35 years away from the radio

El, you may remember the lady at the Salinas, CA Civil Defense place who would give demos of teletype on an older machine, She would type on a paper tape perforator, until she had about 3 feet of tape.
Then she would put the tape into the machine’s tape reader, and push the button. Now the reader is sucking the tape in at 60 WPM, and she had to keep up, on average. When the loop shortened, she’d type like mad to make it longer again!
Those were the days!

Oh mY !!!
I’m loving this… I was a tech at Western Union for about 25 years working on every Teletype from model 14 to model 43. I think I could still
take a model 28 print head apart and put it back together. I had a couple in my hamshack before computers took over.
What happens when you can type faster than the machine will go is,
the keyboard seems to “lock up” because you can’t push a key until
the previous one returns “up”. We used to get a lot of calls for locked up keyboards… Some of the operators were just too good!
The best operators I saw were the press operators for the “Racing Form” at the racetrack. They could make those keyboard tape perforators really go!
In my heyday I had a Model 28 and a model 35 (in a model 28 cabinet) in the shack. The local hams were using ASCII computers on 2 meters, I could work them with my model 35. All that pink paper was from the received traffic on 2 meters during the day when I was gone to work!

John, K6YK


Indeed the last one I saw and used was in 1974 in my RN days. The sound you described is spot on and I’ve probably not thought about the sound since I left.

Quite noisy as one machine was always ‘on’, receiving RTTY broadcast, and there were often other machines being used to send stuff - lots & lots of long tapes. Oh, pity the poor operator who accidently stood on the tape when it was going through the auto-head and bust the tape!


My hamshack machines were actually not real noisy. I soundproofed the
cabinets and put a lighter spring on the type hammer. They mostly just
hummed and went “tappa tappa tappa” NO BELL ! I put a type pallet
in with a bell character on it!
You guys mentioned the RN. My biggest single customer was the USN
here in Stockton. The main message center for the Pacific Fleet was here. They had 400 of their own Teletype machines and 11 of ours.
It was a sight to behold, with all the tape equipment, etc.
Our local office got Teleype in 1927! (I was NOT there to see it, but I
think we still had the thing.) We still had one model 14 in service until
they closed the office in 1986.

John, K6YK

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