Droitwich Transmitting Station
Masts at the Droitwich transmitting station
|Mast height||213.36 metres (700 ft)|
The Droitwich transmitting station is a large broadcasting facility for long-wave and medium-wave transmissions, established in 1934 in the civil parish of Dodderhill, just outside the village of Wychbold, near Droitwich in Worcestershire, England (grid reference ). The site is the location of the British Broadcasting Corporation's most powerful long-wave transmitter, which together with the two Scottish long-wave transmitters at Burghead and Westerglen forms a network broadcasting on the same frequency. The masts can be seen to the east from the M5 motorway, between Droitwich and Bromsgrove, as well as to the west from the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border. At night, the two sets of aircraft warning lights are visible from a long distance. Due to the bright red lights illuminated at night, some locals have renamed the site "the devil horns of Wychbold". The station is owned and operated by Arqiva.
The long-wave frequency used was 200 kilohertz (frequently referred to by the wavelength, 1,500 metres) until 1 February 1988 when it was changed to 198 kilohertz, and the power is currently 500 kilowatts. The carrier frequency is controlled by a rubidium atomic frequency standard in the transmitter building, enabling the transmission to be used as an off-air frequency standard. For long-wave, a T-aerial is used, which is suspended between two 213-metre-high (700 ft) guyed steel lattice radio masts, which stand 180 metres (590 ft) apart from each other. There are also two guyed mast radiators at the site, which are used for transmitting AM medium-wave radio programmes on 693 kilohertz, 1053 kilohertz and 1215 kilohertz.
BBC Radio 4 Longwave is transmitted on 198 kHz. This signal also carries radio data encoded using phase modulation, giving a time-of-day signal, and radio teleswitch control signals for Economy 7 electric-heating systems.
BBC Radio 5 Live is broadcast on 693 kHz medium wave (MW), providing coverage for most of the English Midlands and Wales at a signal strength (150 kW) which is one of the strongest for that station, equal to Brookmans Park and second only to Moorside Edge.
In 2011 as part of the BBC cuts it was announced that there would be no re-investment in long wave which may mean an eventual end to BBC Radio 4 in this part of the radio spectrum. The Guardian published a story in October 2011 saying that the transmitter relies upon a pair of glass valves, of which there are fewer than 10 left in the world, and the BBC did not believe it was safe enough to manufacture more.
The Radio 4 LW signal from Droitwich covers most of England and Wales. There are supplementary long-wave transmitters in Scotland (Burghead and Westerglen, both 50 kW), with medium-wave transmitters in various parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The station can also be heard clearly in most of the Republic of Ireland, particularly along eastern and southern counties. Reception is also possible in Western Europe, including Italy.
|198 kHz||500||BBC Radio 4|
|693 kHz||150||BBC Radio 5 Live|
|1215 kHz||105||Absolute Radio|
- List of masts
- List of radio stations in the United Kingdom
- List of tallest buildings and structures in Great Britain
- Radio teleswitch
- The Transmission Gallery: Droitwich Transmitter photographs and information
- Radio Teleswitch Services
- Radio Rewind Droitwich Page
- Specification of BBC phase-modulated transmissions on long-wave
- Station History
- Droitwich The World's Most Modern Long Wave Transmitter