Thursday, November 10, 2022

First Trip to Soviet Union 1990

 David and Gaynell Travel to the Soviet Union in October 1990 - their first Trip.

David & Gaynell tell about their first visit to the Soviet Union 1990 in own words

Soviet Union Oct. 1990
Dave: Hello this is David, David Larsen kk4ww. We’re going to discuss our first trip to the Soviet Union in 1990.
Gaynell: And this is Gaynell, kk4www, I’m Dave’s wife and we were very excited about this first trip that we made to the former Soviet Union back in October of 1990.
Dave: It started out in April of 1990 we were at the Dayton amateur radio convention called Hamvention and we were there working with Glen Baxter, k1man, who’d had some contact with Victor Goncharsky, ue5we amateur radio station in Ukraine, and we met them at the ham radio convention in April. Glen was saying that they needed somebody to go to the Soviet Union and Ukraine and help. Victor Goncharsky who was on his first visit to the U.S. from Ukraine said yeah David we need somebody to come help us come into the real world of radio because they’d been so suppressed to use the more modern digital technologies and communication techniques in Ukraine. We were using AMTOR and they wanted us to come over and start showing them how to use AMTOR which is a digital mode of communication sent over the amateur radio bands. The Soviet citizens generally up until then had not been allowed to use digital radio communications because it could be a little bit clandestine and of course the Soviets were very concerned about secret communications. They said hey we need somebody to come over and Gaynell and I both said well that sounds really interesting we think we’ll make the trip and so that was short of the story. What can you add to that first meeting we had there with Glen and Victor?
Gaynell: Well I remember that Glen couldn’t go to the dx dinner and we invited Victor to go. So we left and went and picked him up at the hotel and Dave and Victor and I went to the dx dinner. At the dinner Dave got sick and felt really bad so he got a taxi and went back to our hotel. It was really strange, we had only met Victor like the day before and here I am in Dayton Ohio not familiar with the area but taking a Soviet ham radio operator and getting him back to his hotel and then I drove back to our hotel by myself.
Dave: Well as I recall I was just finishing up my year of teaching, I had about another month to go there at Virginia Tech where I was teaching instrumentation and automation. So we got our passports and figured out what we wanted to do and we actually went over in October of 1990. Gaynell was just looking at the photos here and saying she remembered my mother living here.
Gaynell: Yes Dave’s mother who was 89 at the time in 1989 came to live with us from Texas. Her name was Ruth Larsen and at the time shed been living by herself in an apartment in Texas and was getting to the stage where she really didn’t need to be by herself so Dave and I invited her to come live with us and she did. I went down in 1989 in September and picked her up and brought her back to Floyd and we just had a wonderful year together. Then when we decided after the amateur radio convention in Dayton that we were going to Russia we called Dave’s sister in law out in Colorado and she volunteered to come live in and stay at our house and be with mom Ruth while we were gone. So my mom and dad came up and picked us up and got us to the airport for our flight out.
Dave: Well at that time (we’re looking at some photos here) we could take four bags, no, three 70 pound bags and we had them all packed up, maybe it was four 70 pound bags each. I see a picture here of Gaynell’s mom and dad and my sister in law when we were getting ready to leave in October. It was quite a short time, very exciting, I don’t remember where we flew out of but we flew into Moscow the only place you could fly into the Soviet Union and then you were dispersed from Moscow. So we flew into Moscow and that was quite an experience because it was our first trip to the Soviet Union. Victor and about five other ham radio fellows met us there at the airport. There weren’t a lot of people traveling to the Soviet Union especially hams. It wasn’t rare but there was not a lot so we were quite a novelty there. The first few days we spent in Moscow before we went over to Ukraine and we did operate some ham radio at a radio operator’s home there in Moscow. He was a district chief of police or something like that for ham radio his call was uk3aap and a very nice gentleman. He was so nice when we left there he gave Gaynell his cap and we still have that in my office it’s a very nice Soviet police officer’s hat.
Gaynell: Yes it was quite an experience. Dave and I neither one had traveled over in that part of the world and to go and visit with all these Russians of course I was the only girl around with all of them but it was just fascinating. They were so accommodating and when we arrived there in Moscow Victor had already ridden a train for 24 hours from Lviv, or Lvov at that time, from Lvov up to Moscow to meet us. And he met with Urikat Uten who was from down at Uleanovs Russia and also George came up with Victor from Lvov and we just had a wonderful visit there in Moscow. Victor arranged for us to spend the night with some friends that were originally from down in Lvov and they were living in Moscow at the time so we went over and spent the night with them and then caught the train the next day for the 24 hour ride to Lvov Ukraine.
Dave: Well it was pretty interesting our first trip on a Soviet train. We had many, many train trips after that but when we got to Lvov we were met at the station by Victor’s father, u5wf. We called him ham dad Vlad he was Vladimir Goncharsky. I don’t remember his age at that time but he was a ham during the 30s and served in WWII. He had been a ham, a very famous ham in the Soviet Union and an amateur radio operator. And Victor Valgluten and George Telijank met us and some other people. Victor’s brother Michael, and then I don’t remember exactly what we did then we must have gone over to their home but we had many good visits and we operated some ham radio from there as well. It was so interesting now in 2014 looking back on these photos of 1990. Tell them a little about your visit with Helen and Julia there when we visited with them or anything on the train.
