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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.

The transmitter was originally owned by the ITA then it was sold off to NTL and finally to Arquiva (sic).

Winter Hill mast is 309m high (a.g.l.) - see How High is High ? - and had an internal lift (though it`s no longer in use following the accident at Belmont) though this didn`t go the top because (unlike Mendip, Bilsdale and Waltham) the structure is only tubular to the third stay level.

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 !

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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 !

Below is the memorial to the 1958

plane crash.  Pictures Justin Smith (ATV)

Winter Hill transmitter`s Channel Allocation Guide.

This channel allocation guide for Winter Hill also includes the same information for other major (potentially) co-receivable transmitters Sutton Coldfield, The Wrekin, Fenton, Moel Y Parc, Storeton, Llanddona, Lancaster, Caldbeck, Pendle and Saddleworth. This guide can be useful for diagnosing causes of co-channel interference or alternatively identifying other transmitters which may give a superior signal. Notice how all the transmissions “dove tail” with each other. These guides can be very useful in the diagnosis of co-channel interference problems and can also be invaluable if you are trying to find a spare channel for a modulated output (e.g. for a Sky box or CCTV system) to be added to your TV setup/distribution system without suffering from co-channel.

Also see Winter Hill`s sixty seven smaller repeater transmitters.

The frequencies given are for (most) digital MUXES, for analogue channels deduct 3MHz.

Note Storeton Wales which started transmitting in October 2009. This broadcasts Welsh Language MUXES (from Moel Y Parc) in a tight 30 degree arc around Flint.

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.

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Winter Hill television transmitter “up close”.

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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.

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Winter Hill`s channels in relation to the UHF TV band and the gain curves of the aerials

we recommend for it.   DM Log    Log36     Yagi 18E     DY14WB     XB16E

Also see other relevant C/D group curves.

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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.

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External Links

Winter Hill transmitter page at MB21

Winter Hill transmitter page at The Big Tower    

Winter Hill transmitter page on Wikipedia

Digital UK Winter Hill transmitter

Digital UK details of Granada transmitters

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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,

please help us increase the number of people reading it.

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Subjects are listed on this page in the following order :

History and general info of Winter Hill

Winter Hill`s coverage (area and population)

Digital power output, aerial group and polarisation of Winter Hill transmitter

Possible extra (future) channels

Our TV aerial recommendations for Winter Hill

Winter Hill external links

Pictures of Winter Hill

Winter Hill`s graph (its transmissions v our aerial recommendations)

Winter Hill`s channels/frequencies (including alternative transmitters)

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.

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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.

For Winter Hill we recommend the DM log for strong signal areas, the Log36 for

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.

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Winter Hill is the (joint) eighth most powerful transmitter in the UK.

Note the huge increase in power after the switchover.

Winter Hill transmitter is horizontally polarised and it`s an E group, though for the 6 main digital MUXES it`s still its original C/D group (see Winter Hill`s graph).

The dotted lines are the 2 lower power HD MUXES

Winter Hill`s TV transmissions relative to the aerials we recommend for it. Winter Hill (and co-receivable transmitters) digital TV channels / MUXES Winter Hill transmitter`s TV channels / MUXES and powers (pre and post digital switchover)