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Old 10th May 2021, 8:25 pm   #121
Ian - G4JQT
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

Maybe the continuing closure of British MW stations will allow Ofcom to licence more low-power MW stations.

I've helped install a number of LPAM restricted service stations and at least four used my AM transmitter design. Nothing clever, but about 20 watts RF to give 1 watt ERP from a 10 metre vertical antenna - that's the regulation height.

Trouble is, who would listen? Stations are closing because people listen on other platforms, and even if they still use their AM radios, interference is a growing problem that won't go away.

Something else to consider is what would new AM stations broadcast? Any music you like is available on the internet so why broadcast that for extended periods? And relevant spoken content for the relatively small coverage area of such stations is labour intensive. Plenty of people rush to help for the first few weeks, but most drift away...
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Old 11th May 2021, 11:31 am   #122
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

Despite the low powers used by most of these local stations they still covered the ground well. The best example of this is BBC R Hereford and Worcester's transmitter at Worcester on 738 KHz which only uses 38 watts of power.
A lot of it is down to the design of the aerial and the location of the aerial site. This signal can be heard reasonably clearly during the day in the Bristol and Bath area.
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Old 11th May 2021, 2:08 pm   #123
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

I shall miss H & W on 738. It was a more reliable signal than FM at my location and I canít get it on DAB at all.

I used to like listening to the cricket commentaries on it. One day I listened in the car all down the M5 to Weston Super Mare.

At home I had to position the radio away from sources of noise; and, of course, Mr/Ms Average isnít going to be bothered with that but it just shows the potential relatively low powered AM stations could have had.

For all the Ďchoiceí of stations these days so many are mining the same seam or a narrow selection of seams chasing the same audiences. There isnít a lot for older listeners, especially since the BBC wants to abandon them; or for the not so old that prefer a more easy sound and mature presentation. Iíd happily listen to a jazz station or Serenade Radio style station on AM; and we know on here how good AM quality can be but given the level of noise, narrow transmit bandwidth and the design of modern sets that donít render AM particularly well, everything is against AM now and this is all might have been.

As for Ofcom, Iíve heard that they no longer issue AM licences even if you want one.
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Old 11th May 2021, 2:20 pm   #124
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

Radio Lancashire was advertising the coverage of its MW transmitter a few years ago during the Boxing Day floods. Now it is following the others. At least the SStran keeps going!
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Old 11th May 2021, 3:11 pm   #125
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

It's a great shame that MW stations are closing but to be honest I'm not surprised. We have had a very long run with A.M. radio but like everything else in life, everything comes to an end.
I moved to my present address about 20 years ago. It is very rural and I have about five very good neighbours. MW and LW transmissions were received completely interference free equal to FM and I'm not kidding! Today the MW band is covered by a horrendous babble of interference that blots out the only two receivable stations. Radio 4 on Long wave is not too bad but has no entertainment or interest value to me. When the time comes maybe when I am in the Victorian Home for EX television Engineers, possibly.
Where it comes from I'll leave you to work out. It can only come via the mains supply but I have my own 11kv to 240v transformer on a pole 20ft from my bungalow so it is a mystery that remains unsolved. A battery portable is slightly better as regards interference suppression but it is not the complete answer.

The honest truth is that the man in the street has no interest in AM radio and I fear that within five years it will not exist in all but maybe very local locations.
As I said at the start of this post, it's a great shame but everything has it's time even life itself but we can keep it alive with the 'pantry transmitter' so we should all build one. It's not that difficult! Regards to you all, John.

Last edited by Heatercathodeshort; 11th May 2021 at 3:16 pm.
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Old 11th May 2021, 3:58 pm   #126
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

A pantry transmitter connected to an internet radio, or in my case a Squeezebox is an excellent substitute. I can even get Spotify on it! It remains switched on 24 hours a day.
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Old 12th May 2021, 11:46 am   #127
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Default BBC Local MW Transmitters

Hi Folks

Don't know if any of you are aware but the BBC are closing down all of their MW local radio frequencies. These will include; Essex, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Leeds, Sheffield, Hereford, and Worcester, Stoke, Lancashire, Ulster, and Foyle.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/work...-closures-2021

I have sent a message to the BBC director via their contact form to tell them how important the MW frequencies are to us who restore vintage valve radio sets and asked the question as to what reason they have decided to shut down all of their MW transmitters.

