Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Valves

BBC Radio 4 long wave, which transmits on the 198 kilohertz frequency, relies on ageing transmitter equipment that uses a pair of the valves – no longer manufactured – to function.

The valves, at Droitwitch in Worcestershire, are so rare that engineers say there are fewer than 10 in the world, and the BBC has been forced to buy up the entire global supply. Each lasts anywhere between one and 10 years, and when one of the last two blows the service will go quiet.

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