The Waltham transmitting station is a broadcasting and telecommunications facility
at Waltham-on-the-Wolds, 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Melton Mowbray. It sits inside the Waltham civil parish near Stonesby, in the district of Melton, Leicestershire, UK. It has a guyed steel tubular mast. The main structure height to the top of the steelwork is 290.8 metres (954 ft), with the UHF television antennas contained within a GRP shroud mounted on top.
The first mast was built in 1966. On 16 November 1966
, it collapsed. Parts of the wreckage are still in use as pig shelters.
The structure was rebuilt in 1968. This delayed its first transmissions until 1970, and it was not fully operational until April 1971. It is a shorter version of the second Emley Moor transmitter which collapsed whilst broadcasting on 19 March 1969, due to the weight of ice on the structural cables. The Waltham mast has four sets of stay levels as opposed to the six of the ex-Emley mast. The latter was identical to the current 385m high Belmont mast.
The mast was originally built to provide BBC2
(on the new UHF
625 lines system) to the East Midlands
. It is now the main TV transmitter for all terrestrial channels covering the East Midlands - Nottinghamshire
, the south of Lincolnshire
and north Northamptonshire
. It can even be received to some degree from Maltby
in South Yorkshire
and Thurleigh (North Bedfordshire), for East Midlands expatriates
. It is owned and operated by National Grid Wireless
. Belmont is twice as powerful as Waltham, but has a similar area to cover. The BBC West Midlands area is three times the size of the East Midlands, has three main transmitters, with Sutton Coldfield being four times as powerful as Waltham.
Waltham first broadcast digital TV on November 15 1998. In July 2007 was confirmed by Ofcom that at DSO (Digital Switchover) Waltham would be transmitting five - of the six - MUXES within its original C/D group. MUX
4 will be out of band on CH29, but should still be receivable on a C/D group antenna in reasonable signal areas, as this graph
Although Waltham can be received to some degree throughout all of the East Midlands and a lot of Cambridgeshire, giving people on the outskirts of the region the choice of BBC East Midlands programmes, it is the relay stations (also known as ‘repeaters’) found on the edge in hillier areas that strictly define which BBC region you receive. The two strongest relays are at Nottingham
(just West of the M1 J26) and at Stanton Moor
. Further north-west of Bakewell, the filler transmitters are BBC North West. Bakewell is the meeting point between the Winter Hill, Emley Moor and Waltham broadcasting regions. North-east Derbyshire, east of Tideswell
takes Emley Moor (BBC Leeds).