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Bilsdale transmitting station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bilsdale Transmitter Station
The Bilsdale mast stood high above the hills of the North York Moors.
Bilsdale transmitting station (North Yorkshire)
Mast height314 metres (1,030 ft)
Coordinates54°21′31″N 1°09′01″W / 54.358611°N 1.150278°W / 54.358611; -1.150278
Grid referenceSE553962
Demolished6 October 2021
BBC regionBBC North East and Cumbria
ITV regionITV Tyne Tees
Local TV serviceMade In Teesside

The Bilsdale transmitting station is a broadcasting and telecommunications facility, located at Bilsdale West Moor above Bilsdale, close to Helmsley, North Yorkshire, England. The original facility included a guyed steel tubular mast that was primarily used for radio and television transmission. The height of the mast was 314 metres (1,030 ft) to the pinnacle.[2] Until a fire disabled the transmitter on 10 August 2021 it was among the most powerful transmitters in the UK. The power for analogue was 500 kW ERP and it was 100 kW / 50 kW for digital. The mast was equipped with aircraft warning lights, in the form of arrays of ultra bright red LEDs. The station was owned and operated by Arqiva.[3] The transmitting station now has a temporary 80 metre (300') mast located close to the original mast. This commenced operation on 13 October 2021.[4]


First Mast (1969-2021)

Bilsdale was constructed by J. L. Eve Construction for the BBC in 1969[5] to bring 625-line colour television on UHF to Teesside and the surrounding areas for the first time. Having added UHF TV to the existing VHF TV stations at Pontop Pike and Emley Moor, it was quickly established that a new station would be required to cover County Durham and north North Yorkshire where existing coverage was poor, and thus the new station was built.

Fire and Demolition

Bilsdale Transmitting Station on 10 October 2021
Bilsdale Transmitting Station on 10 October 2021

On 10 August 2021, a fire started at the complex which included the mast. At 13:19 an engineer working at the transmitter called the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service stating that he believed the mast was on fire and could see smoke coming from below the first stay level 50–60 metres (160–200 ft) from the ground.[6] It was reported that up to one million homes had lost TV and radio signals.[7] Concerns remained about the structural integrity of the mast, which now needed to have a structural engineering assessment.[8] Arqiva confirmed that they were working on restoring service using a combination of temporary structures and existing infrastructure around the region, but were unable to provide a timescale for this.[9] Viewers in the Hartlepool and Redcar and the eastern edges of Middlesbrough should now be able to receive their television services from the Eston Nab transmitter. The frequencies of the Eston Nab relay have been altered to match the frequencies of the out-of-service Bilsdale frequencies for the PSB services, and COM TV services are provided by a temporary mast to the same area, using Eston Nab’s frequencies.[10] On 19 August, transmitter operator Arqiva announced that an increase in power would enable 250,000 households in the area to receive a signal from the Eston Nab transmitter.[11] On 6 October 2021, Arqiva carried out a controlled demolition of the mast, as the structure was found to be irreparably damaged. Sections of the mast have been retained for investigation purposes, with plans for a replacement permanent mast to be built on the same site. [12]

Temporary Mast (2021-Present)

Following the destruction of the first mast, Arqiva constructed a temporary mast in a nearby former quarry site. The mast is 80 metres (300') high and commenced operation on 13 October 2021.[4]

Replacement Mast

Plans are being drawn up for a new mast to replace the original 1969 mast. This will be built on the site of the original mast.


Coverage extended throughout Teesside and the surrounding regions, encompassing north North Yorkshire and southern County Durham. This included Harrogate and York to the south, Filey and Whitby to the east, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Darlington, Bishop Auckland, Hartlepool, Peterlee, some areas of Seaham and some areas of Sunderland to the north, and Barnard Castle and Worton to the west.

Channels listed by frequency

Analogue radio

Frequency kW Service
89.0 MHz 5 BBC Radio 2
91.2 MHz 5 BBC Radio 3
93.4 MHz 5 BBC Radio 4
95.0 MHz 10 BBC Tees
96.6 MHz 8.9 TFM
98.6 MHz 5 BBC Radio 1
100.7 MHz 8.9 Heart North East
101.6 MHz 1 Classic FM
106.4 MHz 8.9 Capital FM

Digital radio

Frequency Block kW[13] Operator
213.360 MHz 10C 10 MuxCo North Yorkshire
216.928 MHz 11A 5 SDL National
222.064 MHz 11D 4.7 Digital One
223.936 MHz 12A 2 BBC National DAB

Digital television

In July 2007, it was confirmed by Ofcom that the television frequency assignment after digital switchover would be such that a wideband or group K aerial would be required for reception of all six multiplexes. However, the three public service multiplexes would still fall within the station's original analogue frequency range assignment of aerial group A.[14] The digital switchover started at Bilsdale on 12 September 2012 and was one of the last transmitters in England to complete this operation on 26 September 2012, the others being Pontop Pike and Chatton in the same region.[15]

On 13 November 2019, due to the 700 MHz Clearance Programme, the following multiplexes moved frequencies:

  • BBC A from UHF 26 to UHF 21.
  • Digital 3&4 from UHF 29 to UHF 24.
  • BBC B from UHF 23 to UHF 27.
  • Arqiva C and D moving to UHF 55 and UHF 56 respectively.

