Sutro Tower no longer transmitting analog television

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.

6 thoughts on “Sutro Tower no longer transmitting analog television”

  1. I’ve been keeping a pictorial log of the on-going antenna project on Sutro Tower showing the changes to the three masts as the old antennas have come down and the new ones have gone up. The project continues… two masts are complete and they’re working on the third as I write this September 14th.

    Jeff… you might want to put a link at the top of this page so that people can check out the photos and commentary. The address is:

    San Francisco

    1. Larry,

      Thank you for the excellent link and fantastic photos of the digital conversion project! It’s nice to see that someone else in the city is as fascinated by Sutro Tower as I am! I’ll repost your link to the blog shortly.


  2. I took a photograph of my spectrum analyzer display before most stations in LA shut down their analog signals. But it turns out that many if not most stations are still transmitting. THe VHF stations are all transmitting a loop of a show on how to convert to HD, but there are some UHF stations still transmitting their infomercials, religious broadcasts, etc. I wonder if some of these fall into the category of the low power 100 watt stations, or if they are just waiting to see how long they can go… So for now, no ‘after’ shot of the display.

    1. I think Sutro is changing over so abruptly because the limited real estate on top of the antenna means that the DTV antennas are currently in a poor position for their coverage area. The analog antennas need to move to make room for the new DTV antennas at the top of the mast(s).

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