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World's Tallest Free-Standing Broadcast Tower Completed

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i-can-see-my-house-from-here dept.

Japan 65

dtmos writes "The world's tallest free-standing broadcast tower has been completed, in Tokyo (video). Rising to 634.0 metres (2,080 ft), it is the second-tallest structure in the world, after the Burj Khalifa. Completion was delayed two months due to the effects of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami."

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So ugly (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232725)

I know it needs to be strong enough for earthquakes but the design looks a bit dated.

Re:So ugly (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232739)

I know it needs to be strong enough for earthquakes but the design looks a bit dated.

haven't you heard, retro is the new modern.

Re:So ugly (3, Funny)

rykin (836525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232781)

If they made it more modern, people would say "They don't build'em like they used to!".

Re:So ugly (4, Informative)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232895)

From wikipedia:

Earthquake resistance
The tower has state-of-the-art seismic proofing, including a central shaft made of reinforced concrete. The main internal pillar is attached to the outer tower structure 125 meters (410 ft) above ground. From there until 375 meters (1,230 ft) the pillar is attached to the tower frame with oil dampers, which act as cushions during an earthquake. According to the designers, the dampers can absorb 50 percent of the energy from an earthquake.

So no, it's not dated. Ugly, true, but not dated.

Re:So ugly (3, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232929)

He meant "design" as in "aesthetic appearance". You interpreted "design" as in "engineering design". Just a minor miscommunication, that's all.

Re:So ugly (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237457)

Personally I don't think it looks dated, but keep in mind that there are some fairly big constraints on any structure that large. The lattice work is necessary for strength and really all they could have done is clad it, making it look like just another skyscraper. The top part has to be round for balance, especially considering that there will be lateral movement during an earthquake and wind for a variety of directions. It has to be tapered for balance and strength. It couldn't be wider at the base because there isn't room, and that constrained all the other dimensions quite a lot.

So I'm not sure what more they could have done with it. A different colour scheme perhaps? The pictures on the BBC site don't do it justice. I saw it in January when there were a few clear days and against a blue sky or lit up in the black of night it looks good.

Re:So ugly (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245019)

Sure but it's still cool. I stayed in Asakusa last October and I ran around the tower as part of my 3 mile jog. Pretty impressive.

An impressive project (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232729)

Very impressive, though I can't help thinking its a vanity project and broadcasting from a number of smaller towers would be cheaper. I suppose that probably goes for all the world's ultra tall buildings though

Re:An impressive project (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232765)

Might be more expensive, but you can believe they'll make that money back by charging admission to the observation deck.

Re:An impressive project (5, Informative)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232837)

Very impressive, though I can't help thinking its a vanity project and broadcasting from a number of smaller towers would be cheaper. I suppose that probably goes for all the world's ultra tall buildings though

It replaced the Tokyo Tower (a smaller tower), specifically because the surrounding buildings were getting quite tall and causing problems.

You say a bunch of smaller towers would be cheaper, but I hear the real estate in Tokyo is just a tad expensive.

Re:An impressive project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232883)

Why couldn't they put incredibly small towers on top of a few tall buildings?

Re:An impressive project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233131)

This isn't a cell network; they'd interfere with one another. If they were tuned to just not, there's more potential for dead zones between points.

Re:An impressive project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238619)

Because broadcast equipment in the multiple tens or hundreds of kilowatts in power isn't exactly featherweight, not to mention the required antenna tower weight. Pre-existing buildings probably aren't engineered to withstand additional weight at the top of their roofs. Plus most of them would arguably look uglier with antenna spires installed as afterthoughts.

Oh, and none of the skyscrapers already in Tokyo are high enough anyway. You need a bit more height than the tallest buildings to accommodate for future developments.

Re:An impressive project (5, Informative)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232975)

You need to understand how the broadcast television system works in Japan. There are ~8-10 total networks with terrestrial broadcast stations throughout the entire country, several run by the NHK (government-run television system). In Tokyo, you can get about 7 of them. Most other stations are only available via cable or satellite, and the number of local channels even via cable in Japan is extremely low compared to the US.

That said, in Japan space on the ground is often at more of a premium than materials to build with. If they can create one large broadcast tower to service all of Tokyo, they will - in the overall scheme - probably save billions and billions of yen. This was the idea behind the Tokyo Tower (the big red Eiffel tower looking thing) but that was created so long ago that it is now outdated and needs an upgrade to reach everyone.

