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Alternate Angles

June 17, 2010
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Sutro, I see you…

Quick, can anyone guess where I took this?

And Bernal, so tiny.  But from where?

And what could this be? Bertro? Surnal?

Also note Bernal’s new tower-identity-branding:

Cute, but you’re no Sutro.

The Bernal Heights microwave switch was once a major junction for San Francisco’s telecommunication network — read more on the AT&T “long lines” microwave network at your leisure. (Sadly it does not cover how microwaves were responsible for the GIANT DOG in the picture above.)

Hey, look, a link between Bernal and Mt. Diablo!

(Hope your house wasn’t in Glen Park or on Diamond Heights in the 60s…)

The cold war-hardened network was rather impressive and ran from the 50s to the 90s, but was done in by the massive bandwidth advantage of fiber optics developed in the 70s.

Some of the stations were crazy remote though —  the relay station on Mt. Rose (on the Nevada side of the Sierras) was at 10,000 feet and had a gondola for access in winter.

Now if only AT&T SBC would put forth the same effort to get me a reliable signal on my iPhone. The “cold war” AT&T would not be amused.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Concerned Guajolote permalink
    June 17, 2010 1:16 am

    Yes, but what does this have to do with Eric Fischer?

    • June 17, 2010 1:23 am

      Crap, I forgot to add Eric’s scan of the 1913 gondola between Bernal – Sutro – The Richmond.

  2. June 17, 2010 1:11 pm

    top pic: Mount Davidson.

  3. friscolex permalink
    June 17, 2010 1:56 pm

    Yay for Cold War-era communications projects!

    Love the dog poster’s complicated Bernal Hill tower! I grew up staring at that microwave and invented all kinds of trippy stories about it, none of which involved mutant dogs. Go figure.

    As for the “where from” quiz at the beginning, my best guess would be Mt Davidson. (First instinct was up Diamond Heights way, like off Addison or Gold Mine –my dogwalk haunts– but then realized that it was way too far away to be those…)

  4. Radio Ham permalink
    June 19, 2010 11:59 am

    Just want to take this moment to remind everyone that today’s ATT (which is really SBC – Southwestern Bell Corporation) has pretty much nothing to do with the old ATT of cold war fame. ATT spun off all the really good pieces, and then SBC went around buying up all the former “Baby Bells” (post-ATT breakup regional companies) and bought the remnants of ATT largely (IMHO) to get the ATT brand name back.

    The original ATT would never do the shit that the current ATT (fka SBC) would do. The original ATT was professional and their shit worked really well. The new ATT (SBC) is just looking for a fast buck.

    Radio Ham

    • June 19, 2010 2:13 pm

      Well worth noting, Radio Ham — the old AT&T was worthy of respect. The “new” AT&T (i.e. SBC) does not even deserve contempt. Correcting the iPhone comment in the article.

      Engadget has a good overview of the 2000-era wireless mergers, and has a nice history of the regional bells. including how SBC (aka the Texans) gobbled everthing up except Qwest and Verizon.

      “PacBell Park” must have really pissed off the SBC guys in Texas after the merger.


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