Belmont transmitting station

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Belmont
Belmont - geograph.org.uk - 619487.jpg
Then the tallest structure in the UK, seen in November 2007
Belmont transmitting station is located in Lincolnshire
Belmont transmitting station
Height of mast 351.65 m (1,154 ft)
Built 1965
BBC region BBC Yorkshire (1965-2004)
BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (2004-present)
ITV region ITV Anglia (1965-1974)
ITV Yorkshire (1974-present)
Local TV service Estuary TV

The Belmont transmitting station is a broadcasting and telecommunications facility, situated next to the B1225, one mile west of the village of Donington on Bain in the civil parish of South Willingham, near Market Rasen and Louth in Lincolnshire, England (grid reference TF217837). It is owned and operated by Arqiva.

It has a guyed tubular steel mast, with a lattice upper section. The mast was shortened in April 2010 and is now 351.65 m (1,154 ft) in height.[1] Prior to this it was 387.5m high and was considered to be the tallest structure of its kind in the world (taller masts, such as the KVLY-TV mast in the United States, use steel lattice construction), the tallest structure of any type in the United Kingdom and also the tallest structure within the European Union. After the top section was removed the mast's reduced height relegated it to 14th highest structure in the EU and second highest in the UK after Skelton. The current world's tallest guyed tubular steel mast is TV Tower Vinnytsia in Ukraine.

Despite the mast being shortened it can been seen in daylight on clear days from most areas close to and within the Lincolnshire Wolds and on clear nights its bright red aircraft warning lights can be very widely seen across much of Lincolnshire from as far north as the River Humber and Grimsby and from west of the county it can be seen clearly from both Lincoln, Gainsborough and Grantham and from the south of the county it can be seen clearly as far away as Spalding and Bourne and can also be very clearly seen in the east of the county as far away as Skegness, Mablethorpe and most areas along the Lincolnshire Coast. The aircraft warning lights from the mast can also be seen from many parts of Nottinghamshire, coastal areas of North West Norfolk and even a few parts of Derbyshire on very clear nights.

Construction[edit]

View from the air in July 1990

The mast was constructed in 1965 and it came into service on 20 December of that year. As built it was a tubular pipe 900 feet long by 9 feet in diameter, surmounted by a 365 ft lattice upper section. (An identical mast was constructed in 1964 at Emley Moor near Huddersfield in Yorkshire, but that mast collapsed due to guy failure caused by icing and high winds on 19 March 1969.)

In September 1967 meteorological equipment was added to the 1,265 ft mast extending its height to 1,272 ft (387.7m). The imperial measurement was the accepted value quoted by a number of publications, including the 1993 edition of the Guinness Book of Records.[2] The metric measurement quoted by the current owners is 0.2 m (8 in) shorter.

Between October 2009 and April 2010 the mast was shortened as part of the Digital Switchover works, most of the top section above the fifth stay level was removed (along with the sixth stay level) and the mast now stands 351.65m high.

Coverage[edit]

From its location, high in the Lincolnshire Wolds, it broadcasts digital television and both analogue and digital radio to Lincolnshire, eastern Yorkshire, northern parts of Norfolk and Nottinghamshire. When it was first operated it transmitted (amongst others) ITV station Anglia Television. Following a re-organisation of ITV coverage in 1972, from 1974 it started transmitting neighbouring station Yorkshire Television instead, which it continues to do to this day. Belmont has few relay stations, with most of the region being flat. There is a main relay station at Oliver's Mount covering the Scarborough area.

Transmitter power[edit]

At 500 kW E.R.P. for the four main analogue channels, Belmont was one of the most powerful transmitters in the UK, though there are four UK transmitters which were more powerful; Sutton Coldfield, Crystal Palace and Sandy Heath were all at 1000 kW and Emley Moor was 870 kW. Channel 5 was only broadcast at 50 kW from Belmont and digital at 20 kW (Mux 2), 10 kW (Mux 1, A, B) and 4 kW (Mux C, D) although this level of digital power is theoretically equal to 500 kW on analogue in terms of the received carrier to noise ratio required to give a "perfect" picture. After digital switchover Belmont's digital transmitting power rose to 50 kW for SDN (previously Mux A), 100 kW for Arqiva A & B (Mux C, D) and 150 kW for BBC A, D3&4 and BBC B (Mux 1, 2, B).

