Suggestions for an Essex or Herts Hilltop location

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scanlos
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Suggestions for an Essex or Herts Hilltop location

Post by scanlos » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:46 pm

I am trying to update my UKWMO Communications web site and would appreciate help with locating a hilltop site used for Home Defence links.

My 1981 records show two VHF yagis at Reed TL356364 carring the Bedford to Colchester ROC and Bedford to Maidstone ROC links. They point in a 5 O'clock direction. At Colchester ROC the yagis pointed in a 8 O'clock direction. I would like to located the site where these two lines cross. I'm assuming the Colchester Maidstone link went via the same mast then on to somewhere near to Maidstone. (Bluebell Hill / Cossington Fm ???)

Therefore I'm missing a site in West Essex or East Hertfordshire area, could you suggest a suitable location? I have tried my usual source http://www.geograph.org.uk/ without success on this occasion.

Geograph is quite useful if you know what your looking for, it has the Essex masts at Sewards End TL570393 but not High Garrett TL779273

Thanks
Steve Scanlon

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Graham Dean
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Post by Graham Dean » Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:12 pm

The site at Reed is officially called Therfield (TL 355 364) and I believe the site Steve is looking for is Ongar (TL 552 030). Unfortunately, I have no details of this site. Are there any ex-DTELS maintenance/installation staff, who worked on Home Defence, able to confirm Ongar as a HD site and/or give further information?

Regards

Graham Dean.

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scanlos
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Post by scanlos » Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:11 am

Hello Graham

Thank you very much for you reply here and by private email too. My private reply bounced.

The BT Ongar Radio station was at TL506040 and located near North Weald Bassett an interesting description may be found here http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/site ... ndex.shtml

There are a proliferation of masts in the vicinity which makes it difficult to locate the Home Office mast nowadays. I really should have done this in 1980 when I went to the Colchester area. Life is full of regrets.

Thanks for your help.
Steve

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Post by Graham Dean » Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:55 pm

Hi Steve

Sorry it's not the same site but I was puzzled as to the distance between Redoubt and the Ongar that I discovered. It appears that this is a different Ongar. I can say that the name and NGR I have given you is a correct Home Office-registered radio site which appears to be around the intersection of the two rough directions you gave. Anyway, I hope someone else will be able to clarify the situation. Good luck in your quest.

Regards

Graham.

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scanlos
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Re: Suggestions for an Essex or Herts Hilltop location

Post by scanlos » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:18 pm

In December 2012, I received feedback via my personal site that my 'Missing' site could be at Danbury. Apparently there used to be a mast with Civil Defence aerials on it that has now been dismantled. According to a planning application on the Chelmsford Council website, four Home Office aerials existed on the Danbury Eastern Electricity mast in Church Green in 1995, Danbury, perhaps these are the RN2 aerials. Looking at recent photographs on MB21, they have gone.

I would be very interested to hear from anyone if they have any knowledge of Danbury, especially if it relates to the old mast or the pre-WARC setup for the UKWMO.

Thanks in anticipation.
Stephen Scanlon

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Bob Barron
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Re: Suggestions for an Essex or Herts Hilltop location

Post by Bob Barron » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:50 pm

Hello Stephen. I was a WT at Chelmsford detachment between 1976 and 1979. There were two sites at Danbury - one the "Pye" site used by amongst others Essex Fire (who were outside the HO scheme) and the other about a mile or so away that was behind Danbury church and was used by Essex Police as a receive only site (for two VHF channels) - perhaps that's the 4 aerials you mentioned?. I think this was the electricity board site and the police were sharers (it certainly wasn't the usual HO standard hilltop site). Although I never got involved much in Home Defence networks, I believe the site was also used by HD. (The very first task I had on day one at the detachment was fixing a HD transceiver at County Hall - that was my one and only involvement as the HD team from Cheveley depot usually did all the maintenance). It was a long while ago but I recall on the couple of occasions I visited, walking down a path to the Danbury site alongside the church and the building and mast were perched on the side of the hill overlooking the south of the county. I still live in Chelmsford and next time I'm in Danbury I'll have a look by the church to refresh my memory. Regards, Bob.

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Re: Suggestions for an Essex or Herts Hilltop location

Post by scanlos » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:56 pm

Hello Bob

Thank you for your very helpful reply. Recent photographs of the Church Green site can be found on the television mast anorak's web site http://tx.mb21.co.uk/gallery/danbury-church-green.phpand there is a link to the Bakers Lane site too, the shrouded yagi's for the Fire Brigade can still be seen on those photos.

Church Green is indeed a Electricity Board mast and I managed to find a planning application from 1992 showing the two open yagis and two shrouded yagis. From the bearing on the open yagis, they point at Chelmsford and possibly Thurfield. In an email directly to my website http://www.ringbell.co.uk/ukwmo/Page252.htm a person who served at Chelmsford Council EC, said their UHF link to the RGHQ went via Danbury.

In 1980 I visited Colchester ROC and noted three VHF yagis pointing 8 o'clock. In 1981 when I was attempting to trace the Bedford ROC inter-group radio circuits I had visited the Thurfield mast amongst others two pairs of yagi pointed at 5 o'clock. I never got a further opportunity to continue the search due to a change of job. The missing mast has weighed heavily on my tiny mind for all these years. My conjecture is the 'Missing' mast, possibly Danbury would carry the Bedford - Colchester, Bedford - Maidstone, Colchester Maidstone and Colchester - Horsham inter group links. There would be a lot of kit at the missing location - 8 VHF yagis and 8 transceivers. I didn't note the direction of the Colchester ROC UHF yagi on the RGHQ circuit but it too could go the same way.

Everything helps piece together the jigsaw. Over the years my own searching plus two other emails have enabled me to put together quite an extensive map of the pre-WARC era Home Defence network. If anyone had any old 1970's notes in the loft showing any little bit of the Royal Observer Corp / UKWMO home defence network would help build a little more of the picture.

Thanks for your help
Stephen

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