DRM Broadcast on 80th Anniversary of Woofferton Transmitting Station UK (WOF)

On a sunny autumn day (October 17th) among the green hills of western England big celebrations took place to mark 80 years of uninterrupted transmission from the largest shortwave station in the UK.

The Woofferton station was originally built by the BBC during the Second World War to house shortwave (HF) broadcasting transmitters. The facility started broadcasting on 17th October 1943 and had six 50 kW RCA transmitters at that time. Modernisation of the site was carried out many times since its construction and is now capable to use also the DRM standard, providing daily digital radio programmes to the world.

To mark its 80th anniversary current and former Encompass staff, high level officials from the surrounding area in Herefordshire, south-west England, congregated at the site dominated by an impressive array of very high antennas. Paul Firth, Commercial Director for Radio Services at Encompass Digital Media Ltd (a DRM Consortium member) operating the site, already mentioned that: “The Woofferton Transmitting Station has a long and varied history, and we at Encompass are excited to recognise this milestone of 80 years of international transmissions from the site. We are proud to continue to sustain Woofferton’s vital work in transmitting shortwave around the world whilst also developing its capabilities to ensure it can keep pace with technological developments in radio and satellite distribution.”

The station still runs an original 250 kW Marconi transmitter (BD272 from 1963) and several RIZ transmitters, one of them updated with an RFmondial exciter and Fraunhofer IIS content server.

On October 17th the Woofferton Transmitting Station ran a special programme in shortwave analogue and DRM aimed at Europe, mainly, from 1330 – 1430 UTC/GMT.

The DRM transmission was very well received in many parts of Europe, such as in Finland, as this video demonstrates.

The programme content was based on historical facts of WOF in BBC, VoA, Radio Free Europe, R Liberty, CBC etc., as well as up-to-date information on DRM and personal recollections from many former WOF staff.

The celebration was also an occasion to display and demonstrate the recently launched low-energy and low-cost DRM receiver module produced by CML Micro in co-operation with Cambridge Consultants in the UK. The production of this module is scheduled to start in Q1 of 2024 and can be acquired by receiver manufacturers around the globe to produce low-cost state-of-the art DRM radiosets.


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