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N > NORTHSTAR  > Horizon


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Northstar  Horizon computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Friday 27th November 2020
George Worley (USA )

I owned a Northstar Horizon back in the late 1970s. I don''t remember TurboDOS being available for it. I had 3 different OSes NSDOS, CP/M, and MP/M. I also had two 10MB hard drives that I have seen no reference to anywhere as I only see 5MB listed.. It was one of the first computers to offer any type of Hard Drive. Used it to run a BBS for 10 years.

Tuesday 10th December 2019
Brad (US)

North Star S-100 boards. I have several. Email me please

Tuesday 10th December 2019
Brad (US)

I got about a dozen or so North Star boards. I want to sell them and I can’t find them anywhere online accept a person out of country. Can anyone direct me where to sell them and what I should ask? I’m not trying to get rich, I just want to be treated fare. I’m

Wednesday 17th January 2018
TransParent (CT/USA)

My first job out of college in 1981 was in the Environmental Hygiene Laboratory at Olin Corporation in New Haven, CT. There was a Northstar Horizon PC with a Hazeltine terminal (monitor and keyboard in one unit). It also had an acoustically coupled modem for dial-up connections. In addition, there was a daisy wheel printer (I do not remember the brand) connected to it. The Industrial Hygenists in our department would use that setup for word processing. I used it for connecting to the mainframe to edit COBOL programs (even though I was a chemist in the lab, I had taken courses in college for BASIC, Fortran 77 and assembly language).

Saturday 22nd June 2013
Mark A. Forte (Virginia)

I had a computer store named Computer Junction and was a Northstar dealer. I still have a Northstar Horizon with 5 MB hard disk in its original box. The system also employed a Soroc terminal and I have one of those too. We sold word processors based on a Vector Graphic S100 bus computer combined with a graphics card and video monitor. The system used a Diablo printer and sold for $9000.

Thursday 28th March 2013
Anonomous (Owatonna, Minnesota, USA 55060)

I''m not sure if you are aware of this but a computer shop located in Owatonna, Minnesota is doing business under the name "North Star Computers". It is owned by a gentleman named Eric (not sure of his last name) but they are located at 707 North Elm Ave, Owatonna MN 55060. 507-413-5250 is their listed phone number, is their email and their website can be viewed at
I know how hard it is to build a business not to mention someone taking your business name. Just thought I''d let you know in the event you want to look into it.

Best Regards.
Anonymous Sender

Tuesday 5th June 2012
Jim Watt (Gibraltar)
Gibraltar information and images

We sold Northstar computers for a number of years, starting with the CP/M models and ending up with the TurboDos systems which supported eight users and a 30Mb internal 5 1/4 Rodime HD with our own power supply card. The software we developed in compiled Mbasic was ported onto PC''s and we had a Northstar that sent and received telex''s and read paper tape. We had a BBS running on another. In the late nineties I repaired a memory board for an Italian university that still used one on a science application. Great machines.

Thursday 9th June 2011
George Worley (Kentucky, USA)

I was going through my closet yesterday and found that I had a box of the floppies for the Northstar Horizon that I owned from late 1978 until it gave up the ghost in 1996. Most every where I look not much is mentioned about hard drives for this computer. I had two 10 megabyte hard drives $ not bootable $ hooked to this machine and at the time thought that I would never use up the space (now have a TB of music and thought that I never use a TB.) I also was running MP/M (multi-user version of CP/M $ got in late 1979) as the OS and I haven''t seen any mention of only any of the sites... had it is setup of 2 users. One of my favorite computers of the era.


Tuesday 30th November 2010
Ron Magazzu (New Jersey, USA)

Still have my first North Star Horizon (1978). I wrote a medical office application and several games for this fine computer (with its great Basic language). I never sold the medical office package (still available), but my war games were successful for a couple years or so. The Horizon was my second college education which helped my launch a software company in the 1980''s which is still serving many customers, nationwide, in 2010. Thanks, North Star!

Monday 4th January 2010
Brian Holmes (USA)

I bought my first of 5 Horizons in 1979, it was serial $ 0004

Wednesday 14th March 2007
Steve Brozosky (California)

Brings back memories. Our high school had Horizons with Westminster Basic where we had 4 users to a computer (48K RAM, 1 floppy 60K drive). We had Flashwriter video cards where our teacher modified the driver so we had 2 users per monitor with split screen to save money. I took old vacuum tube televisions and converted them to computer monitors so we could save more money. I then built my own Horizon in 1979 form a kit and I still have this (56K RAM, Flashwriter, 3 floppy drives) and I still have my Anadex dot-matrix printer. In 1980 I got a job at Northstar in the support department. Talk about a great learning experience as an 18 year old. I helped people on the phone who built computers from kits and helped debug over the phone, diagnosed memory problems, other hardware issues, DOS, Pascal, CP/M. It was a lot of fun but a lot of work.

