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Old 3rd Mar 2020, 4:34 am   #21
Station X
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

Apart from vintage radio enthusiasts like ourselves, I doubt whether many people care about the demise of LW, MW and SW broadcast transmissions. What matters to them is that they can listen to their desired "content", the method of delivery is immaterial to them.

Of course some people are dependent on MW transmissions, either because no alternative exists or they are unwilling to upgrade their receiving equipment. Time and technology march on though.

I predict that in the not too distant future all broadcast transmitters will close down and all content will be delivered via the internet.
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Old 3rd Mar 2020, 11:17 am   #22
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

I sent this to my local MP with the last batch of local AM transmitter closures a couple of years ago. Needless to say I did not get a reply.

Hi Chris
As a country we are all facing greater uncertainties with threats from acts of terrorisms, possible civil uprisings after Brexit and more severe natural events such as storms, floods, heavy snow events severe gales etc. thanks to climate change and global warning.
All of the above could cause widespread and lengthy disruption to our power distribution networks which in turn will severely disrupt our local TV, FM, DAB radio, mobile and landline phone networks.
During such lengthy power losses most households will not be able to use their televisions, they will lose their broadband connection as routers require a mains supply, and even if they still have a mobile voice and data connection the battery life on laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. is limited to a day or less.
The few people that have batteries fitted to their portable FM/DAB radios would be ok for a day or so before the batteries required charging whereas if they had a battery operated AM/FM analogue portable radio the batteries can last between 40-80 hours or more.
It was proved during the more recent floods in Lancashire and the north of England that for many people there only contact with the outside world was via there AM radios either listening to their BBC local radio station, a more distant BBC local station or the BBC and commercial national stations such as BBC R4, BBC R5L, Absolute and Talk Sport. They had no TV, broadband, mobile phone networks and the local FM and DAB radio networks had been severely disrupted due to widespread and lengthy power outages.
If events like this become more frequent then we could be facing situations where large areas of the country could become totally isolated with no way of providing important information that would be required during such severe events. At the moment this risk is low because most people still have access to an analogue AM radio and can receive both national and local stations but if we start to close down these AM radio services then we could be creating huge problems for ourselves in the not so distant future.
By investing in the AM radio infrastructure and promoting the services we could end up with the most diverse robust and rugged radio broadcast network in the world by reducing the chance of total isolation of many communities during difficult conditions as the chances of a total failure effecting all AM, FM and DAB radio services is reduced somewhat. Also AM radio signals on both long and medium wave bands do have a much larger coverage area than FM and DAB radio signals. So unlike FM and DAB signals where you end up with nothing if all local stations are off air on AM in most cases you would be able to hear more distant stations that could provide useful or vital news and updates. It is also interesting to note that during a power cuts AM radio reception can improve as all the cheap and nasty gadgets, CFL and LED lighting, battery chargers etc, that pollute the AM bands would be off during any power cuts cutting noise levels back to the low levels we enjoyed 25-30 or more years ago. This would allow reception of weaker more distant signals to be received.
For more normal times we should promote AM radio services alongside FM and DAB services. For BBC Local radio they could cover three different sport fixtures at the same time as Radio Bristol use to do before the 1548 KHz AM service was closed. On Saturday afternoons Bristol City would be on FM, Rovers on DAB with rugby on AM. At other times during the summer AM would carry Somerset or Gloucester cricket whilst normal programmes went out on FM or DAB. For BBC R5L they could carry different events one on AM, then a separate game or sport activity on each of its two DAB services. This is already done on BBC R4 on 198 KHz Long Wave with TMS etc. with normal.

Perhaps I should resend it to him.
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Old 5th Mar 2020, 10:10 am   #23
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

BBC Radio Newcastle and York are still spouting out their message that they are no longer broadcasting on the medium waveband. Let's find out how long this goes on for.

DFWB.
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Old 5th Mar 2020, 12:10 pm   #24
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

BBC R Solent on 999Khz from Fareham is now broadcasting a continuous retuning message. I think its the same on 1359Khz from Bournemouth but I cant receive that signal here thanks to a strong signal from Smooth in Cardiff.
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Old 7th Mar 2020, 6:24 pm   #25
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hybrid tellies View Post
I sent this to my local MP with the last batch of local AM transmitter closures a couple of years ago. Needless to say I did not get a reply.

