Software for AN/UGC-144 Communications Terminal?
Mark J. Blair
nf6x at nf6x.net
Sun Apr 1 02:40:42 CDT 2018
I posted this originally on the ArmyRadios mailing list, but I think it's just computery enough that it may be of interest here, too. And maybe somebody here even has the answers to my questions!
I just got an AN/UGC-144 communications terminal. It looks unused, and it came with cables and manuals (-12 and -30, but not including schematic diagrams or component-level details). It powers up, but fails to boot from its internal hard drive. The screen has some bad rows and columns, and the gas spring that supports the display needs to be replaced. I shared a bunch of pictures on Twitter today as I unpacked it and started playing with it, in this thread:
Here are direct links to some of the more interesting pictures in that long thread:
I haven't found very much about the terminal online yet, and I expect that I have a long road ahead of me as I try to fix the display and see if anything can be recovered from the hard drive. If the original software isn't present on the hard drive and recoverable, then this may be a great big doorstop! But it may also be a fun reverse-engineering project. I haven't dug into it deeply enough yet to determine whether it's built around an embedded PC-clone architecture or is something completely custom. In any case, I'll naturally want to try to dump and disassemble any ROMs I find inside of it. The CAGE code is for Sypris Electronics, and the boot screen shows a Honeywell copyright notice. I found that it tried to access a blank floppy diskette at boot time in the right drive, but I didn't have an MS-DOS boot diskette handy at the moment to see if it could boot from it. I'll give that a try when I have a chance... but probably after Easter.
Have any software diskettes, programs, disk images, etc. for this terminal made it out into the wild? I presume that there were boot and installation diskettes that were used for hard drive formatting and software installation, and I would really love to get my hands on anything like that... especially if it turns out the the hard drive in my terminal is blank and/or dead. I'll be satisfied if I can use this rig as a dumb terminal for RTTY use, and even happier if I can do anything fancier with it.
Mark J. Blair, NF6X <nf6x at nf6x.net>
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