Hello from sunny Torquay

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Hello from sunny Torquay

Post by ProudGeek » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:43 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm Rob from sunny Torquay in Devon, England. I've been a lurker and occasional commenter on the Atari ST fans and Atart ST and STe users Facebook groups and figured it's better late than never to join the community :-)

So I've been an Atari fan since I was about 10 years old. While I started computing at around 7 ish with a ZX81 it wasn't until Christmas 1988 when I got an Atari 65XE that I really started taking a great interest in computers. From that Christmas morning I was hooked and I've been a life long Atari fan since. While the ZX81 was a fun bit of kit to tinker about with (not that I really understood it much) the 65XE being more user friendly with it's tape deck and 10 games I really got into it. Mainly games at first but I did dabble in typing in some basic programs.

About 6 months into owning my 65XE (my second one, the first went wrong and had to be replaced), I bought an Atari User magazine and saw an advert for the Atari ST. I remember thinking it looked like an awesome machine, like the 65XE but bigger and better. I sent off for a catalogue from Silica Systems and read everything I could about it. At the time my parents weren't so well off so when the second 65XE died we got a Spectrum +3 for a week (not sure why my dad returned it) and then an Amstrad CPC464. I still longed for an ST and kept telling myself that I'd somehow save up the £200 for a 520STM (that was excluding VAT, I was so naive that I thought "Oh, I'll just pay the cheaper + VAT price"). That Christmas (1989) my Uncle called me for advice on buying a computer, he was told by the computer shop that the Amiga was a better computer but me being an Atari fanboy told him that they didn't know what they were talking about and the ST was a much better computer. I was so jealous when my cousins showed me their 520STFM, it was so much more advanced than my CPC464 with it's green screen monitor. Looking back, I wonder if actually I should have said get the Amiga... they seemed happy with the ST anyway and it's bundle of games.

A couple of months later we upgraded to an Amstrad CPC664. We nearly bought a Sam Coupe but the 664 was more in my dad's price range and since it was compatible with the games I already had it seemed like an obvious choice. While it wasn't an ST, I had the luxury of a disk drive. I spent many hours playing around with CPM and Locomotive Logo and making simple programs in Basic.

Then in May 1990 I picked up a copy of ST Format. I'd not stopped badgering my parents all this time for an ST. I didn't think I'd get one but hey, at least I had a copy of ST Format to read about the ST (it was issue 10, with Wipeout on the coverdisk). A couple of weeks later I came home from school and my mum said there was a surprise for me. I'd FINALLY got my very own ST! It was a 520STFM,with a copy of ST Basic with it and Ranarama. I was so emotional I literally cried!

Chatting to my dad about it later, I think I'd spotted it for sale in Dixons as an ex-demo unit and paid for it on his credit card and put it down as an expense for his business (so in the early days I had to share it with him, he'd use it for word processing for his business, I'd use it for games and maybe the odd bit of playing around in basic). I was certainly one happy bunny!

My ST gave me a good few years of great memories. While my friends all had Amigas I was happy with the ST, I mainly relied on the ST format cover disks and the occasional disks from PD libraries (usually Choice Software, a computer shop in Sheffield, I'd spend ages in there buying a few disks to enjoy when visiting my grandparents on holiday). Eventually I got a 1MB upgrade, second disk drive and Monster Stereo "cartridge" (that device that plugged into the parallel port to give stereo sound in about 2 supported applications!) and an Ultimate Ripper Cartridge (I never did figure out how to use it).

Sadly though my ST died in the summer of 1992. I had a Super NES and was trying to figure out if I could attach it's controller to the ST. It turns out taking apart a joystick and randomly poking the wires into the SNES controller connector wasn't a good idea. It killed the keyboard chip on the ST and I wasn't able to get a replacement. I ended up selling the ST for spares to a guy who did computer repairs, I got £100 for it which I put towards an Amiga 500 (I know... but hey, I had some fun with that too).

After that I dabbled with ST emulation on PC a few times over the years and a few years ago was lucky enough to find a guy selling 3 STs at a car boot sale in Cheddar (yep, where the cheese comes from) for £20. So now I've got 2 x 520STFMs which are pretty yellowed and a 1040STE. I haven't looked at them properly in a few years, I'm sure they no doubt need re-capping. I'm a little worried about firing them up right now without getting them re-capped as the last thing I want is them to let out some magic smoke. My plan is hopefully in the summer to attempt to retrobrite them and get them up and running, but until then I'll probably continue playing around with emulators and looking at the Exxos sales page for interesting things to buy when I can afford it :-)

This post makes me wonder too, is there any other ST fans around Torquay?


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Re: Hello from sunny Torquay

Post by exxos » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:23 pm

:bravo: :goodpost: :welcomewave:
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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Re: Hello from sunny Torquay

Post by Icky » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:36 pm


Ah Silica Systems that’s where I got my first STFM from.

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