By: Keith Pelletier
San Francisco’s iconic Sutro Tower is now home to a new Dielectric DCR-S Series FM radio antenna. The antenna joins the close to 300 resident antennas currently residing on this massive, 977-foot high steel structure.
While Sutro Tower installed the antenna for use by a local FM radio broadcaster, Eric Dausman, Sutro Tower, Inc.’s chief operating officer, expects that more broadcasters will want to use the same antenna due to its broadband design and high-performance characteristcs.
Sutro Tower currently enables 12 Bay Area TV stations and four FM stations to distribute their RF signals across the hilly, nine-county Bay Area. It also serves 35 wireless radio communication users, including first responders, government agencies, and transportation companies.
According to Dausman, Sutro Tower chose the DCR-S Series FM antenna because of its broadband capabilities and excellent axial ratio characteristics. “Because of our central location, the DCR-S antenna’s broadband and multi-channel capabilities, covering 88 to 98 MHz, enable us to multiplex signals and maximize our tower’s capacity.”
Since Sutro Tower is in the midst of a densely populated neighborhood, Dausman added, “the structural integrity of our tower, and the mechanical design and construction of the equipment it supports, are extremely important to public safety. The engineering quality and durability of these antennas met our structural and electrical requirements, making them safe and robust enough for use near the private homes in this area.”
Many of the antennas that were initially installed on Sutro Tower were manufactured by the RCA TV Antenna Division, which Dielectric acquired in 1986. These antennas operated reliably until 2009, when new Dielectric antennas were installed for VHF and UHF television broadcasting.
While Sutro Tower’s management got proposals from three other antenna makers as part of the bidding process, Dausman said that they ultimately chose Dielectric because of the company’s proven track record, quality engineering and technical expertise, as well as the company’s ability to custom design and deliver exactly what Sutro Tower and its resident broadcasters required.