Long wave goodbye

I never did get the Spectrum Communications Off-Air Frequency Standard kit working. Now it is looking as though it would be a waste of time anyway as the BBC will be closing down the Radio 4 long wave transmitter that is used as a frequency standard.

An article published yesterday in the Guardian Online explains that the Radio 4 long wave transmitter uses valves (tubes) that are no longer obtainable. The BBC has the only ones still in existence. The transmitter uses a pair and they can last as little as one year. When the last valve blows, Radio 4 on long wave will become a thing of the past.

Building a new long wave  transmitter using up to date technology would cost millions which the BBC can no longer afford due to the need to cut costs as a result of the government’s decision to freeze the licence fee.

There are many other ways to receive the Radio 4 programming if the long wave transmitter closes down. But none of them involve a powerful 500kW transmitter whose frequency is maintained accurately enough to be used as a frequency standard.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “Long wave goodbye”

  • Stewart VA3PID:

    Hope there’s none of the old Economy 7/White Meters out there, as they used a control tone on Radio 4 LW to switch on when off-peak rates applied.

  • paul freeman:

    There are LW TXers all over Europe – if not the world, somebody must be keeping them supplied with spares…. this talk of closing 198 because they are ‘running out of valves’ (I mean, really !) sounds very much to me like someone, somewhere, is putting up a kite to see what sort of reaction it gets. Anyway, it’s not actually a BBC at all. The BBC no longer owns or operates the TXers and sites. They were sold to NTL some dozen or so years ago.

  • paul freeman:

    There are LW TXers all over Europe – if not the world, somebody must be keeping them supplied with spares…. this talk of closing 198 because they are ‘running out of valves’ (I mean, really !) sounds very much to me like someone, somewhere, is putting up a kite to see what sort of reaction it gets. Anyway, it’s not actually a BBC issue at all. The BBC no longer owns or operates the TXers and sites. They were sold to NTL some dozen or so years ago.

  • CHUCK , N4UED:

    IT SEEMS TO BE THE NORM WITH THE BBC .
    I WAS DISAPPOINTED WHEN THEY STOPPED BROADCASTING TO NORTH AMERICA .
    LIVING IN NORTH CAROLINA , I COULD STILL PICK THEM UP WELL AS THEY BROADCASTED TO THE CARIBBEAN .
    NOW AS EVERYONE KNOWS THEY HAVE SINCE DROPPED SHORTWAVE SERVICE TO THAT AREA .
    NOW ITS BBC SHORTWAVE TO AFRICA THAT I HAVE TO HUNT FOR ON THE BANDS .
    WHEN A DISASTER LIKE EAST COAST STORMS , IT WOULD BE NICE TO LISTEN TO WORLD NEWS ON THE SHORTWAVE .
    THE LAST STORM WE HAD HERE IN AUGUST KNOCKED OUT TELEVISION , INTERNET AND OF COURSE THE POWER .
    THE WORLD BAND BROADCASTERS DO NOT TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION .

  • Michael N5TGL:

    Caps lock is cruise control for cool.

  • CHUCK , N4UED:

    CAPS LOCK IS WHEN YOU CANT SEE THE SMALL TEXT AS WELL AS YOU USED TOO .

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