Gaynell: Yes, well actually Helen and Julia came along with the other guys, ham dad and all to meet us at the train we went back over to the house. Julia at the time was just 4 years old in 1990 so it was just wonderful to get to know her and it was just really unique because everywhere we went that first trip Julia was with us and she held on to my finger the whole time and of course spoke no English and Helen spoke a little bit but very little so after we left that year, Helen told Julia, she said now you need to learn to speak English because Gaynell doesn’t understand Russian and Julia looked and she said oh, Gaynell understands me anyway I don’t need to learn to speak English. So that was a memory that I had from that first trip that stuck with me.
Dave: Well we had some really wonderful meetings that they arranged for us and the thing looking back on it now, you know we made some of those early trips to foreign countries thinking you know it’d be one trip and we’ll sort of lose track of people but really every trip we made, and we made dozens of trips to many countries and we became very good friends with them. In fact, over the last years since we’ve been, since that 1990 trip I think Victor’s visited the U.S. 4 times. We were not always his host, but we hosted him here in Floyd at the foundation for amateur international radio service at least twice and Helen has been over probably three or four times and we always take them out to the Dayton amateur radio convention and of course we visited them probably, what 15 or 16 times over the 20 years or so there at their home in Lvov. And many things have changed, Helen’s mother has long passed away, of course we met her when we were there the first few times and Victor’s father u5wf has passed away and some of our friends we met have passed away that’s what happens when you get older but we sure had a good time on that visit. I remember one of the first things we did
Gaynell: Well they put us up at a hotel
Dave: Yeah I’ll let you tell about that. There was a picture of that hotel I think the Intourist hotel. It was our first and only experience with an Intourist hotel in the Soviet Union. We stayed at another hotel, but it wasn’t quite an Intourist, one time but yea, I’ll make some comments about our stay but I’ll let Gaynell tell about that first Intourist hotel. I do remember this, Victor and Helen they took us to dinner the first night and the food there was not expensive but for them it was very expensive and we didn’t think too much about it at the time but the Intourist hotels were there at that time to keep track of the tourists and also to more or less get as much money from them as they could so their prices were a bit high in terms of Soviet times. Tell a little about that first hotel visit there.
Gaynell: Oh it was quite unique. We spent the night and I couldn’t figure out why the walls were so thick between the different rooms and then we found out there was a passageway in between these walls and if you’d be lying in bed and look up you’d see little holes around the ceiling where I’m sure they had spies where people could go in there and spy on you. Also our luggage, we went to the meetings the next day and when I came back I realized that our suitcases had all been gone through and so the next day I put a string across some of it and needless to say everything was kind of messed up when we got back. But the really funny thing was the first morning that we went, we never stayed in these hotels very much except this first time, and we went to have breakfast that morning, Dave and I together, and we walked into the quote, Intourist breakfast room, and I saw all these glasses of juice sitting on the tables and we sat down at a table for four and it was just Dave and me, but of course we couldn’t drink the water there and I guess we didn’t have bottled water at the time I’m not sure. But I was so thirsty and I sat down at the table and I drank the first glass of juice and then I reached over and got the second one. Then some people got up and they had left some of their juice in the glasses and the waitress came through and immediately took the little bit of juice in each glass and poured it in another glass at the table so I learned a lot that morning.
Dave: Well we certainly did but we did enjoy that. I’m remembering now our justification for the trip. Victor and Helen invited us to the Soviet Union, but they couldn’t as private citizens just have visitors, we had to have, or they had to have a reason for us to come so what Victor did was very clever. He arranged for us to teach a workshop with my specialty of computer instrumentation and automation there in Lvov to engineers and my understanding of this is I was probably the first American to do a teaching there in Lvov. Lvov is a very large city in western Ukraine about 7-800-900,000 about 900,000 people and he arranged for us to teach a workshop. That’s one of the reasons we had all those suitcases. It was full of teaching equipment plus it also had one computer in there that we took over for Victor. But we taught the workshop and I remember the first day of the workshop, by the way, Gaynell was talking about those hotels or the hotel room and I remember Victor and Helen saying when we were in the hotel room to not say anything except general conversation because we were being listened to and we were very cautious and paranoid about saying anything. But when I was doing my workshops, the first morning there were three KGB agents at the workshop and I wouldn’t actually have known that but my Ukrainian friends informed me. Then after lunch there was just two and the rest of the time there was only one and so only the one stayed with the whole course to make sure what I said and that I didn’t try to, you know do spy work and so forth and I was told by my guests to not speak about religion or politics to just stick to the topic and I’d be fine. We were followed downtown quite a bit too. Victor was always mentioning it that we were being followed, that was really a new experience for us but the workshop was very successful. They enjoyed it and I learned a little bit later that the workshop was sort of paid for on a local basis by George Sauros who was working hard to use some of his funds to, you know try to help democracy to come about in the Soviet countries. And I didn’t know it at the time that he had put up the money for it but we saw George Sauros at a workshop, I don’t know, 7 or 8 years later in New York, it was New York or Washington DC and I asked Mr. Sauros about that and he remembered that workshop because it was a very unique thing and he remembered funding that so that was certainly interesting. So we thank George Sauros for helping us get to that very first trip. So I remember I mentioned we brought a computer along, and it was an IBM 5100 luggable to run the AMTOR digital communication program and the interesting thing was the last time we were in Lvov, which was 6 or 7 years ago so it would’ve been around 2005 or 2006, that computer was still running. Even though it was highly modified and been repaired many times it was amazing that over a period of over 20 years, that computer was still running. It was just really pleasing to see the use that it got. Of course we took many more computers after that and that’s another story.
