Surfin': Antennas in High Places
One thing leads to another on the Internet. While I was digging up some information on something unrelated, I came upon an article that whetted my appetite, resulting in a new digging expedition to turn up more information. The results of my Internet excavation are the subject of this installment of Surfin'.
What got me going was an Environmental Graffiti article titled "The Tallest Abandoned Structures on Earth." I assumed that some of the abandoned structures would be RF-related and as it turned out, most of the abandoned structures served as antenna structures in one way or another.
Ever since I was a kid living in the shadow of the WATR AM radio antenna farm, antenna towers of significant height always fascinated me, so the Environmental Graffiti article was the impetus to discover more information on the topic.
Wikipedia was a great source for this excavation. There I discovered that Poland's Warsaw radio mast at 2120 feet was "the world's tallest structure until its collapse on 8 August 1991." Currently, the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota -- at 2063 feet -- is the tallest radio mast in the world.
The United Arab Emirates' Dubai Tower at 2684 feet topped the KVLY-TV mast as the tallest structure in the world. Since the Dubai Tower is still under construction, I assume that any radio antennas planned for the tower are not yet operational, so the KVLY-TV mast is still the world's tallest operational radio mast for the time being. Then again, maybe not.
As the Dubai Tower grew taller, construction workers discovered that as they climbed higher up the growing structure, their walkie-talkies lacked the requisite RF range and radio communications became unreliable. To solve the problem, they installed a Wi-Fi network at the site so that the workers could use Wi-Fi-enabled Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones instead of walkie-talkies for communications.
By the way, Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of the tallest buildings and structures in the world, which is rife with RF-related structures.
Finally, if you are a fan of antenna structures, you must check out Scott Fybush's Tower Site of the Week (a different piece of steel, every Wednesday). Scott visits radio tower sites throughout the world and writes about his visit on his Web site accompanied by photographs, new and old. It is always an interesting read.
Until next time, keep on surfin'!
Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU