Temporary licensed radio stations (RSLs)

For events or  festivals, Ofcom can license temporary low power stations. These are known as RSLs (Restricted Service Licences). In some cases these stations re-appear every year at the same time. The maximum duration for short-term RSLs is normally 28 days. They often take their name from the event or festival they serve, e.g. Truckfest FM, Radio Ramadan.

      festival

A variety of different FM frequencies are used for RSLs but a common one is 87.7 MHz, just below BBC Radio 2. Normally they do not cause a problem to reception of Radio 2 but occasionally we hear from a listener who is very close to the temporary transmitter, and the strength of the signal ‘pulls' their receiver away from Radio 2 and onto the temporary station. It only tends to affect portables and bedside radios, not HiFi tuners. In such cases there are a few things to try:.

  • Retract the aerial to reduce the signal strength, so long as Radio 2 is still audible
  • Move the radio to different positions
  • Try looking for another Radio 2 frequency a little higher than the one you normally use
  • Try another set - radios vary greatly in their susceptibility to being drawn off frequency in this way

RSLs normally run quite low power and therefore such problems are rare and highly localised. Note that such stations are legal and not pirates.  Therefore listeners cannot take action to have them moved or closed down.

 

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