Sutro Tower

San Francisco, California

Photo by Ken Erickson

Sutro Tower is a 977-foot-tall self-supporting steel structure located near the geographical center of the city of San Francisco, California, used for the transmission of television and FM broadcasting.  The tower is shared by eleven television stations, five FM radio stations and several wireless communications systems.


Sutro Tower is owned and operated by Sutro Tower Inc., an independent corporation founded in 1968 by the owners of KTVU-2, KRON-4, KPIX-5, and KGO-7.  The owners of these four stations hold equal shares in Sutro Tower, Inc.  The corporation owns the tower and the service building, but not the broadcast equipment installed there.  It leases space on the tower and in the building to the local television and radio stations.


Stations transmitting from Sutro Tower are: Television stations KTVU-2, KRON-4, KPIX-5, KGO-7, KQED-9, KOFY-20, KMTP-32, KCNS-38, KBCW-44, KCSM-60 and KFSF-66, and FM stations KNGY 92.7, KOIT 96.5, KSOL 98.9, KKSF 103.7 and KFOG 104.5 MHz.

Antenna Changes

With the transition to digital-only TV transmissions, many changes were made to the antenna configuration on the tower in 2009.  New auxiliary antennas for the UHF digital stations were installed just below the waist of the tower in April.  After all analog transmissions were discontinued on June 12, a crew began removing all of the antennas used for analog TV, replacing them with new permanent antennas for digital operation.
 
The antenna for VHF station KGO 7 was replaced first, and the station started using the new antenna on July 21.  Installation work was completed on the antennas for all of the other stations in mid-October, and they all switched over to their new antennas on October 19 through 21.

Sutro Tower Antenna Location Diagram

The New Antenna Configuration - as viewed from the East Side
StationTransmitter
Channel
KTVU 244
KRON 438
KPIX 529
KGO 7  7
KQED 930
KOFY 2019
KMTP 3233
KCNS 3839
KBCW 4445
KCSM 6043
KFSF 6634
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
This photo identifies the main antenna used by each TV station.
Channels shown are the transmitter channels.
 
 
 
Close up diagram of the top of the tower showing antenna measurements.
The KFSF antenna on mast C is missing from this diagram.
 


Sutro Tower Antenna Project

A journal of photos and information about the 2009 antenna project
are on separate "Sutro Tower Antenna Project" pages:

Antenna Project Page 1 - November, 1998 to August 7, 2009

Antenna Project Page 2 - August 12 to September 1, 2009

Antenna Project Page 3 - September 2 to November 14, 2009

Large Photographs - A series of large photographs offering
detailed views of the tower and antennas.  You may
have to use your scroll bars for some of the photos.

The Sutro Tower Antennas

In the left photo on the left is the southeast mast with the KGO and KBCW antennas
and on the right the west mast with the combined antennas for KTVU, KRON and
KPIX with the KOFY antenna below it.  In the right photo is the combined antenna
for KQED, KMTP, KCNS and KCSM at the top with the KFSF antenna below it.

   


This is another view of the southeast mast with the antennas for KGO
at the top and KBCW below it.  The FM antennas are for KKSF and KFOG.


This is a view of the west and northeast masts
showing the two combined antennas.

Photos above by Ken Erickson


Close up shots of the UHF auxiliary antennas.
First photo by Falcon; second photo by Ken Erickson


These are the auxiliary antennas for the FM stations and KGO-TV on Level 1
The KGO-TV auxiliary antenna is the red one.


Views from near the bottom of the tower taken late afternoon September 1, 2009
Photos by Falcon 77


The transmitter building at the foot of Sutro Tower
Photo by Ken Erickson


Views from Sutro Tower

The view seen from Level 6 of Sutro Tower
Photo by Don Hackler, October, 2003


Photos of Bobby (bobby94928 on the AVS Forum) on Level 6 of Sutro Tower.
In the first photo you can see the Sunset District and Pacific Ocean behind him.
In the second one you can see the Golden Gate Bridge next to his right arm.
Photos courtesy of Bobby


Views from Twin Peaks

On the left, October 16, 2009; on the right, October 24, 2009.
Note that the temporary digital antenna that was used from
November, 1998 until October 12, 2009 has been removed.
Left photo supplied by Bob Hofert; right photo by Ken Erickson.

   


Sutro Tower, as seen from Twin Peaks on August 27, with a view of
Mt. Tamalpais, the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
The crew was working on the west mast. The northeast mast had not been updated.


Downtown San Francisco, looking directly down Market Street to the Ferry Building


The broadcast towers atop Mt. San Bruno


Oakland and the East Bay hills with Mt. Diablo in the distance


A beautiful old view of Sutro Tower at sunset


Photos and text by Larry Kenney unless otherwise indicated.
Sunset photo photographer is unknown.
Antenna configuration diagrams courtesy Sutro Tower, Inc.


Links to other web sites with Sutro Tower information and photos:

Official Sutro Tower Site

Sutro Tower - from Wikipedia

Mount Sutro and Sutro Tower

Community Perspectives on Sutro Tower

Sutro Tower and Other Underrated San Francisco Landmarks

Sutro Tower - Site of the Week, September 23-29, 2011

Sutro Tower - Site of the Week, June 6-13, 2001

Sutro Tower - Jim Price's History and Timeline

Visiting A San Francisco Landmark - Sutro Tower

Map: From Mapquest Showing Sutro Tower Location

Map: From Google Showing Sutro Tower Location

Photos: 36 Views of Sutro Tower

Photos: Sutro Tower - on Flickr

Photos: Sutro Tower - on Yelp


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