Lester Edward Latkowski - My Ohio Scientific PC Days

PC Nostalgia Page
My Ohio Scientific Days

Yes, I had a PC back in the late 1970's when the PCs were in the hobbyist mode. Remember
when the first Apple PCs came out? Well, it was about that time when I bought the
Ohio Scientific Challenger 2PMF just a few months before Radio shack introduced their
first PC, the Tandy TRS 80 model 1. There was only two input devices available for
my PC, the audio cassette tape and the 5 1/2 inch floppy.

Ohio Scientific Challenger 4PMF
Yep, I had a choice of two colors, of course, I chose blue. The beige was used in
the brochures and advertising. There were four models available, neither this company
or the other companies, Radio Shack, Apple, MicroDigital, or the others for that matter,
really had what I wanted. So I picked C2PMF (Challenger 2P MicroFloppy) because it was
easier to upgrade and the parts house was near my home at the time and was open
on Saturdays.

The computer came with a whopping 20 kilobytes of memory and after two months, I added
4 kilobytes for $50! The monitor was a regular 13" black & white TV. Later on, I bought
a new motherboard with color video output and moved my memory chips from the old
board to the new board so in essence, I've upgraded to C4PMF . The CPU was a 6502 at
1MHz. After I traded the PC as a down payment for a mobile home, I found out that I
could double the clock speed (overclocking as they called it nowadays)
with a jumper wire.

 I remember drilling a hole on the right side of the front deck to add a reset button
to reboot the PC. Yeah, that was the predecessor of the now famous 3 fingered
 salute. Why? The operating system was called MS-DOS 2, which obviously proved
that the Billy Gates era was already underway.

Back in those days, the modem package for the PC was in the
$600 range so I purchased a modem adaptor kit that allowed me to purchase components
locally and I built an external modem adaptor for a total cost of $50 which would allow
me to purchase the cheapest phone handset modem similar what the TTYs were using
for about $200 and it was a blazing fast 300 bits per second at that! After everything
was tested, I purchased a 9 volt battery and reversed the wires to create the minus
9 volts that was needed (back in those days, anyway), dialed up a local number
and I was online to CompuServe.

The internet back in those days were more or less like the forum boards that you use
today, but without the fancy graphics ie: backgrounds, icons, and fonts, it was
all text based. It was called bulletin boards in them days. Webpages, if that's what
they were called, were very crude and primitive in the 1970s.

I was using the PC as an inventory database for the recordings I was doing. When I got
bored with that, I dabbled with the BASIC programming to create a Crazy 8 two player
program and started but never finished programming a Star Trek game. I did have
Pac Man and the other popular games of the day. Two joysticks from the Atari
systems was compatible with the PC.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the cost of the C2PMF, the retail was $1,500 and I told
the salesman here in Raleigh, that I had $1,250 and if he did not take it, I will
walk out of his store for the last time.

OK, well, this is enuff telling about my PC so I leave you with a brochure
that I found a few years ago on the internet.

Ohio Scientific Challenger Brochure

While making sure my memory was serving me correctly, I found a couple more
websites dedicated to the OSI genre.
Steve Grey's Ohio Scientific C4P page
Obsolete Technology's Ohio Scientific Page
Both of the above pages has additional OSI links a the bottom of their pages.

Last, but not the least:
In 1981 Ohio Scientific Inc. was bought out by M/A-Com, Inc., a small supplier of
 magnetrons (commonly found in microwave ovens, as well as various radar applications)
to the U.S. Army Signal Corps. M/A-COM acquired the EDACS radio systems team and
products and merged them with it's own OpenSky resources. M/A-COM was acquired
by Amp Inc., which was in turn acquired by Tyco Electronics. OpenSky technology
applies voice-over-IP transport to radio communications applications.
 

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