kirk o'shotts


Landscape Enlargements

THE KIRK O'SHOTTS STATION is the main DAB radio transmitter for the lowlands of Scotland and the site of the country's first ever television transmitter.

It is sited in North Lanarkshire alongside the M8 motorway, approximately fifteen miles east of Glasgow and two miles south-east of the UHF main station at Black Hill.



The station transmits from a triangular cross-section lattice stayed mast which originally stood at 228 metres (750-ft).  However, following the removal of the VHF Band I television and FM Band II broadcast services that were originally carried, the mast was cut down to the current height of 183 metres (600-ft).











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Kirk o'Shotts was constructed by the BBC in order to extend their television coverage on the original 405-line VHF Band I system to Central and Southern Scotland, bringing the service within range of a further four million people who were mainly sited in or around Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Having established two provincial high power transmitters at Sutton Coldfield and Holme Moss in 1949 and 1951 respectively, Kirk o'Shotts was the third of four such stations built by the BBC to extend the service to the highest populated areas outside London.

In terms of engineering standards and specification, the last three of the four high power transmitters emulated and ultimately exceeded the station that immediately preceded them.  In the case of Kirk o'Shotts, the standard it followed was set by the Holme Moss station with the final high power transmitter at Wenvoe (near Cardiff) using Kirk o'Shotts as the benchmark.

Utilising a 750-ft (228m) mast, Kirk o'Shotts radiated on VHF Channel 3 and came into regular service on 14 March 1952, although typically it operated initially at reduced power from the reserve transmitters until the main high power transmitter came into service on 17 August 1952.  The high power transmitter was capable of delivering a maximum 70kW but in practice operated at 50kW in order to achieve a maximum Effective Radiated Power (e.r.p) of 100kW (vision) based on the low gain aerial principle that applied until Crystal Palace in 1956.

The station received it's main in-coming programme feed from London on a GPO 4 GHz microwave link with relay points including Holme Moss and a non-broadcast forwarding station near the site of the then forthcoming Pontop Pike transmitter.

As with the other high power sites, the Kirk o'Shotts mast was built to accommodate BBC National FM radio, which at the time of the station opening was still a future proposition, but would eventually become operational from here during the latter half of the decade.

In the meantime, the BBC further extended their television coverage by linking the service area of Kirk o'Shotts with that of Aberdeenshire with the opening of the medium-power transmitter at Meldrum, near Aberdeen, from 13 October 1955.  Further stations including Rosemarkie extended coverage to the far north of Scotland, whilst later entries into the network included the Ashkirk (Scottish Borders) and Forfar (Angus) stations that relayed the Kirk o'Shotts signal to provide improved coverage in their respective areas.    

From 31 August 1957, the ITA high power Band III 405-line station at Black Hill came into operation, having been intentionally sited near to Kirk O'Shotts in accordance with the established ITA practice of adjacent siting.



The start of UHF in Central Scotland was an early indication of the eventual run down at Kirk o'Shotts, both in terms of broadcasts and operations.  Black Hill was the designated area UHF main station due to it's higher mast and larger site, with BBC2 the first UHF service to commence from here on 9 July 1966.  At this time, in addition to its existing Band I television and Band II radio services, Kirk o'Shotts was also the base for one of five national Transmitter Maintenance Teams (TMTs) who were basically pairs of mobile engineers responsible for attending to transmitter faults on-site as they occurred across a designated area, this being the whole of Scotland in the case of the Kirk o'Shotts team.

From 1975, the TMT was replaced here as it was at the other four locations (Crystal Palace, Sutton Coldfield, Holme Moss and Wenvoe) by the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), from where diagnosis and repair of most transmitter faults could be carried out remotely and electronically from a central control room rather than at the actual location of the fault.

When the 405-line television service ceased in January 1985, Kirk o'Shotts was still left with the BBC National FM Radio services. However, with the upgrade to mixed polarised transmission, the Kirk o'Shotts mast was unable to support the new aerial system and so it was necessary to move these transmissions to Black Hill.  The BBC also took the unusual step of relocating the MIC from Kirk o'Shotts to Black Hill, the only instance of such a function being based on a site where the BBC was the tenant.

This left Kirk o'Shotts redundant from broadcast transmission throughout the 1990s and it was during the initial part of this period that the mast was reduced in height from 228m (750-ft) to 183m (600-ft) with the removal of the FM Band II aerial system.

At the very end of the decade however, Kirk o'Shotts was designated as carrier of the new DAB radio services to Central Scotland, a function it retains to the present day.

Transmission Site Images

 (1024 x 768 versions on Landscape Enlargements page)

As shown in the following images, operation of this site was passed to a company called Dolphin.  The station has carried their logo since at least 2000 although the current position is unclear.

Although the station's history is not overtly visible, as seen below the main building is on close inspection identifiable by its outline as that of a former BBC 405-line transmitting station.








 Landscape Enlargements



Forrest Road, Kirk of Shotts, Harthill, North Lanarkshire

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Arqiva (Legacy: BBC/Crown Castle/NGW)

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Digital Television 




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: Ch/Polarisation/e.r.p






No service - transmitted from Black Hill

No service - transmitted from Black Hill









 Digital Radio







 BBC National (Block 12B)





Digital One (Block 12A)





 Switch Scotland (Block 11D)

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