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Early Broadcast Equipment

RCA Television Remote Van from WGSF

In 1969 the van was purchased by WGSF, an educational station in Newark, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Columbus. After several years of use by WGSF, the van was donated to the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. Recently, OHS agreed to loan the van to the Early Television Museum, where it has been put on display.  The van has most of its original equipment, including TK-30A cameras and the microwave system. Here is an article about WGSF-TV in the Newark Advocate (Mary, 1963).

The Van Today

Pictures from the WGSF-TV website

This van was purchased by KDYL(W6XIS) Salt Lake City in 1948 (later the call sign was changed to KCPX).

In 1969 the van was purchased by WGSF, an educational station in Newark, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Columbus. After several years of use by WGSF, the van was donated to the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. Recently, OHS agreed to loan the van to the Early Television Museum, where it will be put on display in January.  The van has most of its original equipment, including TK-30A cameras and the microwave system. Here are some other remote television vans. Chuck Pharis is restoring a similar van, and Chuck Conrad is restoring a DuMont Telecruiser Model B, which was made about the same time. A similar but somewhat newer van is sitting in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Here is a video tour of the van.

For the history of WGSF, check out their website.

The following is from Daniel Black, formerly an employee of WGSF and WBNS-TV (Columbus):

   I moved from Columbus three years ago. I used to work at WGSF in Newark, then WBNS-TV in Columbus. I was just looking over your Website for the first time in a while and ran across the pictures from KDYL. In your description of getting the TRK from KDYL, you mention it was then KCPX. You have probably already figured this out, but that should mean the picture of the KDYL remote truck at the parade in 1948 is a picture of the WGSF truck now at the Ohio Historical Society when it was brand spanking new.

   That may even have been KDYL's first remote, since we were told from the start it was new in 1948. One bit of possible confirmation is in the other picture at ground level. The camera on the left has a dolly identical to the ones on the WGSF truck; a style that I have seen nowhere else in thirty years of looking at pictures of old gear.

   I started at WGSF in the summer school class in the summer of 1969, literally within days of the truck's arrival. Leland Hubbell, the Station Manager, drove it back from Salt Lake City after it was purchased for the station for $9000 by a local group. He said they told him they had used the truck only to cover an annual parade for a number of years.

   It had KCPX markings on it and on most of the gear, though there were different call letters, not KDYL that I remember, on some items. The truck was in mostly original condition. The three cameras, the switcher, sync generator and power systems were all stock RCA except for orbiters added to the cameras at some point. An air conditioner had also been added along the way. The original cable reels in the back had been removed.

   I did about 145 remotes with that truck over the four years we used it at WGSF. At first I worked as crew. When our maintenance tech quit, I did a lot of the maintenance of the equipment and I drove the truck for about a year after I got my drivers' license.  My first technical work at the station was helping check the tubes in that sync generator prior to its first use, and that was a lot of tubes.

   One interesting note. There were curtains between the drivers seat and the production area. Our technician decided to cut them up and make them into individual covers for the windows so we could use all the space in the truck. Shortly after he did that a gentleman walked by the truck, saw the cloth over the windows and stopped to ask if we had any more of the cloth. He was shocked when he was told how big the pieces used to be. The cloth was the same as was used in 1948 Lincolns and would have been worth a nice chunk of change if we had sold it to a classic car restorer.

   WGSF already had two TK30s in the studio, so the equipment in the truck was quite familiar to everyone. A shelf was added to support the one tape machine that the station owned: an Ampex VR-660 2 inch helical machine. Using that we did numerous location shoots for later airing. Educational shows for the schools, general interest shows, high school sports of all kinds, drag racing at National Trails, the Hartford Fair, a regular show for the local art association, on and on.

   After getting the RCA TTR1C microwave that came with the truck licensed we also did a large number of live remotes of all different sorts; high school football and basketball, League of Women Voters candidate debates, election coverage, an orchestra performance, a bowling tournament, and variety shows that were part of a local summer festival.

   The first year we had the truck it averaged over one remote a week. By comparison, the other remote truck in the market, the one WBNS-TV had, was used for the State Fair and usually one or two other remotes a year.

 


Inside the van

Covering the 1972 elections

At the Licking County courthouse in Newark

 

Another remote