Redmoss

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The Redmoss transmitter, first opened on 9 September 1938, serves the Aberdeen area with medium-wave radio services.

Development

In 1936 the BBC decided to replace the Aberdeen transmitter at Claremont Street, which had been in use for thirteen years since station 2DE opened in 1923. A new location on the outskirts of the city and a boost in power from one to five kilowatts would help extend reliable coverage to Peterhead in the north and Montrose in the south. The new 'medium-power' transmitter would broadcast on the same single frequency as before — 233.5m, 1285kc/s — and continue to offer a composite programme, containing elements of the BBC's National Programme, Scottish Programme and local programmes from the Aberdeen studio (initially at Belmont Street and, from December 1938, from Beechgrove House).

Location

BBC engineers experimented with two possible sites: one at Bridge of Don in the north of Aberdeen, the other two miles south of the city at Redmoss Farm on the Nigg Hill.[1] The latter site, 300 feet above sea level and overlooking Kincorth, was chosen because it had a line of sight largely over the sea, enabling clear transmission to coastal districts both north and south of Aberdeen, including Peterhead and Montrose.[2]

Construction

The contractors for the building were Messrs J.J. Parish Ltd of Manchester; the transmitting plant was supplied by Messrs Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd; and the contract for the mast was awarded to Mr C.F. Elwell. The general design of the station was to be similar to that of the medium power station at Penmon in Anglesey, Wales.[3] The development consisted of a transmitter with a 250-feet lattice steel mast and an adjoining one-storey building, seventy feet square.[4] A red light was mounted on the top of the mast as a warning to aircraft.

Configuration and equipment

The building included a transmitter room, machine room, control room and other subsidiary rooms.

Within an enclosure in the transmitter room was the transmitter itself, and facing it a desk at which the programme was controlled and checked. This differs from the practice at most previous stations, where the programme-control desk was in the control room.

The control room contained amplifiers, a radio check receiver and general testing apparatus on one side, while on the other was the apparatus which kept the transmitter on its allotted wavelength. The room also had a transmission monitoring set used to measure the performance of the transmitter and to provide a ready check on its operating conditions.[5]

Opening ceremony

The transmitter's official opening on 9 September 1938 was marked by a reception in Aberdeen's Palace Hotel, to which civic and country men and other prominent people were invited. Among those present were the Lord Provost; Lord Aberdeen; Viscount Arbuthnott; Provost Thomson, Stonehaven; Provost Godsman, Ellon; Provost Burnett, Inverurie; Provost Ogilvie, Kintore; Mr G S Fraser, town clerk, Aberdeen; Mr William Veitch; Mr J Morrison, Aberdeenshire's director of education; Mr J Miller, director of education for Kincardineshire; Dr W A Edward and the Rev W Simpson, Nigg.

The BBC officials present included Melville Dinwiddie, Mr R T B Wynn, senior superintending engineer; George Burnett, public relations officer in Scotland; Mr AHS Paterson, Aberdeen representative; and Mr W W Inder, engineer in charge.

Melville Dinwiddie said: "Our object in building the transmitter is simply to give a wider range of good reception not only in Aberdeen and the twal mile run' but a bit farther than that," referring to the county of Kincardine-shire. The Lord Provost expressed Aberdeen's thanks to the BBC for their efforts to give improved reception and congratulated them on their enterprise. Speaking on behalf of Aberdeenshire, Lord Aberdeen mentioned the fact that Balmoral Castle would also benefit from this latest development. He described the opening of the new station as a step forward by an advancing body which tried to keep in touch with public opinion.

Afterwards the party were escorted round the new station by the engineers. In the flat-roofed building where the transmitter room, the machine room and the control room were housed, they saw and heard the music and talks of the day's wireless programme being sent out.[6]

Wavelengths

233.5m

March 1940 - 212.6m - Result of Montreux Conference.[7]

World's only three-programme transmitter

Post-Second World War, Redmoss was believed to be the only station in the world where as many as three programmes were radiated from a single mast: the Scottish Home Service (on 767 Kc/s); the Light Programme (1148 Kc/s); and the Third Programme (1474 Kc/s).[8]

References

  1. 'New transmitter in Aberdeen', Press and Journal, 15 October 1936, 7.
  2. 'New Aberdeen transmitter', Glasgow Herald, 9 September 1938, 7.
  3. 'New radio station at Aberdeen', Press and Journal, 3 September 1937, 8.
  4. 'BBC station at Nigg: work to commence at once', Press and Journal, 16 September 1937, 8.
  5. 'New Aberdeen transmitter', Glasgow Herald, 9 September 1938, 7.
  6. 'Wider range secured: wireless station at Redmoss', Press and Journal, 10 September 1938, 8.
  7. 'New wave-length plan', Glasgow Herald, 18 April 1939, 2.
  8. Speech by Sir Edward Appleton, 'Radio-Communication', 3 May 1949, BBC WAC R44/118.