Anthorn Radio Station

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Anthorn
Anthorn Radio Station is located in Cumbria
Anthorn Radio Station
Location Anthorn, Cumbria
Height of mast 227 metres (745 ft)
Grid reference NY179581
Anthorn
HMS Nuthatch
IATA: noneICAO: none
Summary
Built 1943–1944
In use 1944–1958
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03/21 3,600 1,100 Tarmac
09/27 4,200 1,280 Tarmac
3,600 1,100 Tarmac
The Military Airfields of Britain: Northern England[1]

Anthorn Radio Station is located near Anthorn, Cumbria, England, overlooking the Solway Firth, and is operated by Babcock International (with whom former operators VT Communications are now merged). It has three transmitters: one VLF; one LF; and an eLORAN transmitter.

The characteristic triangular pattern of roads is a remnant from the World War II military airfield which was operated by the Royal Navy Air Service as HMS Nuthatch.

RNAS Anthorn[edit]

Work began on building an airfield at Anthorn for the Fleet Air Arm in late 1943, with Royal Naval Air Station Anthorn, or HMS Nuthatch opening on 7 September 1944, with three tarmac runways. It was the base of No. 1 Aircraft Receipt and Despatch Unit (No. 1 ARDU), which had the job of receiving aircraft fresh from manufacturers, modifying them to Service standards and despatching them to operational squadrons, with the unit specialising in the Vought F4U Corsair. No. 1 ARDU continued to operate from Anthorn following the end of the Second World War, while a number of Fleet Air Arm Squadrons were also based at the airfield in the immediate post war years. The airbase shut down in March 1958.[1]

Operational Units[edit]

Source:[1]

Unit Equipment From To Notes
No. 1 ARDU - 7 September 1944 November 1957
772 Naval Air Squadron Various 3 May 1946 26 June 1947
802 Naval Air Squadron de Havilland Sea Hornet May 1948 October 1948
813 Naval Air Squadron Blackburn Firebrand 21 May 1948 23 October 1948
801 Naval Air Squadron Hawker Sea Fury 6 October 1949 31 October 1949
812 Naval Air Squadron Fairey Firefly 4 June 1952 3 July 1952
807 Naval Air Squadron Hawker Sea Hawk 14 January 1954 5 May 1954
860 Squadron Netherlands Naval Aviation Service Hawker Sea Hawk 1956 [2]

VLF transmitter[edit]

The VLF transmitter is used primarily for transmitting orders to submarines on 19.6 kHz. Its callsign is GQD.[3] VLF transmissions are relatively unaffected by atmospheric nuclear explosions and Anthorn was once part of the link between Fylingdales early warning radar, North Yorkshire, and the United States' air defence system.[4]

It is a NATO facility, controlled from Northwood Headquarters along with three other VLF transmitters in Norway, Germany and Italy.[5] In accordance with the procedure for NATO projects, the project was the subject of a competition among the organisation's member countries. The British Post Office, acting as technical adviser and agent of the Ministry of Defence, chose the site, negotiated the contract and supervised the work, with the assistance of the Ministry of Public Building and Works. The contract was placed on 26 October 1961 with Continental Electronics Systems Incorporated of Dallas, Texas. This firm had already built a similar but much larger station in Maine, USA. Work began in 1962 and the station was accepted on behalf of the MoD in November 1964.[6]

Originally, the station was designed to radiate a single telegraph channel at up to 45.5 baud and at powers ranging from 50 kW at 16 kHz to 100 kW at 20 kHz. The carrier frequency was to be stable to one part in 108 over a month. Subsequently the data rate was increased to 50 baud and the carrier stability improved.[6]

LF transmitter: National Physical Laboratory time signal[edit]

Main article: Time from NPL

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has installed three atomic clocks at Anthorn and on 27 February 2007 Britain’s national time signal transmissions, retaining their original call sign of MSF, were transferred there on a trial basis, moving formally on 1 April 2007. Monitoring and logging of the clocks and control of the transmissions is by Internet link from the NPL offices at Teddington, using comparison with GPS signals at both locations. Signal monitoring is by radio. To ensure accuracy, dynamic adjustment of the aerial according to local conditions (such as wind distortion) is controlled from computers on site. The signals, transmitted at 60 kHz, also provide a national frequency standard. The effective radiated power is 17 kW.[7]

LORAN[edit]

The General Lighthouse Authorities for Britain and Ireland have contracted VT Communications to develop eLORAN (enhanced LORAN) radio navigational aid for mariners. The transmitter is at Anthorn.[8]

Antenna system[edit]

The antenna system consists of thirteen masts, each 227 metres (745 ft) tall, which are arranged in two rings around the central mast. The VLF antenna consists of four rhombic antennas hung on large insulators on the masts, which are all grounded.

The LF antenna is a T-antenna spun between two masts.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Delve 2006, pp. 33–35.
  2. ^ Smith 1981, p. 37.
  3. ^ van Horn, Larry (2009). Shortwave Directory. Brasstown, NC: Monitoring Times. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-944543-00-9. 
  4. ^ Laurie, Peter (30 May 1974). "No room in the radio spectrum". New Scientist 62 (900): 533. 
  5. ^ John Ainslie (October 2005). "The Future of the British Bomb" (PDF). Clydeside Press. 
  6. ^ a b L.L. Hall (July 1965). "Anthorn Very-Low-Frequency Radio Station". The Post Office Electrical Engineers' Journal (Institution of Post Office Electrical Engineers) 58 (2): 114–118. 
  7. ^ "MSF Radio Time Signal". National Physical Laboratory. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "The GLAs award a 15-year eLoran contract to VT Communications". Trinity House. 2007-05-31. Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  • Delve, Ken (2006). The Military Airfields of Britain: Northern England: Co. Durham, Cumbria, Isle of Man, Lancashire, Merseyside, Manchester, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Yorkshire. Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK: The Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-809-2. 
  • Smith, David J. (1981). Action Stations: 3: Military airfields of Wales and the North-West. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 0-85059-485-5. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°54′40″N 3°16′48″W / 54.911°N 3.280°W / 54.911; -3.280