Gaynell: The one thing I wanted to mention was Lvov was (even back in that time and more so now) the water situation was terrible. Of course you couldn’t drink the water at all but in the Intourist hotel even, we only had water certain hours of the day and our water in the hotel only came in at three in the morning. So Dave and I found a piece of rubber and put over the drain and we left the faucet open on the bathtub so that we could actually have some water the next morning and we had what they called a samovar which was a thing you heat water in to make your coffee or your tea so that’s the way we took our baths. We heated our water with the samovar so we’d have warm water for baths.
Dave: Well see there were a number of things that just seemed to stick out in my mind. First of all I did enjoy the workshop and Victor did the translation for us because most of the engineers that attended could probably read English but they didn’t have a practice of the communication language so they couldn’t understand us too well but it worked fine and we had a lot of fun. Lvov itself is an old Austrian city. Many years ago it was built up. It was a beautiful city; the architecture there is absolutely beautiful but during the Soviet times from 1917 on it was really not kept in a very good state of repair at all. About the only thing that had been repaired was the opera house it had been repaired but the other buildings were still in a pretty bad state of repair. But there were a lot of beautiful, beautiful buildings in Lvov and I remember another incident. We were visiting an electronic manufacturing facility there in Lvov on our first trip and they gave me a rotary calculator. It’s a blue thing with a crank on it and does addition and subtraction and that’s in our museum Bugbook Computer Museum it’s there now and that was our memorabilia piece from our first trip. I remember going to that meeting too. In those days it was a big habit to drink a lot of vodka and that meeting was about ten o clock in the morning and they brought out the vodka and they said we don’t normally have vodka this time of the mornings but we all had to have a few shots of vodka to continue the day. And of course we stayed, well didn’t stay then, but we visited ham dad Vlad and operated amateur radio there in Lvov and just really had a great time with all of that. Oh they did take us to some of the historical museums and so forth and there’s a clock museum, other museums, kind of a nature/ cultural museum with the older style homes and so forth. And in one of the museums, I bought a Ukrainian wedding dress for Gaynell, it was a new one. We also bought some as we went out into the hinterland of the Carpathian Mountains we bought some older clothes but we did buy one very beautiful wedding dress. It was a wedding dress wasn’t it? Yeah, a colorful wedding dress and we have that in our observatory along with the other Ukrainian things we purchased. Looking through the pictures I see they took us out to a castle. I don’t know just where it was in Ukraine, it was quite a ways out of Lvov but it was a very interesting thing. Unfortunately the tour guide spoke in Ukrainian so we had a little trouble with that. We didn’t eat in restaurants much, they would carry food along and we would do picnics. Of course there weren’t a lot of restaurants; quite honestly they were kind of few and far between. Of course I will say one thing, when we were in Moscow, looking at these pictures here, we got to visit red square for the first time and the Kremlin. We didn’t get in the Kremlin but we got to where we could see the Kremlin. McDonald’s was fairly new, I see a photo here too of a McDonald’s there near red square and it was so popular the line (2 or 3 wide) went clear around the block, I mean all the way around. There were hundreds of people waiting in line to get their McDonald’s whatever. Of course, needless to say we didn’t bother waiting in line for that, but that was certainly a new experience for us too. Oh yea looks like the weddings, didn’t they seem to have the weddings on Saturdays? We went to a number of weddings
Gaynell: They were open to the public
Dave: Yeah, all the weddings were sort of open to the public. The brides tried to have nice white wedding dresses, gee it was just great. They’re very friendly and I see here too that we visited a number of craft shops and bought a lot of Ukrainian crafts, particularly the wooden eggs that were made primarily up in the Carpathian Mountains. The Ukrainians were and still are noted for their wood art. There are a lot of forests and beautiful wood in Ukraine and a lot of people do carvings and painting of wood. We still have a lot of those and actually we sell, and still sell and we go to meetings like the Dayton Hamvention we’ll sell the Ukrainian crafts and we get new ones as well to sell and help us support our Foundation for Amateur International Radio work at n4usa. Looking at these pictures reminds me of something else too. In those days of course we didn’t have digital cameras, so as I said, Gaynell and I had already been making many trips and during the 90s, the late 80s and the 90s. We made many trips to a lot of countries both for the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service and for the university, because I did international development helping with the understanding of various universities to set up a student and faculty exchange. We did that in Russia with Uleanis Technical Institute out on the Olga River and down in Ukraine I think we did one with Lvov Polytechnic Institute and I think we did one at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute as well. One thing that was a tradition then, very much a European not just Ukrainian but a European tradition was when your guests arrived, especially the ladies, you give them flowers. I see some nice pictures there with Gaynell holding roses and so forth and that tradition has died down recently especially during the war that’s going on right now at this moment with the Russian folks invading eastern Ukraine. But it was a very big tradition then. We stayed those few days when we were in Moscow, before we went down to Ukraine, with one of Victor’s friends who lived in, I believe it was his granddad’s house, a very old house in a suburb way out, a little bit out of Moscow. But we talk about a suburb, the roads were dirt. There was actually no gravel on the roads in the subdivision. Very primitive and the homes of course were very primitive but we had a good time there with him