After chatting to several hams about the transmission system we used for our community radio station, The Park, I thought I would share my photographic record of the mast I project managed the installation of as well as took responsibility for whilst we were on air. Unfortunately, due to promised financial support failing to materialise and our station being let down by so-called experts I had put my trust in, the FM station was unsustainable and we were forced to close the station in the Summer of 2012.
The station covered the New Forest area and we were lucky enough to gain support from one or two local businesses in building the transmission rig. A 40ft articulated truck brought a 600KG Douglas Fir wooden mast from a nearby enclosure to the TX site, whilst another truck delivered a 300KG metal foot to secure the mast to a 2m square x 1m deep concrete footing, as well as a heavy metal cap on which to secure the antenna.
Initially, because of mis-advice given by our ‘professional engineer’, we drove a simple folded dipole with a QRP 50W TX. Knowing we had been given 100W ERP (50W/V+50W/H) I knew we would need a bigger transmitter as well as a much better antenna. Once we had managed to raise the funds, as well as upgrading to a 150W TX, we also commissioned another British company to design and build a custom Lindenblad (mixed-polarisation) antenna tuned for 96.9MHz.
I am considering raising a new station from the ashes but, some ten years on with a change in consumer habits and advances in technology, it will remain a digital service and cut out a vast proportion of the costs from the outset.
Here’s an insight into the tremendous work that went into making the station it was …