thebigtower


waltham

 


THE WALTHAM TRANSMITTER is the UHF main station that provides coverage to the East Midland counties.  It is one of five main UHF transmitters serving the Midlands and amongst them it features the tallest transmission mast.  (Read more here)

It is located on the Leicestershire side of the border with Lincolnshire, on a site of low-to-medium elevation near the village of Waltham-On-The-Wolds, which is situated between Melton Mowbray and Grantham.

The station first came into operation on 31 August 1968, eighteen months later than originally scheduled (See THE COLLAPSE below) and initially broadcast BBC2-only before the addition of ITV and BBC1 transmitters in February and August 1970 respectively.

It was one of the first transmitters to be used for sub-regional broadcasting, following the separation of ITV into West and East Midlands from 1 January 1982.

It is also one of the few main UHF transmitters not to carry BBC National FM radio, due to the fact these services can be received across the East Midlands from either Peterborough, Belmont, Sutton Coldfield or Holme Moss.  Local FM radio and national DAB are however broadcast from this site.


 Aerials(1)>  Aerials(2)>  Mast Base>  Site & Stays (800x600 or 1024x768)>  Supersize Images>  UHF Map>  The Collapse


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UHF SERVICE AREA

Transmissions from Waltham are intended primarily to serve an approximate thirty-mile radius covering Leicestershire, Rutland, South-West Lincolnshire and Central Nottinghamshire.

However, due mainly to the low ground which prevails towards the east coast, its signal can be received clearly across most of Lincolnshire and parts of North-West Norfolk (significantly overlapping with the Belmont transmitter) and also parts of North-West Suffolk and North Cambridgeshire (overlapping with Sandy Heath).  (See UHF Coverage Map


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Aerials(1)>  Aerials(2)>  Mast Base>  Site & Stays (800x600 or 1024x768)>  Supersize Images>  UHF Map>  The Collapse


TRANSMISSION STRUCTURE

Waltham's transmission mast is a cylindrical 'steel tube' structure which stands at a height of 290 metres (950-ft), originally extending to 315 metres (1032-ft) with the addition of the surmounting main UHF aerial.  However, this accumulative height has been reduced to approximately 300 metres (984-ft) following the replacement of the main UHF aerial in 2010 for the purpose of Digital Switchover.

As originally built, the structure has eight platforms on the exterior, with alternate platforms each marking the attachment points for three of the twelve stay lines that hold the mast in place.  The stay lines are secured in pairs at ground level by a total of six anchoring blocks.

The mast was the first of three cylindrical structures to be built for the BBC, all of which were constructed between 1966 and 1969 on sites built new for UHF transmission.  The second structure is sited at Bilsdale whilst the third is located at Mendip. Together these three structures were the tallest built for the BBC, in the same way the cylindrical masts built at Belmont, Emley Moor and Winter Hill were the tallest constructed for the ITA.

Prior to acquisition by Arqiva, Waltham and the two other BBC-built cylindrical structures remained the tallest under the ownership of Crown Castle UK and National Grid Wireless.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DIGITAL SWITCHOVER

The two stages of Digital Switchover at Waltham were respectively implemented on 17 August 2011 and 30 August 2011.

Engineering works in preparation for the switchover commenced in 2009 with principal UHF aerial replacement on the mast observed as complete during Summer 2010.

The original GRP cylinder-encased UHF main aerial has been replaced with a ten-tier multi-panel array, whilst a circular eight-tier installation has been deployed just below the existing four-tier circular set.  An additional platform has been installed between the two circular sets increasing the total number of platforms to nine.  The identical mast at Bilsdale has gained an additional platform for the same reason.   See Aerials (2) - DSO for images and further details.  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aerials (1)

 

Aerials (2) - DSO

 

Mast Base

 

 

 

 

 New March 2012

 

 


THE COLLAPSE 

Originally scheduled to come into operation in early 1967, the newly-built Waltham station suffered a major setback on 16 November 1966 when the near-completed mast collapsed due to a failure in one of the temporary stay fixtures, brought on by high winds.  

This dramatic event was eclipsed in March 1969 by the even more catastophic collapse of the 385-metre (1265-ft) ITA-built cylindrical mast at Emley Moor.  The mast which stands today at Waltham is identical in design to its ill-fated predecessor.  

The story of The Waltham Collapse as reported in the Melton Times can be read here.


 Aerials(1)>  Aerials(2)>  Mast Base>  Site & Stays (800x600 or 1024x768)>  Supersize Images>  UHF Map>  The Collapse


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Site and Stay Images

 

The Waltham Collapse 

 

UHF Coverage Map

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(From Melton Times)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

  All these images added March 2012   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 August 2010

 

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STATION INFORMATION


Location:

Manor Farm, Waltham-On-The-Wolds, LE14 4AH

Grid Reference:

SK809233

Landlord:

Arqiva (Legacy: BBC/Crown Castle/NGW)

Ground Height:

132.6m

BBC1 Region:

East Midlands

Mast Height:

290.8m

ITV1 Region:

Central East

Aerial Height: (*)

429m

 

UHF Tx Number:

11100

(*)  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

: 49 / H / 50kW 

 

 

Smooth Radio:

106.6

10.8kW

PSB2

: 54 / H / 50kW 

 

 

 

 

 

PSB3

: 58 / H / 50kW 

 

 

 Digital Radio

COM4

: 29 / H / 25kW 

 

 

 

 

 

COM5

: 56 / H / 25kW

 BBC National (Block 12B)

COM6

: 57 / H / 25kW

 

 

 Digital One (Block 11D)

  

 

Now Nottingham (Block 12A)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRE-DIGITAL SWITCHOVER UHF TRANSMISSIONS

(Shutdown completed 31 August 2011)

Analogue Television 

 

 

 

Digital Television

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service

  Ch/Polar/e.r.p

 

 

 

 

Service

 Ch/Polar/e.r.p

BBC1

: 58 / H / 250kW

 

 

 

 

Mux1

: 49 / H / 5kW

BBC2

: 64 / H / 250kW  

 

 

 

 

Mux2

: 23 / H / 4kW

ITV1

: 61 / H / 250kW 

 

 

 

 

MuxA

: 26 / H / 4kW

Ch4

: 54 / H / 250kW

 

 

 

 

MuxB

: 33 / H / 4kW

Ch5

: 35 / H / 250kW

 

MuxC

: 45 / H / 5kW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MuxD

: 42 / H / 5kW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Other Cylindrical Masts

 

 

 

 

 

Bilsdale

Mendip

Belmont

Winter Hill

(North Yorkshire)

(Somerset)

(Lincolnshire)

(Lancashire)


Lichfield  Oxford  Ridge Hill  Sutton Coldfield  The Wrekin

 

Waltham Transmitter @ A.T.V (Aerials and Television)

 

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