NEW Bridge Communications Station

Joined: April 29th, 2007, 8:38 am

November 28th, 2014, 8:01 am #1

This is a new thread on the Communications Station which replaces the previous Communications Station thread.
This section is dedicated to the study, discussion and the accurate representation of the TOS Bridge Communications Station. All displays will be counted from the turbolift so that stations on the right will be counted clock-wise while the stations to the left of the turbolift will be counted  in a counter clock-wise fashion. To avoid confusion all panels will be referenced as shown below: 
The Communications Station was located to the left of the turbo-lift and was directly behind the Captain’s chair.   This station had more changes made to it over the course of the series than any other of the perimeter Bridge Stations.  It was also the most visible station because of its location which was typically in frame with whatever action was taking place on the bridge.  The Communications station at its upmost top portion had two individual displays above which were actually static displays.  We did see some text projected on one of them in the episode “"The Squire of Gothos"  but typically they were just backlit astronomical photos.  Like most of the bridge stations; the Communication console had 8 individual displays located under the top static graphics and just above the console.  On the console were located four control panels, an intercom and a switch bank.  We will look at each one of these areas in detail.
The Displays:
 The graphics for the 8 displays above the control panels remained unchanged during the entire run of the series; in fact they remained unchanged since the first pilot “The Cage.”  As with all of the Bridge displays the lighting sequences were changed from the pilot episodes.  On these displays during the Pilot episodes the lighting was much faster with random blinking lights compared to the slower more pattern based sequences that were seen throughout the series.  
Scene from "The Cage" showing the pilot version of the Comm Station which featured the same graphics as in the series
Comm 1

Comm-1 was a 10" X 10" display and was located adjacent to the turbolift.  None of the wording here on the graphic is from the actual display since there is no documentation of the original graphic. 
Here is a great view of Comm-1 and Comm-2 from "The Naked Time"  

And another great view from the episode "A Taste of Armageddon."  The lighting here reveals some wrinkling in the graphic which was sandwiched between two pieces of glass.  This was not unique to this display.
Comm 2

Comm-2 was a 10” X 10” display and was the second display from the LH side on the console.  This display was one of the more recognizable of the show due to its distinctive patterns and its location behind the captain’s chair; it was seen a lot!  The details are barely discernable but thanks to our friend Blu-Ray; they can finally be determined.  On this display the bottom center light bulb at the green part of the graphic was burned out for most of the first and second seasons but was replaced during the third season so we can see the complete pattern in those episodes.

A good view of Comm-2 from the first season

Comm-3 was a 12” X 10” display and located on the RH side of the console.  The wording on this display is directly from the original artwork.  This display appeared have more muted colors in the first season which was caused by the film stock used to film season 1.  The film stock used in the first season did not represent yellows or greens very well making the yellow colors appears more gold and the green appearing almost white.  A different film stock was used in seasons 2 & 3 which made the graphics colors vary in hue from the first season but the later represented the true colors of the various displays.  
Nice view of Comm-3 and Comm-4 from the first season
Here is a close-up of the labels from the actual Comm-3 panel. The bulb is burned out on the second set of words down but it reads "PROCESS CONTROL." For some reason this light bulb was frequently burned out during the series. 

With this view we can see the depth of the display which was set back from the surface of the console.  This scene is from the episode "The Man Trap" which was before they changed out the surface glass to frosted.  Since the front pane of glass is clear; it gives a good look at the back set display.  Notice the shadow created by the edge of the surface of the console face indicating the depth that the graphic was from the front.

Comm-4 is an 8” X 10” display located on the RH center of the console.  This was a very busy looking display due to the small size, many lights and fast pattern sequence.  Later on in the series it was frequently seen as a static display with no blinking lights or changing patterns

Comm-5 was a 12” X 10” display located on the LH center of the console.  During the series this was a static display with no blinking lights or changing patterns.  
The great view of Comm-5, Comm-6 and part of Comm-7 comes from "The Alternative Factor"

Comm-6 was an 8” X 10” display located to the left of Comm-5.  This displays lighting pattern sequence was relatively simple when compared to many of the other displays.  Another feature of this display was that it shared the motorized timing switch with its neighbors Comm-7 and Comm-8 which results in the changes in the lighting patterns happening in conjunction with the adjacent displays.  This display was auctioned off in 2003 at the Profiles In History, Bob Justman Auction
Photo of Comm-6 from the auction catalog.  You can clearly see here the black gaffers tape holding on the glass panes and graphic on the front of the box.

