[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Finally…a 1200 Baud Modem

November 19th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Radio Shack TRS-80 DC-2212 Modem 1200 Baud - 1985FINALLY, I mean, COME ON.

You too could be the proud owner of this Radio Shack TRS-80 DC-2212 1200 baud modem for the low, low price of $399.95 (about $859.81 in 2012 dollars).

…If you traveled back in time with the proper currency, that is. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

I recently bought a cable modem that is the equivalent of a 150,000,000 baud modem. It cost $70 in 2012 dollars. Not bad for progress.

[ From BYTE, September 1985, rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What speed was you first modem?

21 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Finally…a 1200 Baud Modem”

  1. Stan Says:

    I did a Google image search for “1200 baud” to see if I could find a picture of my old modem, and there it is in the first hit.


    Seeing that thing brings back a lot of memories. I spent many, many hours with that modem and my Apple IIe in the late 80s, before we upgraded to a 386 with an internal 2400 baud modem.

  2. Yves Bolognini Says:

    2400! A SupraModem on my Amiga

  3. SirPaul Says:

    My first modem was also 2400 baud on a Packard-Bell 486SX-50. I have memories of huddling in front of the monitor looking at a sneak-peek picture of the cast of Star Trek: Voyager on Prodigy, getting excited every few minutes when a new line shows up on the screen. I think the whole thing (probably a 640 x 480 gif, if memory serves me correctly. That was the resolution my monitor was on, and the picture took up most, if not all of the screen) took 90 minutes to completely load.. Or, at least, load enough of for me to be satisfied enough and/or my mother disconnecting me because I was spending too long. This was prodigy, after all, and they charged hourly at the time.

  4. Daniel Says:

    I remember using a Supra 2400 external modem connected to an RS-232 interface cable for my Commodore 64. Those were back in the BBS days where i would dial into local boards to download games and software for the C64. I remember the Commodore used PETSCII and using a special terminal mode, you could see colorized graphics/animations on the screen. My first modem however was a really ancient Novation CAT accousic coupler at 300 baud. Reminds me of the modem they used in the War Games movie, the phone’s handset would sit in a cradle…it was pretty amazing back in the day.

  5. Xyzzy Says:

    I believe our first modem was 1200 baud… The only things I remember doing with it was to try GEnie (which was pretty dull & baffling on an Apple IIc+) and dial up a NASA system my father had read about that let kids leave a message for the astronauts.

  6. V Says:

    1200 for me, though this was 1994 so I was a bit behind the times. It was a hand-me-down and I used it for BBS’s and connecting to the internet through a SLIP connection. Our town had a free, town-sponsored dial-up ISP that could be used for 1 hour a day for free. Believe it or not, it was almost too slow for playing MUDs. I got a 2400 modem a few months later (also a freebie from someone who wasn’t using it) and it was FAST. Felt that way, anyway.

  7. Benj Edwards Says:

    Great stories, everyone. Just for the record, my first modem was a 2400 BPS Zoom external model that looked like this. I still have it, in fact, but I haven’t used it in 17 years or so.

    I used it with various IBM PC compatibles to call BBSes — then run my own. Yes, those were glory days indeed.

  8. Jim Carpenter Says:

    Mine was the Radio Shack TRS-80 Modem I B and I still have it. Used it last night. It’s a 300 baud, completely manual modem that uses the same shell as the DC-2212 pictured above but the label that makes up the console only has windows for two LEDs, power and carrier detect. http://ripsaw.cac.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/Tandy/ModemIB-1L.jpg

    I actually started refurbishing it two days ago. Cleaned up pretty nice. But it does need ~$8 in parts to replace the phone and power jacks and fix the power cord. I put a bit of effort into finding parts identical to the originals. (gotta love Digi-Key and Mouser!)

    It works just fine with the Racal-Vadic Maxwell 1200VP that I just bought for $35. Unfortunately the 1200VP doesn’t have the Racal-Vadic command mode that I need. 🙁

  9. Alexander Says:

    My guess is that it was some generic 14.4k or 28.8k modem built into my family’s first windows machine (3.1 or 95, not sure which). But it worked, with AOL back in the day… I just made everyone else who posted here feel old.

  10. Daniel Says:

    My first modem was the IBM PCjr 300 baud modem. Man that was awesome!

  11. Bob W Says:

    My first modem was a 300 baud Atari 830 acoustic coupler modem from 1982. IIRC I paid $150 for it, which was a lot of money considering I was making $3.15 an hour.

  12. Matt Says:

    14.4 here. On my trusty Windows 3.1 386 I took to college in 1993. It turned out the college already had ethernet so I had to upgrade the next year.

  13. John Says:

    I used to borrow a 300 baud modem for my C64. The first one I owned was a 1200 baud for my C128.

  14. Cozfer Says:

    I also had a 300 baud for my IBM PCjr and I remember using it dial up Compuserve. I even had to write the modem software I think…a year or so later I bought a 1200 and then finally a 2400 baud (I think it was a lot of money for a teenager). A year or so later, my friend’s dad worked for some company (TI I think) and was able to get a 9600 baud (crazy fast!)…I remember thinking, “isn’t that how fast the screen refreshes, why would we ever need anything faster!” haha. We spent time and set up our own BBS, but a couple of days later suffered a lightning strike that disabled the modem 🙁

  15. Jim Says:

    My first modem was the TRS-80 Modem II (looked just like the DC-2212), 300 baud, hooked up to my Color Computer II. I used it to connect to CompuServ using some cartridge terminal program. I had to hack a cable to connect it to the CoCo’s serial port because it didn’t have a standard RS232 port built in. Pretty sure I ended up hacking the phone cable too because it was direct connect with a RJ-11 plug which wasn’t standard equipment in homes at the time.

  16. SirFatty Says:

    Mine was a Cat 300 baud:


    @Stan: I had one that looked just like that, but it was 2400 baud and it was labeled Packard Bell (bought at Highland back in the day).

    Next was a Hayes 9600, a USR 14.4 and USR 56k.

  17. Ant Says:

    Zoom and Hayes internal 2400 modems for my first dial-up modems. http://zimage.com/~ant/antfarm/about/toys.html for the rest. 😉

  18. Kevin Harrelson Says:

    300 baud on a Commodore 64. 300 baud is the perfect reading speed for me. Later, I switched to 1200 baud, and the text came over faster than I could even read.

  19. Moondog Says:

    Mine was a generic 2400 baud internal (circa 1990.) I used Procomm Plus to connect to BBS’s back then.

  20. The Doctor Says:

    My first modem was an Atari SX-212, which I used with an XEGS to call BBSes at a screaming 1200bps. When I got a PC later in high school, I used to borrow a 14.4 from work over the weekends.

  21. Robert Anderson Says:

    I wish i had a 300 baud modem for my tandy I recieved from my grandfather
    But i Have no Idea where i can get one let alone afford it becuase im poor D:

Leave a Reply