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Wenvoe transmitting station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wenvoe transmitting station
Wenvoe Transmitting Station.jpg
Wenvoe mast
Wenvoe transmitting station (Vale of Glamorgan)
Mast height270.5 metres (887 ft)
Coordinates51°27′33″N 3°16′54″W / 51.459167°N 3.281667°W / 51.459167; -3.281667
Grid referenceST110742
Built1985
BBC regionBBC Wales
ITV regionITV Wales
Local TV serviceCardiff TV

The Wenvoe transmitting station, officially known as Arqiva Wenvoe, is the main facility for broadcasting and telecommunications for South Wales and the West of England. It is situated close to the village of Wenvoe in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, in the UK.

It comprises a 270.5-metre (887 ft) guyed mast with antennas attached at various heights.[1] The average height above sea level is 400.5 metres (1,314 ft) for the television antennas.[1]

It is owned and operated by Arqiva. The site serves 24 counties spanning vast areas of Wales and western England. It is structurally identical to the site at Sutton Coldfield.[2]

History

The original 230 m (750 ft) mast at the site was built in 1952 by the BBC to provide 405-line VHF television to south Wales and the west of England. The station broadcast on Band I channel 5 (66.75 MHz) from 15 August 1952 using its reserve transmitters, and from 20 December 1952 with its main high-power transmitters.[3] It remained on air until the closure of 405-line television in 1985.

In 1955 VHF FM radio was added to the mast, carrying the BBC's Home Service. This was followed by the addition of the Light Programme in 1956 and the Third Programme in 1959.

In 1963 a second 191 m (625 ft) mast was built alongside the existing structure. This was in order to carry the new BBC Wales 405-line TV service on Band III VHF channel 13, and entered service on 9 February 1964.[4] The 405-line transmitter for this service was closed early, in 1983.

On 12 September 1965, a 625-line black and white television service BBC2 became available from Wenvoe on UHF. This new transmitter was capable of colour broadcasting from the start and was used for unannounced colour TV engineering test-transmissions from that point onwards.[5]

In September 1967 BBC2 officially launched a colour TV service from Wenvoe, a few months after BBC2 Crystal Palace and others had launched the UK's first colour broadcasting in July of that year.

In 1970 UHF 625-line colour television was introduced for BBC1 and ITV Wales (HTV Wales. S4C was added later when it launched in 1982.

In 1985, when 405-line TV closed, the site was re-engineered and both of the existing masts were taken down. They were replaced by a brand new mast (to be known as Wenvoe "A"), which is the structure currently in place at the site. Wenvoe "B" is a self-supporting telecommunications mast nearby. The VHF FM antennas were upgraded from the old horizontally polarised slot antennas to new mixed polarisation antennas, and the transmitter power was doubled.

The new analogue Channel 5 was launched in 1997, but this was never transmitted from Wenvoe. It was presumably thought that the 125 kW transmitter at Mendip would serve a satisfactory number of homes in Wenvoe's service area. At the time, many homes within range of Mendip already had aerials pointing at it so as to receive the English-only Channel 4 rather than the bilingual English/Welsh S4C transmitted from Wenvoe.

The mast seen in the distance from Barry
The mast seen in the distance from Barry

Work began on a new temporary 217.7 m (714 ft) stayed mast (Wenvoe "C") on 14 June 2006 and it was completed in September 2006. This carried the analogue signals whilst Wenvoe "A" was to be structurally improved and extended by 23 metres (75 ft). Wenvoe "A" was fitted with a new high-power digital antenna and a full reserve antenna. New high-power digital TV transmitters were installed in the buildings, which would allow Wenvoe "A" to broadcast all six main digital TV multiplexes, as well as a seventh currently proposed by OFCOM [6] after the analogue signals were switched off in 2010.

This mechanical upgrade was completed by the summer of 2009 and Wenvoe "C" was dismantled starting in late August 2009.

Wenvoe's analogue BBC Two service was switched off on 3 March 2010 and the remaining analogue TV services were switched off on 31 March 2010. At this point, Wales had officially completed its switchover to digital TV services.[7]

BBC Radio Wales commenced broadcasting from the Wenvoe Transmitter on 6 December 2011 at 10:39. This replaced the low power VHF Transmitter on the Wenallt Hill which also carried BBC Wales VHF programme on 103.9 MHz to South East Wales up to that point.