I find the architecture to be pretty cool in this Sky Tree, though it really sticks out. I think the guys over at Tokyo Yakei (Tokyo Night Windows) got the best shots of it so far(even though it's earlier on in the construction): Tokyo Sky Tree at Night [tokyoyakei.jp]

Re:An impressive project (2)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234457)

Indeed, land prices in Tokyo are murderous. If I'm understanding the Japanese wikipedia article right, the base area is roughly 38,000 square meters.
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%9D%B1%E4%BA%AC%E3%82%B9%E3%82%AB%E3%82%A4%E3%83%84%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC [wikipedia.org]

At Sumida official land prices (for tax purposes) are about $3600/square meter. So that would put the land value of the total building site at about ~130m dollars. If you were to duplicate the effect with a bunch of smaller towers, you could easily go over the ~600m combined price for the Tokyo sky tree on land prices alone.

Re:An impressive project (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39235101)

That said, in Japan space on the ground is often at more of a premium than materials to build with.

Not disagreeing with you, but I wanted to point out to people who don't live in Japan that space in *Tokyo* (and other large cities) is at a premium. I live out in the boonies and land is actually quite cheap (compared to Europe, for instance). In addition to a reducing population, people are moving in droves to the big cities (especially Tokyo) looking for work.

There are a lot of people who have the idea that Japan is crammed wall to wall with people, but it actually has a lower population density than England. Even Tokyo, which has a very high population density, is not as crowded as a lot of people think. It has a little over twice the population density of the greater New York metropolitan area, but it is more or less evenly distributed. Manhattan, for instance has a population density of 27,000+ people per km2 while Shibuya (the most crowded area of Tokyo I could think of) has a population density of only 13,000 people per km2.

Re:An impressive project (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39240851)

The Tokyo government needed to build a new TV transmitting tower because Tokyo Tower in the Minato-ku ward was just too low for "line of sight" digital TV broadcasting--there were too many tall buildings near the Tokyo Tower site.

That's why they chose to build Tokyo Sky Tree in Sumida-ku ward, and build it at a height that has no interference from nearby tall buildings. Indeed, they built it at Sumida-ku ward as part of major urban redevelopment project in that part of Tokyo, which was once known as a working-class part of that city.

Re:An impressive project (2)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232999)

I presume when they say "broadcast tower" that it's going to be doing TV and radio, not "look at our fancy cell phone tower". If you think a number of small towers would work for TV or radio broadcasts then you need to read up on how such things work. At least in the US, if a station is is licensed by the FCC to broadcast on UHF 15 then there's only one transmitter in the coverage area that does so at the licensed power, frequency, and tower coordinates. You would never stick a whole bunch of TV transmitters across the same area broadcasting on the same frequency.

Also see the Sutro Tower in San Fransisco where it was specifically built to aggregate almost everyone to a single broadcast point (except NBC).

Re:An impressive project (3, Informative)

erikscott (1360245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234895)

It turns out you actually can use several smaller towers instead of one big one for broadcasting. In digital TV, it's trivially easy - several fully independent stations pump out their signal on various UHF frequencies, but they all use the same PSIP - the "virtual" channel number encoded into the stream so the blissfully ignorant can "keep on watching channel three like I always did, bohygawd." Consumer decoder boxes are clever enough to only offer the one with the lowest bit error rate (=best signal). I have no idea how you license this, and if I did have some idea under 47CFR, it wouldn't apply in Tokyo, so whatever...

Analog audio broadcasting is slightly more complicated, and this is where it gets good. With AM, you can phase lock the carriers (and as a result, the modulation) to GPS. Sub-nanosecond phase accuracy is more than good enough at 1700 kilocycles. Vaisala will sell you such a rig off-the-shelf. It's kind of a neat way to get around licensing, too: each station can be configured as a legal, license-free Part 15 device, and yet with a handful of them you can cover a decent-sized town. FM is a lot more expensive, but it works the same way. You just write a bigger check.

Re:An impressive project (1)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39235203)

A TV station is on 476 - 482 MHz. How would someone else apply for a license on 476 - 482 MHz in the same place? (This is what I was aluding to when I said "you would never stick a whole bunch of TV transmitters across the same area broadcasting on the same frequency.")

As far as duplicated PSIPs go, I can pick up three instances of "channel 11" with my Samsung DTB-H260F and several others. One is always the nearby full power transmitter while the others are translators it was able to pick up long enough to learn them. However it doesn't lock in to one of them, it presents all of them and I end up deleting the others manually. Perhaps the newest tuners may only present one "channel", but there's a huge range of hardware that doesn't. The newest standalone tuner I have is a Dish TR-40 (picked up during the height of the coupon-eligible converter box program) that behaves the same way as the old Samsung with presenting multiple duplicate PSIPs.

Re:An impressive project (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233027)

The Japs are compensating for small penis size.
 
/thread

Re:An impressive project (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233283)

Very impressive, though I can't help thinking its a vanity project and broadcasting from a number of smaller towers would be cheaper. I suppose that probably goes for all the world's ultra tall buildings though

Now..if they outlaw tinfoil hats, then that would be significant.

