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THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY

DROITWICH

Photos by Alexander Heath and David Foord Page last updated: 2014-10-06

The Droitwich site is considered to be one of the most important in the country because it transmits the Radio 4 Long Wave service. This high power (500 kW) transmission can be heard throughout most of England, Wales and Ireland and also in parts of Western Europe. There are two other 198 kHz Long Wave transmitters in Scotland at Westerglen and Burghead providing the R4 service there.

Long Wave transmissions have a high degree of penetration but reception is very prone to interference. The carrier frequency of the Droitwich Long Wave transmitter is a long established frequency standard (until 1-Feb-1988 it was 200kHz) and is carefully monitored by the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, Middx.








Droitwich was the fifth transmitter site opened as part of the BBC's regional scheme, replacing both the long wave 5XX, and medium wave 5GB transmitters at Daventry.

7th October 1934. National Programme entered service on 200 kHz at 150 kW.

17th February 1935. Midland regional programme entered service on 1013 kHz at 50 kW.

1st September 1939. National programme on long wave closed and the medium wave transmitter re-tuned to 767 kHz, and carried the Home service (Northern group).

Early 1940. 2 kW transmitter brought into use for the Forces programme on 877 kHz. Later replaced by 20 kW unit.

20th October 1941. New 400 kW transmitter entered service carrying the European service on 1149 kHz.

16th November 1941. Long wave transmitter brought back into use carrying European service on 200 kHz.

1943. 300ft Blaw Knox tower erected. Used for European service on 1149 kHz from late 1943.

29th July 1945 the BBC resumed peacetime operation with the new Light programme on 200 kHz long wave and the Midland Home service on 1013 kHz.

29th September 1946 the Third programme entered service on 583 kHz at 25 kW.

15th March 1950, Copenhagen plan frequency changes implemented. Midland Home service changed to 1088 kHz. Long wave transmitter power increased to 400 kW. Third programme frequency changed to 647 kHz.

June 1950, Midland Home service transmitter power increased to 150 kW.

8th April 1951. Third programme transferred to a new transmitter at Daventry.

1961 Midland Home service transmitter replaced by units recovered from the wartime station at Ottringham.

18th September 1962. Long wave transmitter also replaced by units recovered from Ottringham.

30th September 1967. The Home service reserve transmitter brought into use for the start of Radio 1 on 1214 kHz at 30 kW.

2nd September 1972. Plan to de-regionalise Radio 4 in England, releasing frequencies for local radio, come into effect. Radio 4 frequency changed from 1088 kHz to 1052 kHz.

8th February 1976. New replacement transmitter entered service for Radio 1 on 1214 kHz.

23rd November 1978. Geneva plan re-organisation implemented. Radio 4 transferred onto 200 kHz long wave, Radio 1 transferred onto 1053 kHz, (was 1052 kHz) Radio 3 onto 1215 kHz, (was 1214 kHz). New transmitter brought into use on 693 kHz for Radio 2. 3 x Marconi B6034, 50 kW units.

3rd November 1981. New replacement transmitter entered service for Radio 1 on 1053 kHz. 3 x Marconi B6034 units.

1983 - 1985 Masts C & D constructed, replacing the Blaw Knox tower. Then used for Radio 1 & Radio 3 on 1053 & 1215 kHz.

Late 1986. A new replacement 500 kW long wave transmitter was brought into use. 2 x Marconi B6042, 250 kW units.

1st February 1988. Long wave frequency changed to 198 kHz.

27th August 1990. Radio 5 replaces Radio 2 on 693 kHz.

28th February 1992 Radio 3 on 1215 kHz closed.

30th April 1993. INR 2 (Virgin Radio), launches on 1215 kHz.

30th June 1994 Radio 1 closes on 1053 kHz.

14th February 1995. INR 3 (Talk Radio), launches on 1053 kHz.

Droitwich index

Burghead | Chase Farm | Daventry | Westerglen

National Physical Laboratory
Midland Regional (5GB) Aerial, Droitwich. BBC RD 1934
Reception of Droitwich in Scotland. BBC RD 1935
Service area boudaries of the London, Midland, North & West Regional Transmitters. BBC RD (1935)
Midland Regional (Droitwich) Aerial system and field strength measurements. BBC RD 1935
Blaw-Knox mast at Droitwich. BBC RD 1944
Synchronisation of the Radio 4 transmitter chain on 200 kHz. BBC RD 1979
Ottringham. BBC website article
History of Droitwich
Droitwich Technical Instructions Feb 1937
Droitwich BBC booklet 1934

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