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 Sydney's first television towers
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 11:06:25 PM on 1 March 2015.
Brad's avatar
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In 1956 Sydney prepared to host the country's first television stations and to achieve this task on time and on budget TCN9 and ATN7 constructed temporary transmission towers at Willoughby and Gore Hill respectively.

The first photo below shows the original TCN9 tower and the second photo shows the ATN7 tower in the left with the ABN2 tower (constructed later) to the right.

TCN9 Television Transmission Tower - Willoughby


ATN7 And ABN2 Television Transmission Towers - Gore Hill


A few years later, the TCN9 tower was replaced with what would become the largest television transmission tower in Australia, at 233 metres, this tower is a behemoth. It is large enough at the base for a developer to be able to construct what looks like a block of flats under it. One would hope for the sake of the future residents that the antennas at the top of the tower are aimed correctly!

The ATN7 tower was demolished in the 1970s and there is now no trace of its existence. At that time ATN's signal was broadcast from the TEN10 tower which still stands in Artarmon.

ATN7 And TEN10 Television Transmission Tower - Artarmon


These days the three remaining towers are owned by specialist signal transmission companies who lease out the towers' capacity to receive and transmit all sorts of signals. The five major television networks all transmit their primary signals from what was TCN9's tower, with backup arrangements in place on the other towers. Lower down on all the towers there are transmission antennas for several radio stations, microwave links for television stations and outside broadcast vans and base stations for mobile phone networks.

If you had a need for such services, a working at heights qualification, work method statement, the appropriate safety equipment, a clearance from the tower's owner and plenty of money to spend, you could install your own equipment on these facilities.

With regard to the demise of ATN's tower, does anyone know why this occurred? Was the tower outmoded, too close to the nearby Royal North Shore Hospital, too short or was the tower simply stuffed?

Note: Better photos of the existing towers will be taken this week.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 6:49:36 PM on 2 March 2015.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
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The only part of the original ATN transmitter site that has been left at Gore Hill is this part of the gate, now the entrance to the road called Broadcast Way, on which the ATN 7 logo of the day was painted.

It had a matching mate on the other side but that didn't survive the redevelopment of the site:

Gate To Former ATN7 Transmitter Site


Here's some film footage of ATN operations in 1957:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LScRqw589pE.

And speaking of TV site redevelopment, the huge site that once housed ATN-7 studios in Mobbs Lane, Epping has been redeveloped into hundreds of appartments:

http://www.meriton.com.au/properties/epping-park-apartments/.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 7:06:40 PM on 2 March 2015.
Brad's avatar
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I walk past that on my way to work. I remember in the years leading up to the end of the ABC occupation of the site the ABC logo adorned those gate posts. I must admit I only became aware of ATN's occupation of its portion of the site the night before last when viewing the photo of the two towers.

A building now occupies the site where the ATN tower once stood. It'd be the one behind the present day Foxtel building. I'll hazard a guess that not too much effort when into removing the footings for the tower - lotsa concrete would have been used for them. Even the rag bolt assemblies would have been a few hundred kgs each.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 7:15:59 PM on 2 March 2015.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
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As to why 7 abandoned the Gore Hill site, I can only guess that it was a commercial decision. Presumably it was cheaper for 7 & 10 to pay a third party to jointly operate and maintain their transmission facility than to do so themselves.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 7:24:26 PM on 2 March 2015.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
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Back in the day, my parents booked seats for us to be in the audience of Bob Dyer's Pick A Box show. The old man duly drove us up to the Gore Hill site thinking that's where the studios were, only to be told he had to high tail it to Epping.

ABC's night shift duty person said that was a common misunderstanding, given that the ABC studio complex was co-sited there.

I remember being amazed at how big the printing was on the question cards that Dyer Read from -- after being picked out of the box by Dolly. I could almost read them from my spot in the audience. He must have had very poor sight!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2024CLAhE8.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 5:39:33 PM on 6 March 2015.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
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Here's some film footage of ATN operations in 1957

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LScRqw589pE

At 7 min in, one sees the remarkably minimalist electronics unit for a "portable" RCA microwave link.
Also spotted: Marconi transmitter, B&W monitor next to projector (Marconi?) and slide scanner (RCA).


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 7:37:55 PM on 2 May 2015.
Duwlichdave's Gravatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 2 May 2015
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My memory of the Channel 7 tower was that it was demolished about 1973. I've tried to find info on this but no luck. I thought it was demolished because it was unsafe. There would definitely be an article in the North Shore Times about it. I have found one colour photo of the Channel 7 tower.

Does anyone remember the first Channel 9 tower took over ten years to demolish? For a long time Channel 9 had one and a half towers!

David.

Television Transmission Towers
Television Transmission Towers


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 9:02:08 PM on 3 May 2015.
Brad's avatar
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Before I realised that Channel 7 had their own tower to start with I always wondered about the significance of the name given to the Twin Towers Motel. I'd always assumed that the Artarmon tower belonged to ATN7 and was shared with TEN10 rather than the other way around. Of course with the TV stations no longer owning the towers, it is all academic.

It would be interesting to know what made the ATN7 tower unsafe. It looks like a better design than the adjacent ABN2 tower, with it's smoother lines. The ABN2 tower has that sharp turn half way up and that would certainly be a stress point in high winds.

Perhaps the original TCN9 tower was riveted instead of bolted together - this would have required the tower be gas-axed instead of just dis-assembled and would have lead to a delay with removal.

Who's the bloke jumping off 9's fence? It looks like Mick Jagger.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 10:38:55 PM on 3 May 2015.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
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Here's an earlier shot of the ATN-7 tower at Gore hill, shown behind ABN-2's initial tower nicknamed "little toot":

http://www.abctvgorehill.com.au/assets/photos/gore_hill_site/little-toot-ch7-mast-w.jpg

As to why 7's tower was demolished, I guess the answer would have to come from somebody who worked for 7 back in the day. (I doubt that the current 7 management would have any idea about it, but they might)


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 10:08:29 PM on 15 May 2015.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
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I was atop one of these style towers once. You look up at the clouds' motion and think the tower is falling. There was a grounded dipole array running high band VHF 10kw input (100kw ERP). I gripped a dipole, it was warm, I've been told in these more enlightened times it was not a wise thing to do. It was an Oral Roberts moment: "Place your hands on your radio friends and receive the power".


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 7:59:55 PM on 16 May 2015.
Brad's avatar
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Some of these towers, namely the UHF ones in regional areas, punched out up to 1.2MW until the closure of analogue transmissions. You would not want to be in the road of those.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
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