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Replacing top-mounted equipment on masts

The UK recently switched from analogue to digital TV transmission. The digital switchover programme was complex and Helirig were invited to provide lifting services to help keep the DSO programme on track.

  • Sites — 50 main transmitting stations needed upgrading from analogue to digital
  • Locations — Spread across the UK from the Shetlands in Scotland to Brighton on the south coast.
  • Access — Helirig gave access to remote or inaccessible sites of natural/scientific interest
  • Mission Accomplished — All work was completed by 2012, by which time the UK was entirely Digital.

Between 2008 and 2012 Helirig worked closely with Babcock International Group and Arqiva to assist them in the Digital Switchover programme (DSO). It attracted widespread national coverage in the media and was a matter of interest to the public. This meant it was imperative to meet deadlines efficiently and with great attention to detail.

The DSO was a complex programme that required re-engineering work at some 1,150 transmitter sites across the UK. Helirig were brought in to ensure the programme stayed both time and cost effective. TV masts are often located in rural areas with poor accessibility and surrounded by sites of natural or scientific interest. Helirig granted the clients access to sites that cranes could not, reducing the impact on the environment and the public.

A job made for Helirig

Replacing the analogue equipment with digital equipment on top of the Wrekin Beacon was particularly suited to Helirig’s expertise:

  • The site was inaccessible to the large and heavy plant equipment needed to facilitate cranes.
  • The iconic Wrekin Beacon and surrounding area is of special historical and environmental interest. Minimizing noise and disruption was crucial.
  • There was inadequate back-up TV transmission. Using a helicopter reduced the length of the blackout for local residents during the swap.

Helirig has provided a helicopter solution and erected 22 towers in 2 days for our power project in Gloucestershire. Everyone at Babcock has been impressed by the speed and convenience offered by helicopters and I’m sure we will be using them more in the future.

— Adrian Parker, Account Manager DNO, Babcock