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Photos by Martin Watkins and Neil White (commentary by Dan Glover) Page last updated: 2016-03-21

DAB and Sam FM - updated April 2015

NTL made a planning application for the second structure at Blunsdon (a 40 m tower) in 2000, specifically to carry DAB (D1) and on the grounds that the existing mast could not be used. It was acknowledged, however, that the new tower would be more suitable for further site sharing than a "live" mast and the height was increased to 43 m for Orange a couple of years later. The permission for the tower has a condition that the original mast is removed once no longer required for analogue broadcasting

The application included an extension to the transmitter building and two cabins near the new tower, together with two ground-mounted dishes. A subsequent planning application was made for two antennas for Classic FM and it appears Brunel FM (now Sam FM) has its own antenna rather than sharing the BBC local array on the mast (see below for further details)

DAB service dates: Digital One, 22/1/2001; Swindon, 7/2/2003; BBC, 23/10/2003; Sound Digital, 29/2/2016.

Brunel FM was in service from 2/9/2006

It's not clear whether the slant-polarised antenna was in place at the top at the time of Martin's visit, but the two HP yagis are visible on the left

The DAB array consists of four tiers of four panels each with two dipoles - this was one of the first D1 sites...

...which suggests the installation of two satellite dishes may have been to provide resilience?

Neil visited in April 2015. It is possible the dipoles now on the right (we understand these are for radio paging) have been re-located but we can now see the slant polarised dipole and reflector which we believe is used by Sam FM. Ofcom gives a different radiation pattern to the BBC local array on the original mast - maximum ERP for Sam FM is on bearing 160. The height recorded is 44 m (seems correct since the tower, as extended, is 43 m to the top of structure)

No change to the DAB array

We understand the two 4-element yagis are directed towards Wenvoe and provide the feed for Classic FM

Blunsdon index

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