History of domestic ICT: 60 years of St. Petersburg TV tower

February 23 marks the 60th anniversary of the commissioning of a new television tower in Leningrad, which has become one of the symbols of the technological progress of the city on the Neva. At that time, it was a unique high-rise building and, in terms of a number of technical indicators, had no analogues either in the Soviet Union or in Europe.

The very first television broadcasts in the northern capital were held in 1931 and were only small-line broadcasts of still images.In 1932, the transmission of moving images began to be carried out, and from 1934 – already with sound accompaniment.

Four years later, mechanical TV was replaced by electronic TV. In the summer of 1938, an experimental Leningrad television center (OLTC) began its work on Academician Pavlov Street. OLTC provided image clarity of 240 lines at 25 frames per second. This television center worked until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War and gave impetus to the development of an industrial base for the production of television equipment.

At the end of the war, in August 1948, the reconstructed Lentelecenter (LTC) began experimental work (regular TV broadcasting began in January 1949). The studio was still located on the street. Academician Pavlov, and a tower with an antenna 121 m high and a technical building with a TV transmitter with a power of 3 kW were located opposite with access to the street. Chaplygin. The transmitter worked on the first frequency channel in the new domestic standard 625 lines and 25 frames per second.

A new stage in the development of the LTC came at the end of the 1950s – the beginning of the 1960s, when a decision was made to build an appropriate TV tower for the new multi-program television center. At the same time, new transmitters and equipment for the hardware-studio complex were being developed.

The 301.5 m high steel tower (with a broadband UHF antenna on the upper platform – 311.5 m) is a unique structure, the world’s first all-welded metal structure. Its main elements are made of high-strength steel grade 15HSND, according to

On February 23, 1963, the broadcast of the second TV program began on the third frequency channel, which was conducted through the most powerful transmitter “Hurricane” (power 50 kW) from the highest TV tower in Europe. The range of such a station reached 100 km – twice as much as before, and the coverage of the population was about 6 million people. Almost a million residents of the Leningrad region for the first time received the opportunity to receive television.

In 1964, two more TV transmitters went into operation (Hurricane on the first frequency channel and Lyon on the eighth), and in 1968 color television began broadcasting using the SECAM system. In 1986, the Ilmen-2 decimeter transmitter with a power of 25 kW was introduced, which ensured the broadcast of the fourth TV program on channel 33. The technical potential of the tower grew from year to year.

Today, the TV tower on Aptekarsky Island in the northern capital remains an operating telecommunications facility and is the hallmark of the St. Petersburg regional center of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network (RTRS).

“The design and construction of the facility corresponded to the spirit of the times,” comments Andrey Romanchenko, General Director of RTRS. – On the instructions of the Party, the building was designed so that it was higher than the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to the world’s first innovative all-welded metal structure, the TV tower was not only one and a half meters taller than the Eiffel, but also almost six times lighter.

Now the tower broadcasts 20 digital TV channels and 27 radio stations 24/7 for the benefit of almost 7 million TV viewers and radio listeners in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. The TV tower in Leningrad has repeatedly become a testing ground for experiments. And now new solutions for the development of television and radio broadcasting in the Russian Federation are regularly tested here.

More information about the TV towers of the Soviet period and the Leningrad TV Center can be found on the website of the Virtual Computer Museum .

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