Sunday, April 26, 2015

Holme Moss Transmitter

I decided to take the short trip up to Holme Moss Transmitting Station the other day after realising it isn't actually as far away as I thought. The site is home to a radio transmitting station in West Yorkshire. The mast provides VHF coverage of both FM and DAB to a wide area around the mast including Derbyshire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.

Holme Moss Transmitting Station.

Holme Moss was the BBC's third public television transmitter, launched on 12 October 1951. The mast survived until the end of the Band I TV broadcasts in 1985, with a replacement mast being constructed, adjacent, in 1984. The site is now owned and operated by Arqiva. Emley Moor and Moorside Edge can be seen from the car park to the side of the mast.

Some sections of the 228m mast.

The base of the station is 1719 ft (524 m) above sea level and the mast another 750 ft (228 m) on top of that. This gives a maximum aerial height of 2467 ft (752 m) which is one of the highest in the UK. The mast weighs 140 tons and is held up by 5 sets of stay levels. At 250 kW ERP on the national channels, it is one of the most powerful VHF sites in the countr which explains why it wiped out my 2m reception while I was there.

The station at the foot of the mast.

Being the main radio site in the North West and Yorkshire region, there are also a number of smaller relay transmitters used to fill in areas which receive poor coverage from Holme Moss. This is particularly evident around the Pennines where there are frequent hills meaning reception from Holme Moss is poor (especially indoors).

Emley Moor Transmitter Site viewed from Holme Moss.

I took a few pictures of the site and then parked up in the car park to put a few calls out. Unfortunately as I said, 2m was wiped out with QRM but I managed a quick radio check with 2E0FAM on 144.525 but the noise was too much to continue. I put GB3WF into my Baofeng and put some calls out and M0RNS came back to me but I received a text off a friend saying I was blasting 5/9 through GB3MR on the same frequency despite being miles away and on 5w so I called it a day and admired the view.

As I sat on the edge with a view over towards Emley Moor and Huddersfield, some guys were waiting for thermals to do some parasailing which was quite entertaining. They all had handheld radios that look like Baofeng UV-3R's but I monitored the usual parasailing frequencies on 143mhz and heard nothing, the same for 446mhz too.

Parasailing from Holme Moss.

After a couple of hours sat in the sun admiring the view I headed home and stopped to get a shot of the transmitter site of the GB3WP 70cm repeater on Harrop Edge near Hyde.

GB3WP in there somewhere!

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Baofeng 6 Way Charger

I came across a 6 way charger unit for Baofeng radios on eBay and other sites a week or so back and I had no idea these existed! It charges radios in the UV-5R family (see list below). I wondered what the quality would be like on these and saved it to my watch list. 


The charger is compatible with:

Pofung: UV-5R, UV5RA, UV-5RA+, UV-5RB, UV-5RE and more.
Waccom: WUV-5R.
Ronson: UV-8R.

I'm sure there are many more of the Baofeng UV-5R family copies that it is compatible with. It looks like a really handy accessory and will save having to untangle all those charger cables you get with each radio you buy but I won't be buying one as I only have 3 radios compatible with it and I don't like the idea of by house burning to the ground!

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

VHF UKAC - Tuesday April 7th 2015

I decided to tag along with my good friend Roydan M0LEX as he embarked on his first UKAC in 6 months on 2m. We stopped at our usual spot between Heywood and Norden which are 2 towns between Bury and Rochdale. The site is on the edge of Scout Moor Wind Farm which boasts some impressive turbines that are surprisingly quiet as their blades spin. Ashworth Hill Reservoir lies a few hundred yards to the North.

Our cars with radio equipment set up.

Scout Moor Wind Farm.

We arrived an hour early to get set up and mainly take in the amazing views the site has to offer. You can see as far as Holme Moss Transmitting Station to the East and as far as the hills of Blackburn and Darwen to the West. The view North is obscured by the Scout Moor Wind Farm and the view South stretches as far as the eye can see towards Manchester Airport and Alderley Edge.

View South towards Cheshire.

Scout Moor Wind Farm.

I took a few photos and some video footage of the views including an amazing sunset while Roydan set up his 6 element Jaybeam antenna and got his radio positioned in the car. I had a scan round on my Baofeng GT-5 with just the stock antenna attached and was pleasently surprised to hear Llandudno repeater GB3LL, GB3LI at Liverpool, GB3ST at Stoke, GB3MP at Denbigh and GB3CR at Mold all 5 and 9. Simplex on 2m FM was live and kicking and the usual PMR frequencies were active too. The sun set quickly and at 8pm he started the contest.

Winter Hill transmitter site during sunset.

Sunset from Heywood.

The first 10 or so contacts were all the same locator square as us (83) and made for a slow start but things soon picked up with ON5AEN calling in from Belgium.

When all sunlight disappeared completely the red warning lights on Winter Hill Transmitter began to appear in the dark 10 miles to the West as did the lights on Holme Moss Transmitter 20 miles to the East. The night sky was alive aircraft meandering their way towards their final approaches to Manchester Airport to the South and filled with stars and the odd planet twinkling away. 

Winter Hill transmitter site just after sunset.

Holme Moss transmitting station well after sunset.

We exchanged 5/3 and 5/5 signal reports with stations down in Hampshire, Kent and Sussex to the South, Norfolk and Lincolnshire to the East and Cumbria and Scotland to the north.

After the contest ended with no less than 120 stations worked we packed away the equipment and spent an hour calling CQ on 4m on our Wouxun handhelds with nothing heard. I worked a couple of 2m FM stations; one in Wrexham and the other in Manchester.

The view West towards Bolton.

Antenna set up just after sunset.

6 element Jaybeam antenna.

All in all a very good evening and I look forward to the next one!

I took some video footage of the views and some of Roydan's radio operation and uploaded it to YouTube:

The rest of the photos can be viewed on my Flickr here:

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.