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Marking 100 Years Of The BBC In Aberdeen

Aberdeen Amateur Radio Society and the BBC Amateur Radio Group - 3rd & 4th November 2023

The GB2BD station was located in the entrance foyer of the BBC Studios building at Beechgrove Terrace, Aberdeen where there was also an impressive display of BBC memorabilia from the early days of broadcasting. Some of the items on show were provided by Ritchie GM1LKD from his personal collection.

General view of GB2BD station

The dates chosen for the special event station was so that they fell between the start of transmissions from Aberdeen and the centenary of the first Gaelic broadcast made by the BBC.

The station was active with an IC-7300 on the 40m and 20m bands using 100W into separate dipoles. Another rig and a 'white stick' collinear was also in place for working mainly local stations on the V/UHF bands. All the antennas were held aloft using a mobile lattice tower (kindly on loan from GM4ZUK), located in the car park. 

GB2BD outside view

Unfortunately, the large communications tower you can see at the rear of the building wasn't available to use as a support for our antennas!

The event was a great success and thanks go to the BBC and everyone involved who helped organise, set up and operate the station and to all those who we had a QSO with over the two days. Thanks also go to James GM0OMV and Mark MM7EWJ for permission to use some of their photographs on this page.

Shown below - RSGB Region 2 Representative Jim Campbell 2M0IAQ takes a brief break from operating the HF station and later in the afternoon, Allan GM4ZUK concentrates on working the DX on 20m

2M0IAQ Operating at GB2BD
GM4ZUK Operating at GB2BD

Shown below - Graham GM4OBD (left) and Ritchie GM1LKD admire some the many items of memorabilia on display in the foyer of the BBC Studios building.

BBC memorabilia on display in the foyer - picture 1
BBC memorabilia on display in the foyer - picture 2

A Brief History

The BBC opened a new transmitting station in Aberdeen on the 10th October 1923. This was the seventh transmitter that the British Broadcasting Company (as the BBC was known in its early years) had commissioned. The callsign allocated to the station was 2BD (hence the choice of GB2BD as the special event station callsign). The transmitting apparatus was located in a building rented from the Aberdeen Steam Laundry Company in Claremont Street. The studios occupied the first and second floors of a building in Belmont Street which was owned by the Aberdeen Elecrical Engineering Company in the city centre. The following eighteen months saw growth which required more space and by May 1925 the studios and offices now also occupied two rooms on the ground floor and three additional rooms on the first floor. A separate, exclusive entrance to the building was also constructed.

The antenna at Claremont Street was typical of the type used in early broadcasting, being of wire construction forming a cage or 'sausage' shape. The end supports used were two Marconi tubular masts which were 110 feet (33.5m) tall. The use of the tubular masts was unusual as many transmitting stations of the era tended to make use of nearby tall chimneys as antenna supports but no suitable chimneys were available at the chosen location in Aberdeen. The antenna system earthing arrangements included several large sheets of copper buried in trenches. Work on installing the antenna system was underway by August 1923 to allow transmissions to commence in October.

For more information and links to other resources visit the GB2BD page on