On 12 March, BBC A and BBC B swap UHF Channel allocations, with BBC A on UHF 27 and BBC B on UHF 21.

On 25 June 2020, COM 8 was switched off permanently due to the effects of the 700 MHz clearance programme.

All broadcasting from Bilsdale temporarily ceased on 10 August 2021 due to damage to the mast by fire.

Frequency UHF kW Operator System
474.000 MHz 21 100 BBC B DVB-T2
498.000 MHz 24 100 Digital 3&4 DVB-T
522.000 MHz 27 100 BBC A DVB-T
626.000 MHz 40 50 Arqiva B DVB-T
650.000 MHz 43 50 SDN DVB-T
674.000 MHz 46 50 Arqiva A DVB-T
746.000 MHz 55 26.9 Arqiva C DVB-T2

Before switchover

Frequency UHF kW[16] Operator
474.000 MHz 21 6 Digital 3&4 (Mux 2)
498.000 MHz 24 6 BBC (Mux B)
522.000 MHz 27 6 Arqiva (Mux C)
554.000 MHz 31 6 SDN (Mux A)
578.000 MHz 34 4.8 BBC (Mux 1)
642.000 MHz 42 1.6 Arqiva (Mux D)

Analogue television

Analogue television is no longer available from Bilsdale; BBC Two was closed on 12 September 2012, followed by the remaining four channels on 26 September 2012.

Frequency UHF kW Service
487.25 MHz 23 500 Channel 4
511.25 MHz 26 500 BBC Two
535.25 MHz 29 500 ITV1 (Tyne Tees regional feed)
567.25 MHz 33 500 BBC One
583.25 MHz 35 500 Channel 5


Below is a list of transmitters that relayed Bilsdale.

Digital television

transmitter kW BBC-A BBC-B D3&4 SDN ARQ-A ARQ-B Pol.
Aislaby 0.0076 45 42 39 N/A N/A N/A BV
Bainbridge 0.0076 57 53 60 N/A N/A N/A CDV
Castleton 0.002 50 55 59 N/A N/A N/A CDV
Eston Nab 0.003 52 48 51 N/A N/A N/A BV
Grinton Lodge 0.005 45 49 42 N/A N/A N/A BV
Guisborough 0.01 57 53 60 N/A N/A N/A CDV
Limber Hill 0.008 47 44 41 N/A N/A N/A BV
Peterlee 0.002 45 39 42 N/A N/A N/A BV
Ravenscar 0.033 56 53 58 N/A N/A N/A CDV
Romaldkirk 0.012 44 47 41 N/A N/A N/A BV
Rookhope 0.002 45 49 42 N/A N/A N/A BV
Rosedale Abbey 0.002 45 42 39 N/A N/A N/A BV
Skinningrove 0.006 52 48 51 N/A N/A N/A BV
West Burton 0.002 45 42 39 N/A N/A N/A BV
Whitby 0.1 55 50 59 N/A N/A N/A CDV

See also


  1. ^ "Bilsdale Transmitter". ATV aerial sales. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. ^ MuxCo Ofcom DAB application document
  3. ^ Joe Willis (11 August 2021). "Temporary equipment to be used to restore TV and radio after Bilsdale transmitter fire". Richmondshire Today.
  4. ^ a b "Latest update on incident at Bilsdale mast". Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  5. ^ "The Big Tower Bilsdale". The Big Tower. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Fire at Bilsdale transmitting centre". North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. 10 August 2021. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Homes lose TV reception as smoke billows from Bilsdale signal station fire". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Bilsdale transmitter fire: TV and radio disrupted in 1m homes". BBC News. 10 August 2021. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  9. ^ @Arquiva (11 August 2021). "Following the incident at Bilsdale yesterday ..." (Tweet). Retrieved 11 August 2021 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Problems with television and radio services in North Yorkshire and Teesside - 10th August 2021 | Help receiving TV and radio". BBC News. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Mast latest: Transmitter bosses say increased power brings coverage to 250,000 homes". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Bilsdale mast felled in controlled demolition". BBC News. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  13. ^ Radio Listeners Guide 2010
  14. ^ "Digital Switchover Transmitter Details" (PDF). Ofcom. 24 October 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  15. ^ "Digital UK – Tyne Tees region". Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  16. ^ Television Viewers Guide 2009

External links

This page was last edited on 28 November 2021, at 22:49
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