that’s for sure. And she made some wonderful food. I remember the crepes were just wonderful along with a lot of other things. Yeah she had three young children there, which was fascinating. We were back to Moscow a number of times after that but we sure remember that first visit visiting the Kremlin and downtown Moscow and of course the airport was sort of fascinating in itself and the train rides, 24 hour train ride between Moscow and Lvov a new experience for us. We enjoyed that immensely. Well I guess that kind of wraps up our trip, we’ll make a few kind of final comments about that very first trip. We have some wonderful letters here and notes from our friends written during our first trip and trips after that. One thing Gaynell’s been good about is making a photo album of all our trips so we have dozens of photo albums with, gosh it must be a hundred photos in this one. I was mentioning the photography well we had to take the regular 35 mm cameras with lots of rolls of film and it was very expensive to develop all that film when we got back. We’d usually make 10 to 20 rolls of film on a trip
Gaynell: Copies of some of them
Dave: Yeah and then make copies of the pictures. Well all that changed when the digital cameras came out. We could just take all the pictures we wanted and then we’d only have to make copies of the good ones. So the economics of that got good and of course video cameras were a little too expensive for us on those first few trips so we didn’t have video but we certainly have on later trips. Technology’s been a wonderful thing for us. But that first trip was a great experience and it started a whole new world for Gaynell and I of traveling to the former Soviet countries and our friends Helen and Victor Goncharsky.
Gaynell: And I think the one thing that just stands out with me is the fact that when we first started these trips of course we hadn’t started FAIRS, our foundation, then but we knew that after a couple of trips over there that that was going to be something that we needed. We needed to have a nonprofit status so that we could have more clout going to the governments and things like that and that really paid off. And we thought well you know we’ll go to Russia and we’ll get to meet these people and that’ll be fine but we’ve stayed friends with almost all of the folks that we’ve visited in all of these foreign countries. And Christmas lists are now about 500 instead of 150 or so, so every year we still correspond and try to keep up with all of our friends in these foreign countries.
Dave: Well you know after that trip we made some publicity about it and then some other people came forward and wanted to travel over there with us and one of those was John Douglas, n0isl, from Minnesota. And John worked for Control Data, I believe that was the name of the company, and we did realize there was a big need for computers at the personal level and again Soviets were starting to let people have computers in their homes but there were very few available. A few fellows started to make home computers but John contacted us about traveling with us and since he worked at that large computer firm they had a lot of small computers and he gathered up 50 or more computers for us to take over there and he was going to go on the next visit to the Ukraine. The next visit was in the spring of ’91, May of ‘91 and we’ll do that visit later but I do want to lead up to it a little bit. When I got the computers together we thought we’d just send them over here for Victor to distribute. Well we couldn’t make any headway to get the computers into the Soviet Union. We tried various things and basically they would not accept them, there was no way. So I wrote a letter to Gorbachev, President Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union, in November of 1990 and told him what I was doing and that we’d had this workshop in Ukraine and we had these computers we wanted to get over there. I’ll have to say, Gorbachev was very good about wanting to get his citizens updated on technology and bring them more into the western world so to speak and also the whole country wanted to be more in line with the modern times. Well I sent that letter to him in November and then in January I was talking to my friend Victor, u5we, on the radio and he asked me, he said David, I understand there’s a letter you wrote circulating around the Kremlin and I replied to him, well yes Victor we did write a letter but I said I don’t think we put anything in it that would get any of us in trouble. It was very general about the computers were trying to donate to the Soviet citizens and particularly the folks there in Ukraine and so Victor told me that he had been asked to come to Moscow for an interview about the Larsens. The Soviet security people wanted to know did we really come and teach this workshop, were we spies you know, were we people that were trying to overthrow the government. All those sorts of things and were we there on just a technology sort of basis. So Victor did go to Moscow as he was invited and he told me he had a round trip ticket and I said well that’s probably a good sign. As a result of those interviews he was able to actually work up an invitation and as I said. By getting the workshop together the second time as well, we taught each time we went over there, the workshops sort of justified all that. But he got all that together and next trip, well to finish the story a little about the computers, a little bit later in the winter I got I letter from dosov I don’t exactly know what that stands for but it’s part of the military that basically controls the amateur radio communication and the letter (which I have it in my files in fact I’ve done a blog on it and printed that on a blog) but the letter basically said well (I’m paraphrasing) due to your letter you wrote to Gorbachev, we’ve been instructed to help get these computers into the Soviet Union. My understanding was that the letter circulated around the various bureau agencies and they decided it was probably a good thing to let us bring those computers into the Soviet Union. So we were told that if we contacted Aeroflot in New York, they would send the computers to Moscow and of course they were not cooperative for a while and after a few correspondents back and forth we did ship the computers to Moscow and they kept them in quarantine until John Douglas and Gaynell and I went over and that’ll be another story for our next trip about how we distributed those computers. Well I think once again that wraps it up for the first trip, October 1990, to the former Soviet Union it was a fascinating trip and we’ll continue this discussion with our second trip in May of 1991.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