Re:An impressive project (2)

camperslo (704715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233969)

Very impressive, though I can't help thinking its a vanity project and broadcasting from a number of smaller towers would be cheaper. I suppose that probably goes for all the world's ultra tall buildings though

Although it is no doubt made to accommodate many transmitters, the most important aspect of it is the height. When it comes to coverage of VHF and UHF signals, height matters more than output power.

what's it for (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232741)

1) What's it for? (frequencies, services, etc.) This would actually interest me.

2) Why do people have an obsession with Japanese words? Lots of stuff comes out of lots of countries but only when it's in Japan do we get a built-in language lesson. Is it one of those geek Japan-fan things?

Re:what's it for (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232945)

1) Radio broadcasting, sightseeing, vanity.

2) Weeaboo

Re:what's it for (4, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232981)

3) Check Fukushima power plant from a distance

Re:what's it for (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233145)

1) What's it for? (frequencies, services, etc.) This would actually interest me.

It is part of an elaborate conspiracy to take over the world by flooding it with really bad live action porn.

Re:what's it for (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234515)

It is part of an elaborate conspiracy to take over the world by flooding it with really bad live action porn.

Welcome to the NHK!

Re:what's it for (3, Informative)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234567)

It broadcasts

DTV (national channels)
(7 channels, broadcast power of 10kw, 1 wide area Kanto (sort of the center of the main island), 1 nation wide, 4 Kanto Area)
Expected to reach 14 million households

DTV (Tokyo channels)
(1 channel, broadcast power 3kw)

FM stations (2, broadcast power of 10kw)
81.3, 82.5

"Multimedia broadcast" (Not sure, maybe cellular television?)
1 station at 25kw, effective radiated power up to 105kw

And a few special purpose taxiTV stations are moving to the sky tree, they play advertisements and entertainment in the taxi.

Re:what's it for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39240959)

Yeah, 10, 25 and 105 kilowatts of EM never harmed anyone or anything, regardless of what wavelength...

Re:what's it for (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243899)

When the 10 kilowatts of power are expected to reach over 12,000 square miles, I think the exposure to people is going to be minimal.

I imagine a more immediate source of concern is MRI's, X-Rays, and various other medical scans, much less making a phone call with a cellphone that's probably pumping at least 500mw of power directly into your head.

At the very least, the life expectancy of the average person hasn't seemed to go down at all since the proliferation of TV and the massive growth of EM radiation in every imaginable spectrum.

I hereby tag this as follows: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232793)

"EM-induced mass cancer"

Next stop, tower to space! (3, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232817)

Yes! Exoatmospheric tower [nasa.gov] next! Let's do it!

Re:Next stop, tower to space! (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234631)

Hi Geoffrey,

Don't forget to put pivoting airfoils on the lower 20km of the struts. That reduces wind loads by about a factor of ten. Also check out the reference book I'm collecting if you have time: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Space_Transport_and_Engineering_Methods [wikibooks.org] (it's about 1/4 of the way to a first draft).

Re:Next stop, tower to space! (1)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237303)

Yes! Exoatmospheric tower [nasa.gov] next! Let's do it!

What do you think about the Launch loop concept [wikipedia.org] ? While it is a huge undertaking, it seems to be way up from a space elevator on the feasibility scale. It would offer huge savings for putting things in orbit even compared to your tower, basically obviating the need for using (and lifting) chemical propellant for most of the delta-V needed. Any thoughts on that?

It would still be the 3rd of all time structures (1)

sebaluks (849301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232955)

Should the radio tower in Poland [http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/?buildingID=46244] did not collapse in early 90s due to mishap of support crew it would be only 3rd of world's tallest structures.

Physicists please (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232967)

What will be the amplitude and frequency at the top of the tower when the expected big earthquake will strike? (Calculators are accepted)

Re:Physicists please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233111)

Quite low, so the PLLs of the receptors will easily cope with that.

BASE Jump? (1)

Ranzear (1082021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233031)

Seriously, how long until Jeb Corliss gets up there (after his ankles heal, ouch!)

Another reason not to visit Japan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233059)

Am I the only one here that doesn't want the Japanese reading their mind?

With "broadcast" towers that do nothing but receive brain waves, and satellites that can be used to spy on every aspect of our lives, how can we not be afraid?

Towers like this also cause cancer by sending out radiation and using magnets to disrupt DNA and RNA (by causing magnetic minerals in the human body to bump into them and cause mutations). It is quite clearly a conspiracy to turn their enemy, the American, into a puddle of goo by destroying the very fiber of their being. We must stop this by banning Japan from having nuclear power and "broadcast" towers!

Re:Another reason not to visit Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233409)

So that is why I've been seeing spiders and bees crawling out from under my skin!

