A Virtual repository of information on the, Husky Hunter Series of Computers.

A little bit of history !


This is an obscure computer, it is not very well known. It's a british design and is a rugged field computer,
conceived to be used outdoors, and resistant to extreme conditions ( it was used in all of the Armed Services and survived well ).

In 1981, responding to a request from Severn Trent Water, DVW Microelectronics designed and manufactured the first
rugged handheld computer. The Husky, dramatically featured on the BBC TV programme 'Tomorrow's World'. This caught
the attention of the MoD, who subsequently awarded DVW a contract to supply the MOD with rugged handheld computers
as part of the Rapier missile project.

Husky (it will become the name of the company some years later) has since become a familiar name in the niche market
for rugged field hardware.

The Husky was the first, or at least one of the first real portable computers. And as it was waterproof against accidental
immersion and rugged, it was also very expensive.

The Original design had a small LCD screen (32 x 4) and a flat membrane keyboard, just like the Sinclair ZX-81

Later versions featured a small but usable keyboard and from the Hunter 1 onwards had a cast aluminium case, giving it
a very tough shell, and one of the main reasons it survived so well in battlefield conditions.
The machine also functioned well as a data logging machine in Forestry and many field work situations, where its toughness
became legend.
The Range of computers expanded and even though the Husky name was eventually taken over by,
and became known as ' WPI Husky ' , it has made its mark in Computing history and due to its toughness could outlast a lot
of its plastic cased peers.

Although the range has continued to expand and the latest machines feature 486 CPU's, this site is for the original
' Hunter ' Brand and includes the Hawk due to it's close positioning in the family tree. Follow the WPI Husky name for
the latest products in this range.

Most of the machines have an RS232 compatible connector, as well as a power charging port. Later machines featured
a second serial port, for bar code readers and other devices, as well as the Hawk having a ' SIDEBOX ' option with buss
expansion and even a centronics type connector for printers.
Please note that the Hawk is not as strongly built and may not survive an immersion in water, although I am advised it can survive
a little rain, ( which is very usefull in the UK )

It is this primary Serial connector, located on the right hand side, which is used to connect the Husky to a PC and
transfer both software and the collected data to and from the host machine. I have used a standard ' Null Modem '
cable to connect to both the Husky 2 and the 16.

The utility to use on the PC is called 'HCOM' and connects a variety of Husky's to the PC, the software is available from
the usergroup file area at ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/huskycomputers )
Please visit the user group as they are a helpful group of dedicated users and I
for one am only able to utilise my newer Husky due to thier considerable help, after my original Hunter 2 died
( So they may be rugged but not indestrucable ! ( Yet ).

If I was to try to position this machine in my collection it would be with the likes of the,
Tandy200 or the Epson PX4(plus). However neither of these machines have such a long battery life and could survive an
accidental drop onto a concerete floor ! I do try ' not ' to drop my Husky,
but if I did I would hope it just carried on working.

Now that's what I call a RUGGED COMPUTER !

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