Another review of a private collection of rare computer technology

Hello. My name is Prokhor. I am a radio amateur. My callsign is R2DGO. Like all ham radio enthusiasts, I am a passionate person, and one of the facets of my technical hobby is collecting rare computers. I have been reading all the posts related to the old computer hardware and the history of IT on Habrahabr for a long time. And finally, I decided to publish my own. Despite the fact that there are already quite a lot of articles with similar subjects on Habré, I hope that mine will still bring something new.

In my first post, I decided to post a short description of my collection. On the first slide - Apple II plus - the oldest and most valuable exhibit, personally acquired and brought from America: release date - 1979. In addition, he knows how to receive and transmit RTTY and the Morse code, it can work on the air with digital modes of communication with other radio amateurs.

Main technical characteristics:

- MOS Technology 6502 processor operating at a clock frequency of 1 MHz
- RAM has a capacity of 48 Kilobytes
- ROM has a capacity of 8 kilobytes and contains a monitor program and language interpreter Applesoft Basic, developed by Microsoft.

On the screen - the simplest example of a basic program - “Hello world”:


The next exhibit is IBM PC / XT (aka IBM 5160) from 1983 (judging by the marking of microcircuits):


I got it at my work in one of the Moscow research institutes, where there was a whole "island of dead ships" from decommissioned computers. The body is proudly marked: made in UK (this is not some kind of Chinese assembly).
The monitor did not work at first, but after soldering the dried electrolytic capacitor in the power supply, it immediately lit up.
Installed DOS and created a small retro collection of toys: the original Soviet tetris written by Pazhitnov; Ms PACMAN; Prince of Persia; Alley cat; etc. (the collection is gradually replenished, because the hard drive with a capacity of 20 megabytes has not yet been filled.

Main technical specifications:

- INTEL 8088 processor running at a frequency of 4.77 MHz;
- RAM volume of 640 kilobytes;
- ROM contains IBM PC BASIC;
- MFM hard drive with a capacity of 20 megabytes;
- drive for 5-inch floppy disks with a capacity of 360 kilobytes.

Classic Mac:

This is one of the classic Macs - the Macintosh plus of 1990, the maximum amount of RAM installed in this instance - as much as 4 megabytes! At that time this thing was the embodiment of the pinnacle of technology and was much more admired than iPhones today ... Yes, yes, because long before the advent of Windows, the Macintosh already had a graphical user interface with windows and a mouse; and in general, like everything apple, the computer was "on top" not only in technical terms, but also due to its simple and concise, but something special and unique design.

Main technical characteristics:

- processor: Motorola 68000 at a clock frequency of 8 MHz;
- RAM: 1 megabyte (expandable to 4 megabytes);
- ROM: contains P.O., necessary for booting from floppy disks;
- a drive for 3.5-inch floppy disks (such are sold even today), and floppy disks have their own special format for 800 Kb, all the “mac” software is adapted to work with such media.

Particular attention should be paid to domestic computers (as they were called then - personal computers):

This is Agat 9 from my native school near Moscow; on it, at one time, pioneers mastered the basics of programming and computing:


By the way, when I was studying, there were already 286 machines at school (which I soon replaced immediately with Pentium III in my opinion).

Agate is still considered the first Soviet personal computer, it is nice to have such an exhibit. The agates were in fact practically clones of the aforementioned Apple II, although they were not fully compatible with it, moreover, they installed the imported 6502 Mos Technology in many cars, carefully clearing the marking of the microcircuit with emery, and signed on the circuit diagram briefly and clearly - “microprocessor microcircuit” .

Main technical characteristics:

- 6502 processor operating at a clock frequency of 1 MHz;
- RAM volume of 128 kilobytes;
- ROM volume of 2 kilobytes contains only a system monitor;
- HMD (drive for 5-inch floppy disks with a volume of 840 Kilobytes).

And this is Search - a domestic IBM-compatible computer, you can even run MS-DOS on it, I’ll just get the drive controller ...


I got the exhibit a completely new one, fully loaded, which pleases me.

Main technical characteristics:
- processor: KM1810VM88 (Soviet analogue of INTEL 8088) operates at a frequency of 5 MHz;
- RAM has a capacity of 128 kilobytes;
- ROM has a capacity of 8 kilobytes and contains a BIOS; when turned on, the bootloader starts, which displays a menu where it is suggested to select the boot method (from magnetic tape or from an external ROM). Even BASIC has to be loaded from a cassette.

And another representative of domestic computer technology - BK 0010:


This copy was produced in 1987. This computer and its other modifications were also equipped with many schools and other educational institutions (and even universities, my hobby began with the fact that I saw this computer at the Department of General and Inorganic Chemistry, Faculty of Biology and Chemistry, Moscow State Pedagogical University, where I studied). On a modern LCD screen connected to the video output, a combination of Conway's cellular machine “Life” is being developed, up-counters of generations and the number of cells in a given generation are being developed. Despite its discreet name (BC stands for “home computer”), this is a pretty serious machine, compatible with the legendary DEC PDP-11 at the assembler level, and you can run UNIX on it. It was with the use of such computers that on February 14, 1987, the first digital QSO (radio communication) was carried out on the territory of the USSR between two radio amateurs - UA3CR and UZ3AXJ. Before that, there was of course a teletype, but this was precisely the first computer radio communication that allowed transferring any files and data.

Main technical characteristics:

- processor: 1801ВМ1 operating at a frequency of 3 MHz;
- RAM has a volume of 32 kilobytes;
- ROMs - could change depending on the configuration (on the left behind the sliding curtain there is access to the panels with ROM chips on the board - in my case, in addition to the monitor, “Vilnius BASIC” is sewn into the ROMs).

Homemade clone ZX Spectrum. Many hams assembled such computers (due to the sufficient simplicity of the circuit, the minimum number of scarce microcircuits and, therefore, the possibility of repetition), moreover, the same BC or Agate were very expensive; because of these facts, it was the “speck” that gained immense popularity among the people.


The case is very high quality made of foil fiberglass, all its elements are soldered to each other with tin (!) - a truly amateur radio assembly:


Another clone of the Spectrum, this time factory:


This is SINTEZ-M, one of many commercially available clones of the Spectrum in the USSR, it is clear that its developers wanted to achieve not only full software compatibility with the original, but also to repeat the style and design of the company Sinclair corps.

The main technical characteristics of the ZX Spectrum computer:

- processor: Z80, clocked at 3.5 MHz;
- RAM has a capacity of 48 kilobytes;
- ROM 16 Kilobytes contains Sinclair BASIC;
- For recording and reading programs, a magnetic tape of a household cassette recorder is used.

Aren't you tired yet? Then a couple more interesting things:

Japanese computer standard MSX:


That's what the creators of the film "Matrix" were inspired.

Main technical characteristics:

- processor: Z80;
- RAM has a volume of 64 kilobytes;
- ROM contains MSX BASIC and a funny character generator with Japanese characters.

The Soviet ISKRA-111 calculator on microcircuits with a low degree of integration with an indicator on gas discharge lamps (known in the English language as “nixie-tubes”):


The calculator has a damaged power supply - repair is underway.

Retro modding:


- INTEL 80386 @ 33MHz;
- 4 megabytes of RAM;
- MFM-Winchester 40 megabytes;
- VGA video controller.

General view of the exposition:


Actually the keeper of the collection:


Thank you for your attention, I hope it was interesting.

In the future I plan to write several more articles in which each exhibit will be considered in more detail, as well as aspects of its real and possible application in amateur radio communications.

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