[vcf-midatlantic] Your First Modem? (was: Help me remember my first modem)

Jeffrey Brace jeffrey at vcfed.org
Wed Dec 29 07:33:57 UTC 2021

My first modem I got free with my used Commodore 64. It was the Vic-Modem,
which was 300 baud. I don't think I used it or if I did, I didn't use it
too much because maybe it was broken? Or just too slow? I recall buying a
Commodore 1670 modem which is 1200 baud. I definitely used that one a lot.
I first tried calling different BBS listed in pirated games, but most of
them were disconnected so I didn't really connect to them. Besides, I
didn't want to run up phone bills. I think that the local user group Garden
State Commodore Users Group had a BBS, but didn't use it much. I mostly
just used Q-link. It was sufficient for whatever I needed: uploading,
downloading files, chatting with others, sending messages, finding
information, etc.

On Tue, Dec 28, 2021 at 11:30 AM W2HX via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> What was your first modem? Mine was a kit from Micromint in Long Island.
> It was around 1980 or so (I was about 13). My dad drove me to Cedarhurst,
> LI (I lived in Merrick, LI) to the Micromint sales office and bought this
> kit. It was an acoustic coupler, 300 baud kit, with an enclosure, a PCB and
> a bag of parts. I had low expectations that it would work when assembled. I
> spent a few days assembling and soldering everything. I think the time was
> around Christmas and my new brother-in-law was over. He was a post-grad at
> university of Texas at Austin and had a computer account (don't recall the
> computer). It was time to test it. Me, my brother-in-law and my father were
> all standing around my TRS-80 Model III and this newly built modem, trying
> to call into the computer system at UT Austin. In those days, long distance
> calls were expensive. We must have dialed that computer 20 times while
> attempting to adjust the pots and make it work, unsure if it would ever
> work. I can't imagine what the bill was.
> I was adjusting one of the pots and then, like a miracle, there it was
> "WELCOME TO THE UT AUSTIN COMPUTING CENTER" I can't swear that is exactly
> what it said but you get the idea. We all jumped for joy. The darn thing
> worked as advertised. Great experience and that modem served me well for
> several years until I upgraded to a Micromint 1200 baud "direct connect"
> modem before I went to college.
> 73 Eugene W2HX
> Subscribe to my Youtube Channel:
> https://www.youtube.com/c/w2hx-channel/videos
> -----Original Message-----
> From: vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic-bounces at lists.vcfed.org> On Behalf
> Of Neil Cherry via vcf-midatlantic
> Sent: Friday, December 24, 2021 10:29 PM
> To: vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org>
> Cc: Neil Cherry <ncherry at linuxha.com>
> Subject: Re: [vcf-midatlantic] Help me remember my first modem
> On 12/24/21 9:22 PM, John Heritage via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> > I'm trying to find a picture of my first modem online, and can't seem
> > to find one..
> >
> > I remember my first modem (I was ~ 7 years old or ~ 1983-1984 when we
> > first got it, but had it for years later) being a 300 baud "Bell"
> > modem.  I
> > *believe* it had an acoustic coupler, but it *might but I do not
> > remember needing to use it to initiate connections to BBSes at the
> > time.  I'm not sure if there were hybrid modems where they still had
> > an acoustic coupler, but also supported auto dial of some kind.
> >
> > My memory also tells me it was a black modem, rectangular (metal?)
> > exterior.  I think the modem might have said "Bell Labs" rather than
> > just Bell on the front.  I'm also 95% sure that the modem ..
> disappeared ..
> > from Bell thanks to a family member who worked there/at AT&T (and also
> > was an Atari 800 owner like us).  We attached this modem (and later
> > modems) to an Atari 850 interface, so it had a standard serial interface.
> >
> > Lastly, I'm certain it was *not* a Bell 103 modem - which would have
> > been positively ancient by the early 80s, but some other design from
> > Bell.  Or at least not an original appearance one..
> I recall the Bell 300 modem (non-acoustic coupled). It had a AT&T Bell
> logo on the front. So either Commsphere or Dataphone, probably Dataphone. I
> think it had 103 on the front. Black plastic front, rest of it was metal
> and an external 48v DC power brick, 2 screws on the brick. I can't recall
> if the modem had screws or was hard wired. I do recall a DB25, male I think.
> --
> Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       ncherry at linuxha.com
> http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
> http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
> Author of:      Linux Smart Homes For Dummies

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