Welsh Icons-Buildings/Structures
Wenvoe Transmitting Station






Photograph © James Anderson. Reproduced under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

Wenvoe Transmitting Station
The Wenvoe transmitting station is a facility for broadcasting and telecommunications situated close to the village of Wenvoe in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales in the UK. It comprises a 248-metre (814 ft) guyed mast with antennas attached at various heights. The mast (with extension completed Feb' 2008) plus the Main UHF antenna on top now gives a structure height of 260.7 metres (855 ft). The average height above sea level is 392 metres for the television antennas. It is owned and operated by National Grid Wireless.

The original mast at the site was built in 1952 by the BBC to provide 405-line VHF television to south Wales and the west of England. The station broadcast on Band I channel 5 (66.75 MHz) from August 15, 1952 using its reserve transmitters, and from December 20, 1952 with its main high-power transmitters It remained on air until the closure of 405-line television in 1985.

In 1955, VHF FM radio was added to the mast, carrying the BBC's Home Service. This was followed by the addition of the Light Programme in 1956 and the Third Programme in 1959.

In 1963, a second mast was built alongside the existing structure. This was in order to carry the new BBC Wales 405-line TV service on Band III VHF channel 13.

In 1970, UHF 625-line colour television was added to the main mast. This included BBC1, BBC2 and ITV Wales (HTV Wales). S4C was added later when it launched in 1982.

In 1985, when 405-line TV closed, the site was reengineered and both of the existing masts were taken down. They were replaced by a brand new mast, which is the structure currently in place at the site. The VHF FM antennas were upgraded from the old horizontally polarised slot antennas to new mixed polarisation antennas, and the transmitter power was doubled.

The mast is being upgraded during 2006 for the installation of new high power digital TV transmitters, before the analogue signal is switched off in 2009. This necessitates the installation of a temporary mast (Wenvoe "C") to carry the analogue signals while the main mast (Wenvoe "A") is being upgraded and extended by a further 23 metres (75 ft).

Many houses in the coastal areas of the Wenvoe coverage area have their aerials pointed towards the English Mendip transmitter in preference to Wenvoe. This is because Mendip carries Channel 4 and Channel Five in preference to Wenvoe's largely Welsh speaking S4C.

Note: Work began on Wenvoe "C" on June 14, 2006. The new 200 m (656 ft) stayed mast will allow Wenvoe "A" to be structurally improved and fully fitted with a new high power digital antenna and a full reserve antenna. This will allow Wenvoe "A" to broadcast all 6 digital TV multiplexes. Wenvoe "C" is expected to be in service until digital switchover in 2009; its scheduled completion is September 2006. Other sites that require major engineering work before Digital Switchover will be Divis (Northern Ireland) and Sandy Heath, (Bedfordshire), which also require mechanical strengthening work. Furthermore, complete replacement masts will be required at Caldbeck (Cumbria) and Black Hill, (Lanarkshire).


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