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THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY

Hannington Hampshire
NGR: SU527568 Maps: Google  Bing (Ord Surv) Site Height: 216.4m Structure Height: 151.9m
Digital TV: BBC A: 45 D3&4: 42 BBC B: 39 SDN: 41 Arq A: 44 Arq B: 47 Local Mux: 29 Mux 7: 32 Mux 8: 34 Local Mux: 51
BBC Radio:
  Radio Berkshire: 104.1 
Ind. National Radio:
Ind. Local Radio: Heart FM (Thames Valley): 102.9 
Digital Radio: BBC National: 12B        Digital One: 11D        Sound Digital: 11A        Berkshire & North Hants: 12D       
Comments:
   

Under construction in 1969

Site signage

Photos by David Foord


Photos by Martin Watkins

Photos by Tony Gallagher

Photos by Mark Carver

I went for a hike and scaled Cottington Hill from the difficult north face! (there's a 1 in 1 slope to fall down if you're not careful) You can see the eight north facing panels used for Channel 5 analogue in the middle of the first shot and the new super bright warning lamps.

Photos by Mike Dimmick - Jun 2010

Given reports of poor performance in some areas on ukfree.tv, I decided to take a look for myself to see what had been done so far and what was proposed.

DSO1
Photos by Mark Carver - Jul 2010

DSO Work has started... It appears that one of the four Band II tiers have been removed, and in their place is a 'wrap round' UHF reserve aerial. There is no mention of this in the planning docs on the council website, so I assume this is temporary...

DSO2
Photos by Mark Carver - Oct 2010

Showing the site in preparation for the helilifts which took place on 19/20 Oct

DSO3
Photos by Roger Piper

The helilifts, on 19/20-Oct-2010

DSO4
Photos by Robert Whittaker

After the helilifts

DSO5
Photos by Mark Carver

The following day, including shots of the old analogue aerials on the ground.

DSO6
Photos by James Burton Stewart

Site overviews taken on 24-Oct-2010

Coverage area maps
Site information by Mark Carver

The Hannington site, on Cottington Hill, Hampshire, transmits analogue and digital television, digital radio and the local FM stations BBC Thames Valley on 104.1MHz and 2-Ten FM on 102.9MHz.

The BBC/ITA identified a need for a UHF station in the N.Hants area in the sixties, and Cottington Hill was selected. There was already a long established 200ft Home Office/MOD mast on the site but Basingstoke Council would not allow the BBC to build an additional mast next to this. Agreement was finally reached with the Home Office, that the BBC would build a 450ft replacement mast, and that the Home Office would remain site landlord, and 'own' the first 200ft of the structure.

The Home Office sold the site to NTL although NGW were responsible for the main Ch 1-4 analogue TV, DTT, DAB, Band II antennas, feeders, and combining units, as well as power provision for the broadcast services.All academic now, of course, as the two companies have merged and become Arqiva.

Analogue coverage of Channel 5 from this site is severely restricted because the Ch5 radiators are much lower down at just 100ft, and only on the North face. They are between the 2nd and 3rd SHF links as seen in the bottom picture, which is taken from the east side.


Hannington in winter - from Watership Down - Photo by Mark Carver

Other signals from this station can be received fairly easily in parts of South London and Hannington transmissions can provide an emergency programme feed to Crystal Palace, should its normal source fail.

Interestingly the Band II radiators were installed in 1985 as the BBC were about to launch Radio Berks. and Surrey. At the same time Reading based Radio 210 were awarded a new larger franchise that covered Basingstoke, Newbury, and Andover. The IBA approached the BBC and Home Office for permission to use the site for the new service (4kW ERP). The Home Office were worried about emissions interfering with their equipment on the site, and the IBA/BBC and antenna manufacturer (Alan Dick?) spent 3-4 weeks in June 1986 conducting tests from various design antennas on the two allocated frequencies. 102.9/104.1.

After the BBC commissioned the array, plans for BBC Berks. and Surrey put on hold. Hence Radio 210 entered service on 1-Jan-1987 with a 'Rolls Royce' antenna system, installed for them by the BBC! Radio Berks. finally arrived in 1991.

The site is notorious for two events. The first in 1976 when students managed to swamp out the off-air TV feed from Rowridge, and transmitted during the ITN news one Saturday evening a message from "Vrillon
of Ashtar Command", orbiting Earth in his space ship! The second was in July 1994, when during the World Cup Final, someone switched off both HT electricity feeds to the site. The switches were in opposite directions, each about a mile away. Interestingly no actual damage was done to the switching equipment however. All services were off air for 2 hours. Southern Electricity offered a reward but no-one has been convicted.

Hannington as a Directorate of Telecommunications Depot

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