STQL Emulator

Drive Disk for Futura Datasenters STQL Emulator
A QL emulator card for Atari ST computers, originally developed 1987 by Futura Datasenter AS in Norway, then marketed by Jochen Merz Software in Germany and Strong Computers in GB. The original Futura Datasenter version featured only standard QL screen modes with four colours (also in MODE 8) and needed an ZX8301 (ULA 1) plugged into the board. There was also a later version, which featured MODE 8 with eight colours, but no FLASH. Fitting of the card was the same procedure as it was with the later launched "Extended Emulator" (see below).

Futura Datasenter supplied two disks: An Atari formatted one to start the system and a QL formatted one. The QL formatted one included a SuperBASIC program for the QL to save the JS ROM and to patch it for supporting 4MB of RAM. This had to be done in the first place. For copyright reasons, they did not included the patched JS ROM. The card only works with this special patched version of a JS ROM. Other ROM versions (JM, MGx, Minerva etc.) were not supported.

The original I/O drivers from Futura Datasenter made the behaviour of the Atari disk drive very rough and noisy and did not support any harddisk. But there was a cure:

Later in 1987, Tony Tebby, being very enthusiastic about the 6+ speed (compared to a standard QL), produced his first Atari QL drivers, which let the disk drives on the Atari behave as silent as usual and later versions of his drivers added support for the native Atari ACSI harddisks and third-party harddisk controllers. These I/O drivers were totally new written (and taken from the later launched SMS drivers) to help the user out from copyright problems as the drivers from Futura Datasenter were patched QL I/O drivers and not officially allowed to be sold.

A later version of the STQL hardware emulator, different and newly built from JMS, the "Extended Emulator", featured an enhanced resolution mode, 768x280 and didn't need an ULA ZX8301 anymore. A version of SMSQ/E is available for these as is a version of The Painter from PROGS (for 768x280 and really round circles). JMS made a great effort in his manuals to place this emulator in existing versions of the Atari MegaST, as there were several hardware versions around. Fitting the board in the MegaST wasn't very easy as the Glue chip has to be pulled out (very strong fastened), a pin bend out, then soldered to the emulator, then the Glue chip put in again and several cables soldered to the Shifter chip.

Later came the QVME Card for Atari STe, TT with VME card slots and MegaST (with VME BUS adaptor).

ST-QL Emulator Card Title: STQL Emulator
Interface Type: Sinclair QL Emulator
Connection: Connects to Atari ST Computers
Through-Connector: No
Manufacturer: Futura Datasenter and Jochen Merz
Year First Sold: 1987
Original Price: £Unknown
Reviews: Unknown
Download Manual: Unknown