasters! This can now make identifying broadcast aerials quite a challenge, and even the experienced spotter could still be defeated!

Many of the aerials used by broadcasting could be said to be relatively standard in form, and examples will be shown here, but there are numerous variations and I will try to offer some examples of these too. Often the difficulty in identifying a specific broadcaster's aerial is that there are a number of other aerials, not used by broadcasters that are similar in appearance to broadcast aerials, so I hope this article offers a little help in sorting the wheat from the chaff...


Figure 1 shows a main station with some typical UHF television and VHF radio aerials.

 

LESSON 1:

UHF Television
LESSON 2: VHF-FM Radio
LESSON 3: VHF-DAB - Digital Audio Broadcasting

LESSON 4:

MF-AM Radio

If you can add some extra detail or provide corrections
to inaccurate information please e-mail the site - Mike Smith.

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