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.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

First day packing for move to Computer Museum of America

The first day of packing for the move of  the microcomputer historical collection from our Bugbook Computer Museum to the Computer Museum of America (CMA)  did not include any computers.  Lonnie Mimms curator of the CMA will be developing a large electronic technology and education center in 2017 and it will include all areas of electronics.  Lonnie wanted all our vintage electronics so we are sending much more then the computer collection. Mostly just old radio items today and none of this is on the regular electronic database for the museum.  I guess I am a hoarder of old electronic items and for sure being a ham radio operator 61 years the vintage radio stuff just kept accumulating.

This is just a few of the old radio items - I had them on display many years in the warehouse for my own interest .  There are a lot more ham radio items in the warehouse and at the museum. I have not really counted the radio and old electronic items but must be several hundred. A few nice old Soviet military radios in the collection.

All the items are wrapped in bubble wrap before going into the shipping box.

Most boxes have multiple items.

Toward the end of the first day the packing crew made it close to the computers in the warehouse but still lots of none computer items to pack.

There are many thousands of computer memorabilia items to pack so it will be 3 or 4 more days of packing.

The crew wanted to use paper to wrap some items however  I insisted that every piece had to be wrapped in bubble wrap.

They used up the whole supply of bubble wrap available to them and had to order a large supply.  This will take a couple of days so no packing Wednesday or Thursday. They should be back Friday with a truck load of bubble wrap.

This photograph and the ones below will be of interest mostly to ham radio operators. Just a few of the old radios Heathkit, Swan, Ten-Tec.

The old Swan radios were very popular in the 60's and 70's.

This is interesting SWR/Watt meter and dummy load. I seem to love these old items.

These Hallicrafters  are late 40's and 50's. I have radios going back to pre 1920.

1950 or so Harvey Wells hf bandmaster AM transmitter.

Great end of the day. It was cold as I do not have heat in the warehouse. I did put in 5 electric heaters and it helped a little. The outside temperature today was about 30 degrees - Cooold. The hot coffee the middle of the afternoon was most welcome by the crew.

David G Larsen
David G Larsen
This was a good start and I expect 3 or 4 more days of packing with a 5 man crew. I only wish it was warmer in the warehouse. Maybe the cold will help the crew work faster. I did notice today the coats all came off even thought it was about 35 degrees inside. 
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Re-purpose ham radio tower to Wifi Amateur Radio KK4WW N4USA

Time for more then the normal computer activities I usually write about here on my Microcomputer Blog. This is a project I just completed for Wifi at my farm.

David Larsen, KK4WW
Chantilly Farm, Floyd Virginia

This is the Festival site & RV campground - a part of our 200 acre Chantilly Farm. We do music festivals and many other events during the year. Only a couple of miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway & a very nice Blue Ridge Mountain location.

I have designed and built a rather extensive Wifi system for our Chantilly Festival Farm and RV campground. This tower is only one of 4 high tower systems. This tower was last used at W4VZH in Floyd,VA and had a nice 4 element 20 meter beam on it. Now is has 4 Wifi antenna's and the extender.  I could not easily run an  underground internet service to this location in our RV campground so choose to extend a 12Mhz service from a tower 1500 feet away.  Here is the construction of  this tower site.

Ham radio tower re-purposed  to hold WiFi extender/repeater. You amateur radio folks will like this blog.  I do intend to put a rope and pulley at the top to pull up a wire antenna for ham radio.

Finished 28 foot tower with Wifi and antenna's at the back of bath house at campground.

David Larsen
Wifi extender and Wifi antennas

The antenna's and Wifi extender. The extender is in the grey box close to the antenna's - this keeps the antenna feed cable lost to a minimum with short coax feed cables. We did have to run 110ac up the tower for the Wifi power.

David Larsen
tower re-purposed  

The tower was cleaned and painted with aluminum metal sealer.

david Larsen KK4WW
Tower base 

The hole for tower base was dug by hand 3ft X 3ft X 3ft. Then the reinforcing rods installed.

You also see the plywood jig holding the tower mounting bolts in the proper position.

david larsen KK4WW
Pouring concrete 

One yard of concrete was  ordered and it was all used - just right amount.

