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2014-06-02 Rain  
Posted by Accutron  

Dayton Hamvention has come and gone once again. On Saturday morning, we were met with an intense thunderstorm, complete with hail, wind and near-freezing temperatures, which drowned a portion of our lower priority not-under-the-tents inventory. The rest of the day was spent cleaning up the mess and pouring comical amounts of water out of several unfortunate 8-bit microcomputers. Although the weather situation definitely impacted the festivities on Saturday, we still moved record quantities of junk on Friday and Sunday.

Between the rain and heavy sales, we didn't have time to shoot our traditional Hamvention video, but we did make a number of impressive purchases. Some of the more notable finds include: a Chelsea U.S. Navy clock, Lear Siegler ADM5 terminal, two IBM RS/6000 workstations, a NEC 8201A microcomputer, a Spectra Physics Model 127 helium-neon laser and two rare OKI millimeter wave klystrons. These items and many others will be added to the website over the next few months.


2014-05-14 Sus Electronicus  
Posted by Accutron  

Dayton Hamvention 2014 is only a few days away, and we're very busy filling cardboard boxes with a wide range of electronics, scientific apparatus and various other items. Just like last year, we will be located at the exact geographical center of Flea Market East, spaces FE3038 through FE3042.


2014-01-12 Silent Service  
Posted by Accutron  

Although it's been quite a long time since we've made a news post, many significant items have been quietly added to the site over the intervening months:

* Casio OH-7000G: An unusual instructor variant of the FX-7000g, the world's first graphing calculator.
* Computer Operations CO-4420 Serial Box: A rare and unusual portable terminal with an integrated DECtape drive.
* Digital Equipment Corporation VAXserver 3500: A 32-bit supermini, implementing DEC's CVAX chipset.
* Hewlett-Packard 1300A X-Y Display: The world's first commercially available graphical CRT computer display.
* Hewlett-Packard 2100A: A rare aftermarket-modified example of the 2100A minicomputer, re-branded as a Measurex 2650 Central Processing Unit.
* Teltron 1149: A large Orthicon imaging tube used in television studio cameras from the 1940s to the 1980s.
* Varian V-45: A rare 1:5 frequency multiplier klystron; special thanks to Rick Hall K5GZR for donating this device.
* Western Electric 316A: An attractive high power UHF triode in a spherical 'UFO' envelope.


2013-05-22 Dissecting History  
Posted by Accutron  

Other than some minor vehicular problems and a couple hours of rain on Saturday, Hamvention 2013 went off without a hitch. The most noteworthy finds this year include a VAXserver 3500, a MicroVAX 3600, and the obscure CO-4420 Serial Box portable terminal with integral LINC Tape drive, built by Computer Operations. We ended up scrapping the MicroVAX 3600 on-site, live for our customer audience. Normally we'd never consider such a thing, but the immense RA82 disk drives were bad, and the chassis was far too large for us to transport back to our facility without suffering permanent injury. Furthermore, prior to scrapping, we offered the MicroVAX chassis and drives to three different active and well-known DEC collectors over the course of the weekend, and all three refused the machine, despite their on-site presence and the availability of appropriate transportation. The CPU boards will now live on as a MicroVAX conversion kit and backup replacements for the nearly identical VAXserver 3500, and the highly impressive RA82 disk packs are now serving a decorative function in our museum.

Special thanks to the kind stranger who showed us how to bypass the defective solenoid in our Ford pickup truck with a couple quarters. The legend of the helpful ham lives on.


2013-05-04 The Nexus of Awesome  
Posted by Accutron  

Dayton Hamvention is once again rapidly approaching, and we've been busy the past couple months putting tiny yellow price stickers on a tremendous pile of junk. We've increased our flea market real estate investment this year, and will now be occupying five flea market spaces instead of the typical three. You can find us at our usual location in Flea Market East, in spaces FE3038 through FE3042, not too far from the front gate.

We've added several new items to the Aerospace & Defense Components section since our last news post: an Airesearch 948958-18 Electronic Turbine Control from a first-generation Boeing 747-123, a Tracor Aerospace TA 7900 Control Display Unit, several pieces of military flight data equipment manufactured by Technology Incorporated, and an incredibly rare and historically significant EG&G DT-150 Light Intensity Detector, used to measure the device yield of various atmospheric nuclear tests in the 1950s.


