The Bluebell Hill transmitting station is a broadcasting and telecommunications facility located at Blue Bell Hill between Maidstone and Rochester in the English county of Kent.
The station is situated on the crest of the North Downs, on the chalky Blubell Hill, and comprises five steel lattice towers, each 45 to 50 metres tall - their height being compromised by the location of nearby Rochester Airport. It broadcasts digital television, FM and DAB radio to much of north, west, and central Kent, and an overspill service into southern Essex. It stopped broadcasting analogue television when the digital switchover was completed on 27 June 2012. When in analogue service, the broadcast power of 30kW for a main transmitter was unique in the United Kingdom, the strength being limited by potential interference with transmitters in France and the Low Countries.
Services broadcast include BBC One (South East), BBC Two, ITV (Meridian), Channel 4, Heart Kent, KMFM Medway and KMFM Maidstone.
- Tower height-
- 52.5 metres- (172 ft) (A)
- 55 metres- (180 ft) (B)
- 46 metres- (151 ft) (C)
- 43 metres- (141 ft) (South)
- Coordinates- 51.33497°N 0.49645°E
- Grid reference- TQ757613
- Built- 1974
- BBC region- BBC South East
- ITV region- ITV Meridian
Between its opening in 1974 and 31 December 1981 the transmitter broadcast Thames Television (weekdays) and London Weekend Television (weekends), being switched on 1 January 1982 to carry signals from the new ITV franchise TVS (Television South), until superseded on 1 January 1993 by ITV Meridian for ITV in the south east. The transmitter takes its main BBC1 feed from Crystal Palace, with an opt-out for BBC local news in the South East broadcast from studios in Tunbridge Wells. Although timing is of the essence at this point, the human factor often results in a delay of a second or two, enabling viewers to glimpse the London studio and presenter before the switch to the Tunbridge Wells studio is complete.
It was accused in the late 1970s of carrying secret government radio messages at or near to 100.5 MHz, 125MHz, 61.75MHz and 902MHz. This was denied at the time.
It was rumored since the late 1970s that it was some how connected to either the Wartime Broadcasting Service and\or the HANDEL National Attack Warning System. The prior was possible, but the latter was not, as far as anyone can ascertain.
Current transmission services
|Frequency MHz.||Frequency Block.||kW.||Operator.|
|100.5 MHz?||.||10?||Rumored in the 1990s to be reserved for emergency use and most likely is not (KMFM Medway is on 100.4MHz), if it ever was.|
|100.4 MHz||.||N\A, probably low.||KMFM Medway|
|103.1 MHz||.||2||Heart Kent|
|105.6 MHz||.||N\A, probably low.||KMFM Maidstone|
|107.9 MHz||.||N\A, probably low.||KMFM Medway|
|218.640 MHz||11B||0.9||DRG London|
|220.352 MHz||11C||2||NOW Kent|
|222.064 MHz||11D||6.3||Digital One|
|223.936 MHz||12A||2||Switch London|
|225.648 MHz||12B||6.3||BBC National DAB|
|227.360 MHz||12C||1||CE London|
|618.000 MHz||39||20||Arqiva A DVB-T|
|626.000 MHz||40||20||BBC B DVB-T2|
|650.000 MHz||43||20||Digital 3&4 DVB-T|
|666.000 MHz||45||20||SDN DVB-T|
|674.000 MHz||46||20||BBC A DVB-T|
|738.000 MHz||54||20||Arqiva B DVB-T|
It broadcasts digital television, FM and DAB radio to much of north, west, and central Kent, and an overspill service into southern Essex. It stopped broadcasting analogue television when the digital switchover was completed on 27 June 2012. When in analogue service, the broadcast power of 30kW for a main transmitter was unique in the United Kingdom, the strength being limited by potential interference with transmitters in France and the Low Countries.