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Photos by mb21 and Dan Glover Page last updated: 2020-05-26
Luton UHF Bedfordshire
NGR: TL081210 Maps: Google  Bing (Ord Surv) Site Height: 157m      Structure Height: 45m
Digital TV: BBC A: 39 D3&4: 42 BBC B: 45
BBC Radio:
Ind. National Radio:
Ind. Local Radio:
Digital Radio:
Comments: Luton is a relay of Sandy Heath. Pre B700 allocations: 50/59/55.

Updated May 2016

mb21: "At one time I lived virtually in the shadow of this relay station. As you can see from the first two photos it's located right on the edge of a housing estate in the area known locally as Farley Hill, though more accurately it is actually Winsdon Hill!"

Originally a BBC landlord site and a relay of Crystal Palace with site number 101.08, BBC 1 & 2 entered service during August 1973. ITV was added on 14th June 1974 but as a relay of Sandy Heath. This was the IBA's first all solid state UHF transposer to enter service. All earlier IBA UHF relay stations used thermionic devices (tetrodes or travelling-wave tubes) in the power amplifier.

By 1978, the BBC channels are listed as relaying Sandy Heath. Channel 4 was added in April 1983. DSO was on 30th March and 13th April 2011.

When BBC Radio Bedfordshire opened on 24th June 1985, this site provided a low power relay of the station on 103.7MHz, later changed to 103.8MHz. On 29th August 1988 the service moved to co-site with ILR at Zouches Farm with much higher power.

The rectangular panel about half-way up is the 'trough' aerial which receives the off-air signals from Sandy Heath that provide the feed for the relay.

The mast also has two regular UHF receiving aerials on it, about half-way up. The one on the left is looking at Crystal Palace, while the log-periodic on the right is looking at Sandy Heath. These may have been been supplying feeds to the local cable franchise's head-end.

May 2016: The houses look to the sky for their entertainment (I did spot one or two antennas aimed at the relay but most seem to favour reception from Crystal Palace)

On the tower nothing seems to have changed on the broadcast side. Quite a few SHF dishes and mobile phone antennas have been cleared since mb21's visit...

...yet the "lightweight" log periodic (centre) and long yagi facing Crystal Palace (left) remain, together with the trough on the right. Are these somehow part of the relay's receive arrangements after all?

The panels seem largely untouched except for a bit of paint - but the top left and bottom right panels are less weathered and possibly not the originals

Farley Hill | Zouches Farm

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