2013-02-10 Air Freight  
Posted by Accutron  

We've just added a number of new entries to the Aerospace & Defense Components section of our museum, including the Century Electronics 409 Oscillograph, a Litton LTN-72R Control Display Unit and various flight data management equipment manufactured by the now-defunct Technology Incorporated out of Dayton, Ohio. We've also added a new entry to the Solid State Displays section: the rare TIL-308 intelligent LED display. Special thanks to Dr. Bruce Jarnot for donating this and other devices which will be added to the museum over the coming weeks.


2012-12-15 Heavy Mineral Deposits  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

In Victorian steampunk times, lightbulbs were seen as a legitimate form of entertainment. We have recently acquired an early Crookes mineral tube which exists only to fulfill this need. The tube contains a cubical block of calcite, which glows red under the influence of high voltage in a vacuum due to its phosphorescent properties. In our not too distant past, electricity was still considered a form of magic.

We have also added a few other new items, including a J.H. Bunnel Telegraph Sounder in the Communication Equipment section, an unusual surface mount green Soviet LED display in the Solid State Displays section, and an assortment of General Electric 2N43 transistors to the Discrete Semiconductors section.


2012-10-10 Wired Wrong  
Posted by Accutron  

A photo editor from emailed me a few days ago, asking if they could use one of our photos in an article. Little did I know they were going to use our photo as their poster child in the mainstream media's grand perpetuation of the Holonyak Creation Myth. Their article flatly states "The first LEDs were red", and makes no mention of the actual first LEDs or their inventors.

Nick Holonyak did indeed invent the first visible LED. He did not, however, invent the first LED, and the first LED was not visible red. The first LED was invented in 1961, at Texas Instruments, by Bob Biard and Gary Pittman. Their device was infrared, not visible red. The first commercial LED was the TI SNX-100 infrared LED, introduced in 1962.


2012-10-07 The Polish Ambassador  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

How does one control an electric street lamp automatically in a time before semiconductors? If you are the City of New York, you decide to install a phalanx of General Electric 3T18SOL2 Astronomic Time Switches on every street. We have recently added one of these mechanically intensive devices to the Clocks, Timers & Counters section, and it is worth looking at a reminder of how difficult electronics used to be before Shockley's transistor invasion. Other new items added to the site in recent history include a Reflector P789 three color 'Jumbotron'-style display to the Vacuum Fluorescent Displays section, a Raytheon 2K33 reflex klystron to the Microwave Amplifier & Oscillator Tubes section, and a quite hilarious big bubble Litronix display to the Solid State Displays section.

In other news, a visitor to our site, Zygmunt Flisak, has identified the unidentified 'Eastern Bloc' green metal can LED we added to the Solid State Indicators section several months ago. It is a CEMI CQYP 32A, and has the distinction of being the first Polish-made electronic component added to the website. We very much doubt that it will be the last.


2012-08-15 Big Iron  
Posted by Accutron  

Last weekend, the VTA paid a visit to the National Pike Steam Gas & Horse Association engine show in Brownsville, PA. My dad, Chet Luckenbaugh, is the senior on-site heavy equipment mechanic and all-around troubleshooter. During the show, when he's not fixing somebody else's equipment or hiding out back with us at camp, he operates his 1929 Thew-Lorain 75A gasoline-powered shovel, the oldest working non-steam shovel on the grounds. The 75A is a notoriously difficult machine to operate - the only other people allowed to operate it during the show were myself and my two oldest sons, though I personally had the good sense to decline the offer.


2012-08-11 Prince Albert in a Can  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

Once again, we have added a number of new items to the Electronics Museum:

* Solid State Displays: A very rare military variant of the 2416, the MDL2416, which is packaged in a hermetic metal can enclosure.
* Computers & Calculators: A Tracor AN/UGC-129 Teletypewriter Set, which can both survive and carry out global thermonuclear war.
* Clocks, Timers & Counters: A Sargent & Greenleaf Type L time lock movement, worthy of appearing in a steampunk fantasy.
* Solid State Indicators: The elusive Fairchild FLV101, a failed attempt by Fairchild to convert it's FLV100 fiber optic transmitter into a useful LED indicator device.
* Variable Indicator Tubes: A Tune A Lite 'tuneon' style linear neon tuning indicator, in an advanced state of cathode-disintegrating torment.


