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SUFFOLK


BBC RADIO SUFFOLK

The first maps show BBC Suffolk.  BBC Suffolk commenced transmissions on FM only from main transmitters at the BBC Manningtree site and from the original IBA Great Barton site.  A low power relay was later added for the town of Lowestoft in the north of the county.




The BBC map for BBC Radio Suffolk
Strangely the BBC do not show the actual coverage across the county borders!

In 2003 the BBC increased the power of the Lowestoft relay from 0.05 kW  to 2.0 kW.  The site was also changed from the 'Lowestoft Town' mast (TM 540 943) to a better location at Oulton (TM 523 942).  The Lowestoft transmitter now uses the same site location as the ILR Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft station (103.4 The Beach etc.), but will use a different aerial.   This move greatly improved reception for listeners in North Suffolk and parts of East Norfolk.

In 2004 The BBC added a new 2 kW transmitter for Aldeburgh and the surrounding area on 95.9 MHz VHF.  This is situated at the Aldeburgh television relay station site and brings reception of BBC Suffolk to parts of the county previously unable to receive strong reception from the station.

The full TRANSMITTER DETAILS for BBC Radio Suffolk are now:

FM Site Freq.
MHz

Pol'
Max
e.r.p.
Grid Ref.
Site Ht.
a.s.l.
Ae. Ht.
a.g.l.

Manningtree
(BBC main tx site)
103.9
M
5.0
TM 123 295
33m
150m
Great Barton
(ILR site)
104.6
M
2.0
TL 886 686
63m
45m
Lowestoft
(Oulton)
95.5
V
2.0
TM 523 942
13m
35m*
Aldeburgh
(TV relay site)
95.9
M
2.0
TM 442 596
14m
50m**
* A guestimation of the aerial height at Oulton - ILR aerial is at 38m
** A guestimation of the aerial height at Aldeburge - TV aerials are at 81m


No coverage maps have been published since the BBC map at the top of this page was printed.  Below are pixel plots produced by RadioMobile for the new improved coverage area of BBC Radio Suffolk.  The first one is for the estimated predicted coverage of the Aldeburgh transmitter and the second one is for the whole of this BBC station's coverage area:



Estimated coverage of the BBC Suffolk Aldeburgh transmitter



Estimated coverage for the whole of BBC Radio Suffolk


ILR IPSWICH, BURY AND COLCHESTER

Moving on to some ILR stations in Suffolk.  First we have ILR Ipswich which was originally named Radio Orwell, and broadcast from Electric House, but now it's called SGR FM and is a joint area with ILR Bury St Edmunds, which was originally called Saxon radio and came from studios in Long Brackland.


IBA map for ILR Ipswich (Radio Orwell / SGR etc)



IBA map for ILR Bury St Edmunds (Saxon Radio / SGR etc)

TRANSMITTER DETAILS

Radio Station
Name
Site
Frequency

Pol'
Max
e.r.p.
Grid ref.
Site Ht.
a.s.l.
Ae Ht.
a.g.l.
SGR FM
Ipswich

Foxhall Heath

97.1 MHz

M

3.4

TM 212 445

33m

46m
SGR FM
Bury St Edmunds

Great Barton

96.4 MHz

M

2.0

TL 886 686

63m

49m
SGR FM
Colchester ++

Wivenhoe Park

96.1 MHz

M

0.5

TM 028 239

23m

62m
Classic Gold
Amber
Ipswich
Bury St Edmunds



Foxhall Heath
Great Barton


1170 kHz
1251 kHz


-
-


0.28
0.76


TM 212 445
TL 886 686


33m
63m


-
-
SGR FM now named Heart.
Classic Gold Amber now named Gold.
++ No coverage map yet available

AM STEREO

The IBA carried out some tests with AM stereo from the Foxhall Heath transmitter and were to assess the compatibility with current AM receivers and the interaction with other 'ordinary' AM transmissions.  As far as I can remember these tests were conducted in the mid 1980's and only the Radio Orwell MW transmitter was used, no other ILR AM transmitters were involved.  The tests lasted for a matter of weeks and hopes were raised that AM stereo would be generally adopted by ILR in the not too distant future. 

The system used for the tests was the American CQuam (
Compatible Quadrature AM) system which had been developed by Motorola.   The tests were apparently successful, but it seems that the government of the day were indifferent to the benefits that it may offer and were unwilling to allow further tests from other sites and thus the general adoption of AM stereo was ruled out.

The CQuam AM Stereo system was widely adopted by AM radio stations in North America and is still in use today, although the number of AM stations transmitting music has dwindled.

