Bellahouston Park

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Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, was the location of a BBC Third Programme transmitter, opened on Monday 12 December 1949.[1]

Background

When the Third Programme was launched on 29 September 1946 it was broadcast from just one national transmitter, at Droitwich in Worcestershire, England, on the longest medium wavelength at the BBC's disposal (514.6m/583kHz). Originally intended to radiate at a power of 120kW, days before launch Radio Latvia in Riga began operating on the same frequency with high power. The BBC respected their legality by reducing Droitwich's power to 25kW. However, this reduced the transmission area to a radius of just 100 miles, severely limiting reception.

To improve coverage the Government's White Paper on broadcasting suggested that additional low power filler stations be established in towns with populations over 120,000. Scotland was therefore given four such transmitters, in Glasgow, Edinburgh (Pennywell), Dundee (Greenside Scalp), and Aberdeen (Redmoss). In the whole of Britain, there were around 20 such transmitters, all of which were synchronised on a wavelength of 203.5 metres (1474kHz).

A temporary Glasgow filler station was located at the BBC headquarters in Queen Margaret Drive, but was replaced by a new transmitter at Bellahouston Park, which opened on Monday 12 December 1949 at 6 pm.

Site and transmitter design

The transmitting station was on a 10½-acre site at the edge of Bellahouston Park at the corner of Moss Park Drive and Dumbreck Avenue. It had two transmitters (duplicates to ensure a reliable service), each capable of 2kW output power, and a 'T' aerial supporter by a pair of tubular masts 126ft high.

No permanent staff were based at the site; instead, it was remotely controlled from the BBC's studios at Queen Margaret Drive over telephone lines. This enabled engineers to control every transmission and check for performance and frequency deviation.[2]

Reception

The transmitter gave good reception within a radius of 9 to 12 miles and improved results were reported in most parts of Glasgow, particularly in the south side of the city.

The listeners who noticed the greatest improvement were those who lived near the BBC's Scottish headquarters in Queen Margaret Drive, where the old transmitter was situated. They had complained of the Third Programme coming over as background on the Light and Home Programmes, but with the closing of the old transmitter this ceased. Of course the shift to Bellahouston Park mean that this background interference was heard by people living in that area, although it was much less than before and fewer people were affected. The BBC suggested that adjustment or replacement of receiving sets might remove the trouble altogether.[3]

Radio 2

Many years later this transmitter broadcast Radio 2 at a power of 2kW on the 202 metre wavelength.

References

  1. 'City Radio Reception', Glasgow Herald, 10 December 1949, 6.
  2. 'City's New Radio Transmitters', Glasgow Herald, 13 December 1949, 6.
  3. 'Better Reception of 'Third'', Glasgow Herald, 22 December 1949, 6.