David larsen KK4WW
Finishing concrete

Ed Maybe helps on the farm with lots of projects had a good skill for finishing the concrete. You can see the 3 tower anchor bolts in this photo.

david Larsen
Hinged tower base

After several weeks the concrete was cured and the tower installed on the base. The tower is hinged so I can lower it away from the building and work on the system at ground level. At 77 years old I have instructions from good sources not to climb towers anymore.

David larsen KK4WW
Raise and lower tower

This is the lowering system - just a pulley with a cable arrangement anchored to the frame of the building. The tower and Wifi system are light weight so this works just fine. I hook the cable to my pickup and use the truck to lower and raise the tower works beautifully.

david Larsen
Wifi tower at Bathhouse
This is the finished project at the bath house (I have 3 more towers with Wifi at the top) and it gives good Wifi for more then 1/4 mile around the RV campground and farm.

The whole system is a bit complex and I do a blog describing the  operation.

Veritcal & Parabolic
 WIFI antenna's

This tower in in the middle of the festival field and has vertical antenna for 2.4 & 5Ghz local area and 2 parabolic antennas for sending 2.4.& 5 Ghz to Wifi extender/repeater (the one in photos above) 1500 feet away at RV park/ bathhouse. Works just great.

David Larsen KK4WW
Chantilly Farm, Floyd Virginia
This photo shows stage,barn and crowd at our Annual Bluegrass Festival in May. You can come to the Festival and help me operate a special Amateur Radio event station - N4USA)
The whole system consist of two internet feeds at 12 & 3 Mhz, 3 Wifi's and 2 Wifi extenders. This gives up good coverage for the whole used part of the farm - about 100 acres and 1/2 mile range for good signals.  I will do a blog explaining this system and the antenna's used - 4 ( 15 element yagi's) 8 high gain omni directional verticals and 2 parabolic antenna's.

Lots of fun designing and installing this system for a ham radio operator of 61 years and 77yrs old. 

David G Larsen
David G Larsen

I have a very nice ham radio station with beam on a tower and amplifier in the farm office. I also have ropes and pulleys in several trees and buildings ready to pull up antennas for field Day.
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bugbook Computer Museum is moving to the Computer Museum of America

David Larsen bugbook
Mimms Enterprises Office Bld.
January 15,2016 my wife Gaynell and I loaded up our car with a few select computers from our Bugbook Computer Museum and headed for Roswell, Georgia.  We made this trip to meet with Lonnie Mimms owner & curator of the  Computer Museum of America. Our visit was to complete the final planning to move the entire Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum collection to the Computer Museum of America.

I have been looking for a good home for the microcomputer memorabilia collection collected during the past 45 years. I did not see a way for the collection to carry on in a useful way here in Floyd, Virginia after I stop kicking dirt above ground. Moving the collection to the Computer Museum of America is just a great opportunity to have the collection live into the future.

I am very excited for the new home not only the computer collection - any and all historical electronic equipment I have will be part of the move.  Some of the additional items moving to the Computer Museum of America are my vintage ham radio collection, vintage radio tube collection, calculator collection, Edison light bulbs and assorted vintage test equipment and old signage used by electronic and computer stores. The moving trucks will be picking up the computer collection in Floyd, Virginia next week.

David larsen , Lonnie Mimms
Computer Museum of America warehouse

Here we are at Lonnie Mimms Computer Museum of America warehouse unloading the computers brought with us from the Bugbook Computer Museum in Floyd, Virginia.

"Festival News" Vintage Computer Festival SE April 2016 at the Computer Museum of America April 2&3

                                       These are the computers delivered today.

Bugbook Computer Museum
John Birch Apple-1 computer
Here is my John Burch original Apple-1 computer purchased 21 years ago. This is a beautiful example of the first Apple computers and is listed as #13 on the Willegal Apple-1 Registry. The second original  - a "Dustin" Apple-1 computer will be delivered at a later date.

The John Burch Apple-1 computer was delivered direct to Lonnie's office.

Bugbook computer Museum
SCELBI H8 Microcomputer

SCELBI H8 microcomputer first available in March of 1974. Only about 200 kits and computers were produced and 10 or so are still in existence. Original SCELBI computers are rare this one has a video card in is in an interesting wood case/rack with a keyboard.

