(This is my post, cloned from Deskthority, originally posted 20 April 2021)
Hello there! I recently got myself a fun piece from Japan, a Nippon Electric (NEC) PC-8801, but not the kind you're used to. I don't know of any official name of this keyboard right now, so I am dubbing it the Extended PC-8801.
Some notable differences between this version and the "Standard" PC-8801 are the triple spacebar, a T-nav, "roll" keys with arrows instead of text, an extra PC key, several keys with legends in kanji rather than English, and 10 function keys.
This one is the "white" version (it is pretty yellow, I know), but there exists a much rarer black version that I only know of maybe 5 to exist. One was sold by gainsborough several months ago, and I know of one British keyboardist who has one that was NOS.
It came from Japan on a ship that was thankfully not the Ever Given, costing me $120 with domestic shipping and then an extra $28 for seamail. United States Customs and Border Protection did not charge duty.
As a TYPE A PC-8801, these have been documented to, more often than not, come with Alps SKCM Blue. This example follows the rule, as shown:
You will notice that the caps are not the katakana PBT dyesub ones found on the more common, "Standard" PC-8801s, but are instead the less common hiragana ABS doubleshot type. Both were made by Alps Electric; here is a quick comparison. Note that the legend is a type of brown:
The caps lock and かな (kana) lock are Alps SKCM Lock switches, as shown:
The STOP and COPY keys in the top-left hand corner feature the famous Alps SKCM Super Blue switches. These are SKCM Blue switches with INCREDIBLY heavy springs in them, IIRC, 200 grams.
The switches felt very good for the rather poor cosmetic condition the board was in, about as good as my Silitek. Light and crisp, with little scratch and good click. The plate does ping quite a bit, but not as loudly as my APC-H412.
The board does not use a commonly-used protocol: although the plug looks like PS/2, it is not, and would require a converter. gainsborough has mentioned that he had found a lead on a converter, but I have a friend who offered to convert this board.
Overall, I am very happy with this board, and would like to give a kudos to J-Subculture for providing the proxy service, and to Japan Post, USPS and whatever sea cargo line brought the package from Fukuoka to my home in New Hampshire.