The crews loosened the bolts holding the old analog antenna down. Then, in a delicate process, a helicopter used a hook to remove the 4,000-lbs. antenna from the east tower and then lowered that antenna into a waiting truck on the ground. A new antenna will be installed in the coming weeks.
The change will not affect viewers who watch ABC7 because the antenna removed was an old antenna that had not been used since the digital switch some years ago.
Still, it was a historic moment for the team of workers, many of whom were present when the original antenna was installed on top of the tower in 1982.
"I love it. It is a monument. Every time we're on the Dan Ryan, we look up and we say we put them up there," said lift coordinator John Rukavina.
Several streets surrounding Willis Tower were closed Sunday because of the process. West Adams, West Quincy, Van Buren and South Franklin streets were all closed to pedestrians and vehicles.
Now that the old antenna is gone, next, crews have to reconfigure the tower so it can accept the new antenna. When the new antenna arrives, the installation process will begin, and at home, viewers' signals will be a lot stronger.