This system transmits stereo by using 2 phases of the RF carrier 90 degrees apart. Each phase of the carrier is fed to a balanced modulator. The balanced modulator that is in phase with the original RF signal receives left plus right mono audio. The balanced modulator that is 90 degrees out of phase receives the left minus right stereo information. The balanced modulator outputs are summed together with the original in phase carrier and then passed through a limiter so only the phase information is retained. This signal is then modulated by the conventional means in the transmitter, producing a quadrature AM signal that is compatible with mono AM radios. Stereo identification is provided by a 25 Hz pilot tone transmitted in with the left minus right information. This system may be decoded using a chip like the Motorola MC13020P.

More information on the subject of AM Stereo can be found here: http://www.wa2fnq.hamradios.com/amstrdoc.htm


ILR GREAT YARMOUTH, LOWESTOFT AND SOUTHWOLD

A later addition to the commercial air-waves of Suffolk is ILR Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth (103.4 The Beach etc.).

This ILR station originally transmitted from a single 2kW v.h.f. / FM transmitter at Oulton in Lowestoft which serves Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Beccles, Bungay and Caister on Sea.

The Radio Authority (now Ofcom) later advertised for an company to operate a small scale, stand-alone, ILR station for the Southwold area, but no suitable applicant was found and the offer of a licence was withdrawn.

The current holder of the ILR Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth licence (103.4 The Beach) has now been allowed to add a 0.24 kW relay station located at Blythburgh to serve Southwold and the surrounding area, this opened in May 2004.  Presumably this is the frequency originally intended for the stand-alone ILR Southwold station.



Map of ILR Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth with Southwold



RadioMobile pixel plot for the additional 0.24 kW FM relay at Blythburgh
For ILR Lowestoft and Gt. Yarmouth with Southwold

TRANSMITTER DETAILS

FM Site
Freq
MHz
Pol'
Max
e.r.p.
Grid Ref.
Site Ht.
a.s.l.
Ae Ht.
a.g.l.
Lowestoft
(Oulton)
103.4
M
2.0
TM 523 942
13m
38m
Blythburgh
(Water Tower
also O2 site)

97.4
M
0.24
TM 453 742
22m
30m


FM 103.4 The Beach also released this map for their new Blythburgh transmitter:


Relay station for ILR Southwold - 97.4 FM



Coverage map for Blyth Valley Radio community station
Coverage map for the Southwold community radio station
Blyth Valley Radio 105.0 FM
Link:
www.blythvalleycommunityradio.co.uk



ORFORDNESS - VT Merlin Transmitting Station

Here's an odd one.  The major transmitting station at Orfordness was once owned by the BBC as part of its transmitter network used for the BBC World Service.  Transmissions were broadcast on 648 kHz and 1296 kHz.

The BBC transmitter network was priviatised and sold off in  1997 to Merlin Communications International, subsequently re-organised and re-named VT Merlin when it was acquired by the Vosper Thornycroft Group p.l.c.

The VT Merlin site at Orfordness continued a contract with the BBC World Service transmitting the programmes to Europe on 648 kHz until transmissions ceased for good in spring 2011. 

In 2004 the 1296 kHz transmitter was contracted for a period to transmit the programmes of Radio Nationaal of The Netherlands.

On 15th July 2011 after a fire in the transmitter tower/mast at Hoogersmilde in The Netherlands the mast section collapsed. Hoogersmilde was constructed as an 82 metre high concrete tower with a guyed cylindrical mast section on top. The total height being 294 metres. Construction was similar to the Gerbrandytoren in Lopik sites. At 13:50 a fire was reported, the cause was unknown. At 15:39 the mast part collapsed. All radio and TV across the region was taken off the air.

Some reception was restored to the area affected by the transmission engineers by installing temporary transmitting equipment at different sites. However signal strength was weaker and reception patchy in places. As part of the plan to restore radio to the area the Dutch authorities hired the 648kHz transmitter in Orfordness, UK, to transmit programmes to the Netherlands at good signal strengths. This arrangement would bring radio to the Netherlands for some months, until more satisfactory local arrangements could be made to restore reception.

Once the exercise was completed the Orfordness station fell into disuse once again.

The Coverage Map Of 1296 kHz From Orfordness
PHOTO

More About Hoogersmilde - from Koos van den Hout

A major transmitting tower for the north(eastern) part of the country.


Dutch public broadcasters (NL1/2/3, regional TV) and 4 other (encrypted) multiplexes for digitenne service

FM radio public services (Radio 1,2,3,4, Radio Drenthe)

FM radio commercial: Skyradio, Q music, Slamfm, Veronica, Benelux news Radio, 100% NL, RadioNL, Arrow classick rock.

As the
Hoogersmilde transmission tower caught fire and collapsed, the power was cut off to  (part of the normal fire department attack methods) but emergency power generators took over. The  antenna feedline cables hanging down from ~ 90 meters were smouldering with RF energy.

Radio 1 (news station in the public radio landscape) started using its old AM frequency again: 747 kHz (normally used by radio 5) which comes from the AM transmitters in Zeewolde. Transmissions of Radio 1 FM also continued from Hilversum (north of the middle of the country) and Tjerkgaast (Friesland, northern province).



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