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Photos by Peter Bigwood Page last updated: 2014-01-04

Sandale is the BBC's main transmitter covering Cumbria, the Lake District and parts of the England-Scotland Borders.

The region's FM radio services are also broadcast from this site as were the Scottish regional variants of BBC1 and BBC2. English regional variants came from the nearby Arqiva site at Caldbeck. Since DSO all UHF TV now comes from Caldbeck.

BBC TV started from a temporary 29m aerial at low power on 5th November 1956 on VHF channel 4. This was transferred to the permanent aerial at full power on 9th December 1957. BBC FM radio, with 4 programmes, entered service on 18th August 1958. Sandale transmitted both North & Scottish versions of the Home service. The first 4 programme FM radio site. BBC 1 Scotland on VHF channel 6 was added on 27th September 1965.

The above photo - taken circa 1970 - shows the Sandale mast before the BBC1 Scotland UHF extension was added.

Sandale radiated 405 line TV on ch 4 in Band I at 30 kW (BBC1 North) and on ch 6 in Band III (BBC1 Scotland) at 70 kW.

Starting from the top in the photo above we see the ch 6 Band III slot antenna - as far as we know the only time a slot antenna has been used for VHF TV by the BBC. The slots (in the conventional multi-tier configuration) were on one side only of the cylinder, to give directional coverage. (144 m agl)

Below that is the Band I ch 4 aperture, although the aerials can't be seen in this picture. (128 m agl). An eight tier "unipole V" was used, with horizontal polarisation.

Links to BBC papers describing the TV aerials can be found at the bottom of this page.

And below that is the conventional Band II eight tier slot cylinder, 101 m agl.

As part of the UHF expansion BBC1 Scotland was added on ch22 in 1979. The Band II installation was modernised after 405 line closure. Conversion to mixed polarisation working from the summer of 1987, with
Radio 1 added on 19th December 1989.

BBC2 Scotland went into service on 1st May 1992 on ch67.

In the next two photos Caldbeck can be seen in the background...

Sandale index


Site tests for the Cumberland TV transmitter
Sandale Band I TV service area
The Band III aerial system at Sandale

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