N4USA David creator of this blog is back for more postings.

 Hi - It has been a long time ago to my last post here at the Bugbook Computer Museum Blog and I hope to do some updating for my readers and followers.  I would like to hear from those interested in the history of microcomputers and the work we have been doing here for the past 73 years .  It was 73 years ago that I attended the Remington Rand school for the Unvac computer.

Take a look here at where I started with computes in 1957.  WOW

See  info on Remington Rand Univac - David 1957

"David Larsen"   Davids 68 years of Ham Radio

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Intel 8008 Microprocessor began as a 'Computer Terminal Corporation 2200" - an Electronic Data Terminal

This is a poplar post and I updated it and reposted it. David Larsen
The first 8 bit Intel microprocessor -the 8008 was the result of designing the Computer Terminal Corporation "CTC 2200" logic into a single chip.  The CTC2200 was a successful project to design an electronic version of the 'workhorse' Teletype data terminal  of the 60/70s  - the Teletype was an all mechanical  communications terminal with hundreds of gears and levers. .  CTC contracted  Intel to design a microprocessor however the process was slow and CTC did not  use the design.The result was Intel had its first 8 bit microprocessor (8008).  See short story about the interesting origin of the 8008 at the end of this post.

We are fortunate to have this CTC 2200 in our computer collection and on display in the museum.

See video of this computer "CLICK"

  CLICK photo to enlarge
CTC2200 data terminal
CTC2200 data terminal 

CTC's TTL-based desktop personal computer, called the Datapoint 2200, was unveiled in 1970, with cassette tapes for 130KB of mass storage and 8K of internal memory.

The first end user sale was to a chicken farmer in the South who programmed the CTC2200 to write payroll checks. So I you could say a chicken farmer was the first  user of a programmable microcomputer.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
CTC 2200 with case removed

The CTC 2200 is densely packed with Small Scale Integrated circuits and other parts. The mechanical design seems to be well done and the unit is solid and sturdy. ( also very heavy )

CTC2200 keyboard
CTC2200 keyboard

The design includes about 100 small scale integrated circuits along with discrete components- transistors - resistors -diodes and capacitors. In this photo you can see 4 printed circuit boards under the display and in back of the keyboard.  Their are 4 printed circuit boards under the tape deck area and 4 memory boards next to the CRT display.

CTC2200 back panel heat sink
CTC2200 back panel heat sink 

The unit was designed to fit in the same area as an IBM Selectric Typewriter. This did not give much room and the unit is packed with cards and circuits.

Here you see the large heat sink on the back of the terminal. It is heavy and weighs about 40 lbs.

CTC2200 memory cards
CTC2200 memory cards

The 4 memory cards each contain 4Kb of RAM for a total of 16 Kb. The CTC2200 machines with 16Kb sold for $16,000.

CTC2200 cassette tape decks
CTC2200 cassette tape decks

The unit had  2 read-write cassette decks for 130KB of mass storage.

CTC2200 CRT HV and driver circuits
CTC2200 CRT HV and driver circuits

A view of the high voltage for the CRT and Memory area.

CTC2200 serial # 498 on PC board
CTC2200 serial # 498 on PC board 

The only serial number I have found so far is 498 on the corner of this card.

Here is some great research about the first microprocessor - Ken Shirriff's Blog 

Short story about the origin of the Intel 8008 microprocessor.

The Teletype was the communications terminal used from the late 50's until in the 80s - first as a data  terminal connected to the telephone system with a modem. It was used to send messages to users and mostly for sending and receiving telegrams. Later the Teletype was used for a minicomputer printer and paper tape punch to store the data.  Long distant voice calling  were so expensive and unreliable it was rarely used  in the 50's and 60s'.

The Teletype was a totally mechanical device that could decode 8 bit data strings - ASCII code - and print all capital letters on paper & also punch paper tape for permanent Storage of the data. The Teletype could also read the paper tape and convert the code into the 8 bit serial ASCII data for transmitting over a telephone line using a modem. The word Byte for 8 bits of data most likely came from this sending and receiving alphabetic characters as 8 bits of data.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 CLICK photo to enlarge
ASR 33 Teletype
The Teletype was a great invention however it was a mechanical monster with 100's of cams and levers that could and failed often. It was a mechanical device and very noisy & distracting in and office.

