RTE – Radio Telefis Eireann.
Athlone transmitting station.
Power : 100kW
Service: RTE 2FM
Radio Eireann’s famously-located Athlone transmitting station started operating in February 1933, with a 100kW Marconi transmitter.
piece of work operated until the late 50s, when it was replaced by a
Brown-Boveri unit, also 100kW.
In 1975 RTE
commissioned a new site, at Tullamore, and moved Radio Eireann to
it. Athlone was then silent for a few years until the
pop music service, 'Radio 2' started in 1979. This was, and still is transmitted from Athlone with a Continental Electronics 100kW transmitter.
The antenna is a T, between two approx 300-foot towers.
Incredibly, both the original Marconi and the Brown-Boveri transmitters are still in situ!
We had a tour of Athlone last week (24th Nov 2003) and took these pictures of this amazing place.
reproduced below, with captions where we knew what was what. There is
no guarantee of the accuracy of these captions!
transmitters are contained in one large hall. The building was
obviously constructed especially for, and probably at the same time as
the Marconi transmitter. This picture is of one end of the hall,
containing the power supplies for the Marconi. Here are a few of the
rotary transformers used to generate high voltage DC – a motor driving
In the background of the right picture there is the PSU enclosure for the Brown-Boveri transmitter.
Close up of some of those rotaries. Imagine the noise when this lot was
running! Lovely wall-mounted switches, with that great volt meter
Capacitors and transformers in background. Not sure of the PCB status
Second cabinet of the three. Any
guesses what these tubes are? It was hard taking a close-up through the
glass, so here are two shots, one with flash, one without.
Third of the three cabinets, again filled
with exotic tubes. On the right is another shot of the main line
of cabinets. We didn't actually see anything that looked like
a large modulation transformer anywhere, so we assume the rig was
modulated relatively low down and the rest was a linear amp up to
The BB's two power supply control panelsI presume the BB was two 50kW units. The two consoles, with Mr Green inspecting. I think the nearest one controlled RF.
Reckon this is the console that controlled the modulation stages, as
the yellow-ish meters are labelled 'limiter' 1 and 2, and other
controls seem to refer to mod rather than RF.
it's a bit difficult to take a full-frame
photo of the Brown-Boveri as other bits of transmitter prevent you from
standing far enough back!
By the way, above that grating at the top is the feeder from the Continental out to the next room, which we didn't see. Three bars spaced vertically, center one aerial, top and bottom ones earth.
Here's the currently on-air Continental: