RCA/NBC 1939 Telecast From Mitchel Field

The pictures shown here were taken at an airshow at the U.S. Army Air Corps' Mitchel Field in Hempstead Plains, Long Island, New York, in 1939.  The building in the background is the base fire house.  Mitchel Field ceased operations as an Air Force base in 1961.

The opening of the New York World's Fair in April 1939 also marked the beginning of commercial television broadcasting in the US.  RCA had made a huge investment in the technology but also realized that to sell TV sets (which then could cost as much as a new car) they would need programming, as well.  To cover remote events, they created the distinctive equipment vans shown here.

These vans contained everything needed to originate a live TV broadcast from a remote site.  They relied on a VHF radio link, so they were limited to locations that offered a direct line of sight to their receiver at the top of the Empire State Building.  These vans would have been a familiar sight in and around New York before TV operations were suspended in 1942 due to the US entry into WW-II.

Here is a great site for anyone interested in the history of Mitchel Field.