VCF weekend in the Midwest

From: Dan Veeneman <>
Date: Tue Nov 9 12:11:54 2004

While many of you were enjoying the sights and
sounds at VCF this weekend, I was driving a cargo
van to pick up equipment from various places in the

First was a rescue in Indiana that Jack Rubin
mentioned on the list. The owner reported some
DEC equipment in his warehouse that needed to
be hauled away before the building was demolished.
It turns out that the warehouse is a huge condemned
building that has a leaky and collapsing roof, is without
heat or electric power, and is located in an, um,
"socio-economically challenged" neighborhood.

 From there I pulled out two racks: one with a DEC 11/34
and another with some distribution panels. The third
rack, with a tape drive, was too heavy for just the warehouse
owner and me to load into the van. From that setup I also left
behind two RP06 disk drives. In another part of the warehouse
was another set of three racks -- a PDP 8/e and three RK05 drives.
We pulled the CPU and left the rest. I also pulled out two
VT52s and two VT100s, along with some RSTS manuals
and magtapes. I left behind half a dozen DECwriter printing

Before anyone gets too excited about what's left, be aware
that this stuff is not in very good condition. The warehouse
roof is in poor condition and the building is very drafty.
Everything was dirty, damp to the touch and rusting. None of the
equipment is anywhere near working condition -- it's been
sitting there for at least 10 years, suffering the ravages of
weather, temperature extremes and rodents.

Second rescue was from an electronics surplus place about
two hours drive from the first warehouse. From there I pulled
a MicroPDP-11, an RX02, a MINC-23 on a rolling cart, a DEC
GIGI, an Osborne luggable and a TI Silent 700. I know the last
two items got wet, but the others look in much better shape than
the equipment from the first warehouse. Photos upon request.

Third rescue, to me, was the best: I now have a working
Hewlett-Packard 9831A desktop computer. This machine uses
the BASIC language, has a single-line LED display and accepts
most of the 9825 interfaces. I know Tony has one of these, but
I'm not sure if anyone else does. They only appeared in the HP
catalog for one year and are extremely uncommon. I wrote a
bunch of software on these computers for an HP VAR in 1981 or so,
but I haven't seen a 9831 since then. The machine I have now even
has the floppy drive ROM cartridge, so I can hook up eight-inch disc
drives (9885M plus up to three 9885S) to it as well.

So, while hunting mainly for HP gear, in the last few months I've
ended up with the following DEC CPUs:

PDP 8/e
MicroPDP-11 (two)
PDP 11/34

The earliest DEC machine I ever used was an 11/70, so I may be
looking for help in the future to try and restore these machines to


Received on Tue Nov 09 2004 - 12:11:54 GMT

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