I knew there was something more to it than me not taking this stupid medication that those quack "doctors" gave me! Hahahahaha!! You and me, brah, we are one and the same.

This conspiracy is no longer a secret. It is OUT and IN the OPEN. Toss away your cell phones and ANYTHING and EVERYTHING with an antenna. NO longer will they be reading our minds and making bugs grow inside of us like we are some kind of EXPERIMENT. Some of you don't know what it is like to wake up every morning and see things that other people don't see. So many monsters in the shadows. Some of them made OF shadows...

And all because of those broadcast towers in Japan.

One word (0)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233065)

BASEJUMP. And brass balls. Don't forget the brass balls because you'll never make it to the top without them. Good luck.

On Monster Island, Godzilla is intrigued... (2)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233153)

... considering another visit to Tokyo.

This one's even higher (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233175)

Nothing compared to this one:

http://www.theworldstallesttower.com/

Invulnerable to Earthquakes (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233267)

This tower is SO UGLY that it is invulnerable to earthquakes.

What, no cable? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233273)

Somehow, building a giant broadcasting tower in a city seems a dated idea. Supposedly Tokyo Tower was being blocked by new tall buildings.

Re:What, no cable? (2)

theNetImp (190602) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233439)

Most people in Japan don't have cable. They have satellite with an antenna for local broadcast channels. We only have an antenna because the only channels my father-in-law watches are available for free that way. I don't want TV often enough to warrant the cost of cable/satellite, so why pay the extra?

Re:What, no cable? (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39240877)

Actually, that may start to change now that many major metro areas in Japan now have direct optical fiber into the home. That may make it possible for cable TV over optical fiber in Japan like what Verizon does with its FIOS service.

Re:What, no cable? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234231)

Why build it in the city?
Conventional wisdom have you place these on nearby mountain tops (or surrounding hills should mountains be scarce), both because you get a free height boost, and because your audience won't have to add an attenuator to receive a way too strong signal.
Impressive, sure, but dick waving nevertheless.

Re:What, no cable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39234517)

That's what I was just thinking, they have the Mt. Fuji there in the neighborhood.

Video klled the radio star... (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233453)

Here I was thinking internet would be killing TV.
Or is the tower broadcasting UDP packets, perhaps?

It seems Tall (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233513)

when you look up at it, but lay it on its side and it doesn't look so big.

Re:It seems Tall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233991)

That's what she said!

Re:It seems Tall (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238465)

Yeah, but the Japanese generally don't seem to be big on the laid-back approach.

CN Tower (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233581)

The CN Tower gets dwarfed yet again.

Oh well, it had a nice, long run as tallest freestanding structure.

Re:CN Tower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39235693)

Yes, but the CN tower is a lot nicer looking, at least in my opinion.

Re:CN Tower (1)

Sir Lurkalot (772154) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239131)

Ate dinner at the restaurant near the top of the tower, on our honeymoon.
Elevator ride, in the glass enclosed cab, was interesting at night...

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233591)

This is great practice for the space elevator, right? I mean, it's just a few % bigger...

Wobbly (2)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233605)

I just saw this after having spent the last hour playing World of Goo, and I must say I find it hilarious.

Re:Wobbly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39236389)

I just saw this after having spent the last hour playing World of Goo, and I must say I find it hilarious.

are you kidding me? Pasang Sitemap [blogspot.com]

Southpark reference (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234183)

Japan beats US in "ladder to heaven" race

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/153671/the-ladder-race

Re:Southpark reference (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39235751)

"We are very simple people with small Penis" - Japanese Chinpokomon Executive "Japanese Charm"

Not A Space Needle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39235543)

At 634 meters the Tokyo Sky Tree is very far from the 'predicted' height of 96000 kilometers that the Obayashi Corp. claimed it would achieve for construction of a Space Elevator.

The predictions of Obayashi Corp. have no merit or value and their finances, quite small, are at risk of being void.

Likely the Tokyo Sky Tree will be the 'suicide capital' of Japan.

Bon Voyage, Ohayashi Corp. Executives.

Icing problems (1)

Skylax (1129403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237603)

The sky tree seems to have problems with ice build up on its steel beams during cold winter days (Mentioned in this article here: CNet [cnet.com] ). Although after a quick google search this seems to be general problem of tall structures with open truss structures (for example here is video of a ice falling from a TV tower Youtube [youtube.com] ).
I guess usually that is not such a big problem as TV towers are build in parks or large open spaces but the Tokyo sky tree is build in the center of the city surrounded by a lot buildings. Apparently they had to install electric heaters on the Sky tree to prevent ice forming.

I want one! (1)

tmh - The Mad Hacker (962953) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256295)

Finally! A tower for my ham radio antennas that'll let my signal out of this valley I live in! :-)

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