In the end of 1960's, 2 graduates at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, Harry Pyle and Victor D. Poor, came up with the idea of a high density integrated circuit which would be programmable. Harry and Victors ideas were used to create the logic of the CTC2200 and this became the code for the 8008 microprocessor. When transistors and more importantly integrated circuits became available and all electronic version of the Teletype became possible.

The Computer  Terminal Corporation produced an electronic replacement for the Teletype the "CTC 2200". The CTC 2200 was actually programmable terminal using a custom designed 8 bit computer. The computer was made from discrete components and and small scale integrated  circuits. Microprocessors had not been  designed in the late 60's when the CTC2200 was developed.

The engineers at CTC did have the idea to put the computer logic they had designed into the CTC2200 on a single chip  - making a microprocessor.  A design team went to Intel to have them design and make a microprocessor  using the logic in the CTC2200. Robert Noyce of Intel when approached with this project did not like the idea as he thought a computer on a chip would hurt the memory chip market of Intel by competing with computer makers using the Intel memory chips.  However Robert Noyce did agree to make the chip for $50,000.

The CTC engineers also went to Texas Instruments and ask them to make the same chip to be sure they had a backup source.  The Texas Instrument chip did not function properly and was not used. The Intel chip was a long time in development. The CTC team decided to just build the 2200 terminal with there current design of about 100 small scale integrated circuits and give up the rights to the intellectual property rights for the   Intel microprocessor design --and did not pay the $50,000 to Intel.  Giving up the intellectual rights to the microprocessor is among the worst business decisions ever.

Intel went ahead with the full development of the microprocessor and called it the 8008. The microprocessor used the same digital logic and operational software codes as CTC2200 .

The computer logic in the CTC2200 then was an original 8 bit computer that used the 8008 software code and was  the beginning  of 8 bit computers (8008 microprocessor) for Intel.

Here are some links to more complete stories of the CTC2200 / Intel story. Some of the information I used came from these references.
Computer World 
History of Computers
San Antonio "Express-News"

Their is a lot more to this very interesting story of how the first Intel 8 bit 8008 microprocessor came about - here is the REST of the STORY 

David G Larsen
I  remember for many years I did not think I would find a CTC2200 and wanted to have one for it is one of the first programmable microcomputers. During the late 80's I was able to find not only this fine example and the source also had a  model the CTC1100. The CTC 2200 and 1100 now are part of the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Collection"

Thursday, August 27, 2020

land for sale by owner - Floyd Virginia


Hi friends - most of you know that most of  Post on this site have been about my interest in Historical Microcomputers and Amateur Radio.  

My family has lived and worked in the Floyd County Virginia area for the past 53 years and during 52 years I have been involved in farming and rural real estate.   I just wanted to post information about my life long interest in farm land.  A major part of this interest is the buying and selling land as "For Sale By Owner" for 52 years.

The new "For Sale By Owner"  rack card designed by my associate Jason Gallimore. Take a look at the card information below for a good idea of how my associates and I work with land & farms.

                        Give me a call if you have any interest in land or farm in our area. 540 392 2392

David Larsen
 Blog Author

"by David Larsen"  Chantilly Farm ownerComputer Historian, and amateur radio operator -KK4WW   & N4USA .  I work out of one of the Tiny Homes at Chantilly Farm. A great place to work if you like the to be out in nature. I am 81 and ready to sell Chantilly Farm - I have a few more  projects I would like to do - if you have an interest to know more give me a call. 540 392 2392

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Computer Memory is now 4,000,000,000,000 time larger then 49 years ago

info click

The Intel 1702A EPROM  (1971) has only 256 bytes of memory - today the USB Flash drive has 1 Terabyte of memory --- that is  an  incredible  4,000,000,000,000 times more memory.  This is a number so large I just can not sort it out in my mind. 

1000 GB or 1 Terabyte
Flash Drive. It would take
125.000,000,000 C2708 chips
to have this much memory!!!!

Moore's law seems to be working after 56 years. Gordon Moore made the observation and prediction in 1965 that the density of components on a silicon chip would double every 2 years. 

The USB Flash drive to the left has 1 Terabyte of memory.
That is 1000 Gigabytes.

It would take 125,000,000,000 of the Intel C-2708 Chips to equal this amount of memory.  A really big change in 56 years of technology.  This 1 Terabyte USB flash drive cost $39.00. 

Please note the Intel C-2708 has 125 times more memory than the Intel 1702 EPROM at the top of page. 

Help wanted 

 A project to make presentation displays for 
 2708 EPROM memory chips and a little history.

Intel C-2708 EPROM
memory chips.
I have 359 of these really nice Intel 2708 EPROM chips purchased in 1987. These chips are all nice white ceramic with gold pins and gold tops. They are part of my 45 years of collecting microcomputer memorabilia. 