2012-06-16 Dot Communist  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

We have added a few new items to the Electronics Museum, including an unusual device, the Soviet IV-29 dot indicator. Never before has the humble lamp been lavished with such over-engineering; the IV-29 is an entire hot cathode VFD tube built to display a single round dot. Large numbers of IV-29s would be soldered into matrices and segments, allowing characters and numbers to be displayed in pixel-assembled form.

We have added several items from Hamvention to the site as well, including an EMI 9826B photomultiplier to the Detection Tubes section and a Central Electric CVS-1 high vacuum switch to the Spark, Trigger, and Passive Tubes section. Our somewhat anemic Aerospace Components section has also received a new item, a Northrop 09641001 voice recorder magazine. This reel-to-reel recorder takes the tape deck to new heights of military over-engineering.


2012-05-25 The Great Material Continuum  
Posted by Accutron  

It was early Friday morning, day one of Dayton Hamvention 2012. We had just caught a glimpse of That Scrap Guy, a well-known and highly contemptible carrion feeder who indiscriminately digests the carcasses of our past technological achievements. He destroys all things metal, without exercising any sort of intelligent assessment which might supercede his basal profit calculations. Once we saw That Scrap Guy on the prowl, we knew we had to move it or lose it, because anything priced below its gold value would be fair game for his Tibetan sky burial. Minutes later, we had an incredibly unlikely find: a HP 2100A minicomputer, priced at $10. Needless to say, $10 is very much shy of the 2100A's gold value, and this particular machine was narrowly saved from an extremely moosey fate. As it turns out, at the very same moment we were trying to figure out how to haul the 2100A without dooming ourselves to spinal surgery, That Scrap Guy was back at our booth, rediscovering the utter futility of arguing with my wife. Once again, Paula's natural recalcitrance paid off, and one more antique computer was saved from a parasitic gold scrapper.

Other awesome Hamvention finds this year include: an original Radio Shack Armatron robotic arm with box and accessories, a Garmin Nuvi 1300 vehicular GPS, a pair of vane displays, huge lots of GPS modules and large LED scoreboard displays, and a sackful of extremely rare Fairchild FLV101 LEDs. My oldest son also added his first klystron to his electronics collection, an early Sperry 2K25 reflex klystron. He was very excited to learn that his tube was possibly indirectly responsible for the killing of Nazis.


2012-04-29 Pork Chops  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

Dayton Hamvention is once again rapidly approaching, and we will again be occupying flea market booth numbers FE3038, FE3039 and FE3040. We will have our full online inventory available, including kit versions of all our Yilane products, as well as thousands of heavy bulky electronic and industrial items designed to entice equal portions of lust and chiropractic care. If you are one of those unfortunate souls that has never experienced Hamvention, feel free to check out this 57-minute long video of Hamvention 2011, filmed by our motley crew of electronics enthusiasts. Could there possibly be a better place to ride out the 2012 global apocalypse?

In non-Hamvention news, we have also added a few new items to the Electronics Museum between the busy work of Hamvention preparation; a mysterious green Eastern Bloc LED to the Solid State Indicators section, and a hilarious Wamco KW104S-DP filamentary decimal point indicator to the Filament Displays section.


2012-04-06 Going Geissler  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

We have recently added another obscure item to the site, the Soviet IEL-0-VI electroluminescent display. These unusual devices, which have recently flooded the Ebay surplus market after years of absence, work on the same principle as the Chinese electroluminescent wire that has choked the blogosphere ever since the new Tron movie was released. In absence of an appropriate section in which to insert such an unusual device, we have added the entry for the IEL-0-VI to the Vacuum Fluorescent Displays section. Emails pointing out the poor reasons for this choice will be cheerfully ignored.

We have added a vintage spiral Geissler tube to the Gas Discharge Tubes section. A Geissler tube is a functionally useless decorative cold cathode lamp, and were mass produced from the 1880's onward; a time when staring at a decorative lamp was considered a legitimate form of entertainment. Other recent additions include an IEE Aurora FFD12 minitron display to the Filament Displays section, and an unknown Monsanto straight-pin LED to the Solid State Indicators section.


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