10 June 2001


Ship-to-shore communications on the west coast of Scotland always had their limitations due to the terrain and the limited Coast Radio Station coverage. This was particularly so when the run-down commenced of Oban Radio with its eventual closure on 31st March 1982. At that time, on medium frequencies there was the total loss of Oban's signals, although this was in part augmented by the introduction of radiotelephone link-call facilities at Malinhead Radio/EJM in the Republic of Ireland. On VHF, although control of Oban's slave stations on Skye and Lewis had been patched through to Stonehaven Radio , the hours of operation were limited to 0800A to 2200A.

Plans had been put in hand, long before the closure of Oban, for a permanent replacement of the temporary experimental station Lewis Radio . Although it had been promised that this new station would be operational before Oban Radio closed, it was not until August 1982 that Hebrides Radio/GHD came on air for tests with restricted hours working, with full 24-hour operations commencing on 1st September 1982.

Hebrides Radio was located at two different sites on the west coast of Lewis, one site for MF transmitting and the other for receiving and VHF. Some interesting problems were encountered during the construction phase. Although the station was going into exisiting sites, it was necessary to take in a heavy emergency generator - too heavy for the existing narrow twisted road. A new access had to be constructed, but the planners forgot to allow for the rights that local crofters have to dig the peats. When they arrived with the generator on the low loader they discovered that their new road had been dug up at several locations to give access to the all important peats!

Hebrides Radio Receiver and VHF site
Hebrides Radio receiver and VHF site
lewis-tx.bmp (1225542 bytes)
Hebrides Radio transmitter site
Gallan Head, Lewis

Hebrides Radio was remotely controlled from Stonehaven Radio/GND but, with the other west coast slave vhf stations Lewis Radio and Skye Radio, was operated as a separate entity. The station formed part of the UK distress watch on 2182kHz with the watch being kept at Stonehaven, but there was the unusual feature that Stornoway Coastguard station could, on request, be given access to the stations 2182kHz transmitter.

Transmitters located at 58.13.52N 07.02.27W
2182kHz 2182kHz International Distress, Safety and Calling frequency.
1792kHz 2381kHz UK ship calling frequency (0900-1700) and coast station answering (H24)
1866kHz 2527kHz (UK channel 5) Main broadcasting frequency and primary ship-to-shore working
2667kHz 2009kHz (UK channel 1) secondary ship-to-shore working
  2049kHz ship to shore working by foreign vessels
2170.5kHz   transmittsion of SSFC selective calling signals
Channel 16 vhf   International Distress, Safety and Calling channel
channel 26 vhf   Main broadcasting channela nd primary ship-to-shore working
channel 27 vhf   secondary ship to shore working
BROADCASTING SCHEDULE AT GHD - 1866kHz and channel 26 vhf
Navigational Warnings 0033, 0433, 0833, 1233, 1633, 2033 GMT
Decca Warnings on receipt and then H+03 for next two hours
Storm Warnings After first silence period following receipt and repeated at next of 0303, 0903, 1503 or 2103
Weather Forecasts 0803 and 2003 GMT