History

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I first became interested in Atari computers in the 80's when I bought an 800XL. I later upgraded to a 130XE, and eventually purchased a 520ST and a Portfolio. These computers helped me through college. The ST series was especially interesting to me because I am a musician, and the ST was and still is one of the few computers to include built-in MIDI ports. Being a college student and a musician, I could not afford a hard disk or a color monitor for my ST at the time. My only upgrade from the basic 520ST system was to add 1 MB of RAM and a TOS upgrade.

In time, Atari software and hardware became very scarce in my area (as in others) and I took a job that provided me with some "state of the art" PC gear. My ST needed repairs, so I ended up abandoning my beloved Atari all together. The computer knowledge I had gained was invaluable though. I actually got my first job in Information Technology because of the knowledge I gained from my first Atari computers. I was amazed how long it took the PC platform to catch up to what the Atari could do in the 80's.

Many years later, around 2001 I started checking out eBay. It didn't take long for me to notice that there were Atari items readily available there for affordable prices. I decided to make a hobby out of it, not realizing what I was getting myself into. My first eBay purchase was a 520ST, to re-live the good old days of my favorite computer. When it arrived, I noticed that it had a little"e" next to the "ST" and some weird looking joystick ports on the lefthand side. I went to the web to do some research, and I discovered that the ST series had not died when I abandoned it! My "new" computer was a 520STe ("e" for "enhanced"), with an enhanced color palette, stereo sound, SIMM memory and enhanced joystick ports (jagpad ports). WOW, this was cool.

Before I knew it, I was off and running. I bought an ICD link II and added a SCSI hard disk. I bought a monitor master and both color and monochrome monitors. I began to wonder, "Can I connect this thing to the internet?" The answer was yes! I discovered STing (internet connection stack), CAB (web browser), Newsie (news group, mail and FTP) and much more. There was a wealth of information, and even some remaining Atari vendors out there! If I shopped carefully I could find things I could never dream of affording back in the 80's. This was fun!

I later learned that there was another computer produced called the Falcon030. I knew about the TT030 in the old days, but had never heard of the Falcon. What could this thing do, and could I possibly get my hands on one? Could this computer even replace my PC?

I searched and searched for months for a Falcon. One would come up for auction now and then, but they were just too expensive; until one day I caught a listing on eBay for a Wizztronics Falcon Rack "The Complete Computer Solution." "What the heck was this?" I learned that it was a replacement rack case for the Falcon. "But what's that in the picture? That looks like a motherboard to me. I think that's the complete Falcon, and the guy doesn't even know it!" I placed my bid and watched. For days the auction stayed at just pennies. No matter what this thing really was, it looked like I was going to get a deal. Well, coming down to the the last minutes, someone else began to bid, but I was victorious! For a little more than $100.00, I won the Falcon Rack. But could it be the complete Falcon? I waited for what seemed like forever, and one day it arrived. I opened the case....."Yes, there's the motherboard, a hard disk, a floppy, memory, everything!" To make a long story short, it was a complete working Falcon and it did end up replacing my PC.  I found Cubase Audio Falcon and a Falcon Digital Interface on eBay UK, later added Jam PRO OUT.  Now the Falcon is the center of my home studio, and most of my other computing tasks as well!

My Atari collection now consists of:

Falcon030 (CT60 and SuperVidel upgraded)

CT60 68060 Rev. 6 overclocked to 90 MHz, CTCM (variable CPU frequency module for overclocking), 40GB IDE drive, 4.8 GB SCSI drive, an IDE DVD-RW, 14 MB of ST-RAM, 256 MB SDRAM (Fast RAM), a SCSI flat-bed scanner, a Falcon Digital Interface (Digital in and out), Jam Pro Out (eight quality analog outs) and a full complement of audio recording and production gear.

1040STe

ICD Adspeed 16Mhz upgrade, 4 MB of RAM, SCSI HD with ICD Link II, Plextor CD-RW, Atari SM124 Monochrome monitor and Atari SC1224 Color monitor.  Runs Notator SL 3.21 (music composition, publishing, sequencing).

STBook

This is my "newest" old computer!  It is off for repairs right now.  You can read about it in my BLOG.

130XE

MyIDE plus flash cart (Compact flash used as a "hard drive"), 1050 Disk drive.  I added a Lantronix MSS-100 which allows me to connect to my ethernet network through SIO and emulates a modem so I can telnet to some great ATARI bulletin boards.  (I have recently been using SIO2OSX with my old black Core-Duo MacBook for the modem emulation and occasional virtual drives).  I use this computer for AtariWriter plus, bulletin boards, games, and other fun 8-bit apps.

Two Portfolios (palmtop computers), and even a couple of old 2600 game consoles.

What else?

NATURE has developed a 100 Mbps ethernet/usb adaptor (EtherNAT) for the CT60 (now installed in my Falcon, and it ROCKS!), as well as a SUPER VIDEL card for enhanced video (Now installed and working great!).  

POWERPHENIX (formerly Czuba-tech who developed the CT-60/CT-6X) has the CT-PCI which adds PCI slots to the CT-60 (another option for enhanced video and I/O).  I didn't pop for one of these, but I'm sure it is very cool.  There is also some talk and rumors of a Falcon clone, but these things can take years and years to materialize.

Even though the old Atari Corp. that made computers is now long gone, Atari still lives on at my house, and fortunately among a handful of developers and supporters that help keep the platform alive!

© falconproductions.us 2016