thebigtower


tacolneston

 

Above: The twin masts at Tacolneston in May 2010.  Enlarged Landscapes


THE TACOLNESTON TRANSMITTER is the main station for UHF and BBC FM radio across Norfolk, sited approximately ten miles south-west of the county city of Norwich. 

It is the primary UHF main station within East Anglia and in this capacity its functions include the distribution of programme feed to the region's other UHF main stations at Sandy Heath (Bedfordshire) and Sudbury.   

The station came into operation in early 1955, initially broadcasting BBC 405-line television on VHF Band I.  BBC National FM Radio has been provided from here since 1957 and UHF television since 1967. (See TimeLine for more)

There is no adjacent transmitter site of Independent Television Authority (ITA) origin as the ITA located their main 405-line transmitter for East Anglia at Mendlesham in Suffolk.

PRONUNCIATION

Tacolneston is pronounced 'Tacolston', the 'ne' being silent.


 

 

 

 

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UHF COVERAGE

The UHF range of Tacolneston is approximately 25-30 miles in radius and covers most of Norfolk, the main exception being the area around North-West Norfolk and The Wash which receives television pictures from the Belmont transmitter.

FM COVERAGE

BBC National FM transmissions from Tacolneston cover most of Norfolk and Suffolk, the North-West Norfolk coastal area again being the notable exception.  The Manningtree transmitter also serves some parts of Suffolk as well as North Essex whilst the Peterborough transmitter covers the region's main western counties of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Aerials (1)

 

Aerials (2)

 

Site & Plates

 

UHF Coverage Map

 

 

Original Mast

 

New mast

 

 

 

 

 


Above: May 2010.  Enlarged Landscapes


UHF POWER

Prior to Digital Switchover, Tacolneston delivered a maximum Effective Radiated Power (e.r.p) of 250 kilowatts.  This placed it in an unusual position for a primary UHF main station in that it was not the most powerful transmitter within its region, the analogue UHF transmitters at Sandy Heath being the highest-powered at 1000 kilowatts (e.r.p).

The position remains the same post-Digital Switchover although the percentage difference is substantially less with Tacolneston now operating at 100 kilowatts compared to 180 kilowatts at Sandy Heath.


Above: January 2010.  Enlarged Landscapes


NORTH-WEST NORFOLK RELAYS

There are three Tacolneston-dependent relays in the North-West Norfolk area that provide only a BBC1 and ITV1 service.  Sited at Burnham, Kings Lynn and Wells-next-the-Sea, these were built by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to provide viewers around North-West Norfolk and The Wash with the option of reverting back to East Anglia regional coverage, thereby resolving the anomaly created by the reallocation of the Belmont transmitter from the Anglia to Yorkshire region in 1974.


Above: January 2010.  Enlarged Landscapes


DIGITAL SWITCHOVER AND THE NEW MAST

The process of Digital Switchover at Tacolneston was implemented within the usual two stages, with Stage 1 (DSO1) taking effect from 9 November 2011 followed by Stage 2 (DSO2) on 23 November 2011.  This marked the final phase of switchover within the East Anglia region.

Prior to Digital Switchover, the main transmission structure at Tacolneston was the square-cross-section lattice stayed mast constructed to a height of 147 metres (482-ft) with the surmounting UHF antenna extending the overall height to 165 metres (541-ft).  This structure had sustained all broadcast transmissions from this site since 1956.

However, to support the transmission aerial system required for Digital Switchover, the original mast has been replaced by a higher structure, construction of which commenced in Autumn 2009.  The new mast is 191-metre (627-ft) high with the main UHF aerial extending the overall height to 206-metre (675-ft).  This has been constructed to the north of the existing mast at the far rear of the site.

Two other ex-BBC sites (Divis and Rowridge) as well as two ex-ITA/IBA sites (Black Hill and Caldbeck) have also undergone full mast replacement for Digital Switchover.  Like these other sites, the principal requirement of additional height for the post-DSO aerial system is something that cannot be achieved safely at Tacolneston by extending the existing structure.

Within the terms of the new mast planning permission, the original mast is likely to remain in place until the latter part of 2013.


 

 

 

 

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Above: June 2009.  Enlarged Landscapes


STATION HISTORY

Tacolneston was the first permanent television transmitter facility to be established within East Anglia.  It was constructed under the second phase of BBC 405-line transmitters, based on medium-power installations designed to serve populated areas around major cities not covered by the initial batch of high-power stations.

This second phase of BBC Television transmitters also included the stations at Divis, MeldrumNorth Hessary Tor, Pontop Pike, Rowridge and Sandale.

The BBC tentatively planned Tacolneston as their first VHF Band III station, due to the fact that Band I was already becoming overcrowded in the UK and neighbouring countries.  However, this plan had to be abandoned once Band III was allocated to ITV and Tacolneston was instead slotted into Band I Channel 3.

Visit TACOLNESTON TIMELINE for more historical information.   


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Above: June 2009.  Enlarged Landscapes


 SITE INFORMATION


Location:

High Park Wood, New Road, Tacolneston, NR16 1DW

Grid Reference:

TM131958

Landlord:

Arqiva (Legacy: BBC/Crown Castle/NGW)

Ground Height:

70m

BBC1 Region:

East

Mast Height:

191m

ITV Region:

Anglia East

Aerial Height: (*)

TBC

 

UHF Tx Number:

11400

(*) 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

: 55 / H / 100kW 

 

 

BBC Radio 1:

99.3

250kW

PSB2

: 59 / H / 100kW 

 

 

BBC Radio 2:

89.7

250kW

PSB3

: 50 / H / 100kW 

 

 

BBC Radio 3:

91.9

250kW

COM4

: 42 / H / 100kW 

 

 

BBC Radio 4:

94.1

250kW

COM5

: 45 / H / 100kW

Classis FM:

101.5

250kW

COM6

: 39 / H / 50kW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BBC National (Block 12B)

 

 

 

 Digital One (Block 11D)

 

 

 

 

PRE-DIGITAL SWITCHOVER UHF TRANSMISSIONS

(Shutdown completed 23 November 2011)

Analogue Television 

 

 

 

Digital Television

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service

  Ch/Polar/e.r.p

 

 

 

 

Service

 Ch/Polar/e.r.p

BBC1

: 62 / H / 250kW

 

 

 

 

Mux1

: 63 / H / 10kW

BBC2

: 55 / H / 250kW  

 

 

 

 

Mux2

: 60 / H / 10kW

ITV1

: 59 / H / 250kW 

 

 

 

 

MuxA

: 53 / H / 05kW

Ch4

: 65 / H / 250kW

 

 

 

 

MuxB

: 58 / H / 05kW

Ch5

: 52 / H / 4kW

 

 

 

 

MuxC

: 61 / H / 05kW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MuxD

: 64 / H / 05kW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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