The Swingate transmitting station
is a facility for FM-transmission at Swingate, UK
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
(national grid reference: TR334429 ). For many years there were three lattice towers with a height of 111 metres, which were built for Chain Home
Chain Home was the codename for the ring of coastal Early Warning radar stations built by the British before and during the Second World War. The system otherwise known as AMES Type 1 consisted of radar fixed on top of a radio tower mast, called a 'station' to provide long-range detection of...
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...
before World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
. The FM transmitting antennas are attached to what was the middle tower; microwave
Microwaves, a subset of radio waves, have wavelengths ranging from as long as one meter to as short as one millimeter, or equivalently, with frequencies between 300 MHz and 300 GHz. This broad definition includes both UHF and EHF , and various sources use different boundaries...
link dishes and mobile telephone antennas were spread across all three towers. The south tower was dismantled in March 2010.
They are the only radar towers from the Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...
in WWII still in use today, although the Swingate towers no longer have the three cantilever platforms that were fitted originally.
Originally there were four towers with wires stretched between them to transmit radio waves that were detected by a group of four smaller towers to the east of the surviving ones. The receiver towers were demolished after the war, along with one of the transmitter towers. Subsequently the north mast was demolished and replaced with a similar tower with a different bracing design. During the Cold War the towers sprouted four transmitters at their base which were popularly assumed to be part of the US ACE High
ACE High was a NATO communications system which dates back to 1956. The system was decommissioned in the late 1980s, and its frequencies reallocated for commercial radiotelephone service. The system was designed to be an L-band troposcatter radio system, which was meant to provide long-range...
communication system but were more likely an RAF link to Germany. The south tower was dismantled in March 2010.
The transmitter is the main transmission station for the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...
which serves the bulk of Kent.
||BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...
||BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...
||BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...
||BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...
There are currently no DAB
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....
signals from this site at present due to its proximity to mainland Europe. The county of Kent is therefore covered with smaller, low-powered relay stations instead to avoid interference.
- Dover transmitting station - broadcasts TV, DAB and commercial FM radio from a site west of the town