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Photos by Martin Watkins and Mark Carver Page last updated: 2012-06-16

October 2011 - the old mast

Three mb21 spotters paid a visit to the Isle of Wight in late October 2011. We particularly wanted to see the old Rowridge mast before it is demolished, and examine the new taller replacement.

Martin's shots are supplemented with Mark's

Viewed from the approach road, the old mast peeps over the hedge to greet us.

From the bottom of the final ascent. From here the more distant taller mast on the left appears shorter than the original.

We can state with some certainty that this is NOT an EMI slot UHF system; we could just see two panels of the bottom tier of a Marconi UHF aerial.

Mark managed to get some extra detail with his camera

..and from the north side

...and west

The top half of the Kathrein mixed polarised and directional Band II national and local aerial.

Average height agl of the FM aerial is 105 m, and not as stated by both the BBC (for many years) and now by Ofcom at 120 m. The move to mixed polarisation only led to a partial use of the former Band I aperture, although early plans of the BBC suggest that originally it was intended to install the new FM system into the whole of the Band I aperture. Maybe there were objections from the other side of "La Manche"?

As it turned out the present arrangement (with 15 m or so of the former Band I aperture left empty) favoured the subsequent installation of the interim DTT aerial system. Maybe someone had a premonition....?

Lower half of FM system, and a glimpse of the forest of logs that transmitted the local analogue TV service.

The DAB aperture at 90 m agl is on the north side of the mast.

Moving round the the north east side of the mast we begin to see the interim DTT aerial system.

There are a great number of "third party" operators making use of Rowridge, and one puzzle is that presumably they're all going to have to move eventually to the new mast. It's quite a distance between the two structures and it isn't clear whether feeders are going to be extended from the old buildings or whether the equipment will be moved in its entirety. The same applies to the FM transmitters, as will be mentioned on the page for the new mast.

A bit of history remains. At least they knew how to spell "in them days"....

We've now moved round to the south west side of the old mast, these pictures are taken from near the new mast and buildings.

Tx Logs for the defunct Solent TV local service.
Mark appears to have captured a British Airways jet tangled up in them !

Band II RBS logs looking at Wrotham

Yagis, looking at Hannington

We wondered briefly why the rather new looking 25 m mast with two dishes on it had been built. Moving a bit nearer it seemed likely that the building of the new main mast had exactly blocked the path of an existing SHF service from the old mast, and that a temporary expedient had become necessary.

Looking North East from the site, Portsmouth, and behind it the Sussex South Downs

Rowridge index

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