ARS NB9M

Air Force finally retires 8" floppies


In Other News 0 Comments 10/21/2019 

IBM Series/1 computers still used in missile launch control

Five years ago, a CBS 60 Minutes report publicized a bit of technology trivia many in the defense community were aware of: the fact that eight-inch floppy disks were still used to store data critical to operating the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile command, control, and communications network. The system, once called the Strategic Air Command Digital Network (SACDIN), relied on IBM Series/1 computers installed by the Air Force at Minuteman II missile sites in the 1960s and 1970s.

Those floppy disks have now been retired. Despite the contention by the Air Force at the time of the 60 Minutes report that the archaic hardware offered a cybersecurity advantage, the service has completed an upgrade to what is now known as the Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACCS), as Defense News reports. SAACS is an upgrade that swaps the floppy disk system for what Lt. Col. Jason Rossi, commander of the Air Force’s 595th Strategic Communications Squadron, described as a “highly secure solid state digital storage solution.” The floppy drives were fully retired in June.

But the IBM Series/1 computers remain, in part because of their reliability and security. And it's not clear whether other upgrades to "modernize" the system have been completed. Air Force officials have acknowledged network upgrades that have enhanced the speed and capacity of SACCS' communications systems, and a Government Accountability Office report in 2016 noted that the Air Force planned to "update its data storage solutions, port expansion processors, portable terminals, and desktop terminals by the end of fiscal year 2017." But it's not clear how much of that has been completed.

While SACCS is reliable, it is obviously expensive and difficult to maintain when it fails. There are no replacement parts available, so all components must be repaired—a task that may require hours manipulating parts under a microscope. Civilian Air Force employees with years of experience in electronics repairs handle the majority of the work. But the code that runs the system is still written by enlisted Air Force programmers.


   Below is a picture of my latest project.  After doing the transceiver thing, with a CE20A, mated to a SX-115, then the next transceiver project, a 10A mated to any Drake R4 series receiver, I had an idea.  Those transceiver projects have a lot of oscillators, and even the crystal oscillators can drift as they warm up, which requires re-zeroing the transmitter to the receiver from time to...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  10/27/2019 
  

Favorite HF Nets

Sell/Swap, Vintage Radios & More
Category: Nets
All times are in Eastern unless otherwise indicated.  Frequencies are in Megacycles. Recommended HF NetsNet NameDayTimeFREQ/ModeSwan Technical NetWednesday2200 UTC14.2925 +/-  /USB3898 Traders NetWednesday8 PM3.938 / LSBBoatanchor NetWednesday7:30 PM CST3.870 / LSBWA9ZTY Vintage AM GroupSaturday7:30 AM3.885 / AMMidwest Classic Radio NetSaturday8:30 AM3.885 / AMSwan Technical NetSatu...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  08/29/2019 
  

W1LSB Finds an EBay Treasure

This 1964 WRL catalog was addressed to Major General Butch Griswold – K0DWC
Category: Vintage Manufacturers
I was first licensed as a novice in 1958, and the WRL catalog was really dominant in those days, with the Globe King, Globe Champ,  and all of the lesser models gracing its pages.  I had a Globe Chief 90 and often dreamed of owning the bigger iron in those pages.   I have since collected most of the WRL catalogs from 1954 to 1964, and the last one turned out to be an interestin...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  04/30/2019 
  

Crazy EBay Prices!

Pictures of radio suckerbait on the world's largest online auction!
Category: Crazy EBay Prices!
Below are some screen shots of incredible prices demanded by some EBay vendors.  Since posting an auction is free as long as the item is not sold, it costs nothing for the unscrupulous vendor to display their (often unremarkable) wares as if they were priceless artifacts.  Enjoy. ...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  03/22/2019 
   These excellent examples of the Swan Twins are from the estate of John Thuren, AA5T of Houston, Texas.  John had checked in to the 20M Swan net with these very desirable "big Swans" until a few years ago. A big thanks to Eddie, NU5K, who handled John's estate and placed these on EBay.  He packed them well, knowing they are indeed an important find.  Also...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  12/21/2018 
   W9RAN started playing with RTL-SDR dongles about 6 years ago, and knew they were going to have a big impact on the radio hobby.   But since these $15 receivers only tuned the VHF and UHF bands, he designed a wideband upconverter to make HF coverage possible, and described how it worked in an article in Jan. 2013 QST "Cheap and Easy SDR".   The "RANVerter" as...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (rnickels),  08/09/2018 
  

2018 Cave City Hamfest

Cave City, Kentucky, 3/3/2018
Category: Activities
Barry, AC9NK and I attendended the 2018 Cave City hamfest, which was awesome this year.  The facility was packed, with lots of vendors.  We enjoyed the company of my friend Tom, N4LID for dinner the night before. Tom, who is blind, had not been able to get to the hamfest for many years.  You will find more pictures at the Kentucky Phone Net site.  A big thanks to Rod, N4ZIF, fo...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  03/04/2018 
   For nearly five years, spanning 1978 - 1983,  I worked as an Electronics Technician in the original Bearcat manufacturing and service facility in Cumberland, Indiana.  Electra was one of the best places I've ever worked, and were among the many innovative consumer electronics companies which sprang up in and around Indianapolis.  Al Lovell, a former employee of Regency (also in ...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  02/22/2018 
   The tube-type Linear Master Oscillators (“LMO”) used in the Heathkit SB-Line equipment is a very stable and accurate means of controlling the frequency in the equipment. Unfortunately, as the units age, many LMOs develop a “warble” when tuning. This “warble” usually stops when the frequency control knob is not rotated. However, accurately “zero-beating&rdq...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  02/08/2018 
  

NB9M Studio C Installed

A creative solution to managing big boxes in limited space.
Category: The Radio Shack
(Shown: 1/7/2018 checkin with the DX-60 Net on 3880, using the DX-60/HG-10B/HO-10 and the RME-6900)Using furniture-grade 5/8" plywood, simple tools and cold garage during Christmas vacation, I constructed Studio C, which occupies the south wall of the shack.  Exploiting a sturdy, existing cabinet with drawers that I've had since I was a kid, I devised a scheme to reliably handle the ...  READ MORE
- Bradley Stone (UncleBrad),  01/07/2018 

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The FACOM 128B (Japan)

Technician keeps the 1959 computer humming.
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Bob, W9RAN, announces the VERSA-TR

Featured in the December 2018 issue of QST
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Check Out the National NC-183D!

Thanks to Jerry, K9GAS, for this superb example.
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W9RAN Restores an Eldico TR1-TV

Globe King competitor gets a new life.
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2017 W9DYV Boatanchor Event

July 22-23, 2017 Jonesborough, TN
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Build Your Own Altair 8800 Personal Computer

Go back to 1974 and the dawn of home computing with this Arduino-based kit
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SK: John Clemens, W0BD

Designer of the Mosley CM-1 Receiver

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