Wednesday 21st February 2007
Dave Yates (Queensland, Australia)

In 1977/8 I bought the first of four Horizons for use in our University department. The first one I interfaced to a Solartron Datalogger and ran them from a generator in the back of a 4WD vehicle to monitor meteorological parameters in sand dunes on a coastal island. It didn't like getting hot, but other wise was a great machine.

The other Horizons were used for lab data processing, teaching and for office word-processing.

Sunday 14th January 2007
Jim Watt (Gibraltar)

We sold Horizons in Gibraltar, including the multi-user turbodos systems, which were excellent and had a 30Mb five inch disk. Our software was written in MSBasic and converted onto PC's without changing anything.

Wednesday 30th August 2006
Paul D (UK)

I did my final engineering degree project at Cardiff University on a NorthStar Horizon in Z80 assembler, the project wasn't finished but i managed to get a degree out of it! Probably the first program i ever wrote that wasn't copied from a magazine or book.

Saturday 18th June 2005
Robert Swenson (Amsterdam, New York USA)

I still have my North Star Horizon with 4 floppy disks, 32K of memory, and a 300 baud modem. I remember writing a basic program to do a sort of the dictionary, while my wife typed it in. I then wrote a program to do crossword puzzles with the sorted dictionary. We won enough money in contests to pay for the machine! It is almost like my first child.

Thursday 2nd June 2005
Daniel Freeman (Brisbane, Australia)

That was the machine! I couldn't remember it's name, and now it all comes flooding back. I attended Dane Court Technical-high/Grammar school in Broadstairs, Kent, UK. They had one of these running something called Smoke Signal Basic. I wasn't impressed by the capabilities of this machine at the time.

Wednesday 26th May 2004
David Noell (Dallas Texas)

I still use a Horizon to control 40 HVAC units on the roof of my office building. It operates a schedule for each unit, with capability for the tenant to phone the box for extra run time that is billed to him later. It has been operating since 1988. I am looking for a program to strip the rem statements from my program. Now May, 2004.

Friday 30th January 2004
Colin Haxell (East London/Essex UK)

I worked for a UK reseller. We also had a version in a steel case. We had our own CP/M and MP/M Integrated Ledger Package. We sold this in a package that included a Haeltine Monitor, a TI 810 printer, and an incredibly kitsch white plastic desk that held all the kit in place !

Thursday 25th September 2003
Wayne Kaniewski (USA)

I ran my medical practice for 3 years using a NorthStar Horizon which was state-of-the-art at the time, with a 64 kb RAM board and a 10 mb hard drive. My end-of-month billing routines took 16 hours to run with this machine (I still have 2 of them) and dBaseII. When I converted to an IBM 386 running FoxBase, the same routines ran in 7 minutes !

Wednesday 23rd July 2003
Chris Russell (Yarmouth, Maine USA)

My dad brought home a Northstar Horizon in 1977 and I first learned how to program using the ROM-based BASIC included with the system. If I recall correctly, we were using CP/M from Lifeboat Associates as an OS. This was a great computer. Too bad nobody builds ATX form-factor cases manufactured with speaker cabinet grade walnut and brush metal detailing.

Monday 14th April 2003
Adam Grow (Atlanta, GA)

I still have a working Northstar Horizon II. Running D/R CP/M O/S. Hooked to a Visual 300 CRT. Still runs dBaseII (Aston Tate). Long Live the dot prompt! Also have Wordstar, Multiplan, Microsoft BASCOM, and several vintage CP/M apps. We used to use these platforms at a satellite earth station to reformat streaming text based input into World Standard Teletext for placement in the Vertcal Blanking Interval of WTBS. One of the earliest uses was placing a stremaing Usenet feed onto one of the WTBS VBI lines for decoding by anyone receiving WTBS via cable throughout the US. This was around 1982...I think there were about 350 TCP/IP nodes in use then on the internet. Popular electronics had an article on how to build a decoder. Zenith actually marketed a line of TV sets with built-in decoders.

Thursday 29th August 2002
Yves Mc Donald (Ste-Therese, Quebec, Canada)

That computer introduced me to computer science when I was a teenager. Uncle Ray was building one in his kitchen along with other interesting machines such as COSMAC ELF and an Apple 2 clone. I had hands-on experinece with CP/M (note for young computer geeks: CP/M is MS-DOS ancestor), BASIC and Wordstar on that wooden box. It was a great time where computers were available in kits and we knew down to the chips what was going on inside but for customer support, you'd better ask your friends :)

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