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Re: why I like assembly (And CRTECH)
To: CRTech <crtech@crtech.org>
Subject: Re: why I like assembly (And CRTECH)
From: Michael Barnes <barnmichael@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2018 18:41:17 -0800
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Actually, there WAS automation back then. Way ahead of its time was the WINGS system, developed by the HCJB Engineering Center. I believe the first version went on line around 1989 or so. Originally running on DOS 5.1, it had a basic GUI for user interface. Designed to work with the Comstream ABR200 satellite receiver, it could be configured to work with other receivers with a serial control interface. WINGS could change satellite receiver channels and record to hard drive audio from the satellite. The system was capable of switching audio paths, playing live from the satellite, or playing from a playlist of audio on the hard drive. You could develop schedules, then send them to a remote station over the ancillary data channel of the satellite feed. WINGS was originally designed to run small unattended stations. Everything could be sent over the satellite and the station could play its own local ID and spots. There was even a rudimentary music scheduling system built in. WINGS was updated to work with Windows 3.1, then Windows 95/97. Networking was introduced with the upgrade to Windows 2000, but it was still essentially a stand alone system. The networking allowed for the transfer of music and schedules between machines.

While WINGS was a wonderful system in its day, its capabilities could not keep up with other multi-user systems. Although HCJB tried to develop a new networked automation system, it really didn't work out. The majority of WINGS users, to my knowledge, migrated to Rivendell. WINGS was commercially distributed for a short time under the brand name Air Force, but did not gain wide spread acceptance.

I began working with WINGS in 1997 and still had many stations using it through 2006. I continued providing support for WINGS and assisting with migrations to Rivendell through 2008.


On Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 9:53 AM, Willie Barnett <wbradiolists@gmail.com> wrote:
Nice! That reminds me of the analog satellite days... and using cassette tapes to record those feeds for later broadcast. Commodore to the rescue! :) A friend had a partly damaged (but working) C=128 that he gave me. I fixed it, wrote some BASIC code, and wired up two SS relays for the computer to control. Turned out both were turned on at the same time, anyway, but the ability to switch at different times was there. :)

The system worked by tuning the two AVCOM-clone satellite receivers to the proper channels the night before, pop the cassettes into the machines, and press a key on the computer. At the preset time, it would power-up the decks, which each had a "record on power-up" switch. :)

That system made life MUCH easier, because there was no other automation back then. (late 80's, early 90's) Instead of having to run the board *AND* try to catch those very important satellite feeds at the same time, they could be set up in advance. Coming into the station for sign-on, with the first two 1/2 hour programs "ready to rewind" was MUCH better than catching them as they came in, and having to scramble to rewind them in time to air! ;)

Even worse was missing a feed, because then you had to try to catch that AND the other feeds! This crude C=128 "automation" saved the day MANY times after I built it. :)

Then along came the Windows 95-based AudioVault, and that C=128 system was retired. :) What a joy AV was to work with!

I still think the Kludge of the Decade award should go to someone at (Ambassador?) who rigged up a bunch of VCR's to play back a bunch of prefeeds on the weekends! I found out about it, because when I tried to set my "automation" to catch those pre-feeds, the timing would inevitably be off by more than a minute or two. When I talked to someone there about that, they told me what was really going on, and that fixing the timing just wasn't possible! :o

BTW... I remember looking at the old "FEED FINDER" a few years ago on the CRTech site! (Remember that?) It wasn't working, naturally, but I got a chuckle when I saw the link. (I don't see it now.)

There IS a CRTech page with some broken links, tho...

The "schedules" pages seem to have vanished. (I wonder why? Hehehe!)

Thinking of the Timex/Sinclair, I have one "In the box" at home. I powered it up about 2 years ago, and it still worked. :) I also have several C=64's and VIC 20's


On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 11:52 AM, Dave Land <dave@klvv.com> wrote:
Wow! Almost the same for me, IBM360 at OBU in the 70s then my first home computer was a Sinclair ZX80 with a Z80 and 1KB of RAM! Then on to VIC20s, C64s and the SX64 version of the C64 with built in COLOR monitor and DUAL floppies! Wrote a program in basic that kept a roster of ham club members

Follow-Ups: Re: Early Automation system nostalgia (was:why I like assembly (And CRTECH))
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