Bluebell Hill transmitting station

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Bluebell Hill
Bluebell Hill transmitting station is located in Kent
Bluebell Hill transmitting station
Bluebell Hill transmitting station (Kent)
Tower height 52.5 metres (172 ft) (A)
55 metres (180 ft) (B)
46 metres (151 ft) (C)
43 metres (141 ft) (South)
Coordinates 51°20′06″N 0°29′47″E / 51.33497°N 0.49645°E / 51.33497; 0.49645Coordinates: 51°20′06″N 0°29′47″E / 51.33497°N 0.49645°E / 51.33497; 0.49645
Grid reference TQ757613
Built 1974
BBC region BBC South East
ITV region ITV Meridian

The Bluebell Hill transmitting station is a broadcasting and telecommunications facility located at Blue Bell Hill between Maidstone and Rochester in the English county of Kent.

The station is situated on the crest of the North Downs and comprises five steel lattice towers, each 45 to 50 metres tall - their height being compromised by the location of nearby Rochester Airport. It broadcasts digital television, FM and DAB radio to much of north, west, and central Kent, and an overspill service into southern Essex. It stopped broadcasting analogue television when the digital switchover was completed on 27 June 2012. When in analogue service, the broadcast power of 30kW for a main transmitter was unique in the United Kingdom, the strength being limited by potential interference with transmitters in France and the Low Countries.

Services broadcast include BBC One (South East), BBC Two, ITV (Meridian), Channel 4, Heart Kent, KMFM Medway and KMFM Maidstone. Between its opening in 1974 and 31 December 1981 the transmitter broadcast Thames Television (weekdays) and London Weekend Television (weekends), being switched on 1 January 1982 to carry signals from the new ITV franchise TVS (Television South), until superseded on 1 January 1993 by ITV Meridian for ITV in the south east. The transmitter takes its main BBC1 feed from Crystal Palace, with an opt-out for BBC local news in the South East broadcast from studios in Tunbridge Wells. Although timing is of the essence at this point the human factor often results in a delay of a second or two, enabling viewers to glimpse the London studio and presenter before the switch to the Tunbridge Wells studio is complete.

Services available[edit]

Analogue radio[edit]

Frequency kW Service
100.4 MHz KMFM Medway
103.1 MHz 2 Heart Kent
105.6 MHz KMFM Maidstone
107.9 MHz KMFM Medway

Digital radio[edit]

Frequency Block kW Operator
218.640 MHz 11B 0.9 DRG London
220.352 MHz 11C 2 NOW Kent
222.064 MHz 11D 6.3 Digital One
223.936 MHz 12A 2 Switch London
225.648 MHz 12B 6.3 BBC National DAB
227.360 MHz 12C 1 CE London

Analogue television[edit]

Analogue television transmissions have now ceased. BBC Two was closed on 13 June 2012 and the remaining three services on 27 June.

Frequency UHF kW Service
623.25 MHz 40 30 BBC One
647.25 MHz 43 30 ITV1
671.25 MHz 46 30 BBC Two
823.25 MHz 65 30 Channel 4


External links[edit]