The Bartley BBC Radio Site was set up in the war and known as an “H group transmitter”. The purpose was to act as a relay station to improve reception of the Home Programme in the Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth areas.
Five weeks before D Day it also became an ABSIE (American Broadcasting Station In Europe) site transmitting programmes to troops and the enemy as a source of propaganda. This service closed at the end of the war however the Home Programme Service was retained to transmit regional radio programmers to the BBCs South Region. In Sept 1978 the BBC ceased regional radio broadcasting with the introduction of Radio 4 on 198 kHz Long Wave and the Bartley site closed and demolished.
Group H: The synchronization of the Home Service transmitters on to just two frequencies caused many interference problems for domestic listeners, with one Home Service transmitter interfering with another on the same frequency – this caused reception to sound very “mushy” in many areas. To overcome this problem the BBC initially installed a network of 61 low power relay stations around the UK using 203 meters (1474 kHz) called ‘Group H’, and which was later expanded. This network of low power relays filled in the coverage gaps (the mush areas) from the main transmitters. All of the Group H stations were manned 24 hours per day so that any single transmitter could be quickly closed down should there be an air raid.
- Brookmans Park (Southern Group)
- Droitwich 5GB (Southern Group)
- Washford (Southern Group)
- Moorside Edge (Southern Group)
- Bartley (Southern Group)
- Norwich (Southern Group)
- Swains Lane – Reserve TX (Southern Group)
- Stagshaw (Northern Group)
- Westerglen (Northern Group)
- Lisnagarvey (Northern Group)
- Burghead (Northern Group)
- Ottringham (Northern Group)
- Penmon (Northern Group)
- Redmoss (Northern Group)
- Fraserborough (masking)
American Broadcasting Station in Europe (ABSIE) began five weeks before D Day, established by USA’s Office of War Information (OWI) with the help of CBS and was operated by the OWI and Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force’s (SHAEF) Psychological Warfare Division. The aim of American Broadcasting Station in Europe was to provide “…the truth of this war to our friends in Europe — and to our enemies”. Like the BBC, ABSIE provided news, talks, music and propaganda and also broadcast information for the underground movement. Broadcasts were made in various languages.
ABSIE used twelve transmitters situated in the UK using two frequencies plus some additional short-wave transmission facilities provided by the BBC.
Information contributed by John Wingham