Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

Sutro Tower Construction Updates, Photos, Links

Monday, September 21st, 2009
Sutro Tower DTV Conversion Progress

Sutro Tower DTV Conversion in Progress

Back in February, I first posted about the DTV conversion project that was beginning to make waves¹ at San Francisco’s iconic Sutro Tower wireless broadcast facility.

Since then, there have been some big changes at the tower: the end of analog television broadcasts in June, the complete removal and replacement of one (two?) of the tower’s huge antenna masts, and the addition of several new bright red digital TV antennas near the top of the tower.  On a clear day (which is not often this time of year), workers can often be seen climbing around the tower, like tiny ants on a large, red and white striped giant.

For anyone who is interested in getting a closer look at the heavy construction on the tower, San Francisco resident Larry Kenny recently posted a link to his Sutro Tower webpages, which feature a detailed photo journal of the DTV conversion thus far.  There are lots of great shots of the tower itself as well as the mangled remains of the original analog TV antennas, which, when seen on the ground, help give some idea of the scale of things atop the tower.  When assembled, these things must be the size of tractor trailers!

I also recently revisited sutrotower.org, the website of David July, a Florida resident who has been fascinated by the tower since his first visit to San Francisco in 1989.  (Sutro is also one of the things I remember most about visiting SF as a child.)  David’s site is the most comprehensive source of information about the tower I have ever seen. Included are many fascinating photos of the tower spanning it’s 37-year lifetime, such as these photos of the tower’s construction in 1971-72:

Photo credit: San Francisco Public Library (found at sutrotower.org)

Photo credit: San Francisco Public Library (source: sutrotower.org)

Sutrotower.org also includes photos of the original Sutro Mansion and the first broadcast tower to be installed, a far cry from the tower that sits atop Mount Sutro today!  If that’s not enough for the real “tower junkies” out there, there are also links to several tours of the tower, with lots of photos.  (Sutro Tower Staff: Where do I sign up?)

That’s all I have for today, but I’ll keep my eyes on the progress at the tower.  San Francisco landmark, controversial neighbor, and engineering marvel, Sutro Tower never ceases to amaze me.

(And to those who don’t live in San Francisco and have no idea what I’m talking about: Well, now you have one more reason to visit.  :-))

¹ Pun intended.

Sutro Tower no longer transmitting analog television

Monday, June 15th, 2009

As part of the nationwide DTV transition, on Friday, June 12th, Sutro Tower ceased all analog television transmissions by powering down the three main analog TV antennas atop San Francisco’s iconic three-legged broadcast radio tower.

This change is reflected by their status page, which now shows the top of the antenna mostly dark with the exception of a few FM radio stations, as shown below.  The DTV mast in the center of the tower is providing temporary digital television service during the tower’s massive DTV conversion project.

Sutro Tower Antenna Status

According to Gene Zastrow, Sutro’s general manager, the existing analog television antennas will be replaced with new primary DTV antennas over the next several weeks.  This could make for some great photo opportunities if the weather is decent, as I expect that given the size of the antennas there will be some serious equipment being used on and around the tower.

Make:SF Meeting Tonight in San Francisco

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Make:SF‘s monthly San Francisco meeting is tonight at 6:30PM at Instructables HQ on 489 Clementina St.

More details here and here.

Disclosure: I’m leading the meeting tonight, taking over for our usual host Andrew Milmoe.

Come and check out Make:SF!

100th post! Tony’s Wifi Radio Sketchup Model, Dorkbot Tonight

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

100 Posts!

This is my 100th post to the blog.

When I started blogging in July of last year I wasn’t sure what I would post about or where all of this would go.  Eight months later, the blog has exceeded my expectations in many (and many unexpected) ways.  The major driving force behind this blog has always been my desire to share my projects and my passion for electronics with the world, in addition to (hopefully) inspiring some other people to do cool things with electronics as well.

My favorite post?  Definitely the Arduino-based AVR High Voltage Programmer.  I never expected such a simple circuit to help so many people.  There has been so much ongoing interest in this project that I am putting together an Arduino shield kit based on the original design.  The kit features a slick double-sided PCB and an integrated 5 to 12V step up converter so you don’t need an external 12V supply to use the programmer.  More details very soon!

Tony’s Wifi Radio Sketchup Model

Wifi Radio Enclosure - Google Sketchup Model

Tony created this awesome Google Sketchup model of an enclosure for my Wifi Radio project.  After I made a very crude first draft, Tony took my design and turned it into something that is sort of modern, sort of retro.  Perfect!

Dorkbot Tonight

In other news, there is a Dorkbot SF meeting tonight at Parisoma at 7:30PM.  Arrive early to get a seat!  Details at dorkbot-sf.

NightLife: California Academy of Sciences

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

California Academy of Sciences Grand Opening

The California Academy of Sciences is hosting a new event called Nightlife every Thursday evening, starting tonight (Feb. 12th).

Features include music (tonight’s performer is DJ Fluid), cocktails, and science!

Admission is $10.  Ages 18 and up.

NightLife: California Academy of Sciences

Update: Tonight is SOLD OUT, but tickets are available for upcoming Thursdays.


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