Hi Chris
As a country we are all facing greater uncertainties with threats from acts of terrorisms, possible civil uprisings after Brexit and more severe natural events such as storms, floods, heavy snow events severe gales etc. thanks to climate change and global warning.
All of the above could cause widespread and lengthy disruption to our power distribution networks which in turn will severely disrupt our local TV, FM, DAB radio, mobile and landline phone networks.
During such lengthy power losses most households will not be able to use their televisions, they will lose their broadband connection as routers require a mains supply, and even if they still have a mobile voice and data connection the battery life on laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. is limited to a day or less.
The few people that have batteries fitted to their portable FM/DAB radios would be ok for a day or so before the batteries required charging whereas if they had a battery operated AM/FM analogue portable radio the batteries can last between 40-80 hours or more.
It was proved during the more recent floods in Lancashire and the north of England that for many people there only contact with the outside world was via there AM radios either listening to their BBC local radio station, a more distant BBC local station or the BBC and commercial national stations such as BBC R4, BBC R5L, Absolute and Talk Sport. They had no TV, broadband, mobile phone networks and the local FM and DAB radio networks had been severely disrupted due to widespread and lengthy power outages.
If events like this become more frequent then we could be facing situations where large areas of the country could become totally isolated with no way of providing important information that would be required during such severe events. At the moment this risk is low because most people still have access to an analogue AM radio and can receive both national and local stations but if we start to close down these AM radio services then we could be creating huge problems for ourselves in the not so distant future.
By investing in the AM radio infrastructure and promoting the services we could end up with the most diverse robust and rugged radio broadcast network in the world by reducing the chance of total isolation of many communities during difficult conditions as the chances of a total failure effecting all AM, FM and DAB radio services is reduced somewhat. Also AM radio signals on both long and medium wave bands do have a much larger coverage area than FM and DAB radio signals. So unlike FM and DAB signals where you end up with nothing if all local stations are off air on AM in most cases you would be able to hear more distant stations that could provide useful or vital news and updates. It is also interesting to note that during a power cuts AM radio reception can improve as all the cheap and nasty gadgets, CFL and LED lighting, battery chargers etc, that pollute the AM bands would be off during any power cuts cutting noise levels back to the low levels we enjoyed 25-30 or more years ago. This would allow reception of weaker more distant signals to be received.
For more normal times we should promote AM radio services alongside FM and DAB services. For BBC Local radio they could cover three different sport fixtures at the same time as Radio Bristol use to do before the 1548 KHz AM service was closed. On Saturday afternoons Bristol City would be on FM, Rovers on DAB with rugby on AM. At other times during the summer AM would carry Somerset or Gloucester cricket whilst normal programmes went out on FM or DAB. For BBC R5L they could carry different events one on AM, then a separate game or sport activity on each of its two DAB services. This is already done on BBC R4 on 198 KHz Long Wave with TMS etc. with normal.

Perhaps I should resend it to him.
All solid and sensible observations & advice.

Unfortunately, mankind is really keen on short-termism. What's the immediate issue? Where's my next prompt gratification coming from? Which issues can be shelved for now? Our leaders and representatives, by and large, think like this.

Just as the onward spread of the Coronavirus will force our government to implement more Chinese/Italian-style countermeasures, so will the ongoing climate issues serve to concentrate minds in higher places.

Decades ago, of course, we had the threat from the USSR to perform this service vis--vis our broadcast infrastructure. Wasn't there an emergency studio centre outside London? A friend who attended BBC courses at Evesham told of some off-limits steps leading down to a door which was always locked...

I also heard of a feed-switching facility in London, which was capable of routing the outputs from multiple studios in the capital to various radio transmitters. This involved both BBC (including World Service) and independent stations. The idea was to enable some sort of emergency service to be cobbled together if an attack knocked out some of the nation's radio broadcasting assets.

