Sunrise Over Our Microwave Tower (Which Needs a Name)

Sunrise @ Bernal Heights

Sunrise @ Bernal Heights

Ilya Yakubovich took these colorful snaps of sunrise atop Bernal Hill early last week. Gorgeous!

Meanwhile, and related-unrelated, it occurred to me recently that Bernal’s iconic microwave tower really needs a name. Calling it “Microwave Tower” is pretty lame.

I don’t have any specific ideas per se, but I would generally propose that — like its bigger cousin Sutro Tower — the name should be simple and vaguely honorific. Even “Bernal Tower”would work, for example. That’s just an obvious proposal; the Nomenclature Committee will consider any and all suggestions; please submit them in the comments below.

26 thoughts on “Sunrise Over Our Microwave Tower (Which Needs a Name)

  1. How about a name in honor of Ed Lee, we could name it Ug Lee.
    Or perhaps we could honor the great Apple Inc., and name it I-Sore.

    • Fun ideas, but, um, I actually *like* the thing as-is. I know that’s a debatable position, but I also know I’m not alone it that opinion. I think Bernal Hill looks much more fun and distinctive with the tower than it would look without it.

      • Last night I walked the hill and imagined Bernal without the tower. Just a peaceful bald hill, no man made elements or inappropriate trees on top. But alas I looked up and there it was, our “beloved” monstrosity.
        What’s to like? I cannot comprehend.

      • Well, I understand that sentiment. But my own feeling is that the peasceful bald hill would be no less “artificial” than the hilltop with the tower. The post-settlement history of the hill is largely a story of urbanism, human intervention, and its interaction with the rest of the city, and the tower (in my mind) symbolizes that. This is not Walden Pond, after all — a rustic and pristine wonderland resisting the encroachment of humankind. No, Bernal Hill has evolved dialectically with human development for nearly 200 years, and I see no reason to pretend otherwise.

        Without the tower, Berna Hill would look like just another of the 10 zillion or so green/brown hilltops found in California. Want a bald hilltop? There are many close by to choose from, and most of them are entirely forgettable. Without the tower, Bernal Hill would be no different, no more distinctive, and no more interesting. As it is, at a bare minimum, the tower (to me, at least) acts as a signature element. At best, it almost (almost) functions as landscape architecture or sculpture.

        Again, I realize that may not be a universal opinion. But I know it is not uncommon, either. Personally, I think *the* defining feature of Bernal Heights is the unique balance it strikes between dense urbanism and a more bucolic mode of existence. I have no desire to alter that balance in either direction, and for me, the image of the tower silhouetted on the hill is the quintessential symbol of Bernal’s dual character.

        Submitted humbly,

  2. Our tower does not appear to have an official name. But according to the FCC record neither does the Sutro Tower. “Bernal Tower” sounds good to me:

    99 Mountrie St Bernal Heights (Lat: 37.743250 Lon: -122.415222), Overall height: 23.2 m, Call Sign: WNEP621, Licensee ID: L00002226
    Assigned Frequencies: 17840.0 MHz, 19600.0 MHz
    Grant Date: 04/23/2008, Expiration Date: 07/17/2018
    Registrant: San Francisco, City And County Of, 901 Rankin St, San Francisco, CA 94124, Phone: (415) 550-2745, Fax: (415) 550-2728, Email:

    Read more:

  3. Remember that post from a month or two ago about the streets that disappeared near Bayshore, Faith and something else? How about we use the tower to commemorate those streets. Faith Tower? What was the other street name?
    Because the tower is so controversial, I don’t know if naming it after a beloved local hero is actually the best idea. What if he hated the thing?

  4. Bernal Tower located atop the hill in Vincent Perez Park – or – in the Perez (Microwave) Plaza., or Vincent Perez Memorial Antenna Farm, or the Bernal Antenna Aggregation or BAA which would tie into Bernal history
    Why not the park? Perez Park has a nice ring to it and it’s nicer than an aggregation of microwave transmitters.

  5. Torre de Microonda
    Torre de Microonda Buena Onda
    La Buena Onda Microonda
    El Pico de Bernal
    El Pico
    El Pico Chido

  6. We could call it “Site 89291” which is how American Tower (who operates the facility) calls it. But that might be boring.

    I still favor Bernal Tower, simple and to the point.

    Most of the old infrastructure microwave (e.g. the big Andrew dishes) are gone from there now. The big dishes ATT had up there have been gone for at least 5 years.

    Anyone notice that in the last year or so the Emergency Alert Sirens were moved to their own pole away from the building now, and are no longer mounted in the middle of the main antenna structure?

  7. Pingback: Fog and Sun: Two Flavors of Bernal Hill Time-Lapse Video | Bernalwood

  8. Pingback: Nomenclature Update: Introducing “Sutrito Tower” | Bernalwood

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