Sorry I missed this one earlier. "The first non-white strip" is difficult to define absolutely - what you're looking for is the equivalent of Zone VIII i.e. white with barely discernible detail, or 0.1 log D. This might be darker than you're currently aiming at.
If you find it easier to use a real negative to assess the highlights then that's fine - what you're aiming for is to set up the machine so that you get the results you want on a print. It's also important to be consistent across the grades so if you change grade, the resulting highlight density remains constant.
Hope that helps
It sure does. I'll continue my calibrating with renewed enthousiasm. I,m positive that, my braincell will be able to get to grips with it. I'll will inform you of inevitable success. Geary, my postings shouldn't daunt you in anyway. I'm convinced your braincells, being a collective, will have no trouble at all. Dr. Phill, Dr. Ross, thanks for your generous help. This is indeed a great forum. All knowledgeable people seem to be here. If one of you told me that Dr Rudman is also a member, I would be flabbergasted.
After some more mailing with dr Ross and some repairs on my enlarger-transformer, I'm happy to report that at last my analyzer seems to be calibrated for my favorite paper. I'm really chuffed. Thanks for your feed-back. Dr Phill, the stepwedge is indeed very handy!