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This HOWTO describes my successful experience with accessing
files from WATERLOO.AWS 'tape' file.

The instructions below assume that you already have
working VM/370 installation - such as VM/370 R6 distribution
from http://www.cbttape.org/vm6.htm.

The objective is to download all files from tape into
it's own disk. If all you need is read a couple
of files, you can follow these simpler instructions.

Here are the steps I went through:
  1. Downloaded http://www.cbttape.org/ftp/vm6/waterloo.aws.bz2
  2. Uncompressed it using BZ2 program from
    ftp://sources.redhat.com/pub/bzip2/v102/bzip2-102-x86-win32.exe The command was: BZ2.EXE -D WATERLOO.AWS.BZ2
    and it created WATERLOO.AWS
  3. Created an empty DASD (disk) via DASDINIT command
    that Hercules emulator provides:
    DASDINIT WATER.3330-1 3330 WATER 200

  4. Added a new tape and DASD devices to my VM370R6.CNF file:
    0133 3330 G:/HERC370/WATER.3330-1
    0583 3420 G:/HERC370/VM2/WATERLOO.AWS
  5. Started the VM/370
  6. Logged on as MAINT
  7. Attached and prepared the devices:
    ATTACH 133 TO MAINT 200
    FORMAT 200 B
    ACCESS 200 B

    ATTACH 583 TO MAINT 181
    (181 is the standard virtual address for tape device -
    commands like TAPE expect it by default)

    VMFPLC2 REW
    VMFPLC2 LOAD * * B (EOT
    The EOT option tells it to keep going till
    the end of tape is reached.
  8. At this point all files from the tape are on my
    disk B. Or at least most of them - there seems
    to be a limit of 3400 files per minidisk, so it
    stopped there, even though disk wasn't full yet.

    Some things I tried, which did not work:
    • I tried converting tape to DASD
      the same way http://www.cbttape.org/ftp/vm6/README.txt suggests. It gave me an error 'INVALID TAPE FORMAT'.
    • I tried reading the tape via
      TAPE command. TAPE REWIND worked, but TAPE SCAN
      gave me "SCANNING.. INVALID RECORD FORMAT".
    • The DASD size of Z cylinder was picked by trial-n-error.
      First I assumed that 200 would be enough, since
      since the WATERLOO.AWS is about half the size of
      VMREL6.DDR.AWS was used in VM/370 installation -
      and for VMREL6.DDR.AWS, a 404 cylinder DASD was
      created.

      However, when I tried extracting files, disk
      got 99% full before process could finish.