Services listed by frequency

Analogue television

15 August 1952 - 9 February 1964

Frequency VHF kW Service
66.75 MHz 5V 100 BBC TV

9 February 1964 - 12 September 1965

The second mast came into service carrying the BBC Wales service.

Frequency VHF kW Service
66.75 MHz 5V 100 BBC1 West
214.75 MHz 13V 200 BBC Wales

12 September 1965 - April 1970

The first UHF 625-line television service started from Wenvoe. This required the installation of a Band V antenna at the top of the mast,[8] replacing the 1952 Band I antenna that had originally been sited there. The new Band I antenna was brought into service on 8 December 1964, and was sited immediately below the Band V antenna and above the Band II antenna. This put it in close proximity with the fixings of the top deck of guy wires, requiring some careful engineering so as not to affect the radiation pattern adversely.[9]

Frequency VHF UHF kW Service
66.75 MHz 5V 100 BBC1
214.75 MHz 13V 200 BBC1 Wales
711.25 MHz 51 500 BBC2 Wales

† Monochrome initially, colour TV service started September 1967.

April 1970 - 1 November 1982

Frequency VHF UHF kW Service
66.75 MHz 5V 100 BBC1
214.75 MHz 13V 200 BBC1 Wales
631.25 MHz 41 500 HTV Wales
655.25 MHz 44 500 BBC1 Wales†
711.25 MHz 51 500 BBC2 Wales

† Monochrome initially, colour production at BBC One Wales started 9 July 1970.

1 November 1982 - 4 January 1983

Channel Four launched across the UK. Being in Wales, Wenvoe transmitted the S4C variant.

Frequency VHF UHF kW Service
66.75 MHz 5V 100 BBC1
214.75 MHz 13V 200 BBC1 Wales
631.25 MHz 41 500 HTV Wales
655.25 MHz 44 500 BBC1 Wales
679.25 MHz 47 500 S4C
711.25 MHz 51 500 BBC2 Wales

4 January 1983 - 3 January 1985

The 405-line BBC1 Wales service on Band III from Wenvoe was discontinued early.[10] The off-air 405-line relays at Abergavenny, Carmarthen and Llanelli had been decommissioned the previous year. This left Llandrindod Wells (and Wenvoe's indirect off-air relay at Llanidloes) and Kilvey Hill as the last surviving 405-line BBC Wales transmitters classed as relays of Wenvoe.

405-line transmissions from Kilvey Hill and Llanidloes were due to shut in the second quarter of 1983, leaving Llandrindod Wells to continue alone until January 1985.

Frequency VHF UHF kW Service
66.75 MHz 5V 100 BBC1
631.25 MHz 41 500 HTV Wales
655.25 MHz 44 500 BBC1 Wales
679.25 MHz 47 500 S4C
711.25 MHz 51 500 BBC2 Wales

3 January 1985 - 15 November 1998

The 405-line VHF television system was shut down across the whole UK, and until the start of digital television services, Wenvoe's TV output was 625-lines on UHF only.

Frequency UHF kW Service
631.25 MHz 41 500 HTV Wales
655.25 MHz 44 500 BBC One Wales
679.25 MHz 47 500 S4C
711.25 MHz 51 500 BBC Two Wales

Analogue and digital television

15 November 1998 - 3 March 2010

This was the initial roll-out for digital television using the DVB-T system. The transmitter frequencies and power outputs were chosen not to interfere with the UHF TV channels, but to be received with the same aerial-group. The QAM constellations and number of carriers were changed around 2002 after the collapse of ITV Digital as the service was taken over by the Freeview consortium.

Frequency UHF kW Service System
546.000 MHz 30 10 BBC (Mux 1) DVB-T
578.000 MHz 34 5 Digital 3&4 (Mux 2) DVB-T
625.833 MHz 40- 5 SDN (Mux A) DVB-T
631.25 MHz 41 500 ITV1 Wales (HTV Wales until 2002) PAL System I
649.833 MHz 43- 5 Arqiva (Mux C) DVB-T
655.25 MHz 44 500 BBC One Wales PAL System I
673.833 MHz 46- 5 Arqiva (Mux D) DVB-T
679.25 MHz 47 500 S4C PAL System I
705.833 MHz 50- 5 BBC (Mux B) DVB-T
711.25 MHz 51 500 BBC Two Wales PAL System I

3 March 2010 – 31 March 2010

Analogue BBC Two Wales on channel 51 closed after 45 years of service, and ITV1 Wales was moved from channel 41 to that channel for what would be its final month of service.

