Caldrum Works

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The Caldrum Jute Works was the location of the BBC's first transmitter in Dundee, broadcasting the local radio station 2DE from 12 November 1924 until the end of 1928. From 1929 it shared a wavelength with other Scottish stations and, as a consequence, the same output.

Transmitter description

Caldrum Jute Works in St Salvador Street. The location, right at the top of the town, was chosen because it had the highest chimney stack in the city at 220 feet high. The large 'sausage' aerial was just as impressive: a massive cage over 230 feet long, which attracted considerable public attention when it was slung from the chimney to a pole.

In common with all the BBC's relay stations opened in 1924, it was a standard 200-watt transmitter. In the days when 2DE had its own exclusive wave-length there were instances of freak reception as far away as the south coast of England.

On 13 January 1929, the transmitter switched to 288.5 metres: a wavelength exclusive to Britain but one which was shared among all of the BBC's ten relay stations across the country. This improved reception in the immediate vicinity of the transmitter, but cut the range down to about four miles. It also spelled the end of 2DE as a radio station. During the hours of darkness, when atmospheric conditions were at their worst, each relay station had to radiate the same national programme, usually from London; meanwhile, during daylight hours, when signals did not spread as far, the relays were permitted to operate in Regional groups, and so Dundee's programmes came from the Regional headquarters in Glasgow. These changes occurred on 1 November 1928, ahead of the switch in wavelength.

To relay national programmes, a receiver for picking up 5XX was located four miles away at Downfield and connected permanently by landline to the transmitter.[1]

The transmitter was switched-off for the final time on 12 June 1932, the same day the new Regional high-power transmitter at Westerglen near Falkirk opened.

Third Programme transmitter

Sometime after 1946 a transmitter was installed at the Caldrum Works for transmission of the Third Programme.

Wavelengths and frequencies

Date 2DE Comments
Wavelength (m) Frequency (kc/s)
12 Nov 1924 331 2DE launch
1926? 294.1
13 Jan 1929 288.5 Common wavelength shared among BBC's 10 relays.


  1. 'With the BBC in the North: 2. Dundee', Popular Wireless, 25 July 1931.