About UK Atari Computer Owners Club

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The UK Atari Computer Owners Club (UKACOC) was formed by a group of Atari enthusiasts who worked at Maplin Electronics in Southend, England, during the early 1980s. The first club newsletter was a somewhat amateur affair created using a dot matrix printer and photocopier, but from issue 3 the appearance was dramatically improved by virtue of professional typesetting. Editorial quality improved dramatically too. The publication schedule was quarterly, with distribution by subscription only.


Not surprisingly, people found it a little awkward referring to the 'magazine of the UK Atari Computer Owners Club' so with issue 8 the more straightforward title of 'Monitor' was chosen. The club actually wanted to use the name 'Atari Monitor' but reportedly Atari Corp objected - although by issue 19 this had apparently ceased to be an issue.


The magazine tended to focus on the more serious and technical aspects of Atari computing - understandable given the connection with Maplin, which was well known for its electronics DIY project kits. Indeed, articles relating to hardware modifications and add-ons were commonplace.


From issue 5 the magazine commenced an epic tutorial series by Keith Mayhew on 6502 machine code, called "Cracking The Code", which was still going in the final issue 21.


The club created a unique library of 8-bit public domain software, available through a "3 for 1' exchange scheme. Under the terms of this scheme, members were entitled to receive three programs from the library in exchange for every one they donated. Alternatively, a small payment could be made for each program required. Unusually, the club was willing to receive and distribute software on cassette as well as disk.


The 8-bit library continually expanded with new items,  with updates printed in every edition of the magazine. One program in each was chosen as a "Star Program" and the author awarded a 10 prize.


With the launch of Atari ST machines in 1985, ST coverage was added to the magazine's content. As well as regular software reviews, an ST Programming series (also by Keith Mayhew) was started in issue 15 and in issue 16 an ST public domain library was founded.


The final issue issue 21, published in 1989, came with no official announcement of the club's demise but followed soon after the closure of Database Publications' Atari User, and was simply a reflection of the terminal decline in mainstream Atari support.


UKACOC and Monitor is still remembered though as a vital source of user support during the '80s heyday of Atari home computing.





This site has been designed and constructed by Paul Rixon, who contributed the '8 Bit Matters' column in issues 20 and 21.