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Photos by Jack Richardson Page last updated: 2023-12-02
Falls of Conon (link site)
NGR: NH392572 Maps: Google  Bing (Ord Surv)   Site Height:       Structure Height:
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September 2023

Falls of Conon was one of a number of SHF link sites bringing TV and radio to North West Scotland. The site was originally built by the BBC to provide four channels of 625-line colour TV, and in the late 1980's, the BBC PCM/Nicam radio distribution.

The feed started at Rosemarkie, onto Glenmarksie, Falls of Conon, Sgurr Marcasaidh, Glen Docherty, Melvaig and onto Eitshal and Skriaig. To save on the cost of putting in electricity, access road, maintenance etc in this remote and mountainous area, Glenmarksie and Sgurr Marcasaidh were passive repeaters. Glenmarksie is a plane reflector, while Sgurr Marcasaidh was a passive repeater having 2 dishes mounted back-to-back, connected, but with no powered electronics. Falls of Conon was an active repeater, adjacent to a road and an electricity substation with dishes pointing towards Glenmarksie and Sgurr Marcasaidh. More information about the link system is provided in a BBC Engineering article linked at the foot of this page.

On 17th January 1983 one of the dishes at Sgurr Marcasaidh was blown off in a gale. Service was restored around 3 weeks later, on February 9th, in arduous conditions including deep snow, freezing temperatures and light wind. This is detailed in a BBC Engineering article from the time.

The route of the SHF links from Rosemarkie to Melvaig, Eitshal and Skriaig.

The top dish points towards Glenmarksie, the bottom towards Sgurr Marcasaidh.

The dishes aren't connected up to anything anymore.

Some sort of hold?

Ray Cooper has informed mb21 that Falls of Conon was equipped with a diesel alternator set to accommodate mains losses. The concrete supports shown would thus be most likely to be a cradle for a cylindrical storage tank to hold the diesel oil. The D.A. equipment will be on the other side of the left-hand wall (to provide a firebreak) and the louvred doors are provided to ensure adequate ventilation.

Despite not being in use anymore, the site still has an Arqiva ID sticker.

Eitshal | Glen Docherty (link site) | Glenmarksie (link site) | Melvaig | Rosemarkie | Sgurr Marcasaidh (link site) | Skriaig

BBC Engineering: The SHF Link System from Rosemarkie to Eitshal (Page 30 onwards)
Sgurr Marcasaidh dish blown over (Page 9)

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