Best wishes

Ken
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Old 12th May 2021, 12:05 pm   #128
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Default Re: BBC Local MW Transmitters

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Hi Folks

Don't know if any of you are aware but the BBC are closing down all of their MW local radio frequencies.
Are you sure? I thought BBC Radio Cumbria would be staying on MF for local radio and Radio 4 (Whitehaven TX already closed) because of the mountainous terrain and the inability to receive broadcasts satisfactorily by other means.

I can't see Radio 4 MF transmissions from Brisco (Carlisle) closing until LF transmissions from Westerglen and Droitwich close: the MF is 'mush-area' fill-in.
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Old 12th May 2021, 12:38 pm   #129
Ian - G4JQT
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Default Re: BBC Local MW Transmitters

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Originally Posted by Radio Tech View Post
Hi Folks

Don't know if any of you are aware but the BBC are closing down all of their MW local radio frequencies. These will include; Essex, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Leeds, Sheffield, Hereford, and Worcester, Stoke, Lancashire, Ulster, and Foyle.

I have sent a message to the BBC director via their contact form to tell them how important the MW frequencies are to us who restore vintage valve radio sets and asked the question as to what reason they have decided to shut down all of their MW transmitters.

Best wishes

Ken
Good luck getting a meaningful reply. Obviously a few hundred of us vintage radio aficionados won't be a reason to keep MW transmitters operating when there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of older people who only have (or only know how to use) their old MW radio. The BBC no doubt known about them, but they don't figure in the calculations.

The hard facts are that medium and longwave broadcasting have a rapidly diminishing listenership for reasons previously discussed. A point comes when the decision is made to start scaling back with a view to complete closure. I expect something like a "listener-per-watt" calculation has been made and those stations that don't hit the mark get closed.

There is also the problem of transmitter maintenance. Individually they probably don't cost much to maintain, but in total? Neither do they last for ever and sooner or later they require a major overhaul - or closure. Then there's the cost of electricity, and getting the audio to all the sites.

As a retired BBC engineer, I know a point was reached with 405-line TV transmission that it would have been cheaper to find all the 405-line TVs and replace them free of charge with 625-line sets than to keep the old transmitters limping along. But for lots of reasons that wasn't going to happen. The smaller TV transmitters closed (sometimes without any complains!) until the last one was switched off in the mid 1980s.

We have our pantry transmitters and when connected to the internet the choice and signal quality far outweigh anything available over the the air!

For those of us of a certain age, it's the ending of an era. But all good things come to an end...

Ian

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Old 12th May 2021, 4:59 pm   #130
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Default Re: BBC Local MW Transmitters

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Originally Posted by Ian - G4JQT View Post
Obviously a few hundred of us vintage radio aficionados won't be a reason to keep MW transmitters operating when there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of older people who only have (or only know how to use) their old MW radio. The BBC no doubt known about them, but they don't figure in the calculations.
This assumption about older folk is for the most part erroneous. Many that I know had DAB receivers and freeview TV boxes before the commonplace use of DAB and before TV DSO in the quest for something different from the usual fare.

Those that will miss MW are those who live in awkward places where FM and DAB reception is difficult but they are probably few in number. A shame for them but thatís how things go. Unfortunately, some of them will probably live in places where gaining a 1MB internet connection remains something of a dream.

However, given that BBC local radio was the last bastion for the older listener and that is changing given the BBCís determination to chase the youth audience, they probably wonít miss it much anyway.
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Old 13th May 2021, 10:43 am   #131
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

I heard BBC H&W on 738 from Worcester switch to a recorded retuning loop message at 11.07am in the middle of a Men from Down Under record. I believe 1584 from Woofferton switched to the recorded retuning message a few minutes earlier.
As the Worcester 738 transmitter only used an aerial power of 38 watts it makes you wonder how much power they are going to save.
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Old 13th May 2021, 11:26 am   #132
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

I must agree with JBN. The thought of an older person sitting listening to their Bush TR82C or DAC90 brings back nostalgia but I don't know anyone that actually does this.

Surprisingly my older customers were very keen to have the latest technology and mostly owned a radio capable of picking up VHF/FM, and that was over 20 years ago. It was often their only entertainment and they were prepared to spend a little money to have a decent radio and TV. They were some of my best customers.

