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Photos by Don Burluraux Page last updated: 2021-10-11

March 2003

Bilsdale West Moor. Located high up on the North Yorkshire Moors. The mast is one of three cylindrical structures built by the BBC. Others being Mendip and Waltham. It is also the tallest of the BBC cylindrical structures.

The fortunate and unfortunate side of Bilsdale is the vast coverage area which reaches parts of Northumbria down to South Yorkshire. Such a vast coverage towards the south has meant many viewers in Yorkshire who were unable to receive Yorkshire Television from either Belmont or Emley Moor had little choice except to watch programming from Tyne Tees Television when Yorkshire Television would have been the preferred choice. Bilsdale transmitted BBC local news region was Newcastle instead of Leeds, so viewers were subjected to news from 100 miles north of Leeds when they themselves lived several miles south of Leeds.

Solution for many viewers has been the installation of aerials much more complex and expensive to receive YTV than would normally be installed. Today many of those viewers can and possibly opt for satellite reception.

Bilsdale is also unusual in that it was only supplied from a single 11kV electricity supply while normally a main transmitting station would have two independent electricity supplies. BBC solution was to provide a 1 MVA gas turbine generator to power the site in case of mains failure. In recent years the gas turbine has been replaced.

Primarily built for UHF TV, BBC 2 was the first service to be transmitted from Bilsdale from 24th November 1969, with BBC 1 from October 1970, and ITV from 15th April 1971. Channel 4 was available from the launch on 2nd November 1982. Channel 5 entered service on 29th September 1997. DSO was on 12th and 26th September 2012. Mux 7 was added on 4th March 2014. Mux 8 on 12th May 2015.

BBC local radio, (originally called Radio Teesside) launched on 31st December 1970 on 96.6 MHz. ILR Teesside (Radio Tees) launched on 15th September 1975 on 95.0 MHz. BBC Radio Cleveland was converted to stereo on 26th March 1984. The BBC/ILR frequency swap was on 18th November 1986. Century Radio launched 1st September 1994 on 100.7 MHz. BBC national FM radio was added in January 1997. Galaxy 105-106 launched on 1st June 1999 on 106.4 MHz. Classic FM entered service during 2002.

DAB service dates: BBC, 21st August 1997; Digital One, 29th September 1999; North-east, 14th June 2001, closed 29th July 2013; Yorkshire, 24th June 2003, closed 30th June 2015; N.Yorkshire, 17th December 2014; Sound Digital, 29th February 2016.

Bilsdale mk1 index

North York Moors CAM - Don Burluraux

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