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 about 240m high and it 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 ?
One of the best views of the transmitter can be had from the East Coast Mainline railway which runs just over a mile 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 ! Good views are also possible from the A1 the transmitter being about about 3 miles to the East of it. 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 !
The transmitter is situated 10 miles East of Bedford, just next to the town of, unsurprisingly, Sandy. Sandy broadcasts to about 2 million people including areas of North London plus Bedford, Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Stevenage plus many other towns in the counties just north of our capital. The transmitter 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 (above sea level) which must be one of the lowest for a main transmitter.
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
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....
The above transmission powers make Sandy the fifth most powerful transmitter in the UK.
Note the huge increase in power after the switchover.
There is one ”Local” MUX allocated to Sandy, CH42, which may be used for a local Bedford TV station. In addition there are two lower power HD MUXES transmitted (in the CH 31 to 37 gap) on CHs 32 and 34. All the aforementioned channels can be picked up by K group aerials.
Sandy Heath Transmitter OS Grid Ref TL 204 494
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 at Sandy occurred in April 2011.
700MHz clearance is due at Sandy in Q2 2018, but the transmitter is due to remain a K group on CHs 21 to 48 (excl MUXES 7 & 8).
For those in poor signal areas only MUX6 will be out of the A group….
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.
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 on this page are listed in the following order :
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.
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........)
The guide below also includes the same information for some of the other transmitters
in Sandy`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-
The frequencies given are for (most) digital MUXES, for analogue channels deduct 3MHz.
The dotted lines are MUXES 7 & 8
(Both together only have a small audience and they`e due to be switched of by about 2020)