Belmont television transmitter is situated 18 miles ENE of Lincoln and is a "guyed mast" and it was built in 1959 by British Insulated Callender`s Cables (or B.I.C.C) who were responsible for much of the infrastructure built in this country from 1945 up to the 1980s. The company is still going but now called Balfour Beatty.
Belmont was originally owned by the ITA then it was sold off to NTL and finally to Arquiva (sic).
The mast was the tallest structure in the UK at 385m (1270ft). Think about it, that`s nearly a quarter of a mile in height ! As a comparison, the tallest building in Britain is The Shard and that is only 310m high, see How High is High ? Unfortunately, as part of the digital switchover, the mast was shortened (between June 09 and April 10) by arqiva [spelt wrong and I don`t like them anyway] which reduced the height of Belmont to 351m. These people have no soul..... Why was it shortened ? Well I heard on the grapevine the structure wasn`t strong enough to cope with a load of new transmitter panels on it, so that`s why it was cut down to size. Anyway, the shortened structure is now not even be the tallest in the UK, that honour falls to the Skelton mast in Cumbria.
Belmont television transmitter from the SE, to scale, as originally built [on the left],
and after being shortened (between June 09 and April 10) on the right.
Close up of the base of Belmont TV transmitter.
Belmont actually had an internal lift which went as high as the 4th stay level, the structure
is cylindrical up to that point. However an accident (serious but not fatal) in October 1995 when a lift fell 500ft caused its use to be reassessed, 3 workers were injured.
I don`t really understand why because it`s quite possible to fall from 500ft, or more, and do no harm at all. I`m reliably informed that it`s only the last half an inch of the descent which really increases the risk of injury.
So, all they have to do is make the lift shaft half an inch taller, then it can still fall 500ft but at no risk to the occupants.
Simple, how come they didn`t think of that ? Health and Safety bollocks or what !
During a conversation with one of the team of painters who maintain the structure he revealed that a hoist is used the ascend the first 500 ft but from then on it`s a ladder.
He said it takes him an hour and a half to reach the top (remember he`s got to carry all his paint and safety gear), but it only takes him 20 minutes to get back down again !
Some of the satellite dishes which Belmont uses to receive the signals which it then retransmits. Note the ducting protecting the huge cables carrying the amplified
transmission signals up the mast.
Also see other relevant Wideband curves.
For Belmont we recommend the DM log for strong signal areas, the Log36 for medium signal areas, the DY14WB for poor signal areas, and the XB22WB for those with the most marginal signals. The dimensions and test performance of the aerials can be found on the relevant tables. If requiring a “high gain aerial” in the loft we recommend the DY14WB over the XB22 because of the former aerial`s smaller size.
Those situated to the West of Belmont (including the Sheffield area) may find that
during certain weather condition they can suffer from co-
Note, due to the new phenomenon of MUXICAL chairs you may experience problems with certain MUXES disappearing. First try rescanning your TV / set top box, do it manually if possible. If this fails to sort it check on transmitter work or call the reception advice phone numbers.
Also see basic digital fault finding.
Switchover occurred at Belmont in August 2011.
(Left) Belmont as originally built, all 385m of it, picture taken from one of the outer anchor points. There were three sets of the of anchors and each one has two stays thus giving the six stay levels on the mast. But when it was shortened (between Jun 09 and April 10) the top section was removed (c/w its stays) as can be seen in the picture above.
Skelton transmitter, just NW of Penrith. As of 2010 (when Belmont was shortened) it is the tallest structure in the UK. The VLF (Very Low Frequency) transmitter is used for communicating with Royal Navy submarines. VLF is 3 to 30kHz, compare that with TV at 470MHz to 860MHz, or even FM, at 88MHz, that`s Mega Hertz by the way, not kilo hertz ! Long wave radio transmissions, like R4 for instance, are in the range 148 to 283 kHz.. Skelton`s VLF transmissions are 22kHz which, if my maths is correct, equates to a wavelength of about 8.5 miles ! Unfortunately, data transfer at that frequency is bandwidth limited in a massive way, about 300 bits per second,
which is about 450 words per minute.
But remember, the lower the frequency and longer the wavelength, the greater the range and the less attenuated by things, like water one assumes.......
On the subject of military/ civil defence transmitters, here`s a link to a fascinating article on the communications “backbone” of the late 1950s.
On the left we have a picture of Belmont transmitter actually being shortened, this is being accomplished by utilising a "flying jib". (picture courtesy of Rees Thatcher)
On the right we have Belmont originally, Skelton, and Belmont shortened, all to scale.
There is one interleaved spectrum channel allocated to Belmont, CH27 which is used for a local Grimsby TV station. In addition, there are two planned lower power HD MUXES (in the CH 31 to 37 gap) on CHs 33 and 35. All of these channels are within the original A group of the transmitter (and also, obviously, within the wideband/T group).
We are more than willing to give advice to those actually purchasing from us. Could those only seeking information please just find the answer somewhere on this site, or ring an aerial installer local to them, or call the reception advice phone numbers.
If you`ve found this site informative and, hopefully, interesting as well,
Subjects are listed on this page in the following order :
Belmont has a huge coverage area because the topography around Lincolnshire is so flat and this also explains why it only has five smaller relays / repeaters (including Olivers Mount) to improve coverage in poor reception areas within its coverage area. Even in Sheffield (55miles away) many of those with clear views East (see Topography map) can use Belmont if Crosspool and Emley are problematic.
Belmont serves around 1.5 million including the towns/cities of Hull, Lincoln, Nottingham, Peterborough and Grimsby.
The guide below also includes the same information for some of the other transmitters in Belmont`s coverage area, namely Tacolneston, Sudbury, Sandy, Waltham, Sutton Coldfield, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Emley Moor, Bilsdale and Oliver`s Mount.
The Channel Allocation Guides can be very useful in the diagnosis of co-
Note the gaps in the table below for channels 31 to 37 and 61 to 68, they`re reserved for “other uses”........
The frequencies given are for (most) digital MUXES, for analogue deduct 3MHz.
Belmont is the seventh most powerful transmitter in the country.
Note the huge power increase after the digital switchover.
Belmont is horizontally polarised and was originally an A group. Unfortunately it has gone wideband / T group to accommodate all the Digital/Freeview although the first 4 MUXES (including the all important PSBs) are within its original A group, see Belmont graph.
The dotted lines are the 2 planned lower power HD MUXES