WGSF Television Cameras
Most of the television camera equipment used at WGSF was
'hand-me-downs' and 'loaners.'
The first camera that I know of is the one pictured in the 1963 photos,
probably a videcon type, loaned from WCET in Toledo, OH. It was apparently
used for the first broadcasts, in 1963, and for showing the station ID for
some time after than.
An obsolete film chain camera, an RCA TK-20 iconoscope tube camera,
was obtained from the National Educational
Television Center in Ann Arbor, MI, and utilized throughout the rest
of the active years of WGSF.
The first projector is shown in the photo from 1963-64,
of WGSF Manager Dana Cox and Bill Wheeler of Ohio Power. It was from Lincoln
Jr. High, one of the old Audio/Visual types once used in the classroom. That
was replaced by a standard Kodak Carousel 35 mm projector, with a "change"
button connected to the remote control receptacle located at the transmitter
control panel. WGSF went through several of these projectors over the years,
as the slide projector was used on every station break and got a lot of use.
Another TV Camera made a brief appearance at WGSF, but was never used on-air.
Leland Hubbell built a videcon camera from plans published in Radio
Electronics magazine, and demonstrated "See Yourself on TV" with it,
hooked into a TV set up as a monitor. The video pulses were not broadcast
standard, but at least it was a television camera. It was used in the amateur
radio/TV station of K8MZH, where the pulses were not a problem.
Station Manager Dana Cox arranged for the loan of two Dumont image orthicon
(I/O) cameras from Cincinnati ETV Station WCET in early 1966, and Leland
Hubbell met the WCET personnel in Dayton to pick them up. They are shown in
the pictures of the TV Production class of 1966. Note that they usually were
run with the side doors open, due to heat problems created by the large number
of vacuum tubes in a small space. The camera cable connector was on the side,
rather than underneath as most other similar cameras.
The equipment WCET supplied consisted of the television cameras, camera
control units, and power supplies, but not the syncronizing pulse generator
unit. Dumont used positive-going sync pulses, rather than the standard
negative sync, so an adapter was needed to tie the Dumont equipment into
the WGSF system. A simple inverter was constructed in a surplus cabinet to
interface the cameras to the Sarkes Tarzian sync generator then used at WGSF.
The cameras were loaned with the possibility/option that WGSF would buy
them. The school district could not come up with enough money to make
the purchase, so the cameras were returned to WCET in early autumn of 1966.
At this time, a sliding shelf was set up so that an old "lantern slide"
projector could be used, and even film strips projected directly on the face
of the TK-20 iconoscope pick-up tube. The lantern slides were the same size
as a Polaroid transparency, about 3 x 4 inches, and was used in the fall
Station WJW, in Cleveland, donated two RCA TK-30 "field" cameras in late
1966, and they served as the studio cameras for some time after that. These
cameras used the popular image orthicon type of tube, used by many manufacturers
at that time. The tubes were available for many years, but cost over $1,000.00.
The dolly units were fabricated in the high school industrial arts
Funds were allocated in 1967 for the purchase of some additional equipment,
which included a film chain. The TV camera was an 'Industrial' type videcon,
with a remote camera control unit. It was briefly used in the studio until
the mounts for the TK-30's were available. The camera was shown mounted
on a studio tripod in the Dispatch feature article of 1967. The scan had
to be reversed to match the projector image, and used in the film chain for
many years, even into the Channel 19 days at Newark High School. The
film chain used multiplexer optics (multiple projectors into one camera)
and permitted 35 mm slides and 16 mm film to both be shown with this camera.
The old TK-20 Ike chain was still utilized for slides, providing cross-fade
The Mobile TV Production van, acquired in 1969, also used the TK-30 I/O
cameras, so WGSF now had five similar cameras.
All of the RCA cameras were donated to the Historical Society in 1976,
when station WGSF ceased broadcasting, including the TK-20 Ike chain.
Later, as the I/O tubes became more expensive, two GBC videcon cameras
were purchased. The cameras were cheaper than a new I/O tube. They were
connected to the station or remote sync generator, and fed into the RCA
camera control unit (minus the TK-30 camera head.) This provided the proper
sync pulses, as well as the ability to "shade" the camera video output to
These cameras were used for several years, even at the high school, until
replaced by Panasonic color cameras in the late 1970's. They were eventually
donated to an Amateur Television group in Columbus, OH, when Leland Hubbell
retired from the School system.
WGSF used both Panasonic and Sony portable reel-to-reel video tape units
for news reporting and some remote production in the early 1970's. The units
were battery powered, and consisted of a videcon camera (monochrome, or
B&W, as all of the cameras were at WGSF) connected to a one-half inch
reel-to-reel recorder in EIAJ format. They held a half hour or recording
tape. The non broadcast nature of the video required a special transfer process
to be airable on broadcast television. The first solution involved shooting
the monitor image from the portable VTR with a studio videcon camera focused
on the monitor. Crude, but effective.
Later, when Time Base Correctors (TBC) became available, the portable
VCR video was routed though a KSN model TBC. This was at a time when most
stations were still using 16 mm film for all news reporting.
Links and Resources:
RCA TV Equipment Section of the Broadcast
Field cameras - TK-10 and TK30 Image orthicon
cameras - TK- 20 Iconoscope
National Educational Television
See Chuck Pharis' web page for photos of a Dumont camera, and the associated
power supply and sync generator:
Museum of Television:
Video tape formats: EIAJ (Electronic Industries Association Japan