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So, one of my dreams came true recently : I have a ZX Spectrum at home! But not any Spectrum! It's an Орель БК-08, or Orel BK-08. Or maybe PC-08 ( БК is the short for Бытовой Компьютер = Home Computer, so HC or PC for Personnal Computer would be an acceptable transcription. In the meantime, Orel is Eagle, so maybe it's the Orel BK-08 or the Eagle PC-08. Whatever...) I was build in USSR, more precisely in Ukraine, in the town of Dnepropetrovsk, between 1984 and 1993 (but is reported to have been sold up to 1995). I got the system barebone, so I had to provide a 24V power supply, and the video cable. So the Orel is a ZX Spectrum clone, but quite more advanced than most. As can be seen, it feature a REAL keyboard, that use Reed switches (a magnetic based system) As such, the keyboard feel really strange, as there is no rubber domes or a physical switch, the keys press down freely and go down on their spring without added feedback. It's hard to describe. But the general feeling is pleasant and feel relatively sturdy; the keys are firmly maintained and doesn't wiggle around like C64 keys for example. The only less good key is the space bar, but that's a common issues on all keyboards, and really I just need to check the springs for putting it back in good shape. There are added keys that provide more functions, most notably the РУС and Р/А keys. The РУС (RUS) key allow to type in cyrillic characters, as well as the P/A one; the difference being that P/A only type one character, the RUS one switch the mapping until you press it again. Some site report that the Orel feature 64Ko or RAM, but while it's true, only 48Ko are available to the system, the 16 remaining Ko are for the added part of the build-in BASIC and the NMI function (if I got that part right!) But it's not only about a keyboard and a fancy look, right? The Orel also include built-in standard video, tape in and out, and two joysticks ports, all in good old DIN format. Unlike many other Soviet computers, the video standard used here isn't RGB TTL or some other CGA type of video, but standard SCART signals that allow for a straight cable to be used to feed a SCART compatible TV, or a xRGB. Yay! The joystick ports are supposedly in Sinclair/Kempton standards, but I haven't looked yet for wiring a joystick on them so I can't confirm. For expansion, the connector isn't located on the back, but in a cartridge-like slot atop of the machine : Apparently, the Orel also include a КР1818ВГ93 chip, that is a floppy controller, meaning that straigt wiring the conenctor to a floppy drive is possible with no additionnal components (aside from a PSU for the floppy drive) For anyone curious, the blue connector used is a very common Soviet parallel connector, know as СНП58. Supposedly was standardized as a parallel interface (and in know cases, can be adapted with one some passive components to LPT/Centronics signals we know), but on many computers, some pins were used for specific lines. The keyboard received his own serial number and part number. Given this general design, it might have been also mounted on other machines? The 2.9.40.007 is the "complete name" of the computer, not a given serial number. The S/N is probably the one under, and applies for the year. You might have noticed that the computer doesn't feature a power button, and indeed, like on most Soviet machines, the power button is located on the power supply. This mean that I can't really turn off mine since the PSU I use doesn't have any power switch. Thanks a lot for the RESET button! Booting the beast : BASIC - SYSTEM Ver. 2.0 The BASIC of the Orel is an almost straight copy of the original one - except for various bugfixes and the adaptations to the slightly different hardware of the Orel. The biggest change being that most (all?) messages have been translated in Russian. Loading a programme : Loading interrupted, because my media software crashed Can't trust this modern tech! About crashing, obviously, the Orel BK isn't 100% compatible with all Spectrum 48K software. The most commonly cited example is Bomb Jack : But unlike other clones that improved the Spectrum (bug correction, faster CPU, faster RAM, Russified ROM loading in parts where game usually expect to load/look for data) the conceptors of the Orel took great care to make it as compatible as possible with the original Spectrum. So far I tried about a dozen of different programs, small demos, games, and only Bomb Jack and an Hungarian game of the 80's didn't worked (and for the Hungarian game, it most likely was written for a Spectrum clone itself so it doesn't prove much there). So I hope you liked this little intro, and now, if you have suggestion for Spectrum 48K games (with no AY sound) that you like or that I should try, I won't mind hearing them!
Lost Party 2019 is a brand new demoparty bringing together all 8-bit platforms with special emphasis on Atari XL/XE, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. The Party will be organized by an experienced members from Tristesse who've participated in organising Last Party (1997-2003, 2017) and Lato Ludzików (1999-2002). Lost Party is meant to become a regular party with regular compos such as demo, intro, graphics and music. Voting will be available for sceners all around the world. We accept remote entries and we will also allow remote voting for everyone who can't come to the party but would still like to support us by buying a ticket. The party will take place in Licheń Stary, in the very center of Poland. We'll have a big party hall capable of fitting 120 people. Next to the hall you'll find a lake, two markets and quite a few hotels/hostels. More informations: https://www.lostparty.pl/2019/en/ https://www.facebook.com/events/271007093444145/
I was perusing the Youtube today and I noticed there's a Dual YM Stereo Board for the Spectrum computers. How on earth did the Spectrum scene beat the ST scene to such an accomplishment? And considering how well the Tweety Board sold back in the day, how come no major commercial vendor offered a Dual YM expansion sound board for the ST? In hindsight, it seems like a no-brainer. And even in the modern Apple II enthusiast scene, they now have Mockingboard clone boards, some of which can support 4 YM/AY sound chips. They're even adapting MODs created for the ST to run on their boards. So, anyone enterprising up to creating a Dual YM Stereo Board for our STs?