Here is detail video about this SCELBI computer "CLICK'

Ray Holt , David Larsen
Super Jolt Microcomputer

Super Jolt microcomputer designed by Ray Holt. Only about 5,000 of these computers were made and sold in 1975.  The Jolt computers are rare example of a very functional microcomputer prior to the Apple-1. Ray will be giving a talk at the VCSE in April. 

Here is my blog with more detail about this Jolt Computer 

computer museum of america
Intel Intellec 4 4004 development computer

Intellec 4 - Intel development microcomputer system for the Intel 4004 microprocessor chip. The 4004 was the first commercial microprocessor chip and was first available November 1970. An Intel Intellec 8 (8008 microprocessor) development system also delivered.

Here is detail video about this Intel computer "CLICK"

David Larsen, 1981
Inter 8008 microcomputer development system
This is a pre Intel Intellec 8 for use as a development and engineering microcomputer using the Intel 8008 microprocessor this one dated 1982 from  Intel. This one was purchase for me by my friend Robert Stone 36 years ago in 1980 at one of the surplus electronic parts houses in Silicon Valley.

Here is my video about this Intel Computer "CLICK"

Ed Roberts, David Larsen
MITS Altair 680 microcomputer
The Altair 680 was a product of Ed Roberts at MITS after he designed the famous first complete ( all parts including case to build 8080)microcomputer in January 1975 - the MITS Altair 8800. The Altair 680 was not very popular. The 680 microcomputer used the Motorola 6800 series of microprocessor chips.

Here is my video about this Altair 680 Computer "CLICK"

David Larsen , Ray Holt
Intersil IM6100
The Intercept Jr tutorial system is an interesting microcomputer trainer that can execute the PDP-8 minicomputer code.  The design uses the  Intersil IM6100 CMOS 12 bit microprocessor. The idea of using the old PDP-8 code turned out to be a poor idea in 1976 and the computer and the IM6100 were never very popular. It is a good example of using a minicomputer chip/code to sell a microcomputer. It turned out to be a bad idea as mini computers were in a death spiral and never had a recovery.
More information about the Intercept in my blog "CLICK"

John Titus
MARK-8 Computer 
The MARK-8 microcomputer designed in 1974 and published as a construction article by Jon Titus in July 1974. The computer used the 8008 and came with no software - this was a real do-it-yourself project. About 200 board kits were sold without any parts - you had to obtain the parts on your own. This was a difficult project and not very many MARK-8 computer were actually completed and operational.
Here is my video about this Titus MARK-8 Computer "CLICK"

Jon Titus, Radio Electronics Magazine 1974
MARK-8 Computer 
A MARK-8 computer made as an exact copy of the first MARK-8 made by Jon Titus as it resides in the Smithsonian. Jon gets a lot of credit for designing one of the first microcomputers and the first construction article - How to build your own computer published in Radio Electronic July 1974.
This computer was made by Roy Justus. Roy was a student of mine at VT in the early 70's. He did a beautiful job building the an making the case and this fully functional computer. Two additional MARK-8 computers were part of this delivery.
Here is my video about this MARK-8 Computer "CLICK"

Jon Titus, E and L Instruments
Mini Micro computer 8080

The Mark-80 MD-1 - another Jon Titus computer made for the educational and engineering market. The computer was sold  for our group by E & L Instruments in Derby , CT. This was Jon's first computer at Tycon in Blacksburg, Virginia. It was complicated with 3 cards and a mother board. The computer used the 8080 microprocessor.

MMd-1 Jon Titus
MMD-1 Training computer

This is one of 10 prototype Mini-Micro  MMD-1 (8080) microcomputers made after the MD-1 in the above photo. This computer in the final design show below was very popular as a training and engineering aid for about 13 years from 1977 to 1990. This is another computer designed by Jon Titus while at Tycon (Blacksburg Group) and sold for  us by E & L Instruments.

Here is my blog detail about this MMD-1 and the one below "CLICK"

MMD-1 Training computer

The commercial version of the MMD-1 above. There were a number of thousands sold. It was a good producer of royalties for the Blacksburg Group.

Bugbook compute Museum
Bugbook Computer MuseumStoryboard

We brought one of the storyboards from the bugbook Computer Museum.  We have more storyboards however the car was full.

