Friday, January 19, 2007

Winter Hill Transmitter

Back in 1967 my Uncle (Bill Kay), who worked for the IBA at the Winter Hill Transmitter invited my Dad and myself to come to the open day at the transmitter at Winter Hill. I thought this was fantastic and couldn't wait for that day on the 27th September 1967, I was 13 years old!
We went up Georges Lane to the transmitter on a coach and when we arrived there was a marquee for refreshments next too the road.
I remember vividly the tour around the station in the ITV building particularly the Transmitter Hall and the Control Room. In the BBC building there was a real BBC Colour TV Camera and cameraman where I saw myself on Television in COLOUR...WoW! Remember, Colour TV was launched in 1967 so I must be one of the first to see Colour TV in action! (At home we never got a colour TV until about1975) I brought back loads of info about the station which I still have today.

A great day out - thanks Dad!

Since then, I spent quite a lot of time at the transmitter with Bill Kay (my uncle) on Sundays where I spent all day working with him on the transmitter. It was great to see the station during a normal day and how it was important to monitor the standard of the transmissions. During that time the transmitters were changed to 625 lines and a new extension was built to house the new equipment, this included semiconductor and digital technology.
I really enjoyed my visits to the station, at times I would wander about and look around the area of the mast and stand on the 'stays' which were concrete slabs that held the guys that hold up the 1015ft mast.

When I was at the transmitter one day Bill took me into the base of the mast, which is actually two small rooms with doors, here I could see the cables that supplied the signals to the aerials and see all the way up the hollow mast. The mast has a lift that takes engineers up to the 750ft level. If you slam a door at the mast base, the sound travels all the way to the top of the mast and bounces down again then bursts the door open! Incredible!!

I've got to tell this one...
Outside the station is a pool of water, which looked quite nice, but is really there in case there is a fire at the station.
One day, Bill was mending his Mini in the garage at the station when a guy came along and asked..."Have you seen an old Army Tank round here?" Bill looked at him puzzled and replied, "No, but there's an old submarine in that pool there!" This guy really didn't know what to make of it...I thought it was hilarious!
He went away scatching his head still looking for this Tank!

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