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itsrobert6,397 posts since 23 Mar 2001
Granada North West Today
I had the pleasure of flying from Spain into Manchester Airport yesterday evening and with the clear weather conditions, I got a terrific view of the Winter Hill fire. There was a huge amount of smoke billowing off the hill - so much in fact, that it could be clearly seen on the horizon as we were flying over North Wales. Having returned home, there is a faint smell of burning in the air. I live near St Helens, so that's about 20 miles away.
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Markymark7,346 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today

Although the impact on BBC national radio would have been limited, as Holme Moss and other sites further north would have still been in action, reception can be patch in many areas, including in Manchester itself. I know I always had better coverage on Winter Hill's frequency rather than Holme Moss's, which was affected by the terrain and multipath from the buildings. It also wouldn't surprise me if Winter Hill formed part of the microwave distribution network, so an issue there has the potential to affect services further north.



Very little microwave dist is used these days without back up, and where it's the only delivery method, (for the local DAB muxes for instance) the distibution always arranged in a ring.

I'm not suggesting MyP etc offers an alternative source of reception should Winter Hill fail, just that it will provide alternative reception for some immediately, (by just going to 800+ on the EPG !).

It wouldn't require a very tall mast to restore TV to Manchester, the top of Winter Hill (the hill not the mast) is visible at street level in parts of the city. Of course locations further away are a problem, as would be access to the hill to arrange an emergency service

It will be interesting (albeit expensive) if WH does fail, to see what the real impact on radio and TV reception actually would be, it certainly wouldn't be a cataclysmic as it would have been 20 years ago,
Orry Verducci1,645 posts since 1 Feb 2005
Anglia (West) Look East
Indeed they are, but they have no PSB value, and for Heart and Rock most of their target demographic wouldn't have too much difficulty obtaining them via other platforms (if they don't already)

As far as Arqiva is concerned, it doesn't matter if they're PSB or not. Global is one of their biggest customers, so they would see the loss of any of their services to be a major issue that needs to be resolved rapidly. I'm sure the listeners would also be quick to complain. You also need to remember that a significant chuck of listenership is in the car, the fast majority of which still only have FM/AM. In the home as you say most people are on other platforms now and it probably won't be an issue.


Very little microwave dist is used these days without back up, and where it's the only delivery method, (for the local DAB muxes for instance) the distibution always arranged in a ring.


I'm sure you're right, the only caveat there from past experience is that one failure can quickly show up other issues. It wasn't that long ago that BBC national radio dropped to RBS and was nocked out across most of northern England by a fault at Sutton Coldfield.

As you say it would be interesting to see the impact if Winter Hill does fail (although I hope it doesn't).

As a side note I think BBC national are the only major services still using microwave links, most service have now migrated to ARQnet, Arqiva's fibre network.
Markymark7,346 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today

As a side note I think BBC national are the only major services still using microwave links, most service have now migrated to ARQnet, Arqiva's fibre network.


BBC National FM Tx dist is now on BT MPLS (still in a NICAM wrapper !) on the same fibre network that feeds the DTT sites. Where an FM Tx is not co-sited with a TV one, then there's a microwave link. For instance North Hessary Tor is fed from Plympton by microwave (Plympton is the nearest fibre fed DTT site)

Indeed they are, but they have no PSB value, and for Heart and Rock most of their target demographic wouldn't have too much difficulty obtaining them via other platforms (if they don't already)

As far as Arqiva is concerned, it doesn't matter if they're PSB or not. Global is one of their biggest customers, so they would see the loss of any of their services to be a major issue that needs to be resolved rapidly. I'm sure the listeners would also be quick to complain. You also need to remember that a significant chuck of listenership is in the car, the fast majority of which still only have FM/AM. In the home as you say most people are on other platforms now and it probably won't be an issue.


FWIW My two lads (smack in the middle of Global's/EMAP's target demographic) use 4G bluetooth streaming to their car radios, for all those stations. So do all their other non DAB car-radio friends. Just saying Cool
Last edited by Markymark on 1 July 2018 3:46pm - 2 times in total
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Markymark7,346 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Aren’t there opt-outs of Radio Lancs to cater for alternative football matches? Could that be a reason for the overlap - to allow a choice?


That might be, and is, a useful side effect, but local radio stations are not supposed to intentionally have two frequencies covering the same area, on the same wavelength. That would count as another licensable service (for the BBC or the commercial lot) . It does happen though. in the 80s Ocean Sound's Portsmouth and Southampton FM transmitters conveniently covered the other city, so (rather cheekily) Ocean launched Power FM on Southampton's keeping vanilla Ocean on Portsmouth (and Winchester)
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JAS844,213 posts since 26 Aug 2010
Yorkshire Look North (E.Yorks & Lincs)
As mentioned here: http://tx.mb21.co.uk/gallery/hannington/index.php

Quote:
The site is notorious for two events. The first in 1976 when students managed to swamp out the off-air TV feed from Rowridge, and transmitted during the ITN news one Saturday evening a message from "Vrillon of Ashtar Command", orbiting Earth in his space ship! The second was in July 1994, when during the World Cup Final, someone switched off both HT electricity feeds to the site. The switches were in opposite directions, each about a mile away. Interestingly no actual damage was done to the switching equipment however. All services were off air for 2 hours. Southern Electricity offered a reward but no-one has been convicted.
JamesM0984
Central (East) East Midlands Today

As a side note I think BBC national are the only major services still using microwave links, most service have now migrated to ARQnet, Arqiva's fibre network.


BBC National FM Tx dist is now on BT MPLS (still in a NICAM wrapper !) on the same fibre network that feeds the DTT sites. Where an FM Tx is not co-sited with a TV one, then there's a microwave link. For instance North Hessary Tor is fed from Plympton by microwave (Plympton is the nearest fibre fed DTT site)

Indeed they are, but they have no PSB value, and for Heart and Rock most of their target demographic wouldn't have too much difficulty obtaining them via other platforms (if they don't already)

As far as Arqiva is concerned, it doesn't matter if they're PSB or not. Global is one of their biggest customers, so they would see the loss of any of their services to be a major issue that needs to be resolved rapidly. I'm sure the listeners would also be quick to complain. You also need to remember that a significant chuck of listenership is in the car, the fast majority of which still only have FM/AM. In the home as you say most people are on other platforms now and it probably won't be an issue.


FWIW My two lads (smack in the middle of Global's/EMAP's target demographic) use 4G bluetooth streaming to their car radios, for all those stations. So do all their other non DAB car-radio friends. Just saying Cool


Global's target demographic is pretty large when taking into account all their brands.
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