Ochsenkopf Transmitter

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Aerial view of Ochsenkopf TV Tower

The Ochsenkopf Transmitter (German: Sender Ochsenkopf}) is a 163-metre radio and TV tower of reinforced concrete, which was built in 1958 on the summit of the 1024-metre Ochsenkopf mountain, the second-highest mountain in the Fichtelgebirge mountain chain in Northern Bavaria, Germany. The tower replaced a 50-metre guyed steel tube TV mast that collapsed in January 1958 as result of icing. The tower, which is not accessible to the public, has a hyperbolic-shaped basement with five floors for technical equipment. Above it, there are platforms for directional antennas. The antennas for FM-transmission are on the upper part of the concrete tower, those for TV transmission on a steel tube mast on the top.

Transmitting to the former GDR[edit]

Penetration of West German TV reception (grey) in East Germany for channel ARD. Areas with no reception (black) were jokingly referred to as "Valley of the Clueless" (Tal der Ahnungslosen).

Ochsenkopf TV Tower played an important role in transmitting to the former GDR many West German FM and TV programs, notably ARD, West Germany's first - and between 1952 and 1963 only - television channel. Its signal could penetrate deep into the southern territory of East Germany due to its closeness to the border, its use of a low frequency (VHF Band I channel 4), and of vertical polarization. Under good conditions, its signal could be received as far away as Görlitz on the East German-Polish border, even though most aerials there were pointed at the West Berlin transmitters.

The transmitter required large and specifically mounted aerials nicknamed Ochsenkopf-Antenne, or Ochsenkopf for short, thus making the homes of viewers of western television easily recognizable. A campaign in the early 1960s by East Germany's state youth organisation FDJ aimed at turning away or removing such aerials exploited this fact.

Similar towers[edit]

Many other TV towers of similar design were built after 1958 in Germany and other European countries, including:

Transmitted Programmes[edit]

FM Radio[edit]

Program Frequency ERP
Bayern 1 90.7 MHz 100 kW
Bayern 1 91.2 MHz 20 kW
Bayern 2 Radio 96.0 MHz 100 kW
Bayern 3 99.4 MHz 100 kW
DLF 100.3 MHz 100 kW
Bayern 4 Klassik 102.3 MHz 100 kW
Antenne Bayern 103.2 MHz 100 kW
B5 Aktuell 107.1 MHz 100 kW

Television (analogue, PAL standard)[edit]

shut down on 30 Nov 2008

Program Frequency ERP
ARD (BRF region) Ch E4 vertical 50 kW (used to be 100 kW)

The public channels ZDF and Bayerisches Fernsehen for the region used to be transmitted from the nearby mountain Großer Waldstein.

Television (digital, DVB-T standard)[edit]

launched on 25 Nov 2008

Channel Frequency 
Multiplex Programme im Multiplex ERP 
Antenna Diagram
rund (ND) /
gerichtet (D)
horizontal (H) /
vertikal (V)
Modulation FEC Guard Interval Bit Rate 
E23 490 ZDFmobil-Bouquet 50 ND H 16-QAM 2/3 1/4 13.47
E29 538 ARD Bouquet 100 ND H 16-QAM 2/3 1/4 13.47
E40 626 BR-Bouquet 100 ND H 16-QAM 2/3 1/4 13.47

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 50°01′50″N 11°48′29″E / 50.03056°N 11.80806°E / 50.03056; 11.80806