Coverage Area Maps
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BBC coverage map for BBC Radio Devon

IBA map for ILR Exeter and Torbay (DevonAir / Gemini etc)
VHF transmitters are at Beacon Hill and Exeter St Thomas
Since this map was produced there has been a modest power
increase at both transmitters so coverage will be slightly wider

IBA map for ILR Plymouth (Plymouth Sound etc)
VHF transmitters at Tavistock (0.04 kW) and Plympton (1.0 kW)
Plympton has since had a modest power increase to 2.0 kW

A RadioMobile plot showing the coverage area for ILR South Hams
Main transmitter is at Soar (Red) with relays at Totnes (Pink), Ivybridge (Orange), Dartmouth (Orange)

Plot showing the Soar transmitter only


Pixel Plot estimating the area covered by Huntshaw Cross
for ILR North Devon
[See additional pixel plot for Ilfracombe below]


Lantern Radio was set up in 1992 as a dedicated and popular independent community radio station serving North Devon.  Managing Director and driving force behind the project was John Brocks.  The chairman Leslie Frewin, author and founder of Europe's first and largest PR company IMPAC and past chairman of the Lord's Taveners.  Deputy Chairman was Sandra Yeo, local businesswoman and parish councillor.

Other important members of the Lantern Radio team of management and directors included:  Rodney Grant, a North Devonian who had previously held the position of Executive Accountant with the Press Association and worked with Peat Marwick Mitchell Management Consultants;  Stephen Oates who had previously run the highly successful community station Isle Of Wight Radio, which had been held up by the Radio Authority as an example of how a community radio station should sound; Simon Maunder and David Rodgers, previously a director at Orchard FM who made that station an enormous success.

Lantern Radio established offices and studios in a quaint building named The Light House located at 17 The Market Place in the market town of Bideford.  The building had once been used as the Kingdom Hall of Jehova's Witnesses.

Lantern FM proved to be a huge success with the audience with its well focussed local sound that was based on a broad variety of music, but with plenty of speech, information and news.  I listened to Lantern Radio during several visits to North Devon and enjoyed the programmes immensly, and judging by the number of radio sets in the area tuned to the station, so did a very large section of the population.

Technically Lantern Radio had two presentation studios, A and B,  together with a separate News Studio all located in the basement adjacent to the plant room, racks room and record library. 

Above the studios and technical areas, on the ground floor, was located the reception area, sales office, programme planning area, board room, kitchen and management offices.

The transmitter was located at the television mast at Huntshaw Cross.  The authorised power was 4 kW mixed polarisation, with an omnidirectional radiation pattern.  In practice, however, the power was 2.5 kW: 2 kW vertical polarisation plus 0.5 kW horizontal polarisation.  The proposed transmitter being an Eddystone 1706/1X feeding crossed dipole aerials, a system costing around £23,000.

Additional equipment required was a multi-redundancy amplifier, stereo generator, reserve drive with auto change-over, twin aerial feeders, telemetry and supervisory systems, audio limiting equipment, audio monitor panel and jackfield.  Together with the installation of the equipment this would cost around £26,000 bringing the total cost of the transmitter equipment alone to nearly £50,000 !

After a very successful period of independent broadcasting thoughout the 1990's Lantern Radio was bought by the GWR group and no doubt the character of the radio station has since been changed to conform with the GWR house style, although I cannot confirm this as I have not visited the area since the take-over.  The station has also vacated The Light House and moved its headquaters from Bideford to a new unit at Lauder Lane, Roundswell Business Park in Barnstaple. 

A new VHF FM relay transmitter
on 97.3 MHz has also been established in Ilfracombe, which is beyond the reach of the signal from Huntshaw Cross.  Pre-takeover, Lantern Radio had recognised the problem of Ilfracombe being unserved by a signal from Huntshaw Cross and had discussed the use of a VHF FM relay for the town and even a medium wave relay for the area and/or the siting a VHF FM relay transmitter on the Isle of Lundy.  Due to problems with electricty supply and coverage problems around the coves the Lundy idea was discounted.

Pixel Plot estimating the coverage area of the Ilfracombe relay

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