What I want to do is make a presentation case/display for use as example of this early microcomputer and memory technology.  

Curious about EPROM memories - take a look here at a my blog post about the very first EPROM -  the Intel 1702A - Get an idea of  how and why they were used. "CLICK"

Intel C2708 EPROM 
A Smart display/presentation case is easily  possible.

A small Raspberry pie microcomputer can be included to provide many photos/videos and text that could be picked up on a smart phone using Bluetooth/WiFi connection. The unit could be connected to the internet with WiFi and linked to selected information on line about the history of microcomputers.

The use of these EPROMs is nice because the quartz window allowing a view of the IC chip. You should know the window was not put there for you to look into the IC - the window allows the memory to be erased by exposing the chip to UV light.

Photo of the 2708 EPROM
silicon chip that is viewed through
the quartz window on the IC.

It would be very nice to include a way to see into the window on the 2708 and get some idea what the actual silicon chip looks like. This could be a magnifying glass or maybe a photo of the chip would be best. Of course with the smart part of the presentation case just a view of the proper web site may be best way to obtain  more information.

Bottom side of 2708 EPROM
showing date code of 1977 &
made in Malaysia.

All my IC 2708 chips have a 1977 date code time of manufacture.

More information about EPROM memories - here is my video of the 1702 the very first EPROM chip. You will find this interesting. 

Summary of project:

To build and market a beautiful small  presentation case about microcomputer technology - most  likely out of wood that could be on the desk or appropriate space on the wall. The unit could be just a nice piece on the desk of those who have an interest in microcomputer history or are currently involved in the technology.  It would be a great conversation piece with the smart technology to bone up on the history of microelectronic technology and a real piece of history included - the Intel 2708 EPROM. 

Contact Information"CLICK"                                                              

David Larsen
 Blog Author

"by David Larsen"  Chantilly Farm ownerComputer Historian, and amateur radio operator -KK4WW   & N4USA .  I work out of one of the Tiny Homes at Chantilly Farm. A great place to work if you like the to be out in nature. I am 81 and ready to sell Chantilly Farm - I have a few more  projects I would like to do - if you have an interest to know more give me a call. 540 392 2392

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Computer Collector and Historians Resource Hub

Computer History Resource Sites 

one the Apple-1 computers
as a part of my collection.
See Video about my 4 Apple-1 computers.
I have listed "Computer Collector and Historical Information"  collected and used during the past 12 years used in producing Videos and Writing Blog post. Blog post & videos cover several topics of my interest including, historical computers, amateur radio, land for sale by owner, tiny homes and Chantilly Farm. I have been involved with digital computers for the past 63 years. It all started with my attending a training class at Remington Rand Computer Corporation in St. Paul Minnesota in 1957.  Teaching "Electronic Instrumentation and Automation" for 33 years at Virginia Tech and collecting microcomputers for more than 45 years . You will find more than 200 web sites in the links below.  I hope you find this information useful - have fun.

Pioneers - Microcomputer & PC Revolution          Computer History - Web sites & Blog's

Computer Books for Collectors                             Dave's 200 Computer Blog Postings 

125 Videos about my Computer Collection        39 Videos about my 4 Apple-1's Collection 

My entire computer collection is now located at "The Computer Museum of America" in Roswell, Georgia. 

For Radio Amateur operators 

127 Videos my Amateur Radio Activity         59 Videos My Dominica Amateur Radio

82 Videos "Foundation for International Radio Service" FAIRS

9 Videos - Basic electronic tutorials                       My 66 years of Amateur Radio 

Bug Logo for my
 Bugbooks and Museum

David Larsen
 Blog Author

"by David Larsen"  Chantilly Farm ownerComputer Historian, and amateur radio operator -KK4WW   & N4USA .  I work out of one of the Tiny Homes at Chantilly Farm. A great place to work if you like the to be out in nature. I am 81 and ready to sell Chantilly Farm - I have a few more  projects I would like to do - if you have an interest to know more give me a call. 540 392 2392

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Geocaching - Outdoor sport you can do alone.


A Sport you do outdoors.
You can be a team of one.

Chantilly Farm Floyd Virginia  - has a Geo-Cache ready for your hunt. 

This is a sport just made for a time  like this when we can not gather in large crowds and need to keep a social distance.  Our Cache is named "Tilly's Trace" after a wild Bob White Quail who became a friend of our venue and for several years would follow our staff outside like a good buddy.

There are about 500,000 locations in the US - one will be near you - some in exotic places.

There are 11  within 10 miles of Chantilly Farm. This is a sport that may be available  in your neighborhood.

What is Geocaching:
Wikipedia: Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.[2]
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and sometimes a pen or pencil. The geocacher signs the log with their established code name and dates it, in order to prove that they found the cache. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it.

How to get started:

1. Go to and sign up by loading the official geocaching app.There you will find all you need to get started and be a GeoCache-hunter.

