How Do TV Transmission Towers Work?


Quick Answer

Television transmitters turn electrical signals into radio waves so that they can travel great distances at high speeds. Antennas receive these radio waves and convert them back into electrical signals which feed into televisions to produce images and sound.

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Full Answer

Video cameras capture images and sound by converting them into electrical energy. Antennas take this energy and magnify it. Electrons inside atoms in the electric current vibrate along the antenna, producing invisible electromagnetic radiation in the form of radio waves which travel at the speed of light. When antennas receive this electromagnetic radiation, it causes the electrons in the antenna to vibrate, which produces an electric current. Television components convert this signal into images and sound.

Most indoor TV antennas are metal rods split into two pieces and folded horizontally. More sophisticated television systems may have a number of these rods, called dipoles, arranged along a central supporting rod. Parabolic satellite dishes can also receive radio waves.

Radio waves can travel from transmitting to receiving antennas by "line of sight", which means they move in a straight line like a beam of light. They can also travel around the Earth's curvature in a ground wave. Radio waves can also shoot up to the sky where the electrically charged ionosphere in the Earth?s upper atmosphere reflects them back to the ground.

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