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A recently developed self-contained compact single-shot high-power microwave (HPM) system was tested and characterized. The explosive-driven system utilizes a reflex triode virtual cathode oscillator (vircator) as the HPM source. An open-shutter image acquired with a digital single-lens reflex camera during operation was used to show plasma development extending beyond the anode-cathode gap of the vircator. The plasma's self-emission is due to ionized material eroded and desorbed from both the cathode and the anode.