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Why does no commercial radio station cover Keswick?


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Old 25-12-2012, 22:39
jack846
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Hi guys, Merry Christmas!

Been to the picturesque town of Keswick today and just wondered, with little on FM, why the town isnít covered by a local commercial station. In the town itself you could get the BBC Nationals and Radio Cumbria from the local relay and more weaker reception from Radio Scotland and CFM on 102.5/102.2/96.4 (CFM started to fade out before reaching Keswick along the A66 and Lakeland Radio and The Bay didnít start to come in until Grasmere).

Surely a relay of CFM or Lakeland Radio would be appreciated and would fill a gap in coverage?
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Old 25-12-2012, 22:48
ceemage
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Maybe a gap for a community station in the next round, if there's enough interest?
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Old 26-12-2012, 22:32
jack846
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Maybe a gap for a community station in the next round, if there's enough interest?
Yeah, can't see why not. It would certainly provide a local alternative to the BBC Nationals and Radio Cumbria. I'm just suprised there's never been talk of a relay from the commercial stations to cover that part of the Lakes, considering tourism and the ability (with the correct transmitter site) to plug quite a big coverage hole.
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Old 27-12-2012, 09:36
lundavra
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Yeah, can't see why not. It would certainly provide a local alternative to the BBC Nationals and Radio Cumbria. I'm just suprised there's never been talk of a relay from the commercial stations to cover that part of the Lakes, considering tourism and the ability (with the correct transmitter site) to plug quite a big coverage hole.
People often think that it will be easy to cover hilly areas because you just stick a transmitter on the top of the highest hill but of course it can then cause interference over a wide area. Also it can be difficult to get a clean signal from the parent site because it will be receiving from a wide area. Then often the target town will be at the bottom of the hill so get multipath from the surrounding hills.
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Old 27-12-2012, 13:27
ceemage
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People often think that it will be easy to cover hilly areas because you just stick a transmitter on the top of the highest hill but of course it can then cause interference over a wide area. Also it can be difficult to get a clean signal from the parent site because it will be receiving from a wide area. Then often the target town will be at the bottom of the hill so get multipath from the surrounding hills.
Would an AM frequency be a better choice in a hilly area? Normally, community radio stations only take an AM frequency if all the spare FM ones are gone. But, in this case, it might be a better choice. (Means, in practice, being mono only, I realise.)
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Old 27-12-2012, 15:13
lundavra
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Would an AM frequency be a better choice in a hilly area? Normally, community radio stations only take an AM frequency if all the spare FM ones are gone. But, in this case, it might be a better choice. (Means, in practice, being mono only, I realise.)
It's debatable, many people never use Medium Wave and Long Wave now. I would have to think hard and probably stop the car to put the car radio on Medium Wave and some of my other radios are VHF FM / DAB only.

I am not familiar with Keswick but the Scottish Highlands tend not to use Medium Wave and Long Wave because it propagates poorly in the terrain there - I have mentioned before that the Radio 1 Roadshow once got a shock when virtually no one turned up at a venue because virtually no one listened on Medium Wave (when there was no VHF FM service from them in the area).
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Old 27-12-2012, 18:40
Ennerjee
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It's debatable, many people never use Medium Wave and Long Wave now. I would have to think hard and probably stop the car to put the car radio on Medium Wave and some of my other radios are VHF FM / DAB only.
There are a few of us who still use MW and LW.

I have 621, 720, 765, 774, 909 and 1152 pre-set at all times. I even have LW pre-sets on all the French stations plus Radio 4 at 198kHz too.

I assume there are a few towns like Keswick elsewhre which also have poor coverage.
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Old 27-12-2012, 18:54
chunkymagmonkey
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Hi guys, Merry Christmas!

Been to the picturesque town of Keswick today and just wondered, with little on FM, why the town isnít covered by a local commercial station. In the town itself you could get the BBC Nationals and Radio Cumbria from the local relay and more weaker reception from Radio Scotland and CFM on 102.5/102.2/96.4 (CFM started to fade out before reaching Keswick along the A66 and Lakeland Radio and The Bay didnít start to come in until Grasmere).

