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THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY

BARNSTAPLE MF

Photos by Martin Watkins Page last updated: 2013-08-27

Spring 2003

There are three sites known as Barnstaple, one for VHF/FM radio, one for MF/AM radio and one for UHF television. This is the MF station.

Built in the early 1950s and entering service on 9th March 1952, this Home Service (West Region) relay was synchronised with Start Point on 285 m (1052 kHz) with a power of 2 kW.

With the wavelength changes of September 1972 Start Point stayed where it was but Barnstaple was retuned to 692 kHz (434 m). At this point the ability to broadcast the South West Regional opt outs (or indeed any other opt outs anywhere in England) on medium wave was lost, but this caused such a furore in the south west (a region with no BBC Local Radio station at that time) that the BBC quickly accepted the need to rectify the situation, and this could be achieved fairly easily at Barnstaple by moving the transmitter down a channel to 683 kHz. (Various other solutions were found at the other four BBC MW relays in the south west, namely Exeter, Plymouth, Redruth and for a new site built at Occombe covering Torbay).

In November 1978 Barnstaple again took up 285 m (1053 kHz, rejoining Start Point) and started broadcasting Radio 1, using a new 1 kW tx. The existing 2 kW unit moved from 683 kHz to 801 kHz and broadcast Radio 4 South West as an interim service until the arrival in 1983 of Radio Devon.

With the closure of Radio 1 MW the 1 kW tx fell silent as it was not used by the INR service that took over the old Radio 1 wavelengths.

(with thanks to Martin Brown for some clarifications)
























This tuning unit and mast forms a "reserve aerial". If the main aerial fails, this can be manually plugged up inside the TX building.

Finally, here is the nearby VHF tower as seen from the Barnstaple MF site:




Barnstaple MF index

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