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RF Cafe Cool Pic
World's Tallest Buildings <=> Highest Radio Masts

When a structure is measured for an official height, it includes every part of the structure - including the antenna(s) and support mast(s) that is(are) almost always included at the very top. Take the current height record holder, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, for instance. The overall height of the structure including the antenna is 828 meters; however, the antenna is 207 meters tall, so the building itself is only 621 meters. As can be seen from the chart below, only two pure antennas (including support mast) are included in the world's tallest structures. Antennas are used for television, radio, data, and even optical transmission.

If you read Arthur C. Clarke's article in the October 1954 edition of Wireless World where he conceived of a geosynchronous satellite system to broadcast television signals rather than using a series of terrestrial towers, it is apparent why even using antennas at heights like the one on the Burj Khalifa would not even come close to providing coverage needed for the entire earth. The following table gives the line-of-sight*, including earth curvature, range for each antenna (assuming maximum specified height). With an earth circumference of 40,000 km, you would need nearly 700 towers just to provide continuous coverage along the equator. A few thousand would be required for global coverage. The logistics for construction, maintenance, and operation of such a network would be daunting... if not impossible. Imagine the aerial navigation that such an array would pose!


Name Location Height (AGL) LoS Range (km)
Burj Khalifa Dubai  828 m  119 
Warsaw Radio Tower Poland  646 m  105 
Tokyo Sky Tree Japan  634 m  104 
KVLY-TV  USA  629 m  103 
Guangzhou (Canton) Tower** China  600 m  101 
CN Tower  Canada  553 m  97 
Sears (Willis) Tower  USA  527 m  95 
Oriental Pearl Tower  China  468 m 89 
Empire State Building  USA  443 m  87 
Eiffel Tower  France  324 m  74 


   * Line-of-Sight Calculator
** "...we wanted to create a 'female' tower being complex, transparent, curvy and gracious."


Graph of World's Tallest Structures - Including Antennas - RF Cafe

Graph of World's Tallest Structures - Including Antennas


Well, this started out being about pictures of high antennas (i.e., Cool Pic), but it kind of evolved into a little more.





Posted  July 11, 2011

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