The Galaxy Gang Welcomes You!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TV Station Sign-Ons (Program 99)

On Program 99, we remember the days when TV stations would shut down late at night, and then start broadcasting again very early the next morning.  This was known as the Sign-On and Sign-Off.  Something that is very rarely seen today in the era of all-night infomercials and overnight news programs.  The Galaxy Gang recall their memories of getting up early in the morning to see the station transmitting a test pattern, such as the ones we show here, and then listening to the National Anthem, and perhaps a devotional film, prior to beginning the day's programs.  The test patterns were designed to be able to allow station engineers to align their transmitting equipment, and owners of TV sets at home to align their sets.

Test patterns such as these began to be phased out as color television became the standard.  For color TV adjustments, a color bar pattern was created to help technicians determine if a color set was reproducing an accurate picture. 

Although we don't see these interesting patterns on our TVs any more, it's fun to look back and remember those days.  Join us on program 99 for our recollections of these early TV memories!


  1. I vividly remember the old circular test patterns - many of which were adapted for color TV use in the '60's (with color "wedges"), modified in the '70's and '80's, and used right up to the '90's.

    Recreations of several of those vintage test patterns, as well as descriptions of what they signified, can be found at:

  2. Many thanks for your memories and for the URL to see many old test patterns! I refer anyone interested in seeing more of these to go to the URL listed. Thanks wbhist! Smitty

  3. Many a late Saturday night after Creature Feature, waking up on the sofa to the National Anthem and test pattern.... :)

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