- MALTA'S MASTS & TOWERS -
Smith with additional information supplied by Major Tony Abela, Richard
Harcourt and Mark Camilleri
|STATIONS (as of Apr 2004)
|RADIO (This lists all main
There are other
community stations on Malta and Gozo which cannot be
listed here. All received except those marked *)
ENERGY RADIO (Birzebbuga community station)
Super One Radio (Gozo Relay)*
CAPITAL RADIO (Island wide station)
BAY RADIO (Island wide station)
RADIO BRONJA (PBS - Island
wide station) ("MAGIC 91.7" (2011))
SUPER ONE RADIO (Island wide [Labour Party])
RADIO MALTA (PBS - Island
Radio 101 (Gozo Relay)*
RTK - Raju Ta' Kulhadd (Victoria Relay - Gozo)
RADIO KOTTONER (Cospicua community sta.)
XFM RADIO (Island wide station)
RADIO 101 (Island wide station[National Party])
A3 FM (Island wide station)
CALYPSO FM (Island wide station)
RTK - Raju Ta' Kulhadd (Island wide station)
CAMPUS FM (University - Island wide station)
FANTASY RADIO (Paola community station)*
SMASH RADIO (Island wide station)
CHRISTIAN LIGHT RADIO (Naxxar community)
TEN SIXTY SIX (PBS - Island
EDEN FM (Marsaxlokk community station)
RADIO MALTA (PBS - relay of
(PAL System B)*
TELEVISION MALTA (PBS)*
CHANNEL 12 (PBS)*
SUPER ONE TV
= Digital Switch Over (DSO) - All analogue television (then identified
as TVM, Net TV, One and Smash TV) switched off on October 31st 2011.
From this date only digital terrestrial television is transmitted -
five television stations on one digital multiplex using UHF channel
66 ( 834 MHz ): http://www.dso.org.mt
TELEVISION (Digital Terrestrial - DVB-T : MPEG-2 coding)
Free To Air
Multiplex consisting of: TVM, Education 22, Favourite Channel, Net TV, ONE and Smash TV.
Two main transmitters, Naxxar & Portomaso, plus eleven supplementary transmitter sites. Island wide single frequency network (S.F.N.)
MOBILE - Mobile Phone Network
VODAFONE - Mobile Phone Network
Non Directional Radio Navigation Beacon LQA
(At Fort St Roco 2km East of Valletta)
Non Directional Radio Navigation Beacon MLT
Non Directional Radio Navigation Beacon
= Public Broadcasting Services Ltd http://www.pbs.com.mt ]
Used For FM Radio and Television:
G = Gharghur
L = L-Iklin
88.3 MHz FM
88.3 MHz FM
88.7 MHz FM
89.7 MHz FM
91.7 MHz FM
92.7 MHz FM
93.7 MHz FM
95.5 MHz FM
97.6 MHz FM
98.0 MHz FM
100.2 MHz FM
101.0 MHz FM
101.8 MHz FM
102.3 MHz FM
103.0 MHz FM
103.7 MHz FM
104.1 MHz FM
104.6 MHz FM
105.4 MHz FM
106.6 MHz FM
107.6 MHz FM
999 kHz AM /MW
Ch E10 VHF
Ch 12 (?) VHF
Ch 29 UHF
Ch ? UHF
UHF Channel 66 (834 MHz)
UHF Channel 66 (834 MHz)
5 kW ?
|The above list is not the usual way that
station and mast information is presented, but I am unable to confirm
which station comes from which mast in every case. Instead I have
presented a list of everything that I heard and saw and what
were used (where known) and I have also indicated by letter which mast
is used where this information is known.
I must thank Major Tony Abela, a Radar Engineer in Malta, for his help
in clarifying some finer technical details. Major Abela writes
technical articles for the Malta Star online newspaper every Wednesday,
so to read his articles visit the Malta Star website and go to the back
issues section and choose a Wednesday issue then click on the Star Tech
section on the lower right-hand column of the page to find details of
his feature. During March, April and May 2004 there are special
articles about radio that are very well worth reading.
(Radio & TV)
Naxxar (DTT plus Microwave & Monitoring)
View from Mdina looking towards north east towards Gharghur, Naxxar and
The photograph above
shows a view
from Mdina (pronounced Umdina) looking North-East across the island to
Naxxar and St Georges. There are 3 masts in this photograph,
though they are extremely difficult to make out in this picture.
