I’ve always thought my nifty punched tape image was pretty cool. After all it took me a fair bit of work to pull it together using Photoshop along with a teletype font. However, I’ve just realized that many of you have never seen punched tape. So, here’s just a bit of background.

Above you can see a punched tape running through a paper tape reader. This particular tape also has each character printed on the tape.

Since this is Baudot which is a five bit code, there are five rows of punches along with a feeder row. The five bits indicate the characters.

Back in the old days of amateur radio RTTY we’d use these tapes instead of the macros that are now set in RTTY software. I’d have a several of them made up. One with CQ and others with messages on my ham equipment.

Most people also had a few punched tapes that would send images. Those might run for ten or twenty minutes printing out lots of paper to send whatever image they happened to have.

So that’s the background. Now we have all this on our computers and no need for punched tape or the mechanical readers and printers. We save a great deal of paper as well.



What do you think?