Multiplex 1 from channel 30 was renamed BBC A and moved to channel 41+ (which had just been vacated by analogue ITV1 Wales). In addition to the power increase to 100 kW ERP, it was reconfigured to 64QAM and 8k carriers, which resulted in a service area similar to the old analogue transmissions but with much more bandwidth available than Multiplex 1 ever had.

For the duration of the switchover, all the channels carried on Multiplex B were duplicated on this new PSB1 multiplex.

Channel 30 was re-used for Multiplex C, freeing Multiplex C's old allocation at channel 43-

Frequency UHF kW Service System
546.000 MHz 30 5 Arqiva (Mux C) DVB-T
578.000 MHz 34 5 Digital 3&4 (Mux 2) DVB-T
625.833 MHz 40- 5 SDN (Mux A) DVB-T
634.166 MHz 41+ 100[11] BBC A DVB-T
655.25 MHz 44 500 BBC One Wales PAL System I
673.833 MHz 46- 5 Arqiva (Mux D) DVB-T
679.25 MHz 47 500 S4C PAL System I
705.833 MHz 50- 5 BBC (Mux B) DVB-T
711.25 MHz 51 500 ITV1 Wales PAL System I

Digital television

31 March 2010 - 27 April 2011

All remaining analogue television was shut down after 40 years of service. The pre-switchover low-power digital transmissions (apart from Arqiva A and SDN) were upgraded to full power and configured to 64QAM and 8k carriers, with frequency changes and with new names for the multiplexes:

Frequency UHF kW Operator
546.000 MHz 30 10 Arqiva A
634.166 MHz 41+ 100 BBC A
658.000 MHz 44 100 Digital 3&4
682.000 MHz 47 100 BBC B†
698.000 MHz 49 50 Arqiva B
714.000 MHz 51 10 SDN

† High-definition channels; BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV1 HD and S4C Clirlun using DVB-T2 transmission, coded with MPEG4 100 kW ERP.

27 April 2011 - 23 January 2013

Unusually, the digital switchover at Wenvoe required a third phase to allow time for channels 42 and 45 to be cleared at Ridge Hill. At this point, Arq A and SDN were shifted fully into the group with a power increase:

Frequency UHF kW Operator
634.166 MHz 41+ 100 BBC A
642.166 MHz 42+ 50 SDN
658.000 MHz 44 100 Digital 3&4
666.000 MHz 45 50 Arqiva A
682.000 MHz 47 100 BBC B
698.000 MHz 49 50 Arqiva B

23 January 2013 - 10 December 2013

As a side-effect of frequency-changes elsewhere in the region to do with clearance of the 800 MHz band for 4G mobile phone use,[12] Wenvoe's "Arqiva B" multiplex was moved from channel 49 to channel 39.[13] This was to allow channel 49 to be taken over at a future date by the Mendip transmitter.

Frequency UHF kW Operator
618.000 MHz 39 50 Arqiva B
634.166 MHz 41+ 100 BBC A
642.166 MHz 42+ 50 SDN
658.000 MHz 44 100 Digital 3&4
666.000 MHz 45 50 Arqiva A
682.000 MHz 47 100 BBC B

10 December 2013 - 24 June 2020

Following changes in the 700 MHz Band on 15 May and 6 June 2019, the Arqiva COM7 multiplex is transmitted on UHF Channel 55 and the COM 8 multiplex is on UHF Channel 56. These multiplexes carry additional HD services. The Local TV Multiplex is on UHF Channel 37 and commenced antenna tests around 1 December 2013.

Frequency UHF kW Operator System
602.000 MHz 37 10 Local TV DVB-T
618.000 MHz 39 50 Arqiva B DVB-T
634.166 MHz 41+ 100 BBC A DVB-T
642.166 MHz 42+ 50 SDN DVB-T
658.000 MHz 44 100 Digital 3&4 DVB-T
666.000 MHz 45 50 Arqiva A DVB-T
682.000 MHz 47 100 BBC B DVB-T2
746.000 MHz 55 40.7 COM7 DVB-T2
754.000 MHz 56 40.7 COM8 DVB-T2

25 June 2020 - present

Following changes in the 700 MHz Band, on 22 June 2020, the Arqiva COM8 multiplex was switched off permanently on UHF Channel 56.[14]

