The Authority’s Stations: Northern Ireland 

29 June 2023


BLACK MOUNTAIN (Channel 9) and STRABANE (Channel 8)

Company: Ulster Television


Coverage map for Northern Ireland's two transmitters


Population Primary 1.03 mn. Secondary 0.10 mn. Fringe 0.07 mn. Total 1.20 mn.
within measured contours
Primary 0.108 mn. Secondary 0.073 mn. Fringe 0.069 mn. Total 0.25 mn.
within predicted contours
Channel Band III Channel 9 (horizontally polarised) Band III Channel 8 (vertically polarised)
Vision Carrier Frequency Nominal 194.75 Mc/s
Actual 194.74325 Mc/s
Nominal 189.75 Mc/s
Actual 189.75675 Mc/s
Sound Carrier Frequency Nominal 191.25 Mc/s
Actual 191.23 Mc/s
Nominal 186.25 Mc/s
Actual 186.27 Mc/s
Effective Radiated Power Vision 100 kW maximum
Sound 25 kW maximum
Vision 90 kW maximum
Sound 22.5 kW maximum
Power of Transmitters Vision (peak white) 4 kW
Sound (carrier) 1 kW
Vision (peak white) 2 x 2 kW
Sound (carrier) 2 x 0.5 kW
Heights above sea level Site 987 ft. Mean aerial 1,687 ft. Site 900 ft. Mean aerial 1,875 ft.
Location 6° 1′ 10″ W. 54° 35′ 10″ N. 7° 23′ 10″ W. 54° 48′ 0″ N.



A large part of Northern Ireland was provided with an Independent Television service in the Autumn of 1959 by the construction of the Black Mountain station near Belfast, close to the BBC’s existing Band I station at Divis. However, West Ulster, which includes the districts of Londonderry and Enniskillen, could not be covered by this station and, clearly, at least one additional station was needed.

The Black Mountain station overlooks Belfast and is 940 ft. above sea level. A 750 ft. mast, the highest permitted by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation due to the proximity of the airport, was erected. It supports a moderately-directional aerial radiating about 100 kW to both the north-west and the south-west, 70 kW to the west and 20 kW to the east. This power-radiation pattern ensures the optimum coverage of the area whilst avoiding harmful interference to the service areas of other stations using Channel 9, notably Winter Hill.

A study of the topography of West Ulster revealed that the unserved area could economically be covered by a single station if a high site near Strabane could be obtained. A site 900 ft. above sea level was found four miles south-east of Strabane and here a station using a 1,000 ft. mast was constructed. It has a highly-directional aerial radiating about 90 kW in two main lobes to the north and to the south. 10 kW only is radiated to the east and west, but this suffices to cover the areas not served by the Black Mountain transmitter and, at the same time, prevents unnecessary radiation into the territory of the Irish Republic to the west.

The Black Mountain station went into service on 31st October 1959. Strabane should begin transmission during January 1963.


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