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 pursue.

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 screen.

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 of screen.

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.

TV-DX Samples

Page last updated July 21, 1998