Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

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Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

Postby Lucien Nunes » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:18 am

The BBC1 & BBC2 analogue TV transmitters from Crystal Palace are about to be scrapped, starting on the March 9th, but we have a possible opportunity to save one if we think it is of interest. Time is very limited and if the project is to succeed I must have the paperwork in place by the end of this week.

To cut a long story short, I have been negotiating with Arqiva about the possibility of saving one of the two complete units comprising BBC1 for future display at Electrokinetica. Each is a 40kW last-generation Harris TX, complete and in excellent condition technically and visually. My plan was to recover it intact along with some peripherals and display them as a part-reconstruction of the transmitter hall. Arqiva have been very helpful and provisionally agreed to donate the material, so if it were a simple matter of rolling the cabinets out to the loading bay I expect we would be all set to crane them on to our lorry a few days from now.

We normally undertake all recovery projects ourselves and have equipment and resources within our team to handle items like the TX (and larger), and the knowhow and experience to do so in compliance with applicable regulations. However, due to the specifics of the site and Arqiva's existing policy, we will need to engage one of Arqiva's approved contractors for part of the work, which significantly increases the project cost, and due to the short lead time I cannot cover that entirely myself.

If you are seriously interested in contributing to saving about the only surviving full-size last-generation analogue TV transmitter, that for over a decade brought BBC1 to a large chunk of the population, and was in effect the final descendant of the first public analogue TV transmitter in the UK, please get in touch immediately by PM, email or phone. I can give you more info about the costings etc that I can't publish in the open forum. I will also post some pics later - in the meantime 'Cream-painted metal cabinets with a rather large vacuum tube inside' is a fairly accurate description!

Lucien
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 314
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Re: Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

Postby Lucien Nunes » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:11 pm

Update:
We're going ahead - subject to everything coming together at the sharp end the transmitter is due to be dismantled and removed in such as way that we can put it back together. We've had a great response to the campaign, which has secured the funding for the contractors who are needed to do the work within the Crystal Palace site. Then, all we have to do at the other end is click 'undo'. Updates to follow when the work begins...

BBC1 TX.jpg
Transmitter cabinets either side of central control cabinet
BBC1 TX.jpg (116.09 KiB) Viewed 42049 times

Output bottle.jpg
EEV output device delivers 40kW RF
Output bottle.jpg (110.23 KiB) Viewed 42049 times

RF switch.jpg
TV plumbing! Big switch allows one or two transmitters to drive the antenna
RF switch.jpg (90.81 KiB) Viewed 42049 times

Syscon display.jpg
Nice little green lights that show everything is happy
Syscon display.jpg (148.17 KiB) Viewed 42049 times
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am

Re: Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

Postby Lucien Nunes » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:42 pm

I'll be on site tomorrow morning to have a look at options - there is some difficulty removing the left-hand unit complete and undamaged and current thinking is that it would be better to take the right hand (B) unit. They are identical twins and have served BBC1 equally with identical track records and service history. We'll keep the output bottle from the A unit if this turns out to be the case. The shared control unit (that Mark Thompson turns off in the video) is unchanged. Update tomorrow...

Lucien
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am

Re: Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

Postby Lucien Nunes » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:19 pm

I had a good look at things this morning and a chat with the project engineer, where it transpired that the A unit (left two cabinets) was missing some parts that had been requisitioned as spares for other equipment with which they happened to be compatible, but the B unit was 100% complete and intact and overall in slightly better condition anyway. So we decided that the B unit is the one to preserve, and we took some 'souvenirs' and output bottle from the A unit, the remainder of which is now heading to the recyclers. As I mentioned before, there is no tangible difference between the two, the designations A and B could be Fred and Charlie, they have served the station equally.

B unit dismantling starts tomorrow. The cabinets not only need to be separated from each other but also split fore and aft, as they are too deep to go through the door and were built on site. There are also freestanding parts such as the 1.5 tonne mains transformer, smoothing choke and output valve trolley that have to come out first. I had a chance to meet the team from ICEE, the contractors responsible for decommissioning and dismantling, who will be doing this for us. They seem very clued-up and helpful, and along with the engineer from Arqiva they plan to make us a photo diary of each step of the dismantling, so that we can easily 'reverse the above procedure.'