Surely a relay of CFM or Lakeland Radio would be appreciated and would fill a gap in coverage?
Keswick and the Lake District in general is sparsely populated so there may not be a sufficient catchment population to provide the advertisement revenues to sustain a commercial radio station. Whilst a community radio station could be run cheaper, the big problem in the Lake District is how to secure reasonable coverage in an area with high mountains and deep valleys without having to rely on an extensive (and expensive) set of relay stations.

The simplist and potentially cheapest solution is to use the Keswick relay to broadcast one of the existing commercial stations.
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Old 27-12-2012, 19:12
bowland37
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I am not familiar with Keswick but the Scottish Highlands tend not to use Medium Wave and Long Wave because it propagates poorly in the terrain there
I've always been surprised Radio Scotland didn't have a relay somewhere on the east coast of the Outer Hebridies, maybe roughly opposite Skye. 10KW on 810 would cover most of the north west coast from there.
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Old 27-12-2012, 20:51
Vectorsum
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Keswick and district is served on VHF from Keswick Forest, seen here on MB21. As the rapporteur points out, it's unique in England & Wales in being the only HP VHF radio site. In fact there are only another two in the whole of the UK, both in Scotland at Ardgour and Pitlochry.

The transmit log-periodics shown, although overwhelmingly used by the Beeb as RBL receive antennas, are capable of many kilowatts radiated power. So they laugh in the face of the measly 30W ERP being stuffed up them per national service, especially when you think that with at least 16 dBd forward gain, that translates to a power at the antenna balun of less than a Watt!

Of the two alternative services mentioned by the OP, Lakeland is probably a non starter. Not only are its two sites at Kendal and Windermere in the opposite direction relative to the RBL RX antenna aligned on Caldbeck/Sandale, but there's some serious geography between Keswick and Windermere, i.e. no chance of an RBL.

CFM from Caldbeck would be the obvious candidate, but at only 2 kW it might be a challenge to get a fully quieting signal at Keswick. Now add in the fact that between 180 and 270 degrees CFM's Caldbeck radiation pattern is 20 dB down according to txparams and you quickly see than RBLing that is going to be a non-starter. Even if CFM wanted to serve that far back into the hinterland.

I've always been surprised Radio Scotland didn't have a relay somewhere on the east coast of the Outer Hebridies, maybe roughly opposite Skye. 10KW on 810 would cover most of the north west coast from there.
Probably a combination of the sparse population and the nightmare it would be to put in an earth mat anywhere. Out here, nearly half the cost of building a house is clearing the plot of granite and other boulders and removing the peat down to the bedrock to sink foundations. And that's over a typical plot of max 20m by 20m.

The idea of doing that over an area a few hundred metres on a side out here is just laughable. Even if you were foolhardy enough to try, the copper would last about five minutes in the acidic, peaty soil.

I did hear from someone once that a MW site had been contemplated at the cleared Chain Home Low site at Rodel Park in South Harris, but could never find an online reference to this. In any case, it obviously never came to pass and VHF coverage in the Hebrides (maybe apart from the aforementioned South Harris, ironically) is perfect.

EDIT: Actually, re-reading this, it's quite a dark and negative post for this time of year. To end on a positive, my entire family thoroughly enjoyed our couple of weeks in Keswick and the Lake District back in the brilliant summer of '76. Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Math Ŕr to one and all.
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Old 27-12-2012, 21:49
lundavra
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I've always been surprised Radio Scotland didn't have a relay somewhere on the east coast of the Outer Hebridies, maybe roughly opposite Skye. 10KW on 810 would cover most of the north west coast from there.
I doubt whether it give coverage as good as that. There were VHF FM relay stations quite early for those areas so people are not used to listening on Medium Wave. I am sure that if they could have covered the area with a single transmitter then they would have done so
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Old 27-12-2012, 21:55
lundavra
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... I did hear from someone once that a MW site had been contemplated at the cleared Chain Home Low site at Rodel Park in South Harris, but could never find an online reference to this. In any case, it obviously never came to pass and VHF coverage in the Hebrides (maybe apart from the aforementioned South Harris, ironically) is perfect. ..
Never heard anything of Rodel being considered for Medium Wave. I will try asking on utb as a few people there who could have been around then.

