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2016-04-28 Jon Johnston Passes  
Posted by Accutron  


Jon David Johnston, former HP employee and founder of the HP Computer Museum in Australia, died on Sunday, April 24, in a climbing accident on Shishapangma in Tibet. Johnston and climber Patrik Mattioli fell into a crevasse at 6200m, after a five meter section of ground gave way beneath them. At the time of this writing, their bodies have not yet been recovered.

Jon was an experienced climber, and had attempted to climb Everest in both May 2014 and May 2015. He hoped to take a HP-35 calculator to the summit, but both expeditions ended in disaster. In 2014, an avalanche killed 16 people, including three guides from Jon's team. In 2015, an earthquake-triggered avalanche swept through base camp, killing 20 people and narrowly missing Jon by only 10 meters.

Jon's HP Computer Museum has been an invaluable resource for many years. Despite the fact that he climbed some of the most dangerous mountains in the world, he considered the recent restoration of a HP 2116A computer to be one of his biggest accomplishments.

Our deepest condolences go out to Jon's family and friends. His vast contribution to the preservation of HP history will be greatly missed by the vintage HP community.

2016-04-05 Kwisatz Haderach  
Posted by Accutron  


This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Hewlett-Packard 9825A calculator, the world's first 16-bit microcomputer, and perhaps the most unsung technological revolution in computer history. The HP 9825A offered minicomputer-class power in a compact desktop form factor, and became a workhorse of science, engineering and real-time instrument control for the next two decades. In the late 1970s, when 8-bit "toy" computers were receiving most of the public's attention, thousands of 9825s were quietly performing critical tasks in all areas of science and industry, totally dominating their ostensible peers and successfully competing against much larger minicomputer contemporaries. The 9825A was the absolute bleeding edge of electronics technology at the time of its introduction, and to this day remains an impressive engineering achievement.

We have also added a number of other notable early calculators to the museum, including the Monroe CSA-10, Casio 121L, Commodore C112, Singer Friden 1009 and the Sharp EL-8M.

In addition to it being the 40th anniversary of the 9825A, 2016 is also the 50th anniversary of the 2116A, HP's first computer. The 2116A's 16-bit architecture spawned a wide range of computers, calculators and computerized test equipment, including the 2114B, 2100A and 21MX minicomputers, the aforementioned 9825A and the 4955A Protocol Analyzer.

2015-06-15 Calcoholics Anonymous  
Posted by Accutron  


Continuing with the recent calculator theme, we've added several machines to the newly forked Electronic Calculators section of the museum: a first-generation TI-30 scientific calculator, a TI Programmable 58, the inexplicably legendary TI-81 graphing calculator, three models from the HP-48 series of graphing calculators, and an incredible HP-97 portable programmable desktop calculator, complete with software, manuals and carrying case, purchased for $5.00 at a garage sale.

2015-06-05 Somewhat Portable Somewhat Computers  
Posted by Accutron  


Several interesting new items have been added to the museum: a Texas Instruments Silent 700 Model 745 portable terminal, a Lanston Monotype 'The Barrett' mechanical adding machine, a Burroughs C3200 Model C3207 ten-key adding machine with Nixie tubes and discrete logic, and a beautiful Hewlett-Packard HP-45 scientific calculator.

2015-05-25 Rain II: The Rainening  
Posted by Accutron  


Despite getting rain in various quantities all three days, we had our best sales year so far. The scrounging wasn't bad either, with several notable finds, including an Apple II+, a HP-41C 1933A Bug 3 and HP-41CV 'halfnut', a complete and fully upgraded NEC PC8201a and a Mitsubishi MELSEC A6GPP programmable logic controller.

2015-05-12 Don't Etsy Me Bro!  
Posted by Accutron  


Dayton Hamvention 2015 is in a few short days, and we will have our largest pile of junk ever, available for capitalist consumption. As usual, we're right in the middle of Flea Market East, spaces FE3038 through FE3042. We will be both selling and buying, so bring your wallets and your interesting artifacts, and hope for sunshine.

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.

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