In the foreground of the photo, left of centre, is Malta's National
Stadium. To the far left of the photograph (East) and on the
horizon is the main radio and television transmitting tower at
Gharghur. A couple of inches to the right (East) is the tower at
Naxxar (Pronounced Nashar) that is used by Maltacom as a link station
and for monitoring. This can be seen above the centre of the
National Stadium with the top just protruding above the horizon.
To the far right on the horizon is the new Hilton Hotel at St Georges,
and a few centimetres to the left of this is the mast at L-Iklin, which
is very unclear in this picture. The L-Iklin mast appears to be
used purely for UHF television broadcasting.
|Before we get to the main photographs of
Masts and Towers on Malta here are a few more details for you to digest:
Malta is a very small island located in the Mediterranean South of
Italy, between Sicily and Libya, the population is around 400,000 with
Valletta as the capital. Malta has 4 terrestrial television
channels and numerous radio stations and also The Melitia Cable
television service that provides around 57 channels. The Maltese
enjoy watching the Italian television stations, many of which are
available off air using a high-gain UHF TV aerial directed towards
Sicily & Italy. Most houses boast several TV aerials, one of
which is usually used to receive Italian TV. The main TV and
transmitters are located on high ground just to the West of
Valletta. The very highest land is actually to the South-West of
Malta, but there are no broadcast TV or radio masts there.
We visited Malta in April 2004 and enjoyed mixed weather some good
sunny days with blue skies and a good breeze and a few overcast and
windy days. I had not intended to photograph any masts in Malta,
but the island is so small, about the size of the Isle Of Wight, that
you cannot drive anywhere without seeing a mast or a tower! I
therefore just had to get the camera out and take a few photos on our
various journeys. I always seem to be very unfortunate when
photographing masts and have to suffer grey skies as backgrounds -
surprisingly Malta was no exception, the clouds must follow us wherever
we go! There are one or two pictures with nice blue skies but a
few too many that are grey. The higher than normal winds did not
help the camera shake either.
Malta's radio and
television services are co-ordinated and regulated by the Malta
Broadcasting Authority which was established in 1961 as in independent
statutory body appointed by the President of the Republic of
The public service radio and television stations are funded by licence
fee and are provided by Public Broadcasting Services Ltd, who provide 2
TV stations and 3 radio stations, as marked in the table above.
I was disappointed to read in the Malta Independent newspaper that PBS
have been suffering some testing times. Like other countries at
the moment, the government of Malta does not appear to be fully
supportive of the public service broadcasting being provided by the PBS
radio and television company. PBS employed less than 200
staff in total and, according to the newspaper, this is to be reduced
less than 70 due to on-going cut-backs.
The other two television stations and all the other radio stations are
privately run. Super One Television and Super One Radio being run
by the Maltese Labour Party, while NET TV is run by the Maltese
The most popular of the numerous private independent radio stations is
89.7 Bay Radio which claims around 20% of the audience and fast paced
English speaking visitors will no doubt be pleased to learn that Radio
Malta (93.7 FM & 999 AM) relays regular BBC World Service news
bulletins and that Campus Radio (103.7 FM) broadcast whole blocks of
World Service output in the afternoons which was very useful.
However the BBC World Service was also quite well received on their
usual shortwave frequencies in the 49, 31, 25 and 19 meter bands (6195,
9410, 12095, 15485 & 15565 kHz [April 2004]).
Communications Authority regulates the telephony services on the island
and the providers of telephony services include Maltacom, Go Mobile and
Malta has a population of
around 400,000 inhabitants who own (according the the World Radio and
Television Handbook WRTH) approximately 100,000 radios and nearly
200,000 television sets. About 70 percent of the island's income
is derived from tourism with some supplemental by part time
agriculture. Many Maltese own small-holdings and after returning
home from their full time job they will cultivate vegetable crops to
sell. Malta is self sufficient in potatoes, with some of its
potato output being exported to The Netherlands or Denmark. There
is a brewery on Malta that produces Cisk beer, I am not a lager
I prefer Real Ale, but the Cisk beer is quite delicious.
A LITTLE RADIO
Previous to PBS,
XANDIR MALTA (a division of Telemalta Corporation) had operated radio
and television on Malta as follows:
Out of interest, Malta's
water supply comes from seven reverse-osmosis plants located around the
coast that de-salinate the salt water of the Mediterranean making it
suitable for domestic water supply.
