Pontop Pike transmitting station

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
Pontop Pike.jpg
Pontop Pike mast, left, with dish aerial array to the right
Pontop Pike transmitting station is located in County Durham
Pontop Pike transmitting station
Pontop Pike transmitting station (County Durham)
Mast height149 metres (489 ft)
Coordinates54°52′08″N 1°46′16″W / 54.868889°N 1.771111°W / 54.868889; -1.771111Coordinates: 54°52′08″N 1°46′16″W / 54.868889°N 1.771111°W / 54.868889; -1.771111
Grid referenceNZ148526
Built1953
BBC regionBBC North East and Cumbria
ITV regionITV Tyne Tees
Local TV serviceMade in Tyne and Wear

HistoryEdit

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.[1]

CoverageEdit

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.

Pontop Pike underwent its 700MHz clearance between September and November 2019 when its output moved down the band from a C/D group to a K group. Thus people with original C/D group aerials, who live in poor reception areas, may struggle to pick up some channels (see graph).

Services listed by frequencyEdit

Analogue radioEdit

Frequency kW Service
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

Digital radioEdit

Frequency Block kW[2] Operator
222.064 MHz 11D 6.3 Digital One
225.648 MHz 12B 10 BBC National DAB

Digital televisionEdit

Frequency UHF kW[3] Operator System
562.000 MHz 32 100 COM4 (SDN) DVB-T
570.000 MHz 33 5 LTVmux DVB-T
578.000 MHz 34 100 COM5 (Arqiva A) DVB-T
586.000 MHz 35 100 COM6 (Arqiva B) DVB-T
618.000 MHz 39 100 PSB1 (BBC A) DVB-T
642.000 MHz 42 100 PSB2 (D3&4) DVB-T
666.000 MHz 45 100 PSB3 (BBC B) DVB-T2
746.000 MHz 55 19.498 COM7 (Arqiva C) DVB-T2

Before 700MHz clearanceEdit

Frequency UHF kW[4] Operator System
570.000 MHz 33 33.8 COM7 (ARQ C) DVB-T2
578.000 MHz 34 9.5 COM8 (ARQ D) DVB-T2
698.000 MHz 49 100 PSB3 (BBC B) DVB-T2
706.000 MHz 50 50 COM4 (SDN) DVB-T
738.000 MHz 54 100 PSB2 (D3&4) DVB-T
746.000 MHz 55 50 COM6 (ARQ B) DVB-T
754.000 MHz 56 5 LTVmux DVB-T
770.000 MHz 58 100 PSB1 (BBC A) DVB-T
778.000 MHz 59 50 COM5 (ARQ A) DVB-T

Before switchoverEdit

Frequency UHF kW[5] Operator System
690.000 MHz 48 10 BBC (Mux 1) DVB-T
729.833 MHz 53- 10 Arqiva (Mux D) DVB-T
746.166 MHz 55+ 10 Digital 3&4 (Mux 2) DVB-T
778.166 MHz 59+ 10 SDN (Mux A) DVB-T
802.166 MHz 62+ 10 BBC (Mux B) DVB-T
810.000 MHz 63 10 BBC B (Mux HD) DVB-T2
826.166 MHz 65+ 10 Arqiva (Mux C) DVB-T

Analogue televisionEdit

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.

Frequency UHF kW Service
735.25 MHz 54 500 Channel 4
767.25 MHz 58 500 BBC One
791.25 MHz 61 500 ITV1
815.25 MHz 64 500 BBC Two

Relay servicesEdit

Being the main broadcasting transmitter, there are also a number of relays (or repeaters) to cover patches where this transmitter can't properly serve.

Analogue radioEdit

Transmitter kW R1 R2 R3 R4 CFM
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

Digital televisionEdit

The following is a list of the television relays served by Pontop Pike:

Transmitter kW BBCA BBCB D3&4 SDN ARQA ARQB Pol. A.G.
Allenheads 0.002 27 21 24 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Alston 0.08 33 48 36 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Bellingham 0.02 27 21 24 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Blaydon Burn 0.002 44 47 41 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Byrness 0.01 27 21 24 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Catton Beacon 0.028 40 46 43 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Durham 0.003 41 47 44 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Esh 0.0024 29 37 31 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Falstone 0.004 44 47 41 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Felling 0.002 40 43 46 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Fenham 0.4 23 30 26 25 22 28 V A K
Haltwhistle 0.4 21 37 31 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Haydon Bridge 0.02 44 41 47 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Hedleyhope 0.004 41 47 44 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Humshaugh 0.0118 29 37 31 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Ireshopeburn 0.0022 29 37 31 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Kielder 0.0054 26 23 29 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Morpeth 0.0088 22 28 25 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Newton 0.4 21 27 24 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Seaham 0.059 41 47 44 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Shotleyfield 0.04 22 28 25 N/A N/A N/A V A K
Staithes 0.004 33 48 36 N/A N/A N/A V K
Sunderland 0.006 41 47 44 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Wall 0.0042 40 46 43 N/A N/A N/A H B K
Weardale 0.2 44 41 47 N/A N/A N/A V B K
Whitaside 0.0025 44 41 47 N/A N/A N/A V B K

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "North East England enjoyed colour TV for the first time on this day in 1970". ChronicleLive. 20 June 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  2. ^ Radio Listeners Guide 2010
  3. ^ Television Viewers Guide 2009
  4. ^ Television Viewers Guide 2009
  5. ^ Television Viewers Guide 2009

External linksEdit