thebigtower


blaenplwyf

 

 Above: A distant view of the Blaenplwyf mast towards the south taken from the heights of Aberystwyth.


THE BLAENPLWYF STATION is the main UHF and BBC FM/DAB radio transmitter site serving the Cardigan Bay area on the western coastline of Wales.

Within its service area, the main population base is around the coastal resort town of Aberystwyth which the mast overlooks from its high position about four miles to the south.

It is one of the six established main UHF transmitter sites in Wales (See also: Carmel, Llanddona, Moel-y-Parc, Presely and Wenvoe) and has a history dating back to the early years of the BBC 405-line transmitter network.

TRANSMISSION STRUCTURE

Blaenplywf transmits services from a 150.5 metre (494-ft) triangular cross-section lattice stayed mast.  This is supported by nine stay lines which anchor to three single-line inner stay blocks and three dual-line outer stay blocks.

The current mast dates from the 1990s having replaced the original permanent structure, the earlier mast being unable to support the aerial system required for the station's upgrade to mixed-polarised FM radio transmission.

The fact that the current mast is not the original structure is made apparent by (a) the triangular cross-section design (all other BBC structures around 500-ft dating from the 1950s are square cross-section) and (b) the displaced positioning of the mast away from the main building area. (See Site/Station Building Images

 


 

 

 

400x560    510x710

400x560    510x710

400x560    510x710

400x560    510x710

Aerials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supersize Images

 

 

 


PRONUNCIATION

It depends on who you ask.  Whether referring to the village of Blaenplwyf or specifically the transmitting station, members of the public generally pronounce the name in accordance with the spelling (i.e Bline-Ploo-Wiv).

However, within the broadcasting community, the transmitting station is often pronounced with the 'f' at the end effectively dropped (i.e Bline-Ploo-Wee').

The reason for this discrepancy is uncertain.  However, a hint of an explanation may lie in a local newspaper item published shortly before the station opened in 1956, which reported that the BBC had sought permission from the National Gazetteer of Wales (the national index of place names) to register the alternative spelling 'Blaenplwy' for use by the transmitting station, however as yet no other evidence in support of this has been sighted. 


 

Site/Station Building Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 740 x 430 pixel images

 

930 x 570 pixel images

 


STATION HISTORY (VHF)

Blaenplwyf was originally constructed by the BBC to provide their 405-line VHF Band I television and VHF Band II FM radio services to the Cardigan Bay area of West Wales.

The opening of the station was tentatively planned for 1955 but, as with many of the stations that preceded it, lack of resources (principally transmission units and steel for the mast - the latter being a national shortage issue) lead to repeated deferments.

The progress of the station was regularly reported in the local press, with several items referring to the possible acquisition of the temporary transmitting station at Truleigh Hill (near Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex) as a means of launching a provisional service. It was hoped these facilities would be available for redeployment in June 1956 once Rowridge became operational at full power, but in the event they had to remain at Truleigh Hill indefinitely in continued support of Rowridge.

Although no other television transmitter units were available at this point, the BBC were by now able to provide a temporary mast and transmission facilities to provide a much demanded improvement in FM coverage for the Welsh Home Service, albeit at reduced power. Based on this, Blaenplwyf came into provisional operation on 14 October 1956.

Construction of the permanent station and 500-ft mast proceeded during the winter of 1956/1957 with a view to opening in the following Spring.

After two weeks of television test transmission commencing 15 April 1957, the official opening of the permanent station took place on 29 April 1957, formally marking the extension of transmissions to BBC Television (VHF Channel 3) whilst the existing Welsh Home Service was upgraded to full power from the permanent mast and joined by the Light and Third Programmes.

The opening of the permanent station marked the first major expansion of BBC VHF Television and Radio coverage in Wales since the first Welsh transmitter at Wenvoe became operational at full power in December 1952. 

The next significant development for the BBC Wales VHF transmitter network was the opening of the Llanddona transmitter on the Isle of Anglesey in 1958.


Aerials>  Site Images (740x430 or 930x570)>  Supersize Images>  UHF Coverage Map



Aerials>  Site Images (740x430 or 930x570)>  Supersize Images>  UHF Coverage Map


STATION INFORMATION


Location:

Blaenplwyf, nr Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

Grid Reference:

SN569756

Landlord:

Arqiva (Legacy: BBC/Crown Castle UK/NGW)

Ground Height:

172.2m

BBC Region:

Wales

Mast Height:

150.5m

ITV1 Region:

Wales

Aerial Height (*):

334m

 

UHF Tx Number:

13500

(*) Average UHF aerial height above sea level (a.o.d)  

 

 


  CURRENT TRANSMISSIONS

Digital Television

 

 

 

Analogue Radio (FM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service

: Ch/Polarisation/e.r.p

 

 

 Station:

(MHz)

(e.r.p)

PSB1

: 27 / H / 40kW 

 

 

BBC Radio 1:

98.3

250kW

PSB2

: 24 / H / 40kW 

 

 

BBC Radio 2:

88.7

250kW

PSB3

: 21 / H / 40kW 

 

 

BBC Radio 3:

90.9

250kW

COM4

: 25 / H / 10kW 

 

 

BBC Radio 4:

94.1

250kW

COM5

: 22 / H / 10kW

BBC Radio Cymru:

93.1

250kW

COM6

: 28 / H / 10kW

 

 

BBC Radio Wales:

95.3

120kW

 

 

 

 

 

Classis FM:

101.1

10kW

Digital Radio

 

 

Radio Ceredigion:

103.3

6kW

 

 

 

 

 

Real Radio (North Wales):

107.7

TBC

BBC National (Block 12B)

 

 

 

Digital One (Block 11D)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRE-DIGITAL SWITCHOVER UHF TRANSMISSIONS

(Shutdown completed 10 March 2010)

Analogue Television 

 

 

 

Digital Television

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service

  Ch/Polar/e.r.p

 

 

 

 

Service

 Ch/Polar/e.r.p

BBC1

: 31 / H / 100kW

 

 

 

 

Mux1

: 28 / H / 2.0kW

BBC2

: 27 / H / 100kW  

 

 

 

 

Mux2

: 22 / H / 2.0kW

ITV1

: 24 / H / 100kW 

 

 

 

 

MuxA

: 25 / H / 2.0kW

S4C

: 21 / H / 100kW

 

 

 

 

MuxB

: 32 / H / 2.0kW

CH5

: 56 / H / 4kW

 

 

 

 

MuxC

: 29 / H / 1.0kW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MuxD

: 33 / H / 1.0kW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Arfon  Carmel  Llanddona  Moel-y-Parc  Presely  St Hilary  Wenvoe

 

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