WA5IYX TV-DX Images
Though I had been dabbling at TV-DXing since the mid 1950's
my first attempts at photographing any of it were not until the summer of
1960. They were made of the Ch 2 Denver (then KTVR). A fixed focus/shutter
box camera with standard ASA 125 speed film gave very poor results. Undaunted
some more attempts were made in 1963 when a Ch 3 Phoenix (KTVK) test pattern
image was rendered fairly well. A desire to have Tri-X (ASA 400) film in the
camera for much better results was mitigated by the fact that it thus
would be made useless for any "normal" daylight images due to their being
overexposed on the faster speed film.
The rest of the 1960's saw a few images being taken, but the quality was
not showing any improvement. By 1970 a multiple-exposure technique was
adopted that could only be used on stable tropo signals running test
cards/patterns. As a reel-to-reel tape recorder had been obtained in
1968 the audio recordings of ID's was seen as a more "dynamic" item to
By the early 1970's having a TV set dedicated to DXing rekindled a desire
to take photos of it. The fixed focus was now even more of a problem as
this was a 9" screen that could be miniscule at the minimum camera distance.
Worse yet was that automated printing that the photoshops used would take
all that dark area around the TV screen and average it in and missexpose
the bright portion desired. I resorted to making some of my own contact
prints from the negatives.
I then came across a virtual toy item that I converted with a 10" focal length
lens Scotch taped over its lens to enable a closer focus. A ground
glass screen was placed in the film image plane and marks were made on the
desk where the tripod had to be set to produce a properly focused and framed
The camera (even if a $1 item) did have three choices of shutter speed.
I used Tri-X film and the slowest shutter. That produced some of the
then best yet TV-DX images that I had! The problems with the automated
photoshop printing were somewhat less as the frame was now mostly full
I'd long known that an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera was the real "cure"
for taking TV-DX photos. I got a Pentax K-1000 (50-mm, f/2 lens) in March
1980 and embarked on an "orgy" of screen shots. I soon discovered the
optimum shutter and f-stop settings for Tri-X (and later Plus-X). Again
it was the automated photoshop printing that left much to be desired.
Though I had obtained it in late 1980, a Bogen enlarger was not put to use
until early 1983 when scores of 2.5" x 3.5" prints were made. These were arduous
marathon sessions with a print rate of 6/hour being about the maximum. August
1985 was the last time that I conducted one of those.
With the 1987 acquisition of a VCR I now had the means of dynamically
capturing both the sound and video of the TV-DX experience. Any photos
then were done from the freeze frame playback. The photoshop handling of
these color images was generally very good.
There remained many TV-DX images that had not been printed, and the idea
of converting these to video tape arose. The lack of a video camera
(and one that had to change the negative into a positive image) forstalled
any such projects for over a decade.
As outlined in my Solar Photo History section, I became aware that the
Snappy device was able to convert
photgraphic negatives into positive images for computer storage as well as
capture live/taped video.
Page last updated July 21, 1998