So the next step with my PDP-11 was to try and boot an OS. A friend of mine (the kind of bloke who keeps old machines with 5.25" floppy drives) was kind enough to volunteer and make a boot disk. We used the excellent PUTR utility to make the disk on a PC. The disk image came from here, we used the RT-11 boot disk. I will post the PUTR instructions another time. The first disk we made attempted to boot up, there was a lot of disk activity... but after a few minutes I got the message: "?BOOT-U-I/O error". We wondered if this was just a bad disk. Fortunately, we made another disk and tried again... This time it booted straight into RT-11. This was the result:
How cool is that? Some sort of celebration must be in order, consumption of beer seems appropriate for that.