Other than vintage enthusiasts I doubt very much if anyone would miss AM transmissions, that is if they can actually hear them above the interference racket!

It's had it's day as far as a public broadcasting service, finished off mainly by the incredible hash that has ruined reception. John.
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Old 13th May 2021, 11:27 am   #133
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

38 watts just shows what could be achieved with AM. The antenna isn’t fantastic, it seems to be a T arrangement on glorified telegraph poles. I think it is close to the river so will have good ground conductivity.

In terms of power consumption my guess is that it’s probably cheaper than running an internet station off a server. However, there’s maintenance of the kit, rent to pay for the land, etc., to be considered.

In addition to a change of direction the BBC is also into a cost cutting exercise and, sadly, many of the interesting programmes and their presenters that were found on local stations have disappeared. The Covid crisis and potential operational difficulties provided a suitable opportunity to remove these but those that remain are being steadily chipped away.

When breakfast DJs command over £1m per year it’s important not to waste money on little used services and/or programmes with only relatively modest number of listeners.
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Old 15th May 2021, 9:15 am   #134
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

I’m just disappointed in BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. I love listening to the folk show on Sunday nights. Of course can do it online, but not very exciting.
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Old 15th May 2021, 10:41 am   #135
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

I listen to BBC R5L on 909 daily (when the band is free of hash) and when out and about on my bike or when on a walk, I would miss it if it went as it is not on FM and I would soon use up the batteries when using a DAB portable when out and about.
I was listening to my Larkspur R209 in bed this morning and as the set only goes down to 1Meg I had to tune into BBC Radio Gloucestershire which came over very clearly on the internal 14' aerial.
To keep MW going, there does seem to be a very good selection of overseas stations to keep the band busy, I will just have to learn to speak Spanish .
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Old 15th May 2021, 11:02 am   #136
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

Maybe our efforts should be concentrated on keeping FM alive, probably the best system of broadcasting ever! John.
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Old 17th May 2021, 9:28 am   #137
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

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Maybe our efforts should be concentrated on keeping FM alive, probably the best system of broadcasting ever! John.
FM can and is very good in many areas but if you are in a hill remote area you can end up with a continually varying hissy often distorted mess. FM does not cope with multipath very well when compared to AM or DAB.
Saying that reception of the national FM stations at home is variable fadey and shrewn with multi path. Some FM radios just don't cope wheras others cope very well.
AM radio where I live is by far the most reliable and robust.
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Old 17th May 2021, 5:21 pm   #138
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

I've said it before. I hope at least some of the medium wave band is made open to Radio Amateurs.

Cheers

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Old 20th May 2021, 11:09 am   #139
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

Recorded message on both 729 and 765 from bbc Essex. Progress? I guess it was inevitable but still sad to see this 500watt transmitter from bakers wood switched off. Used it every morning to listen to the early show on my echo a22. My golden age of radio disappearing with every closure. Always had a ric2 or roberts rambler tuned to 765 in my workshop.could use a pantry transmitter I suppose but feels unreal. Have a Bluetooth converted dac 90a to use but couldn’t do this to my echo as just seems wrong,originality is everything.
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Old 20th May 2021, 1:02 pm   #140
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Default Re: Medium Wave Transmitter Closures.

For whatever reason FM has deteriorated at my house. I’m in an urban area that will in general be well-served by Sutton Colfield but the local terrain is very hilly.

For ‘regular use’ I have used the same sets for years, a couple of 1980s vintage Grundigs which are both sensitive, but with FM it’s now almost the same as finding the sweet spot with set and aerial position as it is with AM avoiding the hash. The problem with FM, unlike AM, is that the sweet spot varies from day to day, between transmitters and even between R3 and R4 which I assume are on the same mast.

I am now almost exclusively DAB as I am pretty much line of sight with Turner’s Hill for what comes from there (OTOH the Birmingham Mini-MUX which carries Caroline is impossible so I use 648kHz); and for Radio 4 listening on the Grundig set in the bedroom I use long wave. However, a couple of miles away down the hill and DAB can be bubbling mud or zip.

MW AM overcame these difficulties but has many things against it now; though probably its worst offence is that it is old-fashioned.
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