In July 2023 we were contacted by an ex-BBC OBs engineer offering an ex-BBC (and ex-SiS) satellite uplink truck.
The vehicle is a 2006 Mercedes Sprinter Van and carries the registration “W17 SAT” (which originally belonged to BBC Link 17). It was built by Megahertz and was initially based at the BBC Kendal Avenue facility until that was closed in 2007, then at Langley. In 2008 it was transferred to SiS (who closed down in 2014).
It was painted in “the closest Mercedes colour available to match the other BBC OB blue vans in the fleet at the time”.
The vehicle has most of its original equipment including the built-in generator. It had been updated to newer equipment, but the original items have been re-fitted before it was generously donated to us.
What do you do at a television outside broadcast (OB) when you’re miles from the nearest mains supply? Or you have mains but nowhere near enough current for the heavy demands of an OB? The answer is a mobile generator.
By Dan Cranefield, Senior Engineering Manager, BBC Tel OBs
The Palace of Arts, Wembley during the 1948 Olympics. Photo: BBC Archive via web.archive.org.
After the war BBC Television Outside Broadcasts (Tel OBs) operated from their base at the Palace of Arts in Wembley, one of the substantial buildings which were built there specially for the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. Some of these buildings were put to other uses later on.
All outside broadcast (OB) units need electric power but supplying it lacks the interest of the OB trucks themselves. At BECG our thoughts turned to this vital subject with our acquisition of a 1953 BBC generator truck. In this article, we survey the various ways in which power was provided for BBC OB trucks and look in particular at the 10 generator trucks that the BBC operated.
TV in London is 65 years old in 2020, remaining vital throughout a period of external pressures as well as the changing viewing habits of the population. In this article, I look at the birth and evolution of London Weekend Television, and at the role that technology played in developing its sport and drama output.