Posts Tagged ‘antenna’

Frisco’s Highest Elevator Car

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Here it is:

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I don’t think it ever gets level, so you’re standing on a sloping floor the whole time:

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And then you go up up up to the highest horizontal point of Sutro Tower:

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I haven’t seen it in action lately, but here’s a shot from aught-four:

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And more recently:

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Or you can take the stairs I guess…

Shakedown 1998: How the Neighbors of Sutro Tower Held Digital TV Hostage for Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

Friday, July 21st, 2017

[Feel free to boot up (Shakedown) 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins while you read – that’s the reference.]

Here it is, noble Sutro Tower, beloved symbol of Frisco. The vertical part in the middle is an add-on – it brought / brings digital TV to the Bay Area.

Well, two decades ago it caused consternation to certain (and certainly now) millionaire homeowners of Midtown Terrace, Forrest Knolls and basically the whole Twin Peaks area what’s located in the “fall zone.” (Uh, that’s in quotes due to the fact that this phrase was made up by some area attorney homeowner back in the day. But it’s center of gravity is like 16 underground, so as long as it stays together as a rigid body (and, you know, it probably will – I’m not promising you anything though), I don’t think it can fall down.

Anyway, noble Sutro. I think this is as close as I’ve ever been to it at an altitude higher than the base, if that makes sense:

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So, just as area attorneys (and USF law students) banded together back in the 1970’s to deprive us of our landmark, area attorneys banded together in the 1990’s to fight the relatively minor addition of a 100-foot long metal “auxiliary antenna” for digital TV broadcast.

All this digital antenna fooforall was ably covered by INTERESTED PARTY the San Francisco Chronicle in 1998. And look:

“The 977-foot Sutro Tower is owned by four television stations: KRON, KTVU, KGO and KPIX. KRON is owned by Chronicle Publishing Co., which also controls The Chronicle.” 

Hello! (The writer properly put fall zone in quote marks. Good.)

Obviously the fretful homeowner lawyers were threatening to sue, but also obviously we now have this auxiliary antenna, so how did that happen? Well, Sutro Tower Inc. (STI) had to fork over some cold hard cash:

“STI agrees to contribute:

a. $3,000.00 per year to the Midtown Terrace Home Owners Association. The initial contribution payable prior to December 31, 2008. Subsequent contributions to be made on or before July 1 of each year

b. $4,500.00 one time contribution to the Twin Peaks Improvement Association for an open space improvement project.

c. $6,000.00 one time contribution to the Forrest Knolls Neighborhood Organization to replace the Forrest Knolls entrance sign.

d. $ 10,000.00 one time contribution for the benefit of the surrounding area to purchase two drinking fountains one each at the walking paths around two area reservoirs. The contribution will be payable only when the fountains are approved by the appropriate agencies and actually purchased.”

The big winner? Well it’s gotta be the MTHOA, which gets three grand every year from here to eternity, paid for by Channels 2, 4,* 5, und 7.** All that’s gotta add up to a couple hundred thou eventually.

Read the rest of the agreement if you want. (You don’t hear so much about the RF concerns anymore – I guess people have other things to worry about these days. And what else, a few people were complaining about red and white lead paint chips falling down and landing in the soil a while back. I haven’t heard about that issue lately either.)

On the up side, the people who live there have benefited from some nice middle class welfare over the years such as mortgage interest deductibility, Prop 13, and massive massive home price appreciation since the 1970s / 1990’s, the times when the yammering was going full tilt.

It’s pretty much a happy ending. Play us out, Wiki:

Despite the initial revulsion of some residents, Sutro Tower is now recognized by many as a Bay Area icon, it appears in local art, television shows, and movies as one of the architectural symbols of the city. The tower is featured in video games, business logos, on clothing, as furniture and even tattoos. The U.S. band Information Society used it on the cover of their album Don’t Be Afraid. A local entertainment guide, SF Station, uses it as a logo, as does the collaborative art game SFZero and the Expose SF art competition.”

And Don’t Be Afraid, Midtown. Your tower is 100% Pure Energy. It brings us our Information Society.***

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And oh, I just came across this:

Sutro Tower: The Origins of an ‘Eyesore’ By Jessica Placzek

Enjoy.

*Which is no longer owned by the Chronic – it’s master is now Nexstar Media Group.

**I can’t host a Super Bowl party when NBC is doing the broadcast, cause I’m a cutter, a cable cutter since like aught-nine. And no Olympics either. 

***Or Vast Wasteland, your pick. When somebody presses the remote button wrong, the digital TV turns on. Like 16 channels – home shopping network, plus Spanish and Chinese language programs.  

IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU’RE TOO CLOSE: An Interesting Rooftop Installation in NoPA, as Seen from Fell and Divisadero

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

What’s going on up here?

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Also, could this room fit a full-sized mattress? What’s the rent?

PK VU, PNTHS, PULMN KI? PERFCT!

If Your Cell Phone Doesn’t Work Under This Massive, Low-Rise Antenna Array, Then It Probably Won’t Work Anywhere

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

And look, the tower pokes out of the roof of a cell phone store. Isn’t it ironic?

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Dont’cha think?

San Francisco’s Best (If Scariest) Commute: Riding the Elevator Basket Up Sutro Tower

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

As seen a few days back – that square, that’s your elevator car. Haven’t seen it in a while:

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And here’s the close-up color version, from all the way back in 2004:

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(I remember thinking how the workers in the basket should have appeared clearer in this photo. I guess I was super-far away, oh well.)

In closing, take that, Great Pyramid. Pwned:

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This Four-Decker Cell Phone Antenna is Beautiful – These Should Be Erected All Over Frisco, Starting with Telegraph Hill

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

You dig? Cause cell phones are modern-day telegraphs / semaphores right?

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And then, when semaphores are no longer useful, we took them down.

And then, when cell phone towers are no longer useful, we’ll take them down.

Promise.

The Best Cell Phone Tower in the World – We Should Have These Things Installed at Every Intersection, Whatever the Engineers Wish

Friday, December 26th, 2014

And then SF would have a chance at actually being the “Innovation Capitol of the World”

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Invisible airwaves crackle with Life
Bright antennae bristle with the energy
Emotional feedback on timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price, almost free

Telemetry Transceivers, Baker Street, Western Addition, San Francisco

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

No these aren’t brand-new ShotSpotter gunfire detectors, as I initially thought.

They’re telemetry transceivers to give MUNI vehicles signal priority, per the Richmond District Blog:

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Now here’s a shot from 2011 on Scott Street in the Western Addition – I don’t know what all this stuff is:

I don’t think any of them have anything to do with signal priority…

SFO ATC Tower, Telephoto

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Air traffic control, baby!

Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a fly-by:

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Such antennas!

Now THIS is a Cell Phone Tower – We Should Have These All Over San Francisco, NIMBYs Be Damned

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

It’s beautiful:

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Hang those who talk of less.

Maybe ATT, VRZ, SPR, and TMO all share this pole, in perfect harmony.