Winter Hill television transmitter was built in 1965 by British Insulated Callender`s Cables (or B.I.C.C) who were responsible for much of the infrastructure built in this country from 1945 up to the 1980s. The company is still going but now called Balfour Beatty.
Winter Hill mast is 309m high (a.g.l.) -
The design and height of the mast are similar to Waltham though the latter has only 4 sets of stays rather than the 5 of Winter Hill. Both are shorter versions of the Belmont transmitter in Lincolnshire and coincidentally there is also a village called Belmont not more than a mile from Winter Hill !
The mast is visible from miles around and clearly in view of the roads and railway which
run a few miles to the South. The main road is the M61 from Preston to Manchester which was opened in stages between 1969 and 1970. The railway has a particularly interesting history as it was one of the first “inter city” lines opened way back in 1841 as the Bolton & Preston. After this it went through a bewildering number of owners, it became a North Union line in 1844, then the Lancashire & Yorkshire/London & North Western Joint in 1888, LMS (London, Midland & Scottish) in 1923 and then British Rail in 1948. And that was before the farce of privatisation with Railtrack in 1994, the latter was sold off in 1996 before finally being taken over by Network Rail in 2002 !
Right is a Log Periodic aerial mounted at an unusual angle (on the roof of Winter Hills base station) so as to align with the transmitter nearly 300m above it !
plane crash. Pictures Justin Smith (ATV)
This channel allocation guide for Winter Hill also includes the same information
for other major (potentially) co-
The frequencies given are for (most) digital MUXES, for analogue channels deduct 3MHz.
Close up of the stays holding up Winter Hill transmitter. From a distance they look straight but this shot shows that their great weight introduces a significant “sag” to the cables.
Winter Hill television transmitter “up close”.
Winter Hill TV transmitter with the cairn (visible from the railway and the M61) in the foreground. Note the other communication transmitters present on this piece of high ground.
See Winter Hill`s height in relation to other transmitters.
Winter Hill`s channels in relation to the UHF TV band and the gain curves of the aerials
Also see other relevant C/D group curves.
Winter Hill Transmitter OS Grid Ref SD 660 144
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.
Switchover occurred at Winter Hill in December 2009.
700MHz clearance is due at Winter Hill in Q1 2018.
Somewhat surprisingly it is due to change from a C/D to an A group on CHs 29 to 37 (excl MUXES 7 & 8). Most wideband aerials will continue to work, however, many older C/D aerials may struggle in poorer areas, see graph.
One of the three local MUXES will change (56 > 24).
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 are listed on this page in the following order :
Winter Hill is one of the most important transmitters in the UK and has the second greatest population coverage of any British TV transmitter at around 7 million people, its signals are received in many large towns/cities including Liverpool / Birkenhead, Manchester, Warrington, Preston and Blackpool. The transmitter is located on the high ground 5 miles NW of Bolton overlooking the “Cheshire plain” and on a clear day much of the plain to the South is visible, the views are stunning, from Rochdale in the East all the way round to Southport in the West. The transmitter`s elevated site also means its coverage area stretches way down as far as Crewe, Stoke and even Shrewsbury. The altitude of the site is why Winter Hill`s transmitting antennas are the highest of any main television transmitter in the country at 718m. Only Holme Moss is higher than this (at 758m) but since 1984 that has only broadcast radio. This high ground which the mast is built on was a contributory factor to the infamous plane crash on these moors in 1958, 35 people died and 7 survived.
Due to the mountainous terrain in the NW of England Winter Hill has a large number of repeater transmitters (67 of them) relaying the signal into the valleys and dips which do not have the critical “line of sight” reception path.
There is one interleaved spectrum channel allocated to Winter Hill on CH56 (this is within the original C/D group) for 3 local TV stations, Manchester/Bolton, Preston/Blackpool and Merseyside.
There are two lower power HD MUXES transmitted on CHs 31 and 37. These can by picked up be (decent) C/D group aerials but it must be admitted that an E group (or wideband) aerial would work better. Some contract type C/D groups may not pick up CHs 21 and 37 very well at all.
medium signal areas, the Yagi 18E or the DY14WB for poor signal areas, and the XB16E for those with the most marginal signals. The dimensions and test performance of the aerials can be found on the relevant tables. If requiring a “high gain aerial” in the loft we recommend the DY14WB over the XB16 because of the former aerial`s smaller size.
Winter Hill is the (joint) eighth most powerful transmitter in the UK.
Note the huge increase in power after the switchover.
This graph illustrates clearly how, post 700MHz clearance, some aerials, mainly C/Ds but also some widebands, may struggle to pull in an adequate signal. The good news is that swapping to an A group aerial will actually put you in a better position than you were before (i.e. a C/D or wideband on a C/D Winter Hill). This is because, watt for watt (transmitted power), A group signals [being a lower frequency] travel further more efficiently than C/D signals. Provided you have an aerial tuned to pick them up at peak efficiency, i.e. an A group aerial !
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)