BASICODE 2 was used in the early 1980s to transmit programs for a dozen brands of home computer over the radio. I've found a copy, scanned the manual, digitised the tape, and written a demodulator to convert the programs to text files.

Manual here:

Zipfile with all the example programs, plus MP3s of the tape, and the Python demodulator, here:

At some point (maybe soon) I will write a BASICODE emulator in JavaScript so you can play Manneken Pis or Crazy Kong or Yahtzee in your browser.

I want to mention that the TRS-80 team's idea of "not all that difficult" is a long way from mine.

Special thanks to Kit Thurman for finding the cassette and booklet, and Clare Ovey for the loan of a tape recorder.

@marnanel as in not difficult to a Dutch hobbyist (the notes on the diagram are in Dutch!) OTOH nor was building a pirate radio transmitter (Stentor) 😆

@marnanel Neat stuff! I remember the radio going into noise mode on the UK transmissions.

Rob Hagemans - archivist of all things BASICODE and PC-BASIC author - has a JS emulator:

@scruss I wonder how much I've been duplicating his work here

@marnanel You can never have too many basicode things! I think Rob's goal - which seems to be more purely archival - might be different from yours. The project went on for so much longer than the UK experience.

I guess with expensive local call charges, modems needing licences and disk drives costing $$$$ in Europe, we made do with what we could

@marnanel I know someone who apparently ran pirate software transmissions across the Berlin Wall; this was clearly what he was using.

@marnanel He's a friend that I've lost to time, but IIRC he's run a low powered station on a short schedule, pulling up to a property near the wall and use a directional antenna, and hackers on the other side could clandestinely pull it in because they needed to operate a receiver only for a short-ish period of time. I never asked many details, but I know the Wall was imposing but the border was actually pretty porous, so I suspected he wasn't telling tall tales.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Queer Party!

A silly instance of Mastodon for queer folk and non-queer folk alike. Let's be friends!