News Radio & Audio Satellite & Transmissions

San Francisco’s Sutro Tower Installs a Dielectric DCR-S FM Antenna

Iconic tower’s management chose the antenna for its broadband, multiplexing capabilities.

Dielectric announced that San Francisco’s iconic Sutro Tower has installed a Dielectric DCR-S Series FM radio antenna on its 977-foot-high steel structure.

With its close to 300 resident antennas, Sutro Tower is used by the San Francisco market’s top broadcasters—including 12 TV stations, four FM stations and 35 wireless radio communication users—to distribute their signals across the hilly, nine-county Bay Area region. First responders, government agencies, and transportation companies are also among the tower’s wireless radio users.

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“We chose the Dielectric DCR-S FM antenna because of its broadband capabilities and excellent axial ratio characteristics,” said Eric Dausman, Sutro Tower, Inc.’s chief operating officer. “Because of our central location, the DCR-S antenna’s broadband and multi-channel capabilities, covering 88 to 98 MHz, enables us to multiplex signals and maximize our tower’s capacity.”

Sutro Tower, Inc. has been owned by a consortium of four broadcasters since it was built in the center of town in 1973. Many broadcasters have their main transmitters at the Sutro Tower facility to ensure strong reception for listeners and viewers.

While the antenna was ordered with one particular radio customer in mind—a major FM radio station serving the Bay Area—many other broadcasters have since voiced interest in sharing the DCR-S due to its broadband design, available bandwidth, and high performance characteristics.

According to Dausman, many of the initial antennas on Sutro Tower were manufactured by the RCA TV Antenna Division—which Dielectric acquired in 1986—and operated reliably until 2009 when new Dielectric antennas were installed for VHF and UHF television broadcasting. The pristine engineering quality and durability of these antennas, which continue to this day at Dielectric, also address public safety concerns in this populated neighborhood.

“Since Sutro Tower is surrounded by private homes, the structural integrity of our tower, and the mechanical design and construction of the equipment it supports, are extremely important to public safety,” Dausman said. “The tower, antenna and auxiliary systems need to be of high structural quality. We chose this Dielectric antenna because we know their designs meet our structural and electrical requirements, which are that the products must be robust, with a decades-long lifecycle.”

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“While we got proposals from three other antenna makers as part of the bidding process,” Dausman continued, “We ultimately chose Dielectric because they had the best track record and technical expertise to custom-design and deliver exactly what Sutro Tower and its resident broadcasters required.”

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