2. You need a GPS to find your Cache.  Most of you will want to use your smart phone.The geocaching app has a GPS app built in and it should do just fine. I tried groundspeak and it seemed to be easy to use. 
3. To find our Geocahe just search cache location Chantilly Farm Floyd Virginia

A brand new Southwest VA geocaching adventure at Chantilly Farm you can embark on! Find the cache located on the farm and write your name in the log book! We hope you have fun and good luck searching! This cache is in the heart of Southwest VA, surrounded by the stunning nature that makes this region so beautiful. Walk down this beautiful bird-watching trail and enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors! This trail is the home of Tilly, a beautiful and rare grouse that can be seen and heard while enjoying this short nature walk. This is a fairly easy cache to find with lots of great views, so have fun and enjoy! Note: This cache IS on private property, but geocachers have permission to be present. Have fun and good luck

                                        Video of the Geocache at Chantilly Farm
TIlly's Trace

David Larsen
 Blog Author

"by David Larsen"  Chantilly Farm ownerComputer Historian, and amateur radio operator -KK4WW   & N4USA .  I work out of one of the Tiny Homes at Chantilly Farm. A great place to work if you like the to be out in nature. I am 81 and ready to sell Chantilly Farm - I have a few more  projects I would like to do - if you have an interest to know more give me a call. 540 392 2392

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Tiny house - Shipping Container Office and Commerce building

Shipping Container tiny Office Building
Roseau, Dominica the "Nature Island of the Caribbean"

Click on photo to enlarge
Gaynell Larsen ham radio
operator J79WWW
with good coffee.
During our "Ham Radio Mission" to Dominica we visited a very interesting application of using Shipping Containers to make a small commercial building  in the capital Roseau. The design and construction was really excellent. It looked a little out of place along the old buildings on main street. It has a great little coffee shop in one corner. The coffee was good and the price very reasonable.

The  coffee shop is tucked into about 1/3 of a 20 foot container at ground level. The building is constructed from 3 containers.

The interior of the small coffee
shop in the right side of  lower
side of shipping container
Coffee shop menu

The interior of the shop is small but well equipped.  The shop also is a wine shop so you have lots of choices.

The menu is in Caribbean $.  About  40 cents in US currency. You can get in town delivery for about 80 cents US.

Small office and retail space building
made from 3 Shipping Containers
in Roseau, Dominica.

You can see here a clever idea - the top container extends over the coffee shop and provides the roof area. A small garden and seating area is built in front of the coffee shop.

The other sections of the are small rental office spaces and a small conference room. It looked like about 6  offices were available and all done very nicely with A/C.  You do not need heat on this beautiful Caribbean Island.

Small office and retail space building
made from 3 Shipping Containers
in Roseau, Dominica.

Looking back at the coffee shop where you can see the top container being used as roof for front of the shop.

The railing you see over the container is where a small outdoor seating area was made with a roof overhead to be used by the tenants and their guests.

Small office and retail space building
made from 3 Shipping Containers
in Roseau, Dominica.

The deck and seating area described with the photo above.  It is nice with room for a dozen or so people. This  also provides the access for the 3 offices on this level.

Small office and retail space building
made from 3 Shipping Containers
in Roseau, Dominica.

Looking off the back side of the deck we can see the other offices in level one and two.

Small office and retail space building
made from 3 Shipping Containers
in Roseau, Dominica.

I could not actually get in the offices but took this photo through the window of the door  and you can see it is very attractive.

One of the main streets in
downtown Roseau ,
Dominica - The Container
building is just to the RT of
this photo.
The whole country of Dominica is small 15x30 miles in size with a population of about 65,000.  The capital Roseau has 15,000 people.

Look carefully and you will see a typical Dominica tiny house just over the roof of the while auto. The streets are very narrow and with autos parked on both sides there is barely room for one car to drive down the street. Look closely and you will see the ocean at the end of the street.

The island is still recovering from hurricane Maria in 2017.

We have visited the island 32 times in the past 23 years.  Our purpose has been to help with Disaster preparedness communications.
See Blog "CLICK"

Video of Downtown Roseau "CLICK"

Cobblestone  walkway
in place for  hundreds
of years in Dominica.

The island is a mix of old and new buildings. The island historically over the past 300 or so years was dominated back and forth by the French and  British.  Most recently it was a a British Colony and the dominate language is English.

In this photo you can see some of the cobblestone sidewalk that has been in place for hundreds of years.

Port Roseau in Dominica.
Dominica is the nature island of the Caribbean and has many beautiful water falls, hiking trails, hot sulfur spring bath pools & great Caribbean food - my favorite food!

You can see in the photo a cruse ship in port at Roseau. The ships  make a 9 hour day stop, however, they are an important source of income for the island folks.

David Larsen
 Blog Author

"by David Larsen"  Chantilly Farm ownerComputer Historian, and amateur radio operator -KK4WW   & N4USA .  I work out of one of the Tiny Homes at Chantilly Farm. A great place to work if you like the to be out in nature. I am 81 and ready to sell Chantilly Farm - I have a few more  projects I would like to do - if you have an interest to know more give me a call. 540 392 2392