Date set for replacement Bilsdale transmitter to go live

Engineers say work on a replacement transmitter at Bilsdale is on track for a launch on October 5.

Arqiva has begun lifting materials on to the site by helicopter as part of work to build an 80m-high temporary mast.

The company says the temporary structure will return Freeview TV services to more than 90 per cent of households across the area which were affected by a fire to the original Bilsdale mast last month.

Materials being lifted by air to the site include around 200 x 750kg concrete blocks which will anchor the temporary mast in place.

The helicopter will also be used to transport the sections of the mast itself to the moorland site, along with the metal ‘sledges’ which house the concrete blocks.

The lifts are part of progress towards the building of the mast as teams work around the clock to help restore services to people.

Once the material is in place, the helicopter will be used to then erect the mast itself by lifting separate sections one at a time to be secured in place by specialist riggers.

In total, the helicopter is expected to complete more than 230 lifts over the coming days.

Engineers say the work to erect the temporary mast is dependent on the weather, but it is currently expected to be completed on Tuesday, October 5.

In order to properly check that the new, temporary mast is covering the area in the desired way, engineers say it will be necessary turn off other temporary sites for a period the day before, Monday, October 4.

That means households will see some disruption on that day.

Adrian Twyning, chief of operations at Arqiva, said: “We are working around the clock to restore services to those people who are affected as quickly as possible. Using the helicopter is part of that effort and is the least disruptive way of transporting materials across this remote and sensitive environment.

“Arqiva has experience of using helicopters in this way, and we have successfully completed more than 50 projects on our sites over the years that required a helicopter to lift material or equipment into place.

“This is a huge logistical effort involving over 100 people and, subject to bad weather or any other unforeseen difficulties, we are making good progress towards completing the works on Tuesday 5th October.

“The 80m temporary mast more closely matches the coverage pattern of the existing mast than the temporary sites we have built at Eston Nab, Arncliffe Wood and Sutton Bank.

“Properly checking the 80m temporary mast requires us to turn off those other temporary sites for a period the day before, Monday 4th October.

“That means some households will see disruption to their service on that day, for which we apologise in advance.”


  1. Note the power level from this temporary mast will be much less than the original Bilsdale mast so some with a poor aerial installation may still struggle with signal reception

  2. If this is a temporary mast does this mean that the damaged mast will be repaired and if so what is the timescale for this.
    What is the area where the 10% will not get service from the temporary mast from 5/10/2021

    • My mum has dementia. To say the lack of tv has left her devastated is putting it mildly. Tried installing Freesat but can’t work 2 remote controls even if she could see the buttons. Keeps asking me when will it go back to normal….

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