But back to radio: It is astonishing to think that with so
little major industry, other than tourism, and with such a small
population that Malta is able to support 4 television channels and
13 island wide radio stations, not to mention a number of very local
community radio services!
Radio Malta 1 : 999 kHz AM 20 kW ; 93.7 MHz FM 4 kW (89.7 MHz FM
was also listed)
Radio Malta 2 : 91.7 MHz FM 4 kW
Xandir television : Ch E/10 10 kW H PAL System B
Previous to the Xandir company, Malta Radio was operated by the BBC.
The 1973 edition of the Wireless World Guide To Broadcasting Stations
listed Malta as having three medium wave transmitters which broadcast
998 kHz , 1214 kHz (Radio Malta 1kW) and 1568 kHz.
In 1987 The Guide To Broadcasting Stations, by Philip Darrington,
listed several medium wave and shortwave transmission sites:
||756 KHz 20 kW
not confirmed - maybe Radio Malta 2 ?
||999 Khz 20 kW
|Radio Malta 1
||1485 KHz 1 kW
confirmed - possibly local station or relay
|1557 KHz 75 / 600 kW
||DW & Radio Mediterranean (75 kW) &
Voice Of The Mediterranean (600 kW)
||Shortwave Broadcasting 250 kW
|| Deutsche Welle Relay & Radio
Mediterranean and Voice of the Mediterranean
There is no listing for the Delimara transmitter today (2004),
the transmissions of Radio Malta on 999 KHz having been moved to
Bezbezija. 756 KHz is certainly inactive. Delimara is a
point on a peninsula just to the East of Marsaxlokk (pronounced
Marshaslock) and the original medium wave transmitter was located here
approximately 50 meters North of the lighthouse.
The transmission of Radio Malta continues on 999 Khz but at reduced
power. In 1987 the 999 Khz transmission was listed at 20 kW from
Delimara, and in the WRTH of 1999 it is listed at 5 kW from
Bezbezija. When I monitored the station the signal had poor
modulation depth (i.e. was very quiet compared to other transmissions
MW and Short Wave) and also seemed quite weak, so I would judge that it
may today be of the order of only a few hundred Watts. The
was quickly swamped by co-channel interference as dusk approached, even
when only 5 km from the mast.
There is no medium wave mast in Bugibba so this must have been
There are no
longer any external , short wave or foreign language broadcasts
originating from Malta.
international short wave broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) built a medium wave transmitter and major
shortwave relay station at
Cyclops (G.C: 14:34E/35:51N) which entered service with regular
broadcasts in 1971. It carried 250 kW short
transmitters and a high power 600 kW medium wave transmitter on 1557
kHz. The Cyclops site was at Xorb I-Ghagin Point (known as il
Hofra I-kbira) which is between Delimara Point and St
Bay. DW built some of the largest masts on the island, the
shortwave aerial consisted of curtain antennas supported by three 300
structures. There were also a number of MF mast radiators and
vertical and horizontal log-periodic antennas. DW used this
facility until 1996 when transmissions were discontinued.
The Cyclops transmitters were also used by Radio Mediterranean on 1557
kHz MW and 6110 Khz shortwave. This station was based at P.O. Box
2 Valetta and produced programmes in French, English and Arabic.
This service has now ceased.
The radio station VOICE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN (VOM) was established in
1984 and was a joint venture between the governments of Malta and Libya
to promote the Mediterranean culture, unity and peace in the
region. The station also used the Cyclops transmissions
and broadcast in English having a postal address of P.O. Box 143
Valletta. When the DW transmitter site was closed down, The Voice
Of The Mediterranean continued to broadcast on shortwave via
time hired from Russia. The frequencies used during 1999 were
9765, 9810, 12060, 13605, 15550 and 17570 kHz. Unfortunately the
station was forced to close by the Maltese Ministry Of Foreign Affairs
on December 31st 2003 because Libya had defaulted on its share of the
payments and eventually owed the government of Malta approximately Lm1
million (£1.6 million).
The Cyclops shortwave transmission site at Xorb I-Ghagin Point (G.C:
14:34E/35:51N) was completely
dismantled around 1999, as was required by the contract signed between
DW and the government of Malta - nothing was to remain once the site
no longer to be used for broadcasting.