Does any of this emergency infrastructure remain? Is there any thought given to perpetually maintaining at least some LW and/or MW facilities, e.g. Droitwich 198kHz and some high-power MW senders, so as to give nationwide emergency coverage?
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 12:14 am   #26
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hybrid tellies View Post
BBC R Solent on 999Khz from Fareham is now broadcasting a continuous retuning message. I think its the same on 1359Khz from Bournemouth but I cant receive that signal here thanks to a strong signal from Smooth in Cardiff.
Here in the Southampton area we are hearing a recorded message from Allan and Lou at Breakfast advising that they are no longer broadcasting on 999 kHz and listeners should tune into 96.1 FM , DAB or digital TV instead to continue listening to BBC Radio Solent.
I have recorded the message in case it might be of interest to someone.
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 9:32 am   #27
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

Locally, on MW, all we have left appears to be either Panjab or Sunrise (not sure which as I seldom listen long enough), 5 Live, Absolute, although this is almost hidden by noise, though the other day Manx came in loud and clear. More recently a few Spanish stations.

LW, we have Radio 4, occasionally RTE Radio 1(?) though this appears to have gone quiet, and a station from France.

This is all on the West Berkshire/South Oxfordshire border, using either DAC90a, Cossor 501AC or Philco 333/444. The Roberts R700 picks up a few more, with those listed above coming in much clearer. You can see I'm not geared up for DX'ing! The Philips Philetta makes a nice job of these stations though.

This hobby will see me out, sentiment I'm sure will keep the collection in the family, and maybe as stations are switched off, vintage sets will have more of an historic importance? From social history to maybe, the engineering viewpoint. If we have an uptake in engineering interests here in the UK from apprenticeships, it could spark further interest.

Who knows(?) but don't forget, some folk have items as a centrepiece to add class or a quirky twist to a room, so I don't see a mass exodus of old radios heading for the tip.

Mark
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 9:35 am   #28
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

Quote:
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Wasn't there an emergency studio centre outside London? A friend who attended BBC courses at Evesham told of some off-limits steps leading down to a door which was always locked...
Ah... Bredon Wing! Depending on which lecturer you had and the degree of gentle windy-uppery they indulged in, it might go down six floors beneath ground with a fully-equipped isolation hospital, or it might be 'nothing to write home about'.

In reality it went down a couple of levels via a concrete stairwell. There were concrete-encased standby diesels outside and bunkered fuel tanks; reinforced doors, same as any other blast-proof structure necessary to the governance of the country if bad things happened. We had a couple of lectures down there when other rooms were occupied.

There was an SHF link from the top of Tunnel Hill to Daventry as part of the 'deferred facilities'.

Of course, I never did find out what was behind that red-painted steel door in the corner.
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 11:28 am   #29
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

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Of course, I never did find out what was behind that red-painted steel door in the corner.
Oh dear ... Russell, you may have said too much ... so be careful when answering your front door; make sure you block the keyhole and check that there isn't a Rolls-Royce hearse outside your gaff with a couple of Century House goons using binoculars & casing the joint. Mind you, the beach is nice and sandy near to the guesthouse they have in mind for you ... just watch out for that b****y great balloon


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Old 8th Mar 2020, 1:32 pm   #30
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

I always understood that Droitwich 198kHz was retained for national emergency though it's well-known that the BBC have wanted rid of it for years.*

Perhaps they could give it to Radio Caroline? "This is Radio Caroline on 199 - your all-day music station." (Caroline were always more fussy about the rhyme than wavelength accuracy so 1kHz frequency discrepancy shouldn't be a problem. )

These days I'm well-known for appearing to be behind the times and my somewhat cynical/sceptical view of some modern practices that are 'all the rage'. I get particular stick for my simple voice and text only 'dumb' phone - even though I had a mobile phone years (probably a decade) before any of those who criticise.

However, sometimes I semi-jokingly say: "If the bomb should drop or we upset the Chinese and they turn everything off, stick with me. I've an all-valve short wave transmitter-receiver, a car with no electronics and I know how to make crystal sets from simple stuff." (All I'm lacking at the moment is the generator!)

*One issue with this is that most modern receivers if they do receive AM won't have LW.
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 1:59 pm   #31
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

Self sufficiency is upping in trend apparently, awfully glad of an insulated hobby room, now with solar power, an inverter & means of storage, add to that heating which doesn't rely on external utilities to fuel it.

Aspects of our life have taken a step back in time, and saved not only money, but time itself, by not having to recharge something or, waiting for 'it' to update/reboot. Having manual tools mean you can get on with a DIY job at the drop of a hat, and keeps you fit!

