thebigtower


forfar

 


THE FORFAR TRANSMITTER is a main carrier of BBC National FM radio across North-East Scotland, serving Tayside, Angus North Fife, South Aberdeenshire and parts of Perthshire.  

Sited approximately three miles south-east of the town of Forfar, it is also a regional team base for engineers who maintain transmitters for BBC services across Fife, Angus and Aberdeenshire.

Historically, the station provided the Tayside and Angus area with BBC 405-line television coverage.  UHF coverage to the area is provided by the Angus transmitter, which is located approximately four miles west of the Forfar site.

 

TRANSMISSION STRUCTURE

Forfar transmits from a 152 metre (500-ft) square-section lattice stayed mast.  Sixteen stay lines hold the structure in place, with eight stay anchoring blocks securing the lines in pairs at ground level.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STATION HISTORY

The Forfar station was constructed by the BBC primarily to deliver an improved 405-line Band I television service across the Tayside and Angus area.  Central to this important region was the city of Dundee, which prior to the station opening was the only major city in Scotland not to have a BBC television transmitter in close proximity.

In the years immediately following the completion of transmitters near the other major Scottish cities, the BBC concentrated on extending their television service to the more remote mainland areas of Scotland, as well as the islands, leaving Dundee and the area surrounding reliant on fringe reception from the BBC transmitters at Kirk O'Shotts and Meldrum.

The delayed construction of a local station for Dundee caused significant frustration amongst viewers who were experiencing similar problems (for more or less the same reason) with their ITV coverage.

However, utilising a 500-ft mast that represented the last tall stayed structure to be built on a BBC 405-line site in Scotland, the Forfar station finally came into operation on 13 July 1964, radiating on VHF Channel 5.  With a peak output of 5kW (vision e.r.p), the station successfully delivered the necessary improvement in coverage.

From the opening, the station was supported by a relay on Dundee Law which carried the Forfar signal southwards beyond this natural obstruction located close to the centre of Dundee.

To resolve their similar problems with coverage, the ITA followed the BBC example by constructing the Angus station a few miles away at Balcalk Hill.  Although initially a VHF Band III relay, this was intended from the outset as a UHF main station leaving Forfar confined to 405-line Band I television and also the subsequent FM Band II transmissions, the latter becoming the station's primary function upon closure of the 405-line service in January 1985.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Above: The main building that houses maintenance team members when in attendance.

 

 

 

 Above: Forfar is one of only a select few sites in Scotland on which Crown Castle and it's successors have installed station name plates.  This site qualifies due to its status as a maintenance base, although why Crown Castle applied this NTL-style restriction in Scotland has yet to be ascertained.

 

 

Above:  Transmitter buildings alongside the mast base.  The pitched roof building on the left was new at the time this image was taken in 2006.

 

 

Above and below: Mast stay anchoring blocks

 

 


SITE INFORMATION


Location:

Harecairn, nr Monikie, Angus

Grid Reference:

NO482409

Landlord:

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

Ground Height:

198.1m

ITV Region:

N/A - Transmitted from Angus

Mast Height:

152.4m

BBC Region:

N/A - Transmitted from Angus

Aerial Height: (*)

 

 

UHF Tx Number:

N/A

 

 

 


  CURRENT TRANSMISSIONS

Analogue Television 

 

 

 

Analogue Radio (FM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

None - Transmitted from Angus   

 

 Service:

(MHz)

(e.r.p)

 

 

 

BBC Radio 1:

97.9

17kW

 

 

 

BBC Radio 2:

88.3

17kW

 

 

 

BBC Radio 3:

90.5

17kW

 

 

 

BBC Radio 4:

94.9

17kW

 

BBC Radio Scotland:

92.7

17kW

 

BBC Radio nan Gaidheal:

103.7

17kW

 

 

 

 

Digital Television 

 

 

Digital Radio

 

 

 

 

None - Transmitted from Angus   

 

 

None - Transmited from Angus


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