Pics to follow...
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am

Re: Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

Postby Lucien Nunes » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:05 pm

We have a TX. It's all dismantled and ready to collect, which will probably be this Thursday. We'll take it straight to the exhibition space and park it up in its final position if possible, then re-locate everything it displaces. How far we will get with re-assembling it this week depends on whether the HV switchgear plays ball when we ask it to move! In the meantime I'll drop a line to everyone who has pledged support, to organise exchanging your cash for a piece of BBC1A (if you want one).

One job remains to do at the CP site and that is to try and remove the wheels from one of the other transformers before it goes for scrap. Ours were found to be cracked and un-wheelable and it would be nice to replace them, although I would prefer not to swap the whole transformer. Incidentally, when energised, these are rather lethal things. 3-phase 400V input, 12.5kV output at 96kVA. Depending on how you connect the secondary you can get yourself around 3 amps at 30kV DC which requires a certain amount of caution when handling.

BBC1B.jpg
BBC1B TX (the right hand twin)
BBC1B.jpg (104.16 KiB) Viewed 41971 times

Name label.jpg
Name label
Name label.jpg (87.9 KiB) Viewed 41971 times

Inside PSU.jpg
Inside the PSU cabinet
Inside PSU.jpg (113.66 KiB) Viewed 41971 times

RF switch dismantling.jpg
Disconnecting feeders from RF switch
RF switch dismantling.jpg (130.07 KiB) Viewed 41971 times
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am

Re: Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

Postby Lucien Nunes » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:24 pm

The TX has left Crystal Palace and is on the lorry heading towards EK - Pics to follow. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has sent in their donations so far, I will acknowledge each receipt individually asap. If you haven't sent yours yet, now is a good time as I'm expecting the bill to land in the inbox any time now...
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am

Re: Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

Postby Lucien Nunes » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:40 pm

The transmitter is in its new home, in good shape and now awaiting final reassembly. All the main lumps are in their correct relative positions but there is still a lot of wiring, plumbing and metalwork to connect up and screw together.
While we were cleaning and sorting things on the way in, we took lots of photos of interesting innards. Rather than clutter up the forum I'll create an album for it on a photo hosting site and post a link here.

But I've attached a few just to show where we got to at the close of play yesterday.
TX up on blocks for positioning sm.jpg
TX up on blocks for positioning sm.jpg (122.09 KiB) Viewed 41784 times

IOT going in sm.jpg
IOT going in sm.jpg (110.62 KiB) Viewed 41784 times

Mains trans and choke parked in beam supply unit sm.jpg
Mains trans and choke parked in beam supply unit sm.jpg (123.84 KiB) Viewed 41784 times

TX up on blocks for positioning sm.jpg
TX up on blocks for positioning sm.jpg (122.09 KiB) Viewed 41784 times
Attachments
RF switch in place sm.jpg
RF switch in place sm.jpg (157.42 KiB) Viewed 41784 times
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am

Re: Urgent! Save BBC1 transmitter from Crystal Palace...

Postby Lucien Nunes » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:19 pm

Thanks to the fantastic support of many people both from within the forum and outside, we have now completely funded the project and the appeal is therefore closed. We have a logistics project planned for this weekend, then as soon as possible after that we'll start sending out the bits of BBC1A. As there are quite a few different items, ranging from circulators to contactors to hour meters, we'll draw names from a hat as to who gets what.

When I was originally invited to see a klystron with a view to putting that on display, I realised it wasn't enough of a physical tribute to 76 years of excellence in analogue service. I broached the subject of saving a transmitter there and then, and to their considerable credit, Arqiva took an immediate interest in the scheme and paved the way, within the rigid operational and security parameters they are required to maintain, for us to complete the recovery. But we couldn't have done it without you!

More pics to follow on our website...
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am


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