Very interested visitors at the “Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum” from the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Club on Friday. The group arrived at 5:30 and we talked and looked at historical microcomputers until 9:30 – just a great time sharing my stories during the start up days of microcomputers..

On Friday, May 2, 2014, members of the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association went to Floyd, VA to visit the Bugbook Microcomputer Museum and the N4USA amateur radio station.  The Bugbook Computer Museum is owned and curated by Dave (KK4WW) and Gaynell (KK4WWW) Larsen.  Dave, retired from Virginia Tech, has been collecting computers for over forty years.  While at Virginia Tech, he used microcomputers to transform data collection techniques in the chemistry department.  He also was part of a team that authored an edited a series of books about computing and electronics known as Bugbooks.

The museum has quite an extensive collection, with a major emphasis on very early microcomputers.  These include early kit computers, an Altair 8800 and 680, an Apple II and Lisa, TRS-80s, Commodores, and many others.  The museum also has a variety of amateur radio equipment on display, including radios made by Heathkit, Hallicrafters, Kenwood, and Drake.  There is also a collection of Soviet radios and telegraph equipment. Many videos and additional information regarding the collection can be found at the museum’s web site,http://www.microcomputermuseum.com.
Dave and Gaynell also direct the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Services, or FAIRS.  This is a non-profit organization which supports amateur radio emergency services, provides equipment, funds, and training to amateurs and governments in less fortunate countries, and provides many additional forms of support to various areas in need.  FAIRS headquarters and primary radio station, N4USA, is also located at the computer museum.  More information regarding FAIRS may be found at http://www.fairs.org.
The VTARA members who attended were Shyam Nambiar, KK4ORE, Andy Amrheim, KB3WPR, Adam Oliphante, KK4UDB, Ben Williams, KK4EWT, and Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF.  While at the museum VTARA member Nathaniel made contact with University of Missouri student Phil Gresham, KD5IPH on 20 m.
You can see more photos of the trip here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjXdERLJ

Curator of the museum, David Larsen, with a few interested VT students.

Curator of the museum, David Larsen, with a few interested VT students.

 
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