Local Radio OB set up

Photo by Rod Fawcett, no reproduction without permission












This photo from Radio WM engineer, Rod Fawcett, shows a typical local radio outside broadcast set-up.

Radio WM Victoria Square OB

Photo from Rod Fawcett, no reproduction without permission













A Radio WM outside broadcast in Victoria Square, Birmingham, obviously with a Victorian theme. Thanks to Radio WM engineer, Rod Fawcett for sharing the photograph. In the photo are (left to right) June Harben, ?, Tom Horsfield, Chris Nelson.





Radio Links Vehicle at Burghley Horse Trials

Copyright Steve Dellow, no reproduction without permission









The photo shows a radio links van at a mid-point on an outside broadcast at the Burghley Horse Trials, in September 1985. The radio links van would receive the OB signal from the truck at the event, and then send it on to the transmitter, or to another links van.

The following comments were posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Bryan Comley: ‘Burghley is a huge job with 20 plus cameras covering the cross country course, today the cameras all come back to one truck via fibre optics. In the 80’s there were two trucks one at the start/finish and one at Lion bridge, the cameras at the extremes of the course were radio linked to the trucks , Formula one at Silverstone use cross course microwave too.

Too get the pictures on air, links had to be set up to the nearest inject point, either a BBC centre or a transmitter site, the max distances for one link was around 40 miles sure to the curvatures of the earth and signal strength, so mid points on high ground would be set for some OBs. This could fail due to fog if the midpoint was high above the fog and the OB was in fog as the beam would get bent leaving the fog.’

Steve Dellow: ‘Indeed – a big job – and I’ve still got the Comms planning sheets! In 1985, at Burghley Park there were two Comms vans (758 and 602) – ‘Dairy Park’ and Main. The van in the photo (356) was at Tinwell Lodge (with Generator PG50), then 587 at Cold Overton, then onwards to Sutton (and underground circuit to Pebble Mill). Receiver 102R and Transmitter 124T on the top of 356, with Pete Myslowski asleep in the cab! I was supposed to give £25 cash to the site owner (Mr Flint), plus £20 as they hadn’t been paid the year before! The ‘hops’ were 5km, 18.5km, and 69km.’

Comms planning sheet










Malcolm Hickman: ‘On other occasions, we used a different mid point, where the vehicle would pick up the signals (7ghz microwave) and relay them to a receiver located at the Morborne transmitter. We used a passive reflector up the mast to bounce the signals down to a receiver on the ground. They were then injected by BT into a protection circuit to Pebble Mill.’

Roy Thompson: ‘As explained radio links had to be line of sight. This could be a problem for some starter links (the first one from the ob site) especially in town centres. Eagle towers were used, which had a self erecting, two stage tower which would carry the transmitter. It was rigged at 30 foot and then sent up to its maximum height of 60 foot. Have no actual photos but came across this model Dinky toy at my local dentist. Unfortunately the second part of the tower is missing.’

Andy Marriott: ‘I love seeing stuff like this. I joined the comms dept at Pebble Mill in 2000. But by then it was a shadow of its former self. Still got to work on a few OB’s before the plug finally got pulled a year or so later. OB’s aren’t nearly as cool when they’re over satellite or fibre!’











CMCR9 Outside Broadcast Re-enactment

Photo by Steve Harris, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Steve Harris, no reproduction without permission

A re-enactment of the outside broadcast truck above, CMCR9, Pebble Mill’s original CM1 is being organised for May 2016. The team from Royal Holloway, University of London, have so far organised quite a large team of crew who worked on type 2 OB trucks. However, they still need some more people to be involved, including at least one more cameraman, an engineering manager, a PA, and more than anything they need some riggers! If you worked on these type of OB trucks, and might want to get involved, then please add a comment and I will pass on your details to the organisers. The idea is to recreate as far as possible an actual recording with the truck. The recording will be in the North West.

Children in Need – Steve Cram and Alan Towers

Steve Cram & Marie Phillips

Marie Phillips & Alan Towers
























Photos from Marie Phillips, no reproduction without permission.

‘Children in Need’ has enjoyed some high profile supporters over the years.  In these photos Pebble Mill ‘Children in Need’ co-ordinator, Marie Phillips, is joined by middle distance runner, Steve Cram, and Midlands Today presenter, Alan Towers.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

Ruth Kiosses: “Guessing this was c1990 because if the plain blocks under Pudsey? The following year the blocks were coloured ! Sad to know this info but I remember the sweatshirts I bought each year. Still got my Pudsey on this design 22 years old and still taken into school every November!”

Marie Phillips: “Gosh Ruth, well remembered ! This was an athletics event at Alexandra Stadium where we were invited to take CIN merchandise to sell and Alan Towers was there to help with promotion and Steve Cram came over to the Stall – can’t remember if he bought anything but he attracted a crowd who did!”

Ruth Kiosses: “I started PM in 1990 and I knew that it was the first sweatshirt I bought! Loved CIN the busiest week of the year in Wardrobe. Light entertainment stuff arriving in van loads, long hours, but great fun. Loved doing the OB from the front lawn always such a great atmosphere.”

Marie Phillips: “I retired in 1998 Ruth, but as every November arrives I remember those nights – such fun, such hard work, such adrenalin and then twice a year being so proud to be able to allocate the fruits of all the effort. Hapy, happy days.”