Droitwich AM transmitter

The Droitwich transmitting station is a large broadcasting facility for longwave and mediumwave transmissions, established in 1934 in the civil parish of Dodderhill, just outside the village of Wychbold, which is near Droitwich, Worcestershire, England (grid reference SO929663). This transmission site is the location of the British Broadcasting Corporation's most powerful longwave transmitter, which together with the two Scottish longwave transmitters at Burghead and Westerglen forms a network broadcasting on the same frequency. The masts can be seen to the east from the M5 motorway, between Droitwich and Bromsgrove. At night, the two sets of aircraft warning lights are visible from a long distance. The station is owned and operated by Arqiva.

Technical specifications

The frequency was 200 kHz until February 1988 when it was changed to 198 kHz, and the power currently 500 kW. The carrier frequency is controlled by a rubidium atomic frequency standard in the transmitter building, enabling the transmission to be used as an off-air frequency standard. For the long-wave transmission, a T-aerial is used, which is suspended between two 700 ft (210 m) high guyed steel lattice masts, which are 600 ft (180 m) apart from each other. There are also two guyed mast radiators at the site, which are used for transmitting AM medium-wave radio programmes on 693 kHz, 1053 kHz and 1215 kHz.

Transmissions

A number of items in the BBC Radio 4 schedule are carried on the longwave frequency only: these include Yesterday In Parliament at 0835–0900 on Tuesdays to Fridays, The Daily Service at 0945–1000 on Mondays to Fridays, the Shipping Forecast at 1201–1204 daily and 1754–1757 on Mondays to Fridays, and Test Match Special during international cricket games. The Radio 4 LW signal also carries radio data encoded using phase modulation, giving a time-of-day signal, and control signals for Economy 7 electric heating systems. Radio Five Live is broadcast on 693 kHz, which apart from Brookmans Park and Moorside Edge, is one of the strongest signals in the UK, covering most of the Midlands and Wales. During World War II secret messages were sent to the French Resistance using the transmitter. The messages were read during normal programme broadcasts.

Reception

The Radio 4 LW signal from Droitwich is by far the strongest in the UK, covering most of England and Wales, the Benelux, parts of West Germany (covering the areas where the British Forces in Germany are based) and Northern France. There are supplementary medium-wave transmitters in London, South West England, Newcastle area, Carlisle area, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The BBC had wanted to drop Radio 4 on LW, but was forced to retreat after widespread criticism from long-wave 'die-hards' Radio 4 Long Wave Campaign (including listeners in Ireland and Northern France). The long wave signal is very popular among British expats in North West Europe. The longwave signal on 198 kHz, BBC Radio 4, can be received on the flight deck with the ADF nav receiver while flying the North Atlantic (NAT) as far west as 30°W.

Channels available

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com