Woofferton transmitting station
|Location||Woofferton, Ludlow, Shropshire|
The Woofferton transmitting station is the last remaining UK shortwave broadcasting site, located at Woofferton, south of Ludlow, Shropshire, England. The station was originally built by the BBC during World War II to house additional shortwave (HF) broadcasting transmitters. It had six 50 kW RCA transmitters, obtained by lend-lease. The site has been modernised many times over the years and is now DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) capable providing daily digital radio programmes. Woofferton is used to broadcast shortwave radio programmes on HF 4 MHz - 26 MHz to Europe, Russia, North/Central Africa, Middle East and South America for BBC World Service , Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, Voice of Vietnam just to name a few key international broadcasters. The site is also used for satellite communications and monitoring.
Cold War era
During the Cold War, the station was equipped with six Marconi BD272 250 kW shortwave transmitters. Much of the capacity was leased by the BBC to the Voice of America (VoA) in order to enhance the latter’s coverage in the Eastern bloc. It provided a stronger shortwave broadcast signal into the Eastern Bloc than any other western shortwave broadcast transmitter during the years of Soviet jamming. It was VoA’s custom to name the transmission site at the beginning of each broadcast. Visitors to this isolated rural site were amused to hear broadcasts begin with the words, “This is the Voice of America, from Woofferton”.
All the BBC’s transmitting facilities were privatised in the 1990s. The shortwave sites were sold to Merlin Communications, which was acquired by VT Group plc trading under the name VT Communications until acquired by Babcock International Group in March 2010.
Woofferton Transmitting Station currently has ten HF transmitters. There are 3 x Riz 250 kW (installed 2007-2008), 1 x Riz 500 kW (installed 2006), 4 x 300 kW Marconi B6124's (installed 1980) and 2 x 250 kW Marconi BD272's (installed 1963). The Riz transmitters are DRM (Digial Radio Mondiale) capable and transmit digital programmes on a daily basis for BBC World Service, NHK & KBS. It also has a 300-watt mediumwave (MF) transmitter for BBC Hereford and Worcester (formerly used by BBC Radio Shropshire), as well as a 1 kW VHF FM transmitter for local Ludlow commercial station Sunshine Radio.
- Analogue radio (FM VHF)
|105.9 MHz||1||Sunshine Radio|
- Analogue radio (AM medium wave)
|1584 kHz||0.5||BBC Hereford and Worcester|
- Campbell, D., 1983. War Plan UK, p. 251. Paladin edition. ISBN 0-586-08479-7.
- Pawley, E., 1972. BBC Engineering 1922–1972, pp. 259–60, 348, 458. BBC. ISBN 0-563-12127-0.
- Shacklady, N., and Ellen, M, 2003. On Air: A History of BBC Transmission, pp. 29–32. Wavechange Books. ISBN 0-9544077-0-9.
- Introduction to Woofferton Transmitting Station Part 1
- Cant, J. Fifty years of transmitting at BBC Woofferton 1943–1993: A social and technical history of a Short Wave Station (3.7MB PDF)
- Woofferton's entry at mb21
- BBC Woofferton 60 years on