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Photos by BT Heritage Page last updated: 2019-12-25


Pawley reports: "A temporary installation started service on 1 Feb 1955, using two pairs of STC type CG-1 transmitters accommodated in a wooden hut and using an aerial mounted on a 236 ft Post Office mast. The rural nature of this site may be judged from a comment of one of the original staff: 'It was not unknown for a gaggle of geese to stroll through the transmitter hut on a summer evening'. The permanent station was not commissioned until late 1956"

Happily the Post Office recorded this initial installation (not the geese) and the photos have been released via BT Archives.

The dish faced a temporary Post Office site established at Depden, near Wickhambrook, where the signal from Alexandra Palace was received off-air and forwarded on a 2 GHz link. This feed arrangement continued until around 1959 when a link from Birmingham was available.

Creative Commons Licence All images are Copyright BT Heritage, licensed under a Creative Commons License and reproduced under the following

The dish would be facing south west so the two sections of the transmit array were towards north west and north east.

[TCB 417/E 20187]

The Post Office used a square mast with "pointy top" as the original structure at many of their microwave sites. Examples survive at Hemel Hempstead (Pimlico) and Thrumster where the broadcast installation was added to the PO mast.

At the top the yagis may face Holme Moss and Sutton Coldfield - Band I went a long way! London is roughly in the same direction as the dish.

[TCB 417/E 20188]

At this stage the transmit array seems to have been two groups of five horizontal dipoles

[TCB 417/E 20189]

All looks very temporary...presumably one of the timber buildings was for the BBC and the other for the Post Office. The mast is fixed at the base, which seemed to be common PO practice.

[TCB 417/E 20190]

An overview of the link site at Depden. The microwave dish facing Tacolneston was on the roof of the water tower and most of the Post Office installation within the lower part of the building. The cabinet just left of the pole (a standard green PO type) housed a preamplifier. No fewer than four yagis face Alexandra Palace.

When the Alexandra Palace transmitter closed a further "temporary, temporary" arrangement was used for a period as Crystal Palace started on low power. This involved reception at Thaxted (exact location not known) and a 4 GHz link to Depden. Once Crystal Palace went to full power operation the Thaxted to Depden link was removed.

[TCB 417/E 20175]

Radio Times cutting 28-Jan-1955.

Tacolneston index

Depden: BT Microwave Sites

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