28 May 2012

Scope Sunday 30

Dayton was fun. The weather was beautiful. I spent Thursday at Fair Radio and the Air Force Museum. On Friday and Saturday at the Hamvention Flea Market, I saw lots of junque, met with some great people, and bought some stuff. The flea market seemed smaller than previous years (especially given the beautiful weather; it should have been crushed). A few of my friends noted some conspicuously missing vendors (like the dollar-per-pound "Hanger 18" people). Regardless, I believe that a good time was had by all.

I have several weeks' worth of stories to tell from Dayton, but I thought that I'd start with this quick one: My carry-on bag for the flight home was a Type Z plug in, packaged in a (musty-smelling) laptop bag that I also bought at the flea market.

The TSA agents at the airport didn't even blink. This experience mirrors the experience that I had in San Francisco with my carry-on 453 oscilloscope. However, I was nervous about the screening: two years ago, a Dayton TSA agent confiscated one ounce of toothpaste from my carry-on bag because it was in a six-ounce tube.

14 May 2012

Scope Sunday 29

I apologize for the lengthy absence, but end-of-term teaching obligations got the better of me. However, I have just submitted my final grades, and I'm looking forward to getting back to my "other" jobs. Here are a few updates from the last month that I have been remiss in contributing:

1. Last weekend, I attended NEAR-fest up in Deerfield, N.H. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative (cold and damp), and the turn-out was low. I didn't see any interesting gear there, and all I bought was a couple of books. Looking at my phone, I only took one picture while I was there (and it was for a friend, who was looking for a spectrum analyzer).

2. On the way home from NEAR-fest, I stopped by Electronic Surplus Services in Manchester, but I all found was a shelf of undesirable plug-ins (mostly 7A18 vertical amplifiers and slow time bases).

3. Also, last weekend, I hopped down to New Jersey and attended the Vintage Computer Festival East 8.0 at Camp Evans in Wall, N.J. I gave a talk on the history and legacy of analog computers. There were quite a few interesting computers on display in the exhibit hall, but only one Tektronix oscilloscope: a rack-mount RM503 that was connected to a PDP-8.

Another exhibit that caught my eye was a gentleman who had several boards from a Minuteman I flight computer. I recognized these boards because I has seen them on Jim Williams' living-room wall. (See the first three minutes of this video.)

However, tucked into corner of one of the exhibit rooms in the InfoAge Center and Museum was this poster, with a story about Howard Vollum that I had not heard before:

4. Next weekend is the Dayton Hamvention. Let me know if you're going; I hope to see you there.