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THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY

Photos by David Neale and Dan Glover Page last updated: 2017-07-20
Charing Hill
NGR: TQ965504 Maps: Google  Bing (Ord Surv) Site Height:       Structure Height:
Digital TV:
BBC Radio:
 
Ind. National Radio:
Ind. Local Radio:
Digital Radio: BBC National: 12B        Kent: 11C       
Comments:

Updated July 2017

Dave: "The Charing Hill tower stands at the top of the Canterbury road on the hill above Charing, also known locally as Stocker's Head. It belongs to a group called Air Call communications which is part of the Vodafone group."

It's reasonably safe to assume Dave's photos were taken around the time of the BBC DAB installation. We understand the tower later carried links to other sites carrying the Kent multiplex, however it was some time before a "local" transmitter was added for the service.

BBC DAB entered service on 4 June 2004. The Kent multiplex was operational from 4 November 2016. It is likely the antenna was replaced around this time (see end of page). Both services operate at 2 kW maximum ERP with coverage broadly to the west.




The original BBC-only installation was satellite fed however the tower carried SHF links to other sites used for the Kent multiplex.


The DAB antenna comprised two tiers of phased dipoles. Ofcom data suggests the maximum ERP was on bearing 280 with 20 dB reduction to the east.






It seems both tiers were fed separately...






In this era it seemed to be common for the feed dishes to be heated and without a radome cover.


There does not appear to be easy access to the site. These photos are from the A252 on the opposite side of the tower. It is just possible to see a typical (Kathrein) DAB dipole on the left hand side near the top...




...there are two dipoles in front of a screen. "CHARING HILL" can just be seen written on the edge of the framework.

Ofcom data shows the local multiplex with maximum ERP on bearing 300, BBC still at 280, but both have the same detailed parameters. To add a further element of confusion the 0 dB points are at 250/260 and again at 350/360 - between this there is a reduction of between 0.5 and 0.7 dB. In reality it would seem there is good coverage between roughly south west and north east, with significant reduction to the east.

The slightly odd thing is the new array seemed far more prominent the first time it was noticed - there might be a clearer view from further along the road on a sunny day!

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