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Photos by Mike Smith Page last updated: 2011-06-05

Photographs taken in May 2011.

Glenachulish. FM relay of Fort William's independent radio station Nevis Radio.

Mike Smith visited the area in May 2011, and takes up the story.

During our short stay of only four days in Fort William the weather was almost unrelentingly rainy, misty and miserable. Never the less I managed to obtain one or two usable photographs.

Glenachulish is the site chosen to relay their programmes to the Loch Leven area; BBC radio uses three sites to cover a similar area: Ardgour 50 watts Hor; Ballachulish 30 watts Mixed; and Kinlochleven 10 watts Mixed.

The site is easy to find on an O.S. map, but not so easy to get close to. It does not appear possible to drive to the site in an ordinary car, but there is a cycle track leading up to it.

I did not have a bicycle handy and nor did I have time to explore up the hillside on foot, but I did manage to identify and photograph the site from a location on the A828, marked on one of the photographs, and also photograph it from the opposite side of the loch near Onich.

Let's hope someone else can get a little closer!

Looking from the east, not far from the Ballachulish Bridge, the site is hidden just behind those trees yonder!

Glenachulish as viewed from the side of the A828 from the north west - i.e. looking south east.

Here's a closer, zoomed in, view from the same position. You can just about make out the structure in this shot.

Here is a crop taken from the previous view. It shows the site in slightly better detail, but with a maximum crop sadly definition is not the best.

Three folded dipoles can be seen, along with (possibly) another antenna at the top of the pole.

I cannot be certain from this distance which are the antennas used for Nevis Radio, but it may seem reasonable to think that it could be the lower pair of folded dipoles which appear to be mounted in a collinear arrangement. Antenna height is listed as being 8 metres a.g.l.

Hopefully someone will be able to confirm this and / or obtain a close-up shot.

Shot of Glenachulish taken from the north shore of Loch Leven, not far from Onich.

Another shot of Glenachulish, again taken from the north shore of Loch Leven, not far from Onich, this time fully zoomed in and then cropped to maximum extent. Obviously definition suffers from a maximum crop, but it helps with the overall impression of the site.

Radiation Pattern produced from the technical parameters provided by Ofcom. This clearly shows the power restriction to the south, which would otherwise be wasted. Maximum power is radiated towards the north west and towards the north east - along Loch Leven towards Kinlochleven.

Map showing the pixel plot of predicted coverage from the Glenachulish v.h.f. / f.m. radio transmission site. (Green represents a 54dBuV/m contour and yellow a 48dBuV/m contour)

According to the technical parameters provided by Ofcom the emissions are of vertical polarisation, in a directional pattern, with a maximum effective radiated power of 0.8 kW .

The lobes of maximum power fall at 60 degrees and 300 degrees. Minimal power is transmitted to the south since the site is located on the north side of the hill Creag Ghorm and any power in that direction would be wasted.

Coverage extends along Loch Leven covering North Ballachulish, Onich, South Ballachulish, Ballachulish and Glencoe. Although not completely covered by a substantial signal, reception is perfectly possible at the far eastern end of Loch Leven in the villages of Kinlochleven and Kinlochmore.

Coverage also extends across Loch Linnhe to parts of its western shorline from Aryhoulan, Ardgour and along the A861 towards Gearradh, filling along towards Glen Tarbert.

Travelling west from Glenachulish along the A828 reception rapidly and severely deteriorates as one approaches Kentallen.

This plot prediction of the coverage area which, comparing it with the actual reception experienced in the area seems fairly accurate.

Glenachulish index

Ardgour | Ballachulish | Kinlochleven

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