Computer Museum news about computers, microcomputers, hobbyist, robotics, computing, museums, Bugbooks, Computers at Bugbook Historical Computer Museum, Floyd VA - the history makers present and historical.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Computers & Amateur Radio's selling on Ebay - How to keep up with the lastest offers.

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Ebay Headquarters
I am always curious about what is selling on Ebay for my hobbies of  collecting historical microcomputers and ham radio.  These site's do a good job by listing the most popular 40                                        items every week.

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Computers on Ebay    




Check this out for vintage computers on Ebay.








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Ham Radio Equipment on Ebay





Check this out for Amateur Radio equipment on Ebay.







computer Museum
David Larsen
 Have fun but don't spend to much money.

           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 










Saturday, February 21, 2015

Alexander Bell demonstrates wireless transmission of voice - 2 minutes of history


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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Bell demonstrates wireless transmission of voice 4 years after inventing the telephone. Podcast story teller is Curtis Anderson N4ON curator of the Telephone Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Podcast made during his visit to the Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum in Floyd Virginia.





Alexander Bell demonstrates wireless transmission of voice 4 years after inventing the telephone.

Click on photo to enlarge 
Curtis Anderson at N4USA
amateur radio station

Curtis Anderson N4ON at the amateur radio station N4USA in our "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum" in Floyd, Virginia

Here is an audio description of our N4USA radio station








Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
Thank you for the visit Curtis - it was fun to talk about vintage computers, ham radio and old times during our careers of 30 or more years ago.
           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Amateur Radio - Morse Code - it could save your life - you won't believe this use of code.

To enlarge "CLICK" on image
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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Morse Code
I always try to  convince folks that Morse Code is still useful - This is a story about code in a song that helped hostages. Actually their are many unusual examples of people using code in various ways - blinking eyes, tapping on a prison wall, medical conditions when patient is not able talk or move the list is long.

This probably won't convince many to learn the code but is one of most interesting uses I have seen. A lot of work went into this song

                                                         Take a look the whole story "CLICK"

                                                       
                                                        Here is just the song "Better Days" by                                                 Natalia Gutierrez Y Angelo "CLICK"


Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Morse Code




Here is the code - ease to learn.









Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
Yes their are many reasons Morse code. It can be useful and it is not hard to learn - what does seem more difficult is to learn to send code at high speeds - I had to practice a good bit before I could pass the 20WPM.  

           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Computer & Ham Radio Help - President of Guyana "Dr.Cheddi Jagan" invites us to Georgetown


Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Dr.Cheddi Jagan's
Presidential Flag
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
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Dr. Cheddi Jagan, President of Guyana SA visited Virginia Tech in 1993 with the goal of obtaining consulting assistance for his country. I had already been making official visits to Universities in the former Soviet Union  teaching computer automation and arranging exchange agreements. This earlier work provided invitation to be member of the group to meet with President Jagan.

This was the first and only time the head of any country visited Virginia Tech (VT) making it an exciting experience. The US Secret Service is always in charge of security for heads of state -- this made for interesting dinner meeting with the agents running around looking a little crazy.

"CLICK" more info about this photo
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
photo credit "John F. Kennedy Library"
and "Robert LeRoy"
When I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Jagan I told him I would be glad to visit Guyana and help with computer training however I also wanted to help the amateur radio operators with training for disaster communications. His response was a surprise and he replied "That would be just fine and I know an amateur operator near the capital --Raj 8R1RPN--.

Always liking a new venture I quickly made plans for a visit and invited two of my friends in the college of Business to join my my wife Gaynell and I to check out the possibilities in Guyana.  

The visit turned out to be more then First Class - We were the guest of President Jagan and WOW - we were met at the Airport by the Presidents "Chief of Protocol" and taken to the presidents  guest house as residents for the visit.

CLICK on photos to enlarge
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Meeting Dr. Cheddi Jagan ,President of Guyana


Here we are at a Virginia Tech meeting L-R, VP International Development, David Larsen - (Me) VT faculty member, Dr. Cheddi Jagan - President of Guyana SA, James McCommas - Virginia Tech President, Guyana Ambassador to USA,  Dean.




Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Team breakfast at guest house
Having breakfast at the presidents  guest house in Guyana. L-R Dr. Rodney Thompson, house staff, Gaynell Larsen KK4WWW, Dr. Jim Littlefield.  Rodney &  Jim are professor's in the College of Business at Virginia Tech.

I had some VT grant funds for international travel and  invited Jim & Rodney to join the team  and provided part of their expenses.



Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Amateur Radio Operator Cleo 8R1CJ

We did meet and work with amateur radio operators - here is Cleo Qushie 8R1CJ. Cleo was our host for all the radio operations during the first visit. Cleo and his wife are still good friends & retired in  Florida.





Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Visit to Kaieteur Falls

We had some time to expore Guyana & here we are chartering a small plane for visit to Kaieteur Falls.  The falls is deep into the Rain Forest with a small dirt landing strip.





Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Kaieteur Falls 

I made this photo - the travel in small  plane was thriller - I  wondering  what would  happen if we went down in this jungle. See Map and photos "CLICK"


Kaieteur Falls is a waterfall on the Potaro River in Kaieteur National Park, central Essequibo Territory, Guyana. It is 226 metres high when measured from its plunge over a sandstone and conglomerate cliff to the first break.

Expand this photo and you can see the dirt landing strip to the right of the falls.


Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Gaynell Larsen at Kaieteur Falls

It is natural at the falls with only natural infrastruture - no stairs or guard rails.

This is Gaynell looking over the edge --- IT IS 1000 feet down to the bottom. Gaynell made the comment - don't tell my dad about getting this close to the edge.




Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Larry Vogt N4VA Teaching radio operation
Following up on our commitment to help with training for disaster communications we returned a few months later with team.

Here is team leader Larry Vogt N4VA teaching a group about radio operation and how to obtain an amateur license. One member of the students was Peter Denny. He had a dream sense childhood to become an amateur radio operator. Peter was licensed as 8R1WD and became a life long friend.


Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Peter Denny 8R1WD at Dayton Hamvention
Third from left is Peter Denny 8R1WD and next to him is Mr. Chi Pin from China.  It was at this meeting I ask Mr. Pin about a license to operate in China for our visit in a few months. Mr.Pin had our license ready when we reached Beijing that summer. See blog for China story.

This meeting was at the Dayton Hamvention - a gathering of about 25,000 amateur radio operators in Dayton, Ohio. We have attended and represented our "Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service" (FAIRS) for more than 25 years.


Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Guyana Ambassador to USA speaking on
Ham Radio station at Embassy
Follow up activities from the Guyana consulting visits.
Peter Denny was a part of the Guyana Diplomatic Core for many years including Ambassador assignments in Moscow and Beijing.

Peter arranged for a group of us amateur radio folks to operate from the Guyana Embassy in Washington D. C. Here is the  Guyana Ambassador speaking on our radio. Many radio operators we talked to did not believe we were operating from the embassy. This was an  honor and a lot of fun.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
Peter Denny 8R1WD has been a good friend for 20 years now and we have visited him in Guyana several times and he has been a guest at our house here in Floyd,VA. I talk to Peter 3 times a week on our ham radio schedule - 14,318.5 Mhz at 1200z Sunday,Tuesday and Thursday's.  Helen Goncharsky UR5WA from Ukraine will be visiting us here at FAIRS headquarters for the month of May. Never a dull moment here in Floyd VA. Many life long friends from the dozens of FAIRS mission trips.







Saturday, February 14, 2015

Alexander Graham Bell - he was making a hearing aid & instead got the telephone - 90 seconds of history.


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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Alexander Graham Bell
Here is 90 seconds of how Alexander Bell invented the telephone while working on a hearing aid for a friend. Podcast story teller is Curtis Anderson N4ON curator of the Telephone Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Podcast made during his visit to the Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum in Floyd Virginia.




     Bell invents the telephone on way to making hearing device for hard of hearing.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Curtis Anderson N4ON
Curator of the Telephone Museum


Curtis Anderson N4ON  looking at a 1972 Intel "Intellec 4" -- this computer is an  Intel 4004 microprocessor developement system. Not very many of these computers in collections. 

Here is video I made in 2010 - a look inside the Intellec 4 computer.





Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
Thank you for the visit Curtis - it was fun to talk about vintage computers and old times during our careers 30 or more years ago.
           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"QSO Today" How Amateur Radio & Computers provided exciting opportuinties -KK4WW on Eric's 4Z4UG's Podcast



Click on Photo to enlarge 
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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer MuseumI had a great time being interviewed by Eric 4Z1UG about how ham radio has opened many doors for me during my six decades of ham radio on his Podcast "QSO Today". Take a look listen to the variety of exciting stories of amateur radio operators on his podcast network.


Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Eric 4Z4UG producer of QSO Today


Here is how Eric describes his podcast network "QSO today"
A QSO is a conversation between amateur radio operators. Listen to our podcast conversations between Eric, 4Z1UG, and Amateur Radio operators, "Hams" about their journey through the exciting hobby of ham radio




Episode 027 "From QSO Today"
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen KK4WW Computer Museum Curator
Amateur Radio opened many doors for David Larsen, KK4WW, that began in high school, followed by the US Navy, a front row seat to the burgeoning computer industry, a career at Virginia Tech, World travel, and a visit to the White House.   David joins Eric, 4Z1UG, in his QSO Today to discuss his ham radio life and all of the wonderful opportunities and relationships that amateur radio created for he and his family. Now as the historian and curator of the Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum, David has his perfect vehicle for preserving his unique past for future generations.  



