54 TK50 tapes on eBay

Mark J. Blair nf6x at nf6x.net
Sun May 17 14:50:15 CDT 2015

> On May 17, 2015, at 12:41, Robert Jarratt <robert.jarratt at ntlworld.com> wrote:
> Glad you got the board and I hope you get a decent drive to read the tapes
> with. You could always put together a Qbus system just to read the tapes
> (which could then be the much better TK70, or even some of the later
> drives), but if you have a 730 and can read it there that would be great. I
> used to use a 730 many years ago, would be great to see one again.

I think I'll probably choose a clean-looking internal drive over one of the dirty-looking external ones I see listed. I'd imagine that this drive would get temporarily installed in various systems in my pile rather than being dedicated to one of them.

> Don't forget, if you get those tapes, to let us know what old DEC software
> is on there. I would like to find the DECnet kit for MicroVMS (although I
> have a way to get DECnet working on MicroVMS anyway, it would still be nice
> to have the proper kit).

Will do! And I'll experiment with the least rare-looking ones first, of course. Still haven't decided whether to buy that particular box of tapes or not.

> I am sure you are aware, but just in case, be careful with these tapes as I
> suspect they are now at the point of being ROMs (Read Once at Most), and
> they can gum up the drive quite badly, make sure you clean the heads after
> running each tape through, for anything really critical.

Ah, yes... another benefit of an internal drive sitting naked on the table would be easier access to the heads for cleaning. Maybe I should build that tape/disk baking oven I've been thinking about before trying any old tapes out?

Of course, I still need to deal with my 730's console boot tape issues first. I haven't managed to boot up the system yet, so my next step will be to try splicing in tu58em in place of the tape drive.

Mark J. Blair, NF6X <nf6x at nf6x.net>

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