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Pontop Pike transmitter was opened in 1953 (though the date on the buildings at its base is 1955 ! ) to transmit BBC television on the "old" VHF 405 line system. Transmission of this signal finally ceased in 1985, though since 1966 Pontop had been broadcasting (in colour) on the UHF 625 line system. The mast is a cable stayed spaceframe with height (to the base of the transmitting arrays` shroud) of 134m, so the tip of the mast is probably another 20 or so metres above that, also see How High is High ?

Base buildings at Pontop Pike. The date on the crest is 1955 though the mast began TV transmissions in 1953. Maybe it was something to do with the start of VHF/FM radio broadcasting which did begin in 1955.


Note the style of the structure, only marred by the security shutters and so forth needed to combat the moronic members of our society......

The whole thing, including the impressive crest, has gravitas. Nowadays you`d just get a plastic sign which would probably be in grammatically inaccurate lower case *. Oh to be trendy......

On the subject of gravitas, when Pontop was built TV news readers had some. You`d get a gentleman (or lady) behind a desk, not a pair of them poncing about like a pair of love struck teenagers. Quite apart from anything else who is paying for this under employment? I say get rid of one of them and cut the cost of my TV licence.......

Pontop Pike TV Transmitter, from the SW.  

Pontop Pike viewed from Burnhope TV transmitter.

Pontop Pike television transmitter from an outer stay anchor.


See Pontop Pike`s  height in relation to other transmitters.

Pontop Pike`s channels in relation to the UHF TV band and the gain curves of the aerials we recommend for it.    DM Log     Log36      Yagi 18E      DY14WB      XB16E

Also see other relevant C/D group curves.

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*  I know what you`re thinking, he`s a fine one to talk about “grammatically incorrect lower case” with his aerialsandtv.com, .......but that`s a URL !

Pontop Pike Transmitter


Grid Ref NZ 148 526  


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.


Digital switchover occurred at Pontop Pike in September 2012.

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For Pontop we recommend the DM log for strong signal areas, the Log36 for medium signal areas, the Yagi 18E  or the DY14WB for poor signal areas, and the XB16E 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 XB16 because of the former aerial`s smaller size.

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.

The transmitter puts out up to 100kW of digital power which makes it the 13th most powerful transmitter. Note the huge increase in power after switchover.


Pontop Pike is horizontally polarised and it`s an E group, though for the 6 main digital MUXES it`s still its original C/D group (see Pontop`s graph).


Pontop Pike has twenty five smaller repeaters to improve its coverage in poor signal areas.

External links


Pontop Pike transmitter page on MB21

Pontop Pike transmitter page at The Big Tower

Pontop Pike transmitter page on Wikipedia


Digital UK Pontop Pike transmitter

Digital UK details of Tyne Tees transmitters

Ofcom Tyne Tees transmitters details

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If you`ve found this site informative and, hopefully, interesting as well,

please help us increase the number of people reading it.


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Burnhope transmitter was opened in 1959 to broadcast the "new" ITV channel on the VHF system which it continued to do until 1985. The fact that Burnhope is only 4m SE of Pontop is no accident because it was intended to be effectively "co-sited" and therefore it would be picked up by those with their antennas aligned on the BBC transmitter. This trick was used again when C5 came out in 1997 and Burnhope transmitted (only) analogue Channel Five up to September 2012. Incidentally this same double transmitter scenario was originally also used at Crystal Palace / Croydon, Sutton Coldfield / Lichfield and Holme Moss / Emley Moor. The first two pairs also used the former ITV transmitters to broadcast C5.

Burnhope is located about 6m WNW of Durham (at NZ 184 474) and just like Pontop Pike it is a cable stayed spaceframe with five stay levels, though the mast height is 229m, which is somewhat taller than the BBC structure. Burnhope ceased TV transmission when the analogue signal was turned off in 2012 though it is still used for radio.


At one time there were numerous railway lines around Pontop Pike but now if you want to visit this area it`s a car or a bus.The ex Stanhope & Tyne Railway used to run about half a mile away and this was one of the first built in this country in 1834. It was the last to survive in the area but when the steel works at Consett shut in 1980 the line soon followed, closing in 1985.

Beamish the extensive heritage site/museum is only about four miles away, it opened in 1971 and has been expanding ever since. It`s well worth a visit but there`s so much to see that I`d plan to stay all day if I were you. It`s actually good value if one considers that everything is "free" once you get in, the opposite of, say, "Center Parcs" (SPX) for instance, where everything is bleedin` extra, the Ryan Air of the leisure world.


Burnhope transmitter page on MB21

Burnhope transmitter page at The Big Tower

Burnhope transmitter.

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Pontop Pike transmitter

Subjects are listed on this page in the following order :


History and general info of Pontop Pike Transmitter


Pontop Pike transmitter coverage (area & population)


Digital power output, aerial group and polarisation of Pontop Pike transmitter


Possible extra (future) channels from Pontop Pike


Our TV aerial recommendations for Pontop Pike


Pontop Pike  external links


Pictures of Pontop Pike  transmitter


Pontop Pike`s graph (its transmissions v our aerial recommendations)


Pontop Pike`s channels/frequencies (including alternative transmitters)


Burnhope transmitter

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The transmitter is situated 10 miles SW of Newcastle and its population coverage is approaching two million. The transmissions are received in most areas of the North East including Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Hartlepool, Darlington, Stockton and Middlesborough. Bilsdale would probably be the main choice for the last three, but in the end transmitter choice is all down to "line of sight"......  According to Ofcom Pontop Pike is nominally omni directional for all the Digital MUXES.

There is one interleaved spectrum channel allocated to Pontop Pike on CH56 (this is within the C/D group) for a possible Newcastle local TV station. In addition two more lower power HD MUXES are planned (in the CH 31 to 37 gap) on CHs 33 and 34. These can by picked up be (decent) C/D group aerials but it must be admitted that an E group (or wideband) aerial would work better.

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Pontop Pike`s channel allocations


The guide below also includes the same information for some of the other transmitters in Pontop`s coverage area, namely Bilsdale, Emley Moor, Chatton, Fenham, Newton, Haltwhistle, Alston, Shotleyfield and Weardale. The Channel Allocation Guides can be very useful in the diagnosis of co-channel interference problems and can also be invaluable if you are trying to find a spare channel for a modulated output (e.g. for a Sky box or CCTV system) to be added to your TV setup/distribution system without suffering from co-channel.


Also check Pontop`s twenty five smaller repeaters


The frequencies given are for (most) digital MUXES, for analogue channels deduct 3MHz.

The dotted lines are the 2 planned lower power HD MUXES