New Transmission System For Radio Heatherwood
In 1998 articles in the NAHBO magazine prompted us to look at whether or not the new option of providing our service on a freely radiating low power am transmitter were obtainable.
Staff Newsletter July
Am Service for Hospital Radios
The Radio Authority the body which regulates broadcasting frequencies for all transmission services in the UK; on the 14th July announced the introduction of a low power freely radiating am broadcasting system for all hospitals/radios outside the M25 corridor.
It is expected by the Autumn the Radio Authority will be in a position to start issuing licences.
Test sites around the UK Stoke Mandeville, Radio Tyneside have proved that a low power transmitter will adequately cover the hospital site without the need for the installation of expensive cable listening systems.
Over the last 20 odd years the National association of hospital radio services has been pursuing the issue of a broadcasting frequency for which hospital radios could use.
How will this affect us at Radio Heatherwood ?
We already use the am inductive loop system to reach most patient areas which uses a limited signal on 999Khz Am. This at present relies on 4 cable networks and 30 aerials around the site, all of which have to be maintained.
The am inductive loop licence we require for this is £250 a year the same cost as the new freely radiating licence due to be introduced.
The Am inductive loop licence( sponsored by Victoria hall fund ) which lasts five years comes up for renewal at the end of the year.
The inductive loop service has been in operation for just over 10 years.
A change to the new Freely Radiating service
Radio Heatherwood is in a good position to take advantage of the new system. We have the loan radio service in place and working well. The station has implemented all the criteria for professional broadcasting and all training adheres the current Radio Authority guidelines.
The new service would require the installation of one transmitter mast/ and to include a maintenance contract.
A move to the new service would mean everywhere on the hospital would freely be able to listen to the hospital radio service including all residences. Any future building work or changes made to the site would automatically receive the am service without the need for installation of aerials and expensive cable networks. ( The EMI unit would we hope receive a quality service).
The cost of the change of our installation Inc new equipment. £?
PRS/MCPS costs would be applicable £?
There would be a change of broadcasting frequency 999khz at present. ?
What do we do about the inductive loop service ?
What do we do about the old bed-head system ?
Questions to be asked ?
What is the quality of the service ( especially evenings/night time ) ?
What will be the hospital trusts position if we decide to opt for the change ?
What other restrictions are applicable ?
What permissions will we need to obtain ( i.e. planning permission for a transmission mast ).
This is just a brief outline of what this change will mean to us. Lots of questions will be raised by this move. If radio Heatherwood is to take advantage of the am freely radiating service we have got to make some very important decisions which will fundamentally decide the future for radio services on the hospital site for years to come.
We will be monitoring the news from the National association/ Radio Authority over the coming weeks. We will be able to clarify the path the hospital radio service intends to take. In the near future.Back to Top
Staff Newsletter December
Low Power Am for Hospital Radio’s.
In the last newsletter you will I hope read the article in the middle pages about the possibility of a single transmitter system which could be available to us. I was overwhelmed with support for the idea ?.
A letter to the hospital in July was finally responded to recently when a meeting was held with the hospital and they have agreed in principle to the development of the idea and to assist where they can.
What does this mean ?
We intend to ask for a survey to be conducted to the viability of Heatherwood. becoming a user of the Low power am. A cost for the move to this system will be drafted and discussed with the various concerns over whether or not we decide to change. The nature of the costs involved means it would have to be a joint venture with the main league and any other interested fund raising groups.
What Happens to the Inductive Loop system if we change ?
It is more than likely this system will be decimated by the new builds and renovations so would not be supported beyond the introduction of the Low Power AM.
What Happens to the bed-head system.?
If we change Like the Inductive loop it will continue to suffer but we would continue to support the opportunity of choice for patients so no change is envisaged in the level of service we give.
Early next year the replacement amps will be installed.( Money in the bank to do this ). We have also stressed to the hospital their need to support the service on the wards etc.
When will the Decision be Taken:-
At this stage we would not see a commitment either way until mid-late next year.
Who will make the final decision:-
When all discussions have been completed and evaluated.( your input is important )
It will be voted on by the Main League of Friends.
If you want to voice any opinions about this service I would be grateful for some written responses Please !!!!!.
The following pages carry an article from one of the trial sites at Stoke Mandeville. This answers a lot of questions to the last newsletter article.
We are waiting for a second part of this story just as soon as it becomes available watch the notice-boards.
The articles written by Chris Long of Stoke Mandeville were published in our internal newsletter for those who did not see the articles in the Nahbo Magazine. Not included in this web site article.