9-Track 1/2" Tape Drive Recommendations?

Ali cctalk at fahimi.net
Fri Aug 21 18:10:35 CDT 2015

Hello All,

Recently I came across a complete Pertec interface (card, manual, software,
and, cables) thanks to list-member Shaun. Of course what is the point of
having an interface if you have nothing to interface it to! 

So I've been looking at, and learning a bit, about 1/2" tape drives. I've
also looked into acquiring one. But before going down this path I wanted to
see what pitfalls, warning signs, etc. I should be on the lookout for. I am
looking for a unit mostly to experience the tech and to play around with. I
do not plan on recovering data from any particular system or format.
However, it would be nice if I could setup a system that actually worked for
backups of say an IBM AT for demonstration purposes.

Having read some old InfoWorld and PC Mag articles I can see there were a
number of tape drive manufacturers well into the early 90s. Based on the
reviews the Cipher and Qualstar units seem to be well suited for my
purposes. Any other brand/models I should keep an eye out for. I know IBM
also had some 1/2" 9 track tape drives (9437 and 9438) but neither was a
Pertec interface from what I have gleaned. The 9347 used a proprietary
interface and the 9348 used HVD SCSI which is atypical. There was apparently
a 9348-012 model which used narrow SCSI so should interface with a standard
Adaptec card. However, I have not been able to determine if it used standard
SCSI commands and could be accessed say with a tape backup program under
Windows 9x/NT or DOS.

Of course the biggest problem is finding one locally in the LA area.
Unfortunately my only resource is eBay and prices there are definitely not
hobbyist friendly (not to mention shipping). If anyone has a line on a
working drive in the LA area (to save on S&H and avoid the dangers of
shipping) or a reasonably priced one elsewhere I'd appreciate it. TIA for
any help.

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