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The future of RTE Radio 1 LW



  • Registered Users Posts: 639 ✭✭✭ Mickey Mike

    RTE are only waiting for their chance to turn it off permanently and they are right too, who is it serving now?

  • Registered Users Posts: 804 ✭✭✭ marclt

    As has been said before, they’d have been better upgrading 567MW.

    Bauer Media is ready to switch off Absolute on 1215mw. They had already switched off some of the smaller sites but I think some on 1197/1233/1242 remained. They have also pulled the plug on their local radio mw transmitters without much fuss.

    The only country reopening MW transmitters is Russia!

  • Registered Users Posts: 300 ✭✭ Bebo user in 22

    This year is the 20th anniversary of RTE Radio 1 broadcasting on LW 252, Although they didn't officially launch the LW service until Patrick's Day 2004, RTE radio 1 was relayed on LW 252 as an unannounced test using 100kw of power during Easter 2003. The all Ireland hurling final held on September 14th 2003 was relayed on LW 252 using full power of 500kw (the very last time summerhill pumped out 500kw). The all ireland football final of September 28th 2003 was also relayed on LW 252 but at 250kw of power. Based on listener feedback to the hurling and football finals, RTE decided to use 300kw of power when the service formally launched on March 17th 2004.

  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭ TAFKAlawhec

    The Icelandic Public Broadcaster RUV has ended its programmes on 207 kHz from the Eiðar transmitting station in eastern Iceland. It's now playing a loop telling listeners to retune to FM or listen via the internet, with the mast itself due to be demolished this coming Wednesday.

    Eiðar's ERP was at around 100kW maximum, though suggests that this had recently been reduced to 50kW. According to reports elsewhere on this closure, RUV have been expanding their FM transmissions to serving more remote areas that could otherwise only receiving their radio service on LW prior to it. It also states that the 189 kHz transmitter in the west of Iceland at Hellissandur will close at some point next year when similar improvements in FM coverage in that service area are complete.

  • Registered Users Posts: 158 ✭✭ rathfarnhamlad

    Video footage of the mast coming down can be seen here:

    I wonder how many more LW transmitter closures are on the cards for 2023...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,266 ✭✭✭ Gerry Wicklow

  • Registered Users Posts: 639 ✭✭✭ Mickey Mike

    BBC LW could be next for the chop and then RTE LW, I'd be thinking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,266 ✭✭✭ Gerry Wicklow

    The scarcity of transmitter valves seems to be the default excuse (long before current political issues). With the number of stations closing down there must be a good used market for spares 🤣 There's still plenty of MW TXs around the world so you'd imagine someone must be making valves for them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭ TAFKAlawhec

    Off the top of my head, these are the remaining LW broadcast stations currently in service...

    * 153 kHz - Antenna Satelor, Romania

    * 171 kHz - Medi 1, Morocco

    * 189 kHz - RAS1/2, Iceland

    * 198 kHz - BBC R4 LW, UK

    * 225 kHz - Radio 1, Poland

    * 243 kHz - DR Longwave, Denmark (part time)

    * 252 kHz - RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland

    * 252 kHz - Channel 3, Algeria

    You can also add the Mongolian radio transmissions on 164, 209 & 227 kHz (they never bothered changing frequency to the x9 multiples back in the late 80's when every other LW transmitter had done so). The status of the Turkmenistan outlet on 279 kHz is unknown, while Algeria might also have a station on 153 kHz reactivated as I've heard something on several SDRs under Antenna Satelor on this frequency these last few nights, but I couldn't verify them.

    Off the above, Medi 1 don't list their long wave outlet on their website as far as I can see, so it's not unreasonable to guess that this may go for the chop in the near future. The final Icelandic outlet on 189 kHz is due to close sometime in 2024, the BBC Radio 4 LW outlets are unlikely to be at least broadcasting audio beyond the end of 2027 (this might somewhat depend on the roll out of electrical smart meters in GB), while the RTÉ broadcasts on 252 kHz are kept going only somewhat to allow reception of the station in parts of GB in lieu of being able to broadcast on DAB outlets. The rest are hard to know. There's no AM activity in Poland I'm aware of outside of their 225 kHz TX, while Romania and to a slightly lesser extent Algeria appear to still be committed to AM broadcasting at least in the short term, in the latter case to help reach rural communities in hilly/mountainous regions, while the former I'm assuming other than covering the major population centres of Algeria also gets significant coverage into a lot of France to reach Algerian immigrants there, co-channel interference with RTÉ not withstanding.

