THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY
Photos by Malcolm Pritchard
June 20, 1982: The original transmitter building dating back to 1931 is visible in several shots. The old station had three masts in an L-configuration, but this was changed to two masts. Work was underway on the north west mast, which was not yet at full height -- the third picture shows guy-wires drooping down and technicians being winched to the top. At the time, the BBC stated that aerials, transmitters and buildings were being renewed with the aim of improving reception of Radio 2 (909 kHz) and Radio 3 (1215 kHz) along the north west coast.
July 18, 1983: The antenna work had been completed. Shot 4 and composite shot 5 show that each 500 foot mast supports two vertical wire antennas, beginning at ground level as a square cage, then changing to a pair of wires that slope inward towards the top of the mast. Shot 4 shows heavy counterweights inside protective enclosures to keep the support cables under tension.
(When examining LF and MF antenna pictures it’s worth remembering that any cable broken up with multiple insulators is likely to be a support or a guy-wire, but unbroken wires and mast sections are probably part of the radiating structure. Cages and pairs of wires are almost certainly intentional radiators.)
I understand that the two 500 foot masts themselves were used as the antenna for Radio 2 on 909 kHz, while two of the wire cage antennas were used for Radio 1 (1089 kHz) and the remaining two wire antennas were used for Radio 3 (1215 kHz). A similar arrangement now applies to Radio 5 Live, talkSPORT and Virgin. The radiation pattern from the two vertical half-wave antennas spaced a half wave apart places nulls at 150 and 335 degrees -- in the directions of Brookmans Park and Westerglen -- where the same three frequencies are in use. Maximum radiation from Moorside Edge is towards Leeds and Manchester. Incidentally, Westerglen has a pair of masts supporting wire antennas, just like Moorside Edge.
August 1984: The original North Regional Station building from 1931 was being demolished. I remember some discussion at the time, pointing out that the transmitter house had been responsible for radiating many a historic broadcast to northern England and that it deserved a better fate.
For more pictures see: http://www.vintageradio.co.uk/Museum/museum2.htm.
Here is an extract from the Engineering section of the BBC’s Annual Report for 1983-84:
“In 1983-84 the high power mf station at Moorside Edge near Huddersfield was re-equipped, replacing equipment much out-dated, some of which had been in service since 1931. As a result, listeners in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and part of the north-Wales coast now enjoy better mf reception of Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio 3, particularly after dark when foreign interference is at its worst. The new installation consumes much less power than the old, and cost savings are further improved by using waste heat from the transmitters to heat the new building.”
By 1984, Radio 2 power had been increased from 100 kW to 200 kW and Radio 3 from 50 kW to 100 kW. I’ve drawn in the shape of the wire cage antennas suspended from the south east mast. Antenna wires are shown green, support cables are brown. The north west mast has a similar arrangement.
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