Different sources (even "official" ones) give differing digital output powers for Belmont; this is also the case for several other transmitters, e.g. this Ofcom source published Feb. 2009 and this Ofcom source.

Services listed by frequency[edit]

Analogue television[edit]

20 December 1965 - 19 November 1966[edit]

First transmissions from the site: ITV's 405-line television service, an off-air rebroadcast from Mendlesham.

Frequency VHF kW Service
184.75 MHz 7V 20 Anglia TV

19 November 1966 - 24 May 1971[edit]

The BBC's services came online on both VHF and UHF. BBC 1 was initially fed by means of an off-air rebroadcast of Holme Moss but this was plagued by co-channel interference from the continent. BBC Two was an off-air rebroadcast from Emley Moor.[3] On 19 March 1969, the Emley Moor mast collapsed, taking Belmont's BBC Two transmissions off-air for several days.[4]

Despite the programme sources on VHF and UHF being (for many years) off-air rebroadcasts of other transmitters in the vicinity, Belmont was always regarded by the BBC as being a "main station" both on VHF and UHF. The IBA initially regarded it as a relay of Mendlesham (and numbered it 14.2 in the their numbering of VHF stations) but from 1974 it became a "main station" for Yorkshire Television (renumbered as 20.0 in the IBA's numbering of VHF stations[5]).

It was always number 120.0 in the BBC/IBA numbering scheme for UHF stations[6]).

Frequency VHF UHF kW Service
184.75 MHz 7V 20 Anglia TV
214.75 MHz 13V 20 BBC North
527.25 MHz 28 500 BBC Two

24 May 1971 - 30 July 1974[edit]

ITV's UHF service began.[7]

Frequency VHF UHF kW Service
184.75 MHz 7V 20 Anglia TV
214.75 MHz 13V 20 BBC North
479.25 MHz 22 500 BBC North
503.25 MHz 25 500 Anglia TV
527.25 MHz 28 500 BBC Two

30 July 1974 - 2 November 1982[edit]

After changes to the regional structure of ITV in 1972, Belmont stopped being a relay of Mendlesham and became a main station for Yorkshire TV.[4]

Frequency VHF UHF kW Service
184.75 MHz 7V 20 Yorkshire TV
214.75 MHz 13V 20 BBC North
479.25 MHz 22 500 BBC North
503.25 MHz 25 500 Yorkshire TV
527.25 MHz 28 500 BBC Two

2 November 1982 - 30 November 1997[edit]

Both the BBC and ITV 405-line VHF TV services from Belmont were was discontinued early [8] in mid 1982, and Channel 4 started up on UHF from the site in November that same year:

Frequency UHF kW Service
479.25 MHz 22 500 BBC North
503.25 MHz 25 500 Yorkshire TV
527.25 MHz 28 500 BBC Two
559.25 MHz 32 500 Channel 4

30 November 1997 - 15 November 1998[edit]

Belmont started transmitting the UK's final terrestrial analogue UHF TV service: Channel 5. This was done well out-of-band and at reduced power compared with the main group.

Frequency UHF kW Service
479.25 MHz 22 500 BBC North
503.25 MHz 25 500 Yorkshire TV
527.25 MHz 28 500 BBC Two
559.25 MHz 32 500 Channel 4
751.25 MHz 56 50 Channel 5

Analogue and digital television[edit]

15 November 1998 - 3 August 2011[edit]

Belmont began transmitting digital TV, with the new digital muliplexes well spaced away from the existing analogue channels. In July 2007 it was confirmed by Ofcom that Belmont would be remaining a wideband transmitter after digital switchover, though the first four of the six multiplexes would still be available within the original A group, as this graph makes clear.

Frequency UHF kW Service/Operator System
479.25 MHz 22 500 BBC North PAL System I
503.25 MHz 25 500 Yorkshire TV PAL System I
527.25 MHz 28 500 BBC Two PAL System I
546.000 MHz 30 10 BBC (Mux 1) DVB-T
559.25 MHz 32 500 Channel 4 PAL System I
690.000 MHz 48 20 Digital 3&4 (Mux 2) DVB-T
751.25 MHz 56 50 Channel 5 PAL System I
762.166 MHz 57+ 4 Arqiva (Mux D) DVB-T
786.000 MHz 60 4 Arqiva (Mux C) DVB-T
834.000 MHz 66 10 BBC (Mux B) DVB-T
850.000 MHz 68 10 SDN (Mux A) DVB-T

3 August 2011 - 17 August 2011[edit]

BBC Two closed on UHF 28. BBC One was moved on to that channel for its final three weeks of service. Pre-DSO Multiplex 1 (BBC) on UHF 30 was closed and was replaced by BBC A on UHF 22.