    I've said for a while now that LW & MW in Europe is well into its twilight years - for the few out there still relying on it for regular listening and some others that enjoy DX'ing these bands, enjoy them while you can.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,355 ✭✭✭✭ dxhound2005

    Algeria is 4.3 times the size of France and larger than Greenland, although it may not appear like that due to the way maps are projected. They have some high power medium wave outlets, easy enough to hear in Ireland.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭ TAFKAlawhec

    The vast majority of Algeria is desert though, with most of its population living along or near its Mediterranean coastline in the north. Also, desert sand is among the worst - if not thee worst - in terms of soil conductivity for groundwave RF out there - the Tipaza 252 kHz is less than two miles LOS from the sea and so can serve Algeria's main population centres well (along with the bonus of secondary coverage well into a lot of Western & Southern Europe), but would be much more limited going southwards. They have two other LW allocations (one is 153 kHz, can't remember exactly the other one) but for locations in the Sahara & despite both being allocated very high powers of up to 2MW, they have often struggled to be heard by many European DXers when they've been active.

    And yes, Algeria have been fortunate to have two high powered Medium Wave allocation at the LF end of the band on 531 & 549 kHz, the latter being the pop station Jil FM and the former currently broadcasting Radio Algeria International (was Jil FM also until a couple of years back), though personally I find the Faroes getting in better on 531 kHz where I'm based, even with their reduction of power to 10kW. 549 kHz should have Spirit Radio on it, but it's been silent for several months, that's more of a matter though for the Radio sub-forum.

    (P.S. In deserts & other arid areas where mains electrical installations for buildings are installed, they either have to use an extra long earthing rod (10 metres isn't uncommon from what I've read) to try and reach the local water table, or resort to something like an Ufer Ground which has to be largely done during building construction.)

    (P.P.S With the recent closure of the 207 kHz Iceland LW TX, I was told that RUV (Iceland's PSB) will be glad to see the back of their LW transmissions if for nothing else that they were a major pain in the arse in continuously adjusting these TX's, not only because a lot of soil conductivity in Iceland isn't great (a lot of granite), but also that winter time icy conditions caused headaches. While salt water is a great RF groundwave conductor & freshwater less so but otherwise still good, hard ice is not. Apparently this also upset radiation patterns from the masts which were going up to 20 degrees higher in angle than desired, so in the summer things were more settled but winter involved more work, especially if there were sudden freezes & thaws that aren't uncommon there. Similar poor RF conductivity conditions were the reason why a lot of Scandinavia were ahead of the rest of Europe in closing their LW & MW outlets and having more extensive FM networks in place earlier. I've a 1985 edition of the WRTH where for the radio info for Sweden just listed one LW & one MW transmitter, the 209 kHz outlet at Motala (closed in 1991 on 207 kHz) and the 1179 kHz outlet at Stockholm that a few might remember was used to broadcast Radio Sweden to Europe in the evenings. Everything else was FM only.)

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,355 ✭✭✭✭ dxhound2005

    One of the clearest frequencies is 891 kHz which also carries the International service, including segments in English. Also 981, but you need to be able to null Radio Star Country. They have a strong presence on short wave as well.

    I remember Sweden Calling Dxers on 1179, and on shortwave. I got the script of the DX programme for a while. They used to send it out typed up on yellow paper.

  • Registered Users Posts: 300 ✭✭ Bebo user in 22

    RTE won't have any coverage of the Cheltenham Festival on LW 252 & R1 extra this year. Cheltenham was the final remaining lw sports opt-out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭ Glaceon

    252 offline again at the moment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,355 ✭✭✭✭ dxhound2005

    Good signal from Algeria in French, 2.40 pm.

  • Registered Users Posts: 473 ✭✭ kazoo106

    It's days are numbered - The draft media bill has had a reading across the water - one of the parts of it says "when parliamentary time allows. This will include allowing Ofcom to be able to license some overseas radio services for the first time – specifically those based in the Republic of Ireland – and for the DCMS Secretary of State to add other countries to the list of services that Ofcom can license"

    This will finally pave the way for RTE to go on UK DAB (although it will probably be in 24k mono) and this will mean 252 can fall silent.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,290 ✭✭✭ SPDUB

    Well if RTE have the cheek to try to go on DAB in the UK it's going to raise questions as to why they aren't on DAB where the actual licence payers are .

    At least with 252 actual licence payers can make use of it as well

  • Registered Users Posts: 211 ✭✭ Clitheroekid

    I recall driving by this transmitter a few times and all BBC medium wave transmissions were unavailable a few kilometres from it BBC Scotland,Radio 5 live,BBC Wales and BBC NI were all drowned out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,355 ✭✭✭✭ dxhound2005

    Slow progress from the end of 2017, and our ex-pats needn't expect all over GB coverage, or an exact copy of Radio 1. That's if RTE have still got the same plan in mind.