Interestingly the Maltacom Benghisa Transmission Station is not far
away, being just across Marsaxlokk Bay near Brizebbuga. There
several other sites around the island that sport a multitude of masts
and towers that give the appearance of shortwave or transmission sites
of some kind, at least one of which (Siggiewi) looks completely disused
and this turned out to be an ex-Navy receiving station. Some
facilities on the islands date back to when the British forces¹
had a presence in Malta
and have since fallen into disrepair others have been dismantled and
removed. There are more details below.
been under British rule for nearly 200 years, but gained independence
21st September 1964. In 1979 Malta became a republic and so the
British forces departed the island that same year.
There are three NDB's (Non
Directional Beacons) in Malta
while there I confirmed reception of two of them; one on 395 kHz and
other on 416 kHz. 395 kHz was weaker of the two at our location
Qawra and while my Morse Code is not very good, it appears to send out
the morse code signal _ _ . _ . .
_ which is spells out the letters MLT. The 416 kHz beacon
was stronger in Qawra and was seemed to be strongest around the
area, with some direction finding I thought that the most likely source
of the beacon was a pair of towers at Fort St Rocco, an ex British Army
base. These two towers had a T aerial strung between them, but we
were on a coach trip at the time and did not get close enough to either
get a positive fix or a photograph.
The Morse Code signal on this 416 kHz beacon was . _ .
. _ _ . _ . _ which decodes as
LQA. LQA is from Luqa Airport, and this confirms that this is an
aeronautical beacon. Since our visit it has been confirmed that Fort St Rocco is
the correct location and that the beacon consists of a pair of 94 ft
high wooden towers that support a T aerial, which is exactly what I saw.
The other locations where beacons (NDB's) are sited are confirmed to be
at the Maltacom Benghisa Transmitting Station, which uses an "Inverted
L" aerial, and at Kercem on the island of Gozo which uses a 'T' aerial
that is supported by two 45ft steel towers.
Below is a map of Malta detailing the
transmitter sites that are featured in the photographs on these pages:
Map of Malta identifying transmitting sites
By HRW ATLAS
To check the name and function of the mast
marked on the map above, cross check the number with the table
below. The mast name given is either the actual site name or name
of nearest town (*).
||Main Radio and
Television Tower for Malta
|Tower used by
the MaltaCom monitoring and link station, located near the town of
|Tower used by
UHF television (near Ta' Raddiena)
||2 towers, once
used by navigation. Currently one of the towers is a cable head
end and is used by Melitia Cable evidenced by the preponderance of UHF
yagis pointed towards Italy.
mast radiator used by Radio Malta 999 kHz
radiator used by DATATRAK.
|Tower: Used by
MaltaCom Radio Link.
Second tower apparently unused and probably unrelated.
|4 Towers and
Radar "Golf Ball". Malta Air Traffic Services Limited
masts. Near Rabat. Disused.
and masts. Appearance of a disused shortwave station with cables
and wires broken and dangling from insulators.
and masts. The Maltacom BENGHISA TRANSMITTING
Used by air traffic control. Site of Non Directional Radio
Navigation Beacon amongst other things.
|Ex RAF Signals
Unit - closed 1978. Many Towers located near Tas Salvatur.
Now used as a police monitoring station.
|FORT ST ROCCO
wooden towers with a T aerial strung between. Used for the 416
Radio Navigation Beacon LQA.
(Not Photographed). 2km East of Valletta
Map of Malta's Digital Television Transmitters in 2011
More Information at - http://www.dso.org.mt
GHARGHUR main radio and
GHARGHUR main radio and
THE SITES AND STRUCTURES (Courtesy
Major Tony Abela)
Gharghur was originally built by NATO and called "High Ace" and was
as a radio link to Sigonella. In the late 1960s the Malta
Government took over the site and used it to transmit the only
television station at the time, Xandir Television which is now known as
PBS. Radio Malta, also part of PBS, now has its FM radio
transmitters sited here. Broadcasting was liberalised in the
and other stations have located their transmitters at Gharghur
Super One Televison and Super One Radio, RTK the Catholic radio
and Radio 101 the National Party radio station.
The tower at
L-Iklin is used by NET-TV, which is the National Party television
station. This is a more recent television station and had to be
sited at I-Iklin as there was no room remaining on the Gharghur tower
site their antennas.