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Computer Museum - Curator of Telephone Museum Curtis Anderson visits

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L-R David Larsen KK4WW, Curtis Anderson N4ON
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Curtis Anderson N4ON curator of the Telephone Museum in Richmond Virginia made his second visit to our musuem.  We had a great time talking about the vintage computers and sharing stories of our collecting. Curtis made a video of the museum displays and we will post it when available. We made   plans for Curtis to join our display of vintage computers at Frostfest in Richmond Va on February 7th 2015. I invite you to come take a look at the fest.


Crutis inspecting Osborne computer
This display has some great vintage computers, MARK-8,Intellect-4,Heathkit H-8, MMD-1,Byteshop,Sinclair, Osborne, Intel 1972 Development system and more. Listen to the link below for me giving a tour of this display.


Audio description of computers in this cabinet "CLICK"




Autonetics 1958 transistor computer
Autonetics 1958 transistor computer
Oldest Transistor computer in the world

This computer is the 1958 Autonetics Recomp 2 serial number 003 - perhaps the very oldest transistor computer in the world.  I worked the Summer of 1960 at Autonetics on the Minute Man 1 ICBM computer -  what an experience 55 years ago - Golly I must be getting older that was a long time ago.






experiment wireless transmitter 1916
1916 " How to build your own Spark Gap Transmitter

This is very old 1916 - how to build your own wireless transceiver. Curtis brought this for me to look over. It is how to build your very own Spark Gap transmitter and reciever --- & you don't need a license to operate ( that was operate in 1916 of course).

I will try to publish the whole manuscript here in the future.



PDP- 10 Digital Equipment Corporation
PDP-11/10
I have only one minicomputer in the museum - this gives me a way to compare the old mini's to microcomputers. I had a good number of minicomputers in the museum warehouse but have passed most of them on to other collectors and museums. Give a listen to my description just below.

Audio discussion about this PDP-10 "CLICK" 



Amateur Radio Station N4USA in museum


Amateur Radio station N4USA is operational with beam antenna on the roof. The station works good from museum. Curtis and I also made some radio contact from N4USA at Chantilly Farm.



More info about N4USA  in the museum "CLICK"


During Curtis's visit we had a good time making audio recordings & videos about historic events. A sample is below. Good stuff for history buffs.
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Curtis is curator of the Telephone Museum in Richmond VA and below tells a few short stories about Alexander Bell and the invention of the telephone.



 Bell invents the telephone on way to making hearing device for hard of hearing.



  Bell get telephone patent ahead of other inventor by chance.



  Alexander Bell demonstrates wireless transmission of voice 4 years after inventing the telephone.

A short video of history from the Transistor to the Microcomputer by Curtis N4ON
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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
Thank you for the visit Curtis - it was fun to talk about vintage computers and old times during our careers 30 or more years ago.

           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 










Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vintage Computer Univac 8008 Microcomputer - Craig Solomonson collection


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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Univac 8008 microcomputer
Craig Solomonson and I had our first correspondence 20 years ago when he offered me one of his Apple-1 computers. I did not purchase that one and it sold recently to Marco Boglione for  $216,000. Craig bought that one from the original owner in Great Falls, Montana and later sold it to a collector in California for $25,000. He in turn sold it on eBay for $50,000 and then it went to Italy.

The Univac 8008 computer Craig has is rare and is most likely the only one in any collection. 

Here are some of Craig's comments about the Univac 8008. Craig's video about this computer. 

David, we corresponded a bit a few years ago about an early Intel SIM8-01 micro system that I had. It seemed to be a relative to your MCB8-10 system. Well, I finally found out the story behind my system….
 "Click" on photo to enlarge 

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Univac 8008 microcomputer
It was built by the Univac R&D Division in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1972. They were carefully monitoring the developments at Intel with regard to their 4004 and 8008 microprocessors being developed. Part of their research was to construct actual computer systems to research and then build an application using the 8008. They started by building a 4-bit system similar to the one I have using the SIM4-01 and MP7-01 boards. That unit was completed and being demonstrated by March of 1972. They ordered the 8-bit system (SIM8-01 and MP7-02) when it was announced in April of 1972 and construction took place during the summer of 1972. Univac designed and built their own interfaces for these systems and used a Teletype for I/O. The Univac 8008 "8-Bit Micro Computer System" in my collection was complete and being demonstrated to various Univac divisions and military organizations by early fall of 1972.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
I visited with one of the Univac engineers that did some of the programming and he said that only very simple programs were used in demonstrations--like doing simple math operations or it asked for your name, you typed it in on the teletype and it printed some phrase using your name.