Comm-7 was a 12” X 10” display on the LH side of the console.  This display was a bit unusual regarding the layout of the graphic.  Its use of different shapes made it somewhat unique among the other displays on the Bridge.  Thanks to Dave at Star Trek History who provided a great unused clip of this display which revealed the exact wording on Comm-7. 
Good view of Comm-6 and Comm-7 from "The Galileo Seven"
Comm-7 framed nicely between Spock and Uhura from "The Changeling"

Comm-8 was an 8” X 10” display located on the far LH side of the Communications console.  As mentioned before; this displayed shared a controller with its two neighboring displays on the Comm station which resulted in them all changing at the same time.  The wording on this display has never been documented so the wording here taken from other sources.  This display had a problem that plagued several other Bridge displays during the run of the series which was that the graphic part slid down below the lighting grid behind it; causing it to become misaligned (more on the construction of the displays can be found here: ... units-made).  The graphic was sandwiched between layers of glass which were taped together with black Gaffers tape.  The displays would get very hot due the heat of the incandescent light bulbs which would cause the adhesive on the tape to loosen and would not hold the weight of the glass plates.  The result would be that the graphic would slide down and become misaligned with the lighting grid behind the graphic.  This has caused confusion over the configuration of the Comm-8 graphic because the larger rectangular parts of the graphic were missing the bottom side making it appear to be an upside-down “U” shape.  
Here is a scene from "Fridays Child" which shows on the right side of Scotty; the graphic on Comm-8 slid down  
Last edited by feek61 on November 11th, 2016, 12:39 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Joined: April 29th, 2007, 8:38 am

November 28th, 2014, 8:38 am #2

Comm Control Panels:
Scene from "Space Seed" showing the configuration of the Communications Station control panels
 The Communication Control Panels as with most of the bridge stations were made up of 4 separate control panels.  The configuration of the control panels and the buttons on them remained the same throughout the series however; the resin buttons were changed out prior to the start of the second season as detailed in the TOS buttons section here: ... witches-Li Other than the change in the resin buttons; the other significant change to the Communications control panels was the addition of 4 toggle switches added to CP 1 just prior to the episode “Fridays Child”   These 4 toggle switches replaced 4 round lights on the larger control panel at location 1 (a comprehensive look at the control panels can be found here: ... rol-Panels).  These were added so that the actress could show some physical movement and give the feeling that something was being done; not simply touching a piece of resin.  One of the toggle switches did activate one of the lights on the control panel but it is uncertain if the other three toggle switches actually controlled anything.  The addition of the toggle switches was the last change to any of the Communications control panels.
A great view of the toggles that were added to the CP1 prior to the episode "Friday's Child"
CP 1
First season configuration of CP1
A good view of CP1 showing the resin prismatic buttons from the episode "Mudds Women"
A good close-up of CP1 and CP2 from the first season
Kirk at the Communications Station with a good view of CP1 from "This Side of Paradise"
Another great view of the season 1 CP1 from "Charile X"
Like most of the Bridge control panels, CP 2 was a mirror image of CP 4 with the exception of a white push button located about halfway down on the right side of the panel.  This push button was the same type as we saw throughout the series in various locations around the ship; mostly they activated the intercom which was its function on the Communications console.  We got a good look at the button itself during a great close-up on the Captains Chair in “Court Martial.” 
Early second season version of CP1 showing the replaced buttons
Toggle switches were added prior to the episode "Friday's Child" which replaced the existing round buttons
A good view of the later second season CP1 also showing the relocated rocker switches
Only one of the toggles appeared to actually function; turning on a light on the control panel as indicated above
Another good view of CP1 showing the relocated rocker switches
First season version of CP2
Second season version of CP2
CP2 was one of two smaller control panels located near the center of the console just to the right of CP1.  After the resin buttons were changed after the first season; no changes were made to this control panel.
The location of CP2 can be clearly seen in this view.
In the episode "Catspaw" we got a really great view of CP2; so good in fact that the footage was reused in the episode "Who Mourns for Adonais
Most of the control panels were back lit from behind but some of the buttons were drilled out for individual lights.  In this photo we can see how the resin buttons were drilled out for the lighting of individual buttons.  
First season version of CP3
The second & third season version of CP3
CP3 was the second of two of the smaller control panels near the center of the console; this one on the right hand side.  After the first season no changes were made to CP3.  This control panel was auctioned off at the 2003 Profiles in History Bob Justman Auction
First season version of CP4
Second and third season version of CP4
CP4 was the second of the larger control panels which was located to the far right of the console; completed the semi-circular configuration of the control panels.  This control panel was rarely featured but could be seen in the background in many episodes.
A good view of CP4 in its first season configuration from the episode "This Side of Paradise"
A close-up of CP4 from the third season
Rocker Switches:
 The only other significant change in the Communications Station was the location of the rocker switches which were moved after the first season.  The original location of the rocker switches matched the other stations on the bridge which was located on the RH center of the console just below the smaller control panel at location 3.  After the first season the rocker switches were moved to the lower LH center of the console near the bottom which made them much more visible from the commonly used camera angles because they were no longer behind the actress sitting at the console.  The hole where the rocker switches were originally located was covered by a piece of black plastic for the rest of the series.  They couldn’t have known it then but today we can imagine that this flat area is some sort of touch-panel.  Another example of one of the “happy accidents” that happened during Star Trek.
Last edited by feek61 on November 29th, 2014, 9:00 am, edited 7 times in total.

