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Photos by Peter Bigwood Page last updated: 2020-10-04
Saffron Green Hertfordshire
NGR: TQ216977 Maps: Google  Bing (Ord Surv)   Site Height: 98m      Structure Height:
Digital TV:
National Radio:
Local Radio: LBC News 1152: 1152 kHz  
Digital Radio:
Comments: Transmitted London ILR 2 (Gold) on 1548 kHz until 29-Sep-2023.

Show historic services

Saffron Green. Strange name - almost a contradiction in terms!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Saffron Green is a 4 mast directional MF array near Barnet in North London. It entered service in March 1975, replacing the temporary transmitters at Lots Road, which had been used at the launch of the two London ILR stations in October 1973. The directional array at Saffron Green allowed the station to radiate high powers towards London on 1546 kHz and 1151 kHz whilst radiating virtually no power at all towards Birmingham and Liverpool where the frequencies are used by other ILR stations.

The site suffered a fire on the evening of 1st July 1985 which took both services off air overnight.

Peter's photos reveal something I never noticed before, which is that one of the four masts also has a wire aerial slung from it which is a standby antenna.

During the summer of 2020 one of the masts was struck by lightning and the associated ATU was comprehensively damaged. Although attempts were made to repair it these have thus far been unsuccessful, and as a result the reserve aerial is in use, which has considerably reduced the highly directional characteristics of the array.

These rectangular devices are there to monitor the phase and current at each of the two frequencies being sent to each monopole. The stability of these is essential to maintaining the directivity of the array.

These toroidal transformers supply the voltage for the aircraft warning lights.

On the evening of 1-Jul-1985 a serious fire occurred at Saffron Green. Originating in the transformers of a reserve transmitter for LBC, the fire spread and affected other parts of the building, and resulted in the loss of the AM service from Capital Radio. IBA maintenance staff worked throughout the night and had restored both services by 6.00am the following morning. The extensive damage to the building meant that transportable radio transmitters had to be brought to the site and special measures taken against chemical hazards. Permanent replacements for the LBC transmitters were due to be installed in April 1986.

Lots Road

IBA Engineering Announcements YouTube video about the fire
Roger Piper's Capital Radio pages
ILR (IBA Technical Review 5)
More on Saffron Green
Tricks of the Trade - description of the installation

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