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Photos © Ian Sheppard, Shropshire Star
With thanks to Simon Parton

The Wrekin presented something of a dilemma to the DSO planners. The short tower meant there was insufficient aperture at which to install a full-blown reserve antenna from which to broadcast while the main antenna was upgraded. The aesthetic sensitivity and relative inaccessibility of the site also meant it would have been difficult to build a temporary second structure, so a different approcah was required here.

In this case small temporary aerial panels were installed to provide limited, low power analogue coverage while the main antenna system was disconnected, lifted off by helicopter and replaced.

A date of 3-Sep-2009 was set for this operation, though inevitably this was weather dependant. In the event the forecast suggested that the weather might be just good enough and with little more than 24 hours notice to viewers in the area the work began.

In the early hours of 3-Sep-2009 th main analogue services went off air and the main aerial was disconnected from its feeders. Then...

... the old antenna comes off.

The old adaptor plate is also removed.

Then the new adaptor plate is lifted and fitted...

Riggers await the arrival of the new antenna.

... which is carefully lowered into place.

In this last photo we can also see the panel aerials which provided the temporary analogue service aimed mainly at Telford and Shrewsbury. (The digital tv services were maintained throughout from the log-periodic arrays.)

In the event, as you can see from the photos, the weather was not good and this delayed the final completion of the work so that full analogue services were not reumed until aorund 1700 the following day.

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