Pontop Pike transmitting station
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The Pontop Pike transmitting station is a facility for telecommunications and broadcasting situated on a 312-metre (1,024-ft) high hill of the same name between Stanley and Consett, County Durham, near the village of Dipton, England. The mast is 149 metres (489 ft) high, giving an average antenna height of 461 metres (1,512 ft) above sea level. It is owned and operated by Arqiva.
Pontop Pike mast, left, with dish aerial array to the right
|Mast height||149 metres (489 ft)|
|BBC region||BBC North East and Cumbria|
|ITV region||ITV Tyne Tees|
|Local TV service||Made in Tyne and Wear|
The mast was built in 1953 and its construction was brought forward by the BBC so that people in North East England could watch the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II live on the 405-line television system VHF then in use in the UK. Test transmissions from a low-power temporary aerial began on Monday, 20 April 1953, and the first programmes were transmitted on Friday, 1 May 1953, in plenty of time for the Coronation on 2 June. UHF transmissions began in 1966 with the first colour transmissions in 1970, and the VHF television signal was switched off in 1985.
The Pontop Pike transmitter provides digital television transmissions to Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Tees Valley, most of Northumberland and parts of North Yorkshire. It also carries the national BBC Radio FM signals, covering the whole North East, as well as 95.4FM BBC Newcastle. It was one of the first national FM transmitters in December 1955. All of its television output is within the C/D aerial group.
Digital TV switchoverEdit
Analogue TV transmissions from this mast began to close from 12 September and completely ceased on 26 September 2012, making Pontop Pike, as well as Bilsdale and Chatton, the last-but-one transmitter group in the United Kingdom to complete digital switchover (DSO) with Northern Ireland being the last area to switch. In July 2007 it was confirmed by Ofcom that Pontop Pike would remain a C/D group after DSO.
Services listed by frequencyEdit
|88.5 MHz||250||BBC Radio 2|
|90.7 MHz||250||BBC Radio 3|
|92.9 MHz||250||BBC Radio 4|
|95.4 MHz||10||BBC Newcastle|
|98.1 MHz||250||BBC Radio 1|
|100.3 MHz||65||Classic FM|
|222.064 MHz||11D||6.3||Digital One|
|225.648 MHz||12B||10||BBC National DAB|
Analogue television from Pontop Pike has now ceased permanently. BBC Two analogue was switched off on 12 September 2012 and the remaining three on 26 September 2012. Pontop Pike did not transmit analogue Channel 5. Instead it was transmitted from Burnhope on UHF 68.
|735.25 MHz||54||500||Channel 4|
|767.25 MHz||58||500||BBC One|
|815.25 MHz||64||500||BBC Two|
Being the main broadcasting transmitter, there are also a number of relays (or repeaters) to cover patches where this transmitter can't properly serve.
|Bilsdale||5||98.6 MHz||89.0 MHz||91.2 MHz||93.4 MHz||101.6 MHz|
|Fenham||0.042||99.4 MHz||89.8 MHz||92.0 MHz||94.2 MHz||101.0 MHz|
|Oliver's Mount||0.25||99.5 MHz||89.9 MHz||92.1 MHz||94.3 MHz||N/A|
|Newton||0.1||99.0 MHz||89.4 MHz||91.6 MHz||93.8 MHz||N/A|
|Weardale||0.18||99.3 MHz||89.7 MHz||91.9 MHz||94.1 MHz||N/A|
|Wensleydale||0.054||97.9 MHz||88.3 MHz||90.5 MHz||92.7 MHz||N/A|
|Woolmoor||5||99.6 MHz||90.2 MHz||92.2 MHz||94.4 MHz||N/A|
The following is a list of the television relays served by Pontop Pike:
|Alston||0.08||39||45||42||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Blaydon Burn||0.002||44||47||41||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Catton Beacon||0.028||40||46||43||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Durham||0.003||41||47||44||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Esh||0.0024||39||45||42||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Felling||0.002||40||43||46||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Haydon Bridge||0.02||44||41||47||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Hedleyhope||0.004||41||47||44||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Humshaugh||0.0118||39||45||42||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Seaham||0.059||44||47||46||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Staithes||0.002||52||51||48||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B C/D E|
|Sunderland||0.006||52||51||48||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B C/D E|
|Wall||0.0042||52||51||48||N/A||N/A||N/A||H||B C/D E|
|Weardale||0.2||44||41||47||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
|Whitaside||0.0025||44||41||47||N/A||N/A||N/A||V||B E K|
- "North East England enjoyed colour TV for the first time on this day in 1970". ChronicleLive. 20 June 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- Radio Listeners Guide 2010
- Television Viewers Guide 2009
- Info and pictures of Pontop Pike transmitter including historical power/frequency changes and present co-receivable transmitters.
- Entry on Pontop Pike on The Transmission Gallery
- OFCOM television reception advice for Pontop Pike
- Historical essay with some background detail
- Map showing the old 405-lines transmitter network and coverage.
- Pontop Pike Transmitter at thebigtower.com