Need RT-11 on RX02

From: Jerome H. Fine <>
Date: Tue Feb 3 08:51:05 2004

>Guy Sotomayor wrote:

> Wouldn't ya know after I created a new tape on the 11, I go to read it
> on my PC and my SCSI 9-track tape drive has died. It won't power up.
> :-( I smelled something funny in my office when I got home today but
> couldn't quite figure it out (the drive was "on" but in standby). I
> guess I know what that smell was.
> Go figure. A tape drive that is > 20 years old works great. A newer
> one (what are the dates on a TSZ07?) dies. I guess the old adage "They
> don't make 'em like they used to" still holds.

Jerome Fine replies:

I realize that a SCSI host adapter for both a Qbus and a Unibus
system is still expensive. However, over the past decade, I have
found it to be the best investment I ever made.

In my case, I found that a removable media drive was also part
of the solution. Over 10 years ago, I sold a dual Sony SMO S-501
system to a customer who want to make backups of about 1500
RX02 floppies. The solution being used at the time was to copy
20 RX02 floppies to RL02 packs. There were already almost
50 * RL02 packs in use and an additional 30 * RL02 packs
were anticipated. The cost of those extra 30 packs was larger
than the dual Sony SMO S-501 drives. The reason for a
dual set-up was that each RL02 pack had 2 tape backups as
well, one of which was always offsite. With the Sony drives,
3 media (295 MBytes on each side) were sufficient to hold
all 80 * RL02 images. Another 6 media held 2 backup copies.
All 9 SMO media were about the size of half a loaf of bread
as compared with over 5 times the volume for a single RL02.
Having dual Sony SMO S-501 drives allowed a copy of each
media to be done in about an hour during lunch. In one day,
all 5 sides with files could be copied and verified as opposed
to over a week if over 80 RL02 packs were copied to tapes.

A long time later, I also acquired an Adaptec AHA-2940AU
on a Pentium III system along with a few Sony SMO S-501
drives and a lot (over 100) of SMO media. Now I use the
SMO media as a backup on both systems along with the
ability to transfer files between any real DEC PDP-11 system
and a PC. On the PC, I run Ersatz-11 and RT-11 under
Windows 98 SE. I caution that I am fortunate to have the
"Full" (Commercial) version of Ersatz-11, however, PUTR
is able to handle copies of RT-11 partitions. The key point
is that the SMO media still seem ideal even at just 295 MBytes
a side for file transfer between a PC and a real DEC PDP-11.

A bit of an admission - I now use a DVD for backup on the
PC and have 15 * SMO S-501 images on each DVD. How
times have changed. And the 15 * SMO S-501 images are
usually kept as files on a 40 GByte hard drive.

> > Also, if you have a Linux or *BSD system you can attach to the /45's
> > serial console, you can image the RT-11 diskettes straight to the PC
> > disk with vtserver's built-in "copy" function. I've used it to
> > duplicate a bootable BRUSYS floppy on the 11/84.
> That's how I got the original RL02 image onto the 11/45. I like tapes
> because then I don't have to move equipment around (and it's quite a bit
> faster than 9600bps over a serial line).

About 15 years ago, I was asked to transfer the files from a 240 MByte
hard drive on a DEC PDP-11/73 system which included a 9 track tape
drive. The target system was a 486 running Unix which did not have a
tape drive. This was a one time transfer, so the time was not critical.
I took a while at 9600 baud using Kermit, but eventually it was done.
Fortunately not all the files needed to be transferred.

While tapes are great in some cases, I find that I prefer the Sony drives.
Lacking that, the serial transfer was a simple solution. Coming in the
next day to find the transfer almost complete overnight was a big

Sincerely yours,

Jerome Fine
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Received on Tue Feb 03 2004 - 08:51:05 GMT

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