Lonnie Mimma - David Larsen
LR  Lonnie Mimms - David Larsen

It was a delight to make this very small first delivery of computers to the Computer Museum of America.

Lonnie Mimms on the left Curator of the Computer Museum of Americal.

David Larsen on the right Curator of the Bugbook Computer Musuem.

bugbook computer Museum
LR  - David Larsen -  Lonnie Mimms

David Larsen and Lonnie Mimms sign agreement to move the Bugbook Museum collection to Roswell , Georgia

David Larsen
The visit to the Computer Museum of America and meeting with Lonnie and his wife Karin were a real delight.  The entire staff at the Bugbook Computer Museum is excited to have our collection move to the world class "Computer Museum of America".  I will still be involved by continuing to write this blog.

Thank you Lonnie Mimms and your staff for this wonderful opportunity.

."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Datapoint 2200 8 bit computer update by Jack Frassanito

Jack Frassanito and group the old days.
I have published several blog post about Datapoint and the Datapoint 2200 8 bit computer.  Jack  Frassanito the coinventor of the Datapoint 2200 has sent this update information and I am posting his comments below.

Dear David, (November 9,2015)

I have listened to your recording on your blog and several corrections are in order.

Datapoint 2200 terminal - audio description of the terminal/ computer and the Datapoint Corporationa and the 8008 microprocessor by David Larsen.

"Festival News" Vintage Computer Festival SE April 2016
Computer Museum of America
Datapoint 2200 atThe Computer Museum of America
Here is a photo of the Datapoint 2200 at the
Computer Museum of America in Roswell Georgia.

Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 2016
         At the Computer Museum of America
When: Saturday April 2, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday April 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Kings Market Center, 1425 Market Blvd., Suite 200, Roswell, GA, 30076
Admission: Adults, $10 for one day and $15 for two days. Children ages 17 and younger are admitted free.
Jack  Frassanito:
There is a generally perceive myth that Gus Roach, Phil Ray and I accidentally invented the personal computer. This myth is probably based on the fact that VIC POOR was a technical expert and had no idea at the time about the business plan to raise capital and to develop a desk-top computer so hence the myth about the Pillsbury chicken farm.

David Larsen,KK4WW
Datapoint 2200 early design drawing

Enclosed is a copy of the design illustration I produced that was used to raise the development capital in early 1969, a full six months before Vic knew what we were up to. (We needed funding first before we could hire anyone or begin development). You will note the set of register switches on the front of the PDP-8 Minicomputer unit.

Bugbook Computer museum
PDP- 8 minicomputer

I was looking at this enclosed photo of a PDP-8 as reference to assure our potential investors it would be a desk-top computer (Personal Computer). We realized we didn’t need the switches so we eliminated them in the final design.

Bugbook Computer museum
Datapoint 1970 annual report

Also included is our 1970 annual report (year ended July 26,1970) cover and page that clearly states that the Datapoint 2200 would include “a general purpose digital computer”.

Bugbook Computer museum, KK4WW
Description of Datapoint 2200 as computer

 I have also included several pages of the 1971 Annual Report (Year ended July 1971).

The only explanation I have for Vic’s surprise at the Pillsbury epiphany of observing someone using the Datapoint 2200 as it was originally intended and described in the business plan is that he never read the business plan, preliminary specification, or the 1970 Annual report.

No disrespect intended as Vic and his team did a fantastic job.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer museum
Patent - Jack Frassanito as co-inventor
Datapoint 2200

I have first hand knowledge as I designed, co-invented, patented the Datapoint 2200 and co-authored the business plan and wrote both enclosed Annual reports.

Thank you for your continued interest in the Datapoint story,

Jack Frassanito

More photographs furnished by Jack.

Datapoint Corporate Headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.

Datapoint brochure.

Book cover - "The Lost story of the Texans who invented the Personal Computer Revolution"

By Lamont Wood.

Great story and a good read. I have read this book 2 times and enjoyed it both times.
Get the Book Here "CLICK"

Computer museum
Jack Frassanito as co-inventor
Datapoint 2200

Jack Frassanito as co-inventor Datapoint 2200 - Datapoint vs Apple-1 and Apple-2

David Larsen
Thank you Jack for sending this information. It is always fascinating to hear from the pioneers in the computer field. Dave

."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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