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Photos by Richard Greenleaf Page last updated: 2020-05-11

Earlier photos

The Ventnor BBC 405 line TV relay went into service using channel five in Band I on 4th May 1964, using a 120 ft tower. It wasn't until modifications were undertaken to the structure in 1968 for the arrival of BBC 2 that the opportunity was taken to add a national BBC VHF radio relay, which entered service on 22nd July 1968. The tower was extended to a height of 152 ft. Links to the relevant BBC R&D Reports are at the bottom of this page.

The UHF BBC 2 service began trade tests on 8th July 1968 and officially entered service on 22nd July 1968. UHF BBC 1 was added in June 1972, ITV on the 7th September 1973, with Channel 4 from May 1986. The transmitting aerials were fairly odd, consisting as they did (and still do ) of tilted troughs of dipoles mounted vertically, firing steeply downwards to the target area below.

Above: The tower is sited right on the edge of the cliff so that it can serve the housing immediately under the cliffs along the south coast of the Isle of Wight. Unusually the site employs five trough aerials: two to receive the off-air feed from Rowridge and three to transmit. What difficulty there might be in receiving clean signals from Rowridge at the site are not immediately apparent.

Below: The nearby (non broadcast) mast [see commentary below]. Also to be seen is one of the concrete bases of the wartime Chain Home radar masts can be seen in the lower centre of the photo. (The whole site is still marked with craters from the heavy bombing which it received.)

Mike Anderson writes
The mast nearby was the VHF (156 - 162 MHz) Ship to Shore mast for Niton Radio, operated by BT Maritime.

The service closed in 1999 but the mast still stands. Transceivers were housed in one of the old Ventnor Radar buildings near the base.

- Mike (ex Station Manager, Niton Radio)

Ventnor index

BBC R&D Report Ventnor VHF TV
BBC R&D Report Ventnor UHF TV

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