Univac spared no expense in developing this system as seen in the construction and fabrication of the cases which are thick, deep red translucent plastic. Not only is it a very aesthetically designed, but it has to be one of the very first 8-bit computers fully assembled and operational. 



Univac 8008 microcomputer
That system has always fascinated me and I figured it had to be one of the earliest 8-bit systems ever assembled. I have gone through several boxes of Univac Engineer log books in the Charles Babbage Institute archives, but so far have not found a log book for the development of this computer. I know that Univac ordered the boards as soon as they were announced and the SIM8-01 board in the computer is a very early one. I also know that it was done and being programmed in the fall of 1972. However, that engineer could not remember when it was actually completed. I think that the engineer who did the actual design and circuitry for the interface is still alive and living in Minnesota, but he will not respond to phone calls or emails. Hopefully I will find another engineer on the project that might remember more details and hopefully dates.

More interesting information:
A video Craig made this month about his collection and the 

1972 Univac 8008 Micro Computer System - One of the First 8-Bit Computers!


 Craig comments "I have a modest collection of early micros and they are shown on my website."


Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
 I was very glad to hear from Craig about his Univac 8008 computer. I saw a photo of his 8008 computer several years ago and asked him about it at that time. Now he has a good idea about the origin and the very interesting history about the computer. These very first microcomputer systems are important to preserve and make known to the interested public. 

Thank you - Craig for sharing this information and I hope the blog will help inform people about your unique vintage Univac.
           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 






Sunday, January 18, 2015

Computer Museum a look inside with Assistant Student Curator

"CLICK" on photo's to enlarge
Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Bryan Dowd - Assistant Museum Curtor
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Bryan C. Dowd amateur radio operator KG4ZKA is a big help as assistant student curator in our museum. Bryan has an interest in computers & history and these vintage computers are fun for him work with. He welcomes visitors and gives them a full tour of our museum and helps them with our active vintage gaming stations. We have several Commodore 64's and other vintage games.



Bryan's experience as curator & look inside museum -short Video

Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Apple-1 display


Bryan greets visitors from his desk at the front door - gives them a first class tour including demonstrating the operational Apple-1 software.






Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Vintage computer display

We have a PDP-11 minicomputer - next to Bryan - The minicomputer is used (cost as much as a house in early 70's) to tell why there was such an interest the low first cost microcomputers like the MITS Altair 8800 (January 1975).  When Ed Roberts put his Altair on the market in January 1975 he told the banker 500 sales were likely. The demand for his simple $400 Altair exceded 4000 in a few months.



Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Byran and PDP11 Mini Computer
A different view of the museum from the other side of the PDP - 11 minicomputer. Just to the left of Bryan is an ASR 33 teletype and this is always of interest. I don't remember what these sold for in those days but it seems like it was about $2000 - Just today hp printers were on sale for $59.  So many stories and comparisons to tell our visitor about --- where & when the microcomputer revolution compared to today. Moore's Law continues to work just fine with technology leaping ahead at warp speed.



Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Visitor at Gaming Station


One of our visitors fascinated with active vintage gaming stations. During the Fall of 2014 graduate student Grayson Van Beuren studied and did research in the museum as a "Graduate Independent Study Program".  One of Grayson's projects was setting up the gaming computer stations.




Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Vintage Amateur Radio's



We have the active amateur radio station N4USA in the museum. Our displays include the story of electronics and amateur radio communications from the Crystal Radio days of the early 1900's to the present day.




Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
N4USA amateur radio station

Amateur Radio station N4USA is part of the "Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service"  (FAIRS) -- a non profit foundation with the mission statement of "International Good Will Through Amateur Radio" . The LCF Group has been directing the activities for FAIRS for 22 years with projects in many countries. The "LCF Group" consists of myself David Larsen KK4WW, Gaynell Larsen KK4WWW & Dee Wallace KG4VMI. Station location is in the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum" 


Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Bryan Dowd , Computer Warehouse

Bryan visits the computer warehouse where David Larsen's 40 years of collecting microcomputers are stored. The inventory is cataloged and packed tightly on shelves. All the inventory is marked, entered into our museum database (Past Perfect Software). The location of each item is part of the database making it easy to locate one of the approximately 10,000 items.





Bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Computer Museum Lounge 



The museum has a small lounge area for guest. This is great place for personal networking and relaxing.






David Larsen
We are all pleased to have Bryan helping with our computer collection and in the museum as assistant curator. He is doing a great job and learning real fast to tell the stories of  vintage computers.