How do I transfer from a Cassette drive to Tape drives?


One of my fellow-residents is a 90-ish PhD in meteorology from CalTech who was one of the instructors in solar physics and space weather to the original groups of astronauts. His name is Richard M. Head (and he doesn't at all mind being called Dick Head BTW). For about 30 years he wrote the weather forecasts for the Farmers' Almanac, a position he lost only about a year ago.

As one of the original occupants of Westminster Village, Scottsdale, eleven years ago, he was able to swing a deal under which he purchased one apartment and was allowed to rent a second one as his business office/study. Yankee Publishing (Farmers' Almanac publishers) has been picking up the rent tab, but is terminating that relationship and "retiring" Dr. Head. He is now going through the painful process of disposing of his files, computer records and books, which latter include some fairly old items.

He asked me what I knew about transferring data from cassette tapes to floppies, so I went to his office and looked at his setup. I didn't even know that what he has up there existed. It is analagous to 8-track audio tapes in obsolescence.

He has an external Hewlett-Packard 9865A Cassette recorder/reader Select Code 5 (this is what's on the device) and a raft of what look like regular audio cassettes, loaded with data on sun flares, etc. that go back 60 years or longer. I have no idea what scientific value any of this stuff has, but I would think that archivists somewhere--possibly one of your divisions--might know how to transfer the data to more modern storage devices, or even want to put it somewhere, just in case. He wants to transfer these data to floppies on his IBM PC.

I doubt that this "find" measures up to the recent mummies uncovered in Egypt, but it may have some merit. Can you ask around and see whether anyone has any knowledge of the HP device or the larger question about acquiring this material?

Thanks. Ray Lippman


This question was answered on September 22, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Well, in regards of transfering data from a device like the 9865A there is a possibility of doing the transfer:

This device belongs to the HP 9800 calculator series Therefore can be connected to any of the calculators from that series The tape recorder was manufactured in either 1971 or 1972 and was priced then at $1,750.00 Accepts programming in Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) or Binary languages Information provided by David Hicks at If this tape drive has a parallel port; you may try contacting somebody (maybe a college or university) in your area that has access to a tape drive backup device If so, you may be able to copy that information to a tape drive by making the connection thru the parallel port For the software necessary (and updated calculators)to read the information you might find interesting information and possibly downloads at or also at

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Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on September 22, 1999