My understanding was that Medium Wave and Long Wave propagation is poor in the Highlands which is why it was never used.
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Old 27-12-2012, 22:22
crusher19860138
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810AM booms in to our parts after dark,and i enjoy the shows Radio Scotland broadcasts!

Keswick also only has a population of 4,891 (2001 census),so that would hardly support a full time radio station,but a community one would be a different affair,run by volunteers and not for profit like The Bridge in Stourbridge,could work!
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Old 27-12-2012, 22:25
bowland37
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I can remember listening to Atlantic 252 very clearly when on holiday near Fort William and by Loch Tay. Both places had a clear signal at night when they reduced power to 100KW so Long Wave in that case does work well in the highlands.
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Old 27-12-2012, 22:43
lundavra
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I can remember listening to Atlantic 252 very clearly when on holiday near Fort William and by Loch Tay. Both places had a clear signal at night when they reduced power to 100KW so Long Wave in that case does work well in the highlands.
Never listened to Atlantic 252 but I spent many years trying to receive Radio 4 on Long Wave around the Highlands even with a communications receiver and long wire. Reception was always terrible and often unusable.
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Old 27-12-2012, 22:56
jack846
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It's debatable, many people never use Medium Wave and Long Wave now. I would have to think hard and probably stop the car to put the car radio on Medium Wave and some of my other radios are VHF FM / DAB only.

I am not familiar with Keswick but the Scottish Highlands tend not to use Medium Wave and Long Wave because it propagates poorly in the terrain there - I have mentioned before that the Radio 1 Roadshow once got a shock when virtually no one turned up at a venue because virtually no one listened on Medium Wave (when there was no VHF FM service from them in the area).
There was a community group in nearby West Cumbria who wanted to use medium wave (I think on 1566 MW). In the end though I think they went for FM.

I assume there are a few towns like Keswick elsewhre which also have poor coverage.
You could get BBC Radio 5 Live on 693 in most places. Magic 999 had an acceptable signal too. Not too sure about anything else though.

Keswick and district is served on VHF from Keswick Forest, seen here on MB21. As the rapporteur points out, it's unique in England & Wales in being the only HP VHF radio site. In fact there are only another two in the whole of the UK, both in Scotland at Ardgour and Pitlochry.

The transmit log-periodics shown, although overwhelmingly used by the Beeb as RBL receive antennas, are capable of many kilowatts radiated power. So they laugh in the face of the measly 30W ERP being stuffed up them per national service, especially when you think that with at least 16 dBd forward gain, that translates to a power at the antenna balun of less than a Watt!
Certainly going out of Keswick on the A591 the Keswick VHF relay goes very quickly before the relay gets blocked by hills. BBC DAB uses the Keswick UHF relay though I don't know how coverage compares to the VHF site (I would think, as it is 1 KW, that coverage is seamless between other transmitters at Cockermouth, Penrith and Windermere).

Of the two alternative services mentioned by the OP, Lakeland is probably a non starter. Not only are its two sites at Kendal and Windermere in the opposite direction relative to the RBL RX antenna aligned on Caldbeck/Sandale, but there's some serious geography between Keswick and Windermere, i.e. no chance of an RBL.

CFM from Caldbeck would be the obvious candidate, but at only 2 kW it might be a challenge to get a fully quieting signal at Keswick. Now add in the fact that between 180 and 270 degrees CFM's Caldbeck radiation pattern is 20 dB down according to txparams and you quickly see than RBLing that is going to be a non-starter. Even if CFM wanted to serve that far back into the hinterland.
If CFM on 96.4 wouldn't be recievable surely you might be able to get a signal from either 102.2 or 102.5? I noticed when we were leaving Keswick 102.2 was recievable in the higher parts of the town though patchy. Like you say though it may be no more than a mono signal.

