This is a strange story... I've never thought about owning a VAX untill I "fell in love" with a Microvax II, that was resurrected by some of my friends. Just after that, I noticed, that I like other older computers too, and that I'd really like to have one. I knew there were lots of MicroVAXen around, but it was way too easy to get one... I just asked a friend of mine (who is a VMS sysadmin) on iRC, if he knew about a free VAX for me. I was kidding. He said: "Yes, I've got one, you can have it.". He wasn't kidding... :-O

The next day I had a uVAX in my room... The guy who gave it to me couldn't tell me what exactly it was, he never used it... "It's fully OK", he said.
The machine was in a rack, and since I don't have enough room for the whole thing, we only took the VAX (in a BA23 drawer) and a Kennedy 9600 9-track magnetic tape driver home.
First, I took it apart, to see what I need, and what I don't. There were miles and miles of ribbon cables (for an external HD), strange-looking cards. I decided not to use the Kennedy. There was a sad(?) surprise: the HD in the box (Fujitsu M2246E) was not attached to anything. It seems, that the machine used some other media to boot. However, I've found the specs for the drive on the Net, and after playing around with the DM02 firmware formatter, the system was able to use the drive again. Thanks to Zsolt Ponyiczki for showing me how these things work!!! :-)
Just to give you a hint of what was inside: in the upper left corner you can see the KA650-A CPU card. This was a nice surprise, since I've been told, that the machine were a KA630-based MicroVAX-II. Well, it's a "-III"... :-) The card next to it (in the upper right corner) is a Clearpoint memory board, with 16 MB RAM.
At the bottom, from left to right: a DEQNA Ethernet controller, an Emulex QD33, and a Dilog DQ132. The other cards that were in the box, but aren't pictured here: an Emulex DM02 (or was it DM21?), a CC09 (mux), an RQDX3 MFM controller and a strange one (said to be a home-made printerport).
The machine was covered with dust, so I had to clean it. It took about an hour, and was worth it: the BA23 is such a lovely package: it shines like it was made out of gold... :-) If you look at my PC, you'll see the difference: it's hard to tell which one is older... I mean my 486 is good (especially with Linux), but the uVAX is much 'sexier' ;-)

On to the MicroVAX Experience II.!

Hamster, 1997.