television tower[′tel·ə‚vizh·ən ‚tau̇·ər]
a support on which an antenna for television transmission is mounted. The height of a tower is dictated by the prescribed operating radius of the television station and by the number and size of the transmitting antennas. The use of high television towers for television networks is advisable, because it reduces the total number of stations required to cover a given area. In addition to antennas designed to transmit several programs, television towers also carry antennas for ultrashort-wave radio broadcasting and for radio-relay and mobile radiotelephone communications. Instruments for meteorological observations may also be mounted on television towers.
The prototypes of television towers were the Eiffel Tower—a 300-m metal tower constructed in Paris in 1889—and a 148-m radio tower in Moscow, built in 1921 to a design by V. G. Shukhov. With the development of television, these towers were converted to television towers in the 1930’s.
The load-bearing members of television towers are constructed of steel or reinforced concrete. As of 1976, the tallest towers were the 533-m Ostankino tower in Moscow (1967; antenna height was subsequently raised to 536 m) and the television tower in Toronto, Canada (1974), which is approximately 550 m in height. Both towers are constructed of prestressed reinforced concrete. In reinforced-concrete towers, the top portion, on which the antennas are mounted, is usually made of metal, and various kinds of radio and television equipment are usually housed in the lower section.
The architectural design of television towers is extremely diverse. In large cities, the towers are often the center of a group of buildings and form a planned part of the city’s architectural layout. Observation platforms, cafés, and restaurants are frequently located within the towers, which are equipped with warning lights to ensure the safety of airplanes and helicopters.
In addition to towers, masts that are stabilized by a system of guy wires may also be used as antenna supports. Although they are more economical to build, masts occupy a substantially greater area than do towers; for this reason they are usually located outside city limits.
REFERENCEOstankinskaia televizionnaia bashnia. Edited by N. V. Nikitin. Moscow, 1972.
M. A. SHKUD