Transmitting Station is a major site and is still active and operated
Maltacom. It was
originally the RAF HF transmitting station and
was home to various antennas including Rhombics to the UK, Cyprus and
Gibraltar; Delta Y's; Marconi 1/4 waves; Sloping V and Log Periodics.
station closed in 1978 and was taken over by the Department of Civil
Aviation who continued to look after the aeronautical operations.
Most of the point to point equipment became redundant except for those
to Tripoli and Benghazi. There were also omni-directional ground
to air HF R/T communications and search and rescue services
Tele Malta HF ship to shore station was also co-located here in the mid
1970s, but this and DCA are now closed and only the Non Directional
Beacon on 395 kHz is still active and unmanned.
Today Benghisha is operated by Maltacom and is primarily for Maritime
use, that is, communication with shipping on low
frequencies (2182KHz Emergency Frequency, 2625 Working Frequency) As
well as Navtex transmission on 516.8KHz. This station also has
other services, mainly mobile phone companies (
GoMobile, Vodafone and Telepage) making use of the 63m and 46m
GHALLIS: This is a
guyed mast about 1 km east at Ghallis which is used by DATATRAK and is
low frequency (LF) surveillance system jointly operated by TeleMalta
a British company.
masts one of which is a cable head end for Melitia Cable receiving
television off the air from Italy and the other is used by the
services. Previously this site was an RAF radar station
of Type 80, Type 13 and Type 14 radars. There were two 94ft high
wooden towers for VHF and UHF ground to air communications. The
radar station closed in 1973.
DINGLI BOOSTER: Now
disused, but this was used by the Naval Civil Monitoring Special Unit,
top secret monitoring operation.
GHEMIERI / BAHRIJA: Former
Army Receiving station vacated in 1979 to be used by Department of
Aviation as an HF receiving station, which has now closed.
AIRPORT: There are two ILS systems,
Met radar, Approach radar and an HF mast at Luqa Airport.
are remains of an ex Naval receiving station at San Blast,
I did not spot these remains on our journeys around the island however.
was a Naval transmitting station at Imella where there was a 500 ft
longwave (LF) mast radiator, the tallest on the island, which was used
until the early 1960's.
KANDIA: This was
the RAF 840 Signals Unit and was
the RAF communications centre and HF receiving station until
It is now used as a police monitoring station and as a retention centre
for illegal immigrants.
Dave Bawden asks for some help: "Good
day Mike, My name is David Bawden (Dave) and I am a retired Canadian,
but many years ago I was attached to RAF Siggiewi (840 Signals Unit) as
an HF/DF operator. I am looking for any old photo’s of the HF/DF shack
that was located a short walk from the base of RAF Siggiewi on my web
and here http://www.raf-siggiewi-malta.com/ Obviously nothing shows on Google Earth after all of this time, but I
wondered if someone may have photo’s or information on its former
am going to have to spend time and sort through the thousands of photo’s
I have from my days in the service and hope something shows up. The
problem is that at the time you were posted to a station, you really
didn’t want photo’s of it because you were there all the time. Now is
when hindsight comes into play and you WISH you had taken some.
I appreciate your link and hopefully there will be someone out there who has something. Interesting site. Cheers. Dave B"
Zoncuor Point (maybe known as Zoncor or Zonkor), not marked on the map
but near Marsaskala (North East of
the island), was home to
the Royal Signals transmitting station but this has been removed
and nothing is
left. Richard Harcourt kindly e-mailed us to further
"The Zonquor Transmitter Station was built by the REME and Royal
Signals but was a RAF Transmitter station, It was the transmitter
station for RAF Siggiewi 840 Signals Unit to form part of the upgraded
DCN (Defence Communications Network). It was to take over from
Kalafrana and Benhaisa but never went operational due to the initial
pull-out of British Forces following the election of the Mintoff
Government in 1971. All the equipment was physically removed and
airlifted by helicopters from HMS London then anchored in Grand
Harbour. The equipment was taken straight to RAF Luqa where it was
loaded onto RAF Transport Command Hercules and Belfast aircraft and
taken off the island within 24 hours."
Richard was "a Sgt in charge of "D" Watch at 840 SU Siggiewi and then
went to Zonquor when we took over from the army. The equipment was
tested and calibrated and due to go on the air just before Christmas
1971, I persuaded DCN that we should just hold a fire watch over the
Christmas period and actually go on the air at 0001hrs on Jan 1st 1972.
On Christmas day morning whilst I was holding the fire watch at Zonquor
the BBC announced the pull-out of British Forces from Malta, and the
rest is history."