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Photos by Malcolm Pritchard, Lee Goulding and TAG Safety Page last updated: 2022-05-20

Saddleworth was originally an ITA landlord site although BBC 2 was the first service to be transmitted from
2-Feb-1970. ITV was added on 28-Jan-1972, BBC 1 in April 1972, with Channel 4 from June 1984. Interim DTT was available from the end of 1998. DSO was on 4th November and 2nd December 2009.

ILR Manchester (Piccadilly Radio) launched on 2nd April 1974. BBC national FM radio services were added in September 1991, with Radio Manchester from July 1996.

Malcolm Pritchard: This photo of the IBA site at Saddleworth was taken on June 13 1982. I might have walked a little closer, but the field was full of cattle. Saddleworth provides UHF coverage to the low lying towns and villages in the Tame Valley. The actual coverage is somewhat wider as shown by the IBA map. At the time, Saddleworth was also radiating the Manchester ILR station, Piccadilly Radio, on 97.0 MHz at 2 kW ERP. The antenna was a pair of stacked, 6-element circularly polarized Yagis beaming towards Manchester. All the later photos show 4 Yagis. That narrow beam sent signals as far as Southport but strength was not so good off the side of the beam in Rochdale and Littleborough. The station's studios in Piccadilly Plaza were linked by microwave to the Saddleworth site.

The site from a distance including part of the upper Tame Valley.

Saddleworth transmitter is in an excellent position overlooking both the Tame Valley and the Manchester conurbation. As such, it is used for both local television and FM services in the Saddleworth area and the Greater Manchester ILR service - Key 103.

Both Key 103 and the lower power BBC national services can be received over a very wide area of north west England indeed - with just a basic car radio I have received Key 103 as far away as the Fylde coast, North Wales and parts of the Lake District. The BBC services can be heard extensively in Greater Manchester and further beyond as far as Cheshire and Merseyside. Rather more unfortunately, the co-channelling of Saddleworth with Moel-y-Parc is responsible for interference to otherwise strong Welsh television signals over much of the Manchester area.

You can see here the trough aerial receiving the feed from Winter Hill plus the 4 aerials used to transmit Key 103 directionally towards Manchester.

The UHF cylinder radiates two beams of equal power. North (355 degrees) and South (190 degrees). On the right are the 2 dipoles used by both BBC national & local radio

Above: the BBC's FM receive aerial directed towards Holme Moss - but what is that UHF log-periodic doing there?

Saddleworth index

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