LabGuy's World: Extinct Westel Corp. Video Equipment
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Portable TV Camera and Tape Recorder: The world's first (where have I heard that before?) battery powered transistor TV tape camera is shown here. The new device will tape 30 minutes of broadcast quality TV with on-location sound. Seven pound camera head permits the operator to see and control TV picture and sound as he shoots. The brief case size recording unit (on shoulder strap) weighs only 23 pounds complete with rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries and magnetic tape. The tape recorder uses one inch wide magnetic tape driven at 10 IPS a three section inverted mandrel. The whole midsection, which house the single recording head, rotates against the tape. The entire system is made by Westel Co., Redwood City, CA, and sells for about $10,500. Text and photo: Electronics World Magazine, July 1966.
Update 080629 This system never made it to market. It did however evolve into several military and industrial applications. Such as the following...

WR-201 Coniscan Format Airborne Video Tape Recorder: New 080629 This is a record only video recorder used for airborne military operations. This function is usually referred to as a gun camera, as it recorded the image of the targets chosen by the pilot. This machine is late 1960s technology as far as I can determine via quick examination. I have another recorder, obviously related to this one, a [ Precision Echo model 521].
Westel Portable TV Camera Hand Grip: New 080629 This is possibly the pistol grip for the camera shown in the photo above. This was obtained from John Streets at Merlin Engineering. He claims it was for the Westel portable camera. Could it possibly be? Well here it is for us all to marvel at. Makes you wonder what happened to the rest of the Westel video outfit?


Last updated: June 29, 2008