Sandy television transmitter started broadcasting ITV (Anglia) on the VHF band in 1966. By 1969 BBC2 had been added (on UHF) and this was extended to BBC1 and ITV in 1971. It switched over to purely digital transmissions in 2011.
The mast is situated 10 miles East of Bedford, just next to the town of, surprisingly, Sandy. The transmitter broadcasts to about 2 million people and has three smaller repeaters to increase its signal coverage. The fact Sandy only has three repeaters is due to the relatively flat nature of the country in the transmitter`s coverage area, which also partly explains why the site is at only 55m a.s.l. (one of the lowest for a main transmitter ? ), the mast being about 240m high. This may be some way shorter than Belmont (at 385m, as originally built) but it`s still around the same height as Canary Wharf ! Which begs the question, how high is high ?
How High Is High ?
The fella on the Sandy Heath transmitter is at about 75m.
If you fell from there you`d get more than a grazed knee.
There`s another 165m of the mast above him.
If the chap working on Sandy dropped his spanner from where he is it`d take about four seconds to hit the ground, and if he dropped it from the top it`d take seven seconds.
I just hope he`d have a spare because that`s a lot of steps to climb down, and back.....
to scale on the right. Incidentally, something dropped from the top of Belmont would take about nine seconds to hit the ground, and would be travelling at about 195 mph.
And if that hit you, it would give you a really bad headache. How high is high ?
Also see Transmitter Relative Heights
For Sandy we recommend the DM log for strong signal areas, the Log36 for medium signal areas, and the Yagi18K or XB10K for poor signal areas, the latter aerial being particularly well suited to loft mounting. The XB16K is for those with the most marginal signals. The dimensions and test performance of the aerials can be found on the relevant tables.
Sandy Heath TV Transmitter.
Could this picture possibly explain the origins of its name.....
More of the ‘Heath’ and less of the ‘Sand’ on this picture....
Sandy`s Channel Allocations 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 channels deduct 3MHz.
The above transmission powers make Sandy the fifth most powerful transmitter in the UK.
Note the huge increase in power after the switchover.
Sandy`s MUXES 4 to 6 suffered a slight reduction in error correction data from the 9 May 12
There is one interleaved spectrum channel allocated to Sandy, CH42, which may be used for a local Bedford TV station. Also, the gap between CHs 31 and 37 may (or may not....) be used at some time in the future for more TV channels, but all of these can be picked up by K group aerials (or widebands).
For Sandy`s frequencies see its channel allocation guide. The guide also includes
the same information for some of the other transmitters in Belmont`s coverage area,
namely Crystal Palace, Sudbury, Tacolneston, Belmont, Waltham, Sutton Coldfield,
Oxford, Hemel Hempstead and Hertford. The channel allocation guides can be very
useful in the diagnosis of co-
One of the best views of the transmitter can be had from the East Coast Mainline railway which runs only 1.5 miles to the West. You might not have that long to see it though as the express trains here are usually travelling at about 125 mph, which is rather faster than they were doing when the line was first built by the Great Northern Railway in 1850 !
There was actually another line which ran even closer, about half a mile to the SE, on its way from Sandy to Cambridge. Originally opened by the Bedford & Cambridge Railway in 1862 it became part of the London & North Western shortly afterwards but after passing through various other owners it eventually closed in 1968. It`s a pity the planning authorities didn`t protect the trackbed because there are now plans to reopen a line from Bedford to Cambridge, but it will probably have to detour southwards via Hitchin.
Good views are also possible from the A1 and the transmitter is about 3 miles to the East. There are plans to build yet another bypass on the A1, and this is to bypass the original bypass, which was built to divert traffic off London Rd in Sandy. Just to put that into perspective, apparently the A1`s junction in Sandy was still traffic light controlled as late as the 1970s !
Sandy Heath Transmitter OS Grid Ref TL 204 494
Also see basic digital fault finding.
Digital switchover at Sandy occurred in April 2011,
but there were further MUX allocation and power increases to June 12.
Sandy`s channels in relation to the UHF TV band and the gain curves of the aerials
It can be seen from the graph that the three PSB MUXES can still be received on an “original” A group aerial.
Also see other relevant K group curves.
Because of wideband antennas poor response at the bottom of the band,
anyone who really requires a “high gain” aerial on a K group transmitter, e.g. Sandy, should actually fit a K group !
(Not that many people actually need a high gain aerial anyway........)
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,