    The Draft Bill is very short on details. See Page 30.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 639 ✭✭✭ Mickey Mike

    BBC Radio4 and RTE Radio1 are the only real radio stations left on AM (Long Wave) band. It won't be long when these stations will be removed from LW thus making the entire LW, MW bands useless, Spirit radio 549 khz appears to be totally gone.

    Radio1 on UK DAB will be great for a period at least, we are well covered here in Ireland with FM/Saorview, online etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,184 ✭✭✭✭ The Cush

    That's the UK government's white paper on the future of broadcasting in the UK, published in April 2022, pre-Sunak. It included a review of DTT by 2025; the sale of Channel 4, now abandoned; and reintroduced the deregulation of commercial radio. I started a thread here on it at that time.

    The Draft Media Bill can be found here - Draft Media Bill - GOV.UK (, Part 5 section 40 refers to the licensing of non-UK radio services on local and small scale DAB multiplexes

    334 Subsection (2) amends section 245 to provide that a digital radio service provided from a qualifying country (as specified by the Secretary of State by regulations) and broadcast by means of a local or small-scale radio multiplex service also falls to be regulated by OFCOM. The Secretary of State intends to specify Ireland as a qualifying country with the effect that Raidió Teilifís Éireann (the Irish national broadcaster) and other Irish commercial and community radio station operators can apply for digital licences for their radio services and ultimately for those services to be broadcast in the United Kingdom.

    section 41 removes Ofcom's radio multiplex content oversight, multiplex operators are "free to decide the number and nature of radio stations which they carry"

    337 An application for a licence will no longer be required to include proposals about the number and characteristics of digital radio services to broadcast on the multiplex. The effect of this clause is to remove OFCOM’s function of overseeing the ‘line-ups’ of national and local radio multiplexes. This will mean that applicants for a national or local radio multiplex licence are required to satisfy OFCOM that they are able to deliver a service with sufficient geographical coverage and which is likely to be sustainable, and that they will act in a manner calculated to ensure fair and effective competition (as required by the remaining provisions of sections 46, 47, 50 and 51 of the 1996 Act), but are otherwise free to decide the number and nature of radio stations which they carry. This change, which reflects the maturity of the digital radio market and the availability of a wide range of radio stations across the UK, will allow for simpler arrangements between multiplex operators and OFCOM.

  • Registered Users Posts: 300 ✭✭ Bebo user in 22

    I don't think RTE will bother with small scale Dab in the UK now, that plan was devised way back in 2015, as well as the fact that they have since closed their own domestic dab service, the 252 mast also went under major refurbishement in summer 2021, the elderly UK 252 fans were also against moving to dab

  • Registered Users Posts: 473 ✭✭ kazoo106

    They can't have their cake and eat it though, even though I have been against the shuttering of 252. Belfast city centre has even poor reception of 87.8 from Ravensdale and 252 helps a lot there

    There is very good DAB penetration in the UK.

    Small scale may not work well for RTE - mainly because every operator would have a different encoder, the end result being there would be sync delay issues and audio level differences as one travels from MUX to MUX

    Currently though, there is little or no room as in particular the SDL and Local Multiplexes are mainly in vanilla DAB, as is all of the PSB mux.

    Migration of these to DAB+ would open up more space for services like RTE to fit

  • Registered Users Posts: 300 ✭✭ Bebo user in 22

    RTE have announced that LW 252 is closing this day fortnight. I'm pretty surprised at this as they have tried to close it about 4 time before but always get a backlash and backdown. Perhaps there's a serious problems with the rig ? AFAIK the manufacturer of it has gone out of business.

  • Registered Users Posts: 473 ✭✭ kazoo106

    Wonder how €250,000 going to €400,000 compares to the costs for being on Freesat and having a $ky EPG number on their platform?

    Anyway, thats it, end of official AM in Ireland

    Long live Star and North

  • Registered Users Posts: 158 ✭✭ rathfarnhamlad

  • Registered Users Posts: 300 ✭✭ Bebo user in 22

    RTE's longwave TX (2007) is only a baby compared to the bbc R4 one (1985)

  • Registered Users Posts: 639 ✭✭✭ Mickey Mike

    Its almost 10 years when RTE first announced they were axing LW252 so plenty of time to make changes to the way people listen, and I'm sure a lot of the elderly from 2014 would have passed away now leaving a next generation elderly and I'm sure would be able to handle other technology a bit better.

    So it will be the end of an era and an end of this thread too with nothing left to go on.

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