Monday, March 16, 2009


Once, I Had A Fax Machine...

No, not that kind. It was a big, ugly mechanical thing that I bought at a surplus electronics store. It was an RD-92A/UX Facsimile Recorder used by the Navy to get weather maps on ships. I got it because I had been interested in fax since my early radio days when I would hear these strange signals on the shortwave. I later learned that they were FAX transmissions! So, I bought this machine in the early 70s. Then, after an extensive search, I bought some of the special electrostatic paper it needed. From Fitchburg CPI in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Then, I designed and built a FAX converter for my shortwave receiver. And, voila, facsimile recordings all over the place.

What brings this subject to mind is the big pile of FAX recordings I found while cleaning out the under-the-basement-stairs storage area. There were over 200 wrapped in the original paper packaging along with some blanks. I find that the paper is Timefax NDA, it's 12" wide by 19.125" long, and there were 250 sheets. I went through them. Most were, *surprise*, weather maps, but some were picture stories like from a wire service. I saved a few of the, one is below. The rest go into the recycle bin. Note that the photo has been fixed up in PhotoShop Elements to correct the aspect ratio. Wirephotos are 8 by 10, not 12 by 19.

Pulling the rather thick folder on the fax converter, I have folders for everything, I find that I wrote an article about my experience and the fax converter itself. It was published in the January 1974 issue of 73 MAGAZINE, a magazine for amateur radio enthusiasts. I wonder how many other articles I have written and forgotten? Also in the folder was a photocopy of a Bureau of Ships, Navy Department, Instruction Book for Facsimile Recorder RD-92A/UX. Now, where did I get that?