This page provides a short explanation of the two radio masts which once adorned the roof of the Main Building of Aston University, and their 50-year prominence as a unique pair of structures on the skyline of Birmingham, UK.

They stood 21M tall on lift-motor rooms; 84M apart and 42M above ground level.

Their original purpose, in the 1960's, was to support a variety of experimental wire aerials which would hang horizontally between them. Such aerials were usually connected at or near the centre of their span into a sometimes bulky apparatus known as an Aerial Tuning Unit housed in a wooden shed on the roof, mid-way between the masts. The Laboratories in which the professional, experimental studies of Transmission, Reception and Propagation characteristics were undertaken, were then in the upper-most floors below.

Later, for several years into the 1990's, these masts were used by the Aston Radio Society to support some of their amateur ("ham") aerials. Towards the end of its active years, that society occupied the top room on the North Wing that has panoramic views over the Aston Expressway. From such a vantage point, its transmissions (bearing the call-signs G3UOA or G8PGM) would often be some of the most prominent on the air.

For their last decade or so, these structures were completely benign with no aerials nor other radio equipment attached. Any visible 'wires' were the wire-rope halyards used for pulling aerials into place.

In March 2011, (16 - 19) a few former members and friends of the Radio Society installed a Carolina Windom 160 aerial between the masts to operate G3UOA and celebrate their half-century on the Birmingham skyline before imminent dismantle.

Countries contacted included China, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, North America, Thailand, Brazil and all of Europe.

Further details and photos have been posted here.

The Aston Masts were removed on the last weekend of March 2011.

This page does not  have the official endorsement of Aston University but has been prepared, in good faith, by a former member of staff and one-time user of the structures.

East Mast : March 23, 2006 ; 10.30

Dr Peter Best, G8CQH email


Dr Phil Cadman, G4JCP email

These masts were designed by Clarence Stokes and constructed by Dick Maxted of the Electrical Engineering Department when it was in the Main Building complex "for the first time"! 

The vertical pole sections, above the lattice frame, were designed and constructed to be telescopic and retractable into the lattice. However, for additional safety in the latter years, they were permanently secured in the extended position.