Frequency UHF kW Operator System
602.000 MHz 37 10 Local TV DVB-T
618.000 MHz 39 50 Arqiva B DVB-T
634.166 MHz 41+ 100 BBC A DVB-T
642.166 MHz 42+ 50 SDN DVB-T
658.000 MHz 44 100 Digital 3&4 DVB-T
666.000 MHz 45 50 Arqiva A DVB-T
682.000 MHz 47 100 BBC B DVB-T2
746.000 MHz 55 40.7 COM7 DVB-T2

Analogue radio (VHF FM)

1956 - Winter 1981[15]

Wenvoe used a rather erratic set of frequencies at the start, bandplan changes agreed in 1978 were brought into play in 1981.

Frequency kW Service
89.95 MHz 113 BBC Light Programme
92.125 MHz 113 BBC Home Service (West)
94.3 MHz 113 BBC Welsh Home Service
96.8 MHz 113 BBC Third Programme

Present

BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and Classic FM broadcasts from Wenvoe are intended to be for South Wales and the West Country, though the signal reaches much further due to the high ERP and use of omni-directional antenna systems.

Radio Cymru and Radio Wales have the same radiation pattern but different effective radiated powers. Radio Wales has a lower ERP to prevent it interfering with BBC Radio Cornwall on the same frequency. There is overspill allowing stereo listening for R. Wales & R. Cymru in the West Country.

Nation Radio is broadcast at low power to ensure sufficient penetration of Cardiff, Newport and Bridgend. There is some overspill into Bristol and the West Country, though service quickly drops off after Bristol.

Frequency ERP (kW) Service Radiation Pattern Coverage
89.9 MHz 250.00 BBC Radio 2 N/A Click here [16]
92.1 MHz 250.00 BBC Radio 3 N/A Click here [17]
94.3 MHz 250.00 BBC Radio 4 N/A Click here [18]
96.8 MHz 250.00 BBC Radio Cymru Click here [19] Click here [20]
99.5 MHz 250.00 BBC Radio 1 Click here [21] Click here [22]
101.7 MHz 250.00 Classic FM N/A Click here [23]
103.9 MHz 40.00 BBC Radio Wales Click here [24] Click here [25]
106.8 MHz 4.54 Nation Radio Click here [26] Click here [27]

Digital Radio (DAB)

Digital Radio is transmitted from Wenvoe at high power and is designed to cover South Wales and the West Country.

Frequency[28] Block kW Operator
216.920 MHz 11A 8.795 Sound Digital
222.064 MHz 11D 9.000 Digital One
225.648 MHz 12B 8.000 BBC National DAB
227.360 MHz 12C 3.820 South East Wales

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Arqiva Wenvoe". Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  2. ^ "TheBigTower Wenvoe Transmitter". www.thebigtower.com. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  3. ^ Pawley, Edward. 1972. BBC Engineering 1922-1972 p. 374. BBC Publications, ISBN 0-563-12127-0
  4. ^ "Report" (PDF). downloads.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  5. ^ "Videos". Bbceng.info. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  6. ^ "Notice of proposal to make regulations in connection with the award of licences in the frequency bands 542 to 550 MHz and 758 to 766 MHz covering Cardiff and Manchester | Ofcom". webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk.
  7. ^ "Wales is first UK nation to switch fully to digital TV". BBC News. 2010-03-31. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  8. ^ "Report" (PDF). downloads.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  9. ^ "Report" (PDF). downloads.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-05. Retrieved 2012-05-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ [1] Archived November 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Summers, Nick (2012-02-15). "EU States Must Allow 4G on Analogue TV Spectrum". Thenextweb.com. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  13. ^ "4G clearance retunes". a516digital. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  14. ^ "Freeview multiplex turned off". Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2012-04-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "MCA Map". A-bc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  17. ^ "MCA Map". A-bc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  18. ^ "MCA Map". A-bc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  19. ^ "Data". fmscan.org. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  20. ^ "MCA Map". A-bc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  21. ^ "Data". fmscan.org. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  22. ^ "MCA Map". A-bc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  23. ^ "MCA Map". A-bc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  24. ^ "Data". fmscan.org. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  25. ^ "MCA Map". A-bc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  26. ^ "Data". fmscan.org. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  27. ^ "MCA Map". A-bc.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  28. ^ "TxParams DAB data". Ofcom. 2020-04-03. Retrieved 2020-04-10.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 December 2021, at 03:18
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