Fire at Beckley TV Transmitter Aerial

Shortly after lunch on 13th May 2010, all our analogue TV channels other than Channel 5 abruptly went off air. Two or three minutes later the terrestrial digital channels followed suit. A trip to the garden to view the Oxford TV transmitter mast at Beckley revealed this spectacular explanation!

Smoke from Transmitter Aerial

They're not supposed to do that!

The aerial concerned was a new one that had been installed in February, with the aid of a helicopter, in preparation for digital switch-over in 2011. It was in the final stages of being commissioned when the fire occurred.

Service was not restored until around 9pm, using the reserve aerial, lower down the mast, which had been in use since February whilst the new aerial was being commissioned. A subsequent report by Arqiva who operate the Beckley transmitter site, has revealed that the new aerial has been damaged beyond repair and is to be replaced, with the reserve aerial now expected to remain in use until September.

This photograph was taken from Shotover, about 4.5 km from the transmitter mast, on a hazy day, but the subject is sufficiently unusual to make it worth including here, despite its poor technical quality. Detailed pictures of the mast, together with a video of the replacement aerial being installed, can be found on Mike Brown's mb21 web site by clicking this link, which will take you straight to the page for the Oxford site.

Copyright © Alan Simpson 2010 Back to index. Last Updated 2010-05-29