In 1977, I was interested in amateur radio and Morse code and wished to build a keyboard to transmit Morse. Designs I had seen seemed to use a lot of ICs and I thought that it would be better to use one of these new-fangled microprocessors which I could program to send Morse and also use for other things.
Most microprocessor board designs seemed to require a separate terminal with even more ICs. However I remembered seeing a design in Radio-Electronics which combined the terminal and processor on the one board and should be cheaper to build.
So I copied the three articles from the April - June issues and read them thoroughly. I did not have enough money to buy all the parts at once, but I ordered the bare circuit board in December 1977 and it took me a year and about $500 to obtain all the parts. Thirty years later I suppose that would be equivalent to about $5000, which seems a lot of money for a computer with 768 bytes of memory! At the time, I recall saying to a friend that I had spent the year building a money sink.
Learning to program took a while and hand assembling with its need for counting relative offsets in hexadecimal led to me counting other things as . . . 8, 9, A, B, bugger . . .
I took me until May 1979 before I first used the 2650 system to send Morse code, but alas, I found that using two hands and the large keyboard on the operating desk were inconveniences which led me to go back to my old keyer.
But I found many other entertainments associated with the computer, building homebrew dynamic memory, NRZ recorder and floppy disk controller.
I later used a Tandy Color Computer before succumbing to the PC. However I later started using PIC16C84s as I remembered having so much fun with assembler with the 2650.
Wednesday 3rd December 2008
Richard Rogers (Australila)
The Ami/WinArcadia emulator is the only emulator of this machine. You can get it from http://amigan.classicgaming.gamespy.com