EDIT: Actually, re-reading this, it's quite a dark and negative post for this time of year. To end on a positive, my entire family thoroughly enjoyed our couple of weeks in Keswick and the Lake District back in the brilliant summer of '76. Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Math Ŕr to one and all.
Yes, I very much enjoyed the trip around Cumbria. Radio is very good there (there canít be many places where you can receive radio stations on FM from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man!) and the scenery was great too!
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Old 27-12-2012, 23:10
jack846
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I can remember listening to Atlantic 252 very clearly when on holiday near Fort William and by Loch Tay. Both places had a clear signal at night when they reduced power to 100KW so Long Wave in that case does work well in the highlands.
252 was still quite listenable when we holidayed up in the Highlands a couple of weeks ago. Along with signals from Radio 4 on 198 and BBC Radio 5 Live on 693 that was about it really (until nightitme when anything came in!).
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Old 27-12-2012, 23:24
Jack-UK
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Didn't Eden FM on 87.6 cover Keswick when it was on? I picked it up from a point on the North Yorkshire moors a few weeks ago,
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Old 28-12-2012, 07:23
hanssolo
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Maybe a gap for a community station in the next round, if there's enough interest?
Isn't the CR round for the area now taking applications? Eden in Penrith is applying http://www.edenfm.co.uk but will not cover the Lakes area, Is there anyone in the Lakes area applied?.
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Old 28-12-2012, 18:31
ceemage
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Isn't the CR round for the area now taking applications? Eden in Penrith is applying http://www.edenfm.co.uk but will not cover the Lakes area, Is there anyone in the Lakes area applied?.
Deadline is 29th January, according to this PDF.
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Old 28-12-2012, 18:40
Glenn A
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CFM is supposed to cover the Keswick area, but reception is patchy. Most local radio listening is done to Radio Cumbria, which has better reception.
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Old 28-12-2012, 19:11
hanssolo
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CFM is supposed to cover the Keswick area, but reception is patchy. Most local radio listening is done to Radio Cumbria, which has better reception.
The local DAB rollout plans show a transmitter at Keswick which will probably include CFM and Lakeland radio as well as R Cumbria, but so far the MUX has not been advertised.
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/bro...verage/annex-b
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Old 28-12-2012, 19:12
hanssolo
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Deadline is 29th January, according to this PDF.
A web search does not show any station from Keswick applying but there is still time?
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Old 28-12-2012, 19:29
Mark C
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If CFM on 96.4 wouldn't be recievable surely you might be able to get a signal from either 102.2 or 102.5? I noticed when we were leaving Keswick 102.2 was recievable in the higher parts of the town though patchy. Like you say though it may be no more than a mono signal.
You might get away with RBL of 102.2 using the UHF TV site, as the relay site.

Couldn't sound any worse than Yorkshire Coast Radio's rebroadcast of Oliver's Mount at Whitby. Actually that was the old mast, heaven knows what it sounds like from the new site (unless it's now line fed ?)

I noticed when in Keswick while on holiday there about 10 years ago, very good reception of Divis, including Radio Ulster on 94.5.
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Old 28-12-2012, 19:45
DanielBeale
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Hi all

This is an interesting topic and I can tell you as an employee of Lakeland Radio we have been given OFCOM approval to broadcast to Keswick on 101.4FM

At Lakeland Radio we see ourselves very much as the local radio station for the Lake District and adding Keswick to our broadcast area is a massive achievement for us.

We are very much a family friendly radio station that appeals to a family audience, all our content is produced locally (no networking at all!!!)

We strive to bring up to the minute local news and play the biggest hits from the last 50 years and we're very much looking forward to being able to bring our service to Keswick in the coming weeks.

There will be lots of on air announcements and online promotion of our new frequency in the near future when we announce our 'go live' date.

Dan Beale
Lakeland Radio
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