Joined: April 29th, 2007, 8:38 am

November 28th, 2014, 8:55 am #3

Interesting if you notice how they filmed certain scenes. Time is such a value when filming and setting up the lighting for the scenes took so much time that many times during the filming of Star Trek they would reverse the shot but actually they would just re-position the actor to make it look like it was a reversed shot. These scenes from "Dagger of the Mind" are a perfect example. We know the configuration of the Communications station and can identify it fro the displays. Yet in the scene Kirk is suppose to be near the helm near the viewscreen yet we can tell by the background that they simply had him stand where the camera was already set-up to film Van Gelder.
Van Gelders position in front of the Comm station by the captains chair
The reverse view of Kirk showing the side of the viewscreen panel; however, if you look close you will notice the Comm station displays to the left of them!! they simply moved the side of the viewscreen flat over next to the comm station.
Here is another view clearly showing the Communication Station even though this is suppose to be next to the viewing screen
Last edited by feek61 on November 28th, 2014, 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: July 11th, 2013, 9:58 pm

November 28th, 2014, 9:29 pm #4

I had no idea the rocker switches were relocated from the right hand side of the control panel to left.
do you have any frame grabs of the coveted hole you could share with us?
also, I beleive the upper sections of the bridge displays were fiberglass casts, do you think the control panel units were fiberglass as well?
the curves appeared so perfect and seamless....

Joined: April 29th, 2007, 8:38 am

November 29th, 2014, 5:52 am #5

Here are a few caps showing the cover over the original rocker switch location (circled in yellow).  It is almost impossible to see in the show because it is black and the console top is black so it blends right into the console but if you enhance the photo you can make it out.  The blank cover appears to be the standard rocker switch bezel used on the bridge with the inside cutout filled-in with a flat piece of material. 
This scene from "And the Children Shall Lead" shows the cover over the original rocker switch location
This scene from the second season episode "The Changeling" shows both the new rocker switch location and the cover over the original location
This scene also shows both the rocker switches and the original location covered

Enhancing the caps can revel information and details that could easily be missed.  Take this cap for example:
If you take the above screen grab and lighten it, add contrast and increase the saturation; details on the button colors revel themselves.  The dark red button could easily be overlooked in the original cap but manipulating the photo gives us details that otherwise would have been missed. Here is the enhanced screen grab:
The same screen cap also shows the rocker switch cover which as with the dark red button; could have easily been over-looked.
As far as the Bridge station console construction the top was indeed made of fiberglas.  The console themselves appears to be made of wood with a laminate covering.
Last edited by feek61 on November 29th, 2014, 6:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

Joined: August 11th, 2016, 10:12 am

September 21st, 2016, 9:08 pm #6

Comm-5 question...

Are there particular scenes in the pilots you can recommend to see Comm-5 blinking? Thanks, Jim

Joined: December 3rd, 2016, 10:53 am

December 16th, 2016, 10:12 pm #7


The author of the page states that there do not seem to be any blinking lights on COMM-5 during the series.
I do not have a copy of the Cage to see what Comm-5 looks like in that pilot.
However, in the Menagerie, there is a bridge scene about 13-14 minutes into the episode.
In the TOS-R episode recently aired on BBC America, the scene has a few second long establishing shot of the Enterprise in flight followed by the turbolift doors opening on the bridge and a crew member walks in, goes to the comm panel and begins doing something.

Uhura is at the Comm panel.  I notice that at the beginning of the scene, Comm-5 is either very dim or not lit.  As the crew member touches the Comm panels, Comm-5 lights up.
Spock fights with a technician and pinches him.
Uhura then has a close-up and you can see Comm-5 clearly lit and steady in that shot and several other shots on the bridge later in the first half of the Menagerie.
Hope that helps!


Joined: February 22nd, 2014, 1:14 pm

April 1st, 2017, 11:50 am #8

Notice that the "new" (or relocated) switch strip appearing in
the second and third seasons was removed and reinstalled upside-down
from its prior orientation at least once during that time.

"Normal" (red on the right) sequence in ... d.jpg.html ... f.jpg.html

"Reversed" (or upside down; red on the left) sequence in ... 1.jpg.html ... 5.jpg.html ... 5.jpg.html ... c.jpg.html

What its initial orientation was (at the beginning of the second season),
and when (and how many times) it may have been reversed after that,
I'll leave to a more energetically-obsessive Trek fan to
comb through his Blu-Ray discs to discover. ;->

Joined: January 24th, 2017, 7:48 pm

July 9th, 2017, 7:04 pm #9][/url[/url]]

​This is 3D printed Science station using Racer X's great model on 3D warehouse. I used screens I found here. I am moving on to communications but can't find the screens here. Are they avaialable somewhere? Thanks for all your help

Joined: April 29th, 2007, 8:38 am

July 10th, 2017, 3:49 pm #10

Yes, send me your email address/
Your station looks great; you should use my overhead graphics for the upper screens which are recreations of the screen-used artwork!!