Frequency UHF kW Service/Operator System
482.000 MHz 22 150 BBC A DVB-T
503.25 MHz 25 500 Yorkshire TV PAL System I
527.25 MHz 28 500 BBC North PAL System I
559.25 MHz 32 500 Channel 4 PAL System I
690.000 MHz 48 20 Digital 3&4 (Mux 2) DVB-T
751.25 MHz 56 50 Channel 5 PAL System I
762.166 MHz 57+ 4 Arqiva (Mux D) DVB-T
786.000 MHz 60 4 Arqiva (Mux C) DVB-T
834.000 MHz 66 10 BBC (Mux B) DVB-T
850.000 MHz 68 10 SDN (Mux A) DVB-T

Digital television[edit]

17 August 2011 – 26 November 2013[edit]

All the remaining analogue and existing digital signals were turned off and replaced with higher power digital signals.

Frequency UHF kW Operator System
482.000 MHz 22 150 BBC A DVB-T
506.000 MHz 25 150 Digital 3&4 DVB-T
530.000 MHz 28 150 BBC B DVB-T2
545.833 MHz 30- 50 SDN DVB-T
730.000 MHz 53 100 Arqiva A DVB-T
786.000 MHz 60 100 Arqiva B DVB-T
  • Arqiva A and Arqiva B were limited to 4 kW until 23 November 2011, when they were increased to 100 kW.

26 November 2013 – present[edit]

Local TV, carrying Estuary TV, and Arqiva C, carrying additional HD services, launched on 26 November 2013.

Frequency UHF kW Operator System
482.000 MHz 22 150 BBC A DVB-T
506.000 MHz 25 150 Digital 3&4 DVB-T
522.000 MHz 27 5 Local TV DVB-T
530.000 MHz 28 150 BBC B DVB-T2
545.833 MHz 30- 50 SDN DVB-T
570.000 MHz 33 33.9 Arqiva C DVB-T2
730.000 MHz 53 100 Arqiva A DVB-T
786.000 MHz 60 100 Arqiva B DVB-T

Analogue radio (FM VHF)[edit]

19 November 1966 - 11 November 1980[edit]

Frequency kW Service
88.8 MHz 8 BBC Light Programme (later BBC Radio 2)
90.9 MHz 8 BBC Third Programme (later BBC Radio 3)
93.1 MHz 8 BBC Home Service (later BBC Radio 4)

11 November 1980 - February 1992[edit]

BBC Radio Lincolnshire started broadcasting.

Frequency kW[9] Service
88.8 MHz 8 BBC Radio 2
90.9 MHz 8 BBC Radio 3
93.1 MHz 8 BBC Radio 4
94.9 MHz 3 BBC Radio Lincolnshire

February 1992 - present day[edit]

"Lincs FM" and "Classic FM" join the set of FM broadcasts.

Frequency kW[9] Service
88.8 MHz 8 BBC Radio 2
90.9 MHz 8 BBC Radio 3
93.1 MHz 8 BBC Radio 4
94.9 MHz 3 BBC Radio Lincolnshire
98.3 MHz 8 BBC Radio 1
100.5 MHz 3.1 Classic FM
102.2 MHz 3.2 Lincs FM

Digital radio (DAB)[edit]

Frequency Block kW[9] Service
215.072 MHz 10D MuxCo Lincolnshire
222.064 MHz 11D 5 Digital One
223.936 MHz 12A 2.4 MXR Yorkshire
225.648 MHz 12B 5 BBC National DAB

† Not yet on air.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Relay stations[edit]

Records
Preceded by
Gerbrandy Tower
382.5 m (1,255 ft)
Tallest structure in EU
387.5 m (1,271 ft)

1973–2010
Succeeded by
Torreta de Guardamar
370 m (1210 ft)

Coordinates: 53°20′9.1″N 0°10′19.2″W / 53.335861°N 0.172000°W / 53.335861; -0.172000