Radio continues to be enjoyed, content being redistributed via alternative methods, which is also a bit of fun..

With the AM band becoming less populated, would our little transmitter be, erm, less illegal?

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Old 8th Mar 2020, 2:43 pm   #32
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

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Originally Posted by 'LIVEWIRE?' View Post
Not that this should be taken as a general guide, but, some years ago when BBC Radio Oxford's MW outlet closed, the transmitter, with a frequency change from 1485 to 1197kHz was turned over to Virgin, later Absolute, Radio, and is still on air to this day.
What is the trend, then, with other UK-based MF broadcasters other than the BBC? Are they cutting back on AM broadcasts too or are they 'availing themselves' as described? A programme is a programme, irrespective of how it's promulgated. If there's a message to put across, well...

Quote:
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Of course some people are dependent on MW transmissions, either because no alternative exists...
Like in rural and hilly Cumbria, you mean? Carlisle (local BBC radio and BBC R4) and Barrow still serve the populace on MF, even though Whitehaven is getting the chop. A shame, as Whitehaven MF evolved from one of the WWII 'H'-stations. But it is a reasonably-sized town with good VHF, DAB and TV reception and so is well-served.
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 5:29 pm   #33
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

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What is the trend, then, with other UK-based MF broadcasters other than the BBC? Are they cutting back on AM broadcasts too or are they 'availing themselves' as described?
The commercial operators are reducing power/coverage on MF too.

https://www.a516digital.com/2018/04/...-approved.html

https://radiotoday.co.uk/2020/01/tal...-transmitters/

I guess they have sound listenership-data on which they're making these sort of business decisions.

[I also remember something a while back about uncertainty over whether OFCOM would continue to renew MW licences]
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 6:19 pm   #34
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

I note 'Fresh Radio' in the Yorkshire Dales packed in a few years ago. A pity... For some reason it absolutely boomed into mid-Cumbria!

I suppose the MF bands will eventually become restricted, by the increased noise levels caused by all manner of SMPSU, PLT and PWM technology, to more robust narrow-band data transmission for specialist communication traffic.

I understand BMW no longer fit LW sets to cars because of the inherent noise threshold caused by in-car electronics.
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 6:44 pm   #35
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

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I have recorded the message in case it might be of interest to someone.
I came here to ask this. If it's not inconvenient, would you be able to upload your recording to the Internet Archive (archive.org)*? I don't know why, but these 'admin' style messages always interest me. (The same with service breakdowns).

*I prefer the Internet Archive to other audio-hosting services as it's free, unlimited (I've uploaded more than 1TB of content so far), no ads, and keeps stuff around forever.
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 8:27 pm   #36
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly 7 View Post
I have recorded the message in case it might be of interest to someone.
I came here to ask this. If it's not inconvenient, would you be able to upload your recording to the Internet Archive (archive.org)*? I don't know why, but these 'admin' style messages always interest me. (The same with service breakdowns).

*I prefer the Internet Archive to other audio-hosting services as it's free, unlimited (I've uploaded more than 1TB of content so far), no ads, and keeps stuff around forever.
My recording is in mp3 format. I will attempt to upload it in the next couple of days and let you know if successful. Thanks for your interest.
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 9:48 pm   #37
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

There is an emergency studio in the "Secret Nuclear Bunker " , just off the A128 between Brentwood and Ongar. Well worth a visit if you are in the area. The nearby transmitters at North Weald were closed many years ago.
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Old 9th Mar 2020, 2:01 am   #38
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

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I understand BMW no longer fit LW sets to cars because of the inherent noise threshold caused by in-car electronics.

My new Skoda doesn't have LW or MW, just DAB and FM.
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Old 9th Mar 2020, 7:51 am   #39
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

Yes. It's like a reverse 'chicken 'n' egg' situation: the opposite of DRM. Instead of a development race between transmitters and receiver manufacture and take-up, it's a case of do the MF/LF receivers come out of cars because the transmitters are closing, or are the transmitters closing because car manufacturers no longer fit MF/LF receivers because of inherent noise?
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Old 9th Mar 2020, 8:21 am   #40
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Default Re: Some BBC local radio MW Tx closures

I have to admit I don’t know if my car radio has MW/LW, I use DAB and occasionally FM. The MW/LW radio at home only gets used with the pantry transmitter.
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