The software permits a variety of customizing commands that you can use in order to make it more responsive to your particular requirements. These are all variations on the SET command.
Most SET commands are "perishable" -- that is, they only last for the duration of the current session. Exceptions are the commands SET/NEED, SET/QTH, SET/NAME (covered earlier, in Chapters 4 and 5), and SET/FILTER (see below) that input information to permanent system databases. If you want to have the same group of perishable SET commands in effect during each session (for example, SET/PAGE 0 to effectively disable the new page-break function) you will need to include them in your USERCMD file (see below) which is executed each time you log on.
SET/LOGIN can be used to tell the network to notify you whenever a new local user (one connected to the same node you are) logs on. The SYSOP specifies whether this is the normal (default) setting or whether - as in previous versions - no notification is provided. If the node is set up to notify, then you can use SET/NOLOGIN to tell it that you don't want to be.
SET/LOGOUT and SET/NOLOGOUT work exactly the same way, for notification when a local user logs off the network.
SET/PAGE # sets the number of lines of a message that will scroll past before the system provides a "Press ENTER to continue ..." prompt. The default is 20 but the normal setting for IBM and compatible computers will be either 24 or 25, depending on whether your software uses the 25th line of the screen to report its internal status (Example: SET/PAGE 25). Use 0 (zero) if you want no page length set.
SET/WWV determines that you will receive WWV announcements. That is the default.
If you don't want to see the WWV numbers as soon as they are received, you can SET/NOWWV to tell the Cluster not to send them to you unless you ask.
SET/ANNOUNCEMENTS and SET/NOANNOUNCEMENTS work the same way, to allow you to decide whether or not you wish to receive announcements addressed to everyone, either on the local node or on the network.
SET/TALK and SET/NOTALK work the same way for TALK messages addressed to you by anyone else currently on the network.
And believe it or not, there are even commands SET/DX and SET/NODX, in case anyone would want the network not to send DX spots (really!).
But let's assume that you do want to receive every DX spot
that someone puts out. The
This command lets you decide NOT to receive certain spots in real time.
The syntax is:
SET/FILTER [/mode] [/BAND=(x,y,z)] [prefix(es)/ALL]
The mode and band specifications are optional, but you must specify prefixes, or give ALL if you wish all prefixes to be filtered out.
SET/FILTER/CW ALL tells the Cluster to send you only SSB spots. This would be very helpful during a phone contest.
SET/FILTER/BAND=(6,2) ALL tells it not to send you any 6 or 2 meter spots. To get spots from only one band, you will need to specify each of the other bands to be filtered out. The parentheses around the band list, and the commas between bands and the space between ) and ALL are mandatory.
SET/FILTER [prefix,prefix] screens out all spots with the specified prefix. For example, SET/FILTER JA,VK,ZL will prevent receiving any JA, VK or ZL spots on any band, any mode; SET/FILTER/CW/BAND=(10,15) JA will filter out all JA CW spots on 10 or 15 meters. The commas between prefixes are mandatory.
The SET/FILTER command is non-perishable: that is, your filter settings remain in place even if you log off, and are in effect the next time you log on. However, there are some restrictions on the filtering capability. The most important is that filter information is stored at each node, so if you need to connect to several nodes you will need to set your filter at each one. In addition, you can only have one filter operating at a time, which can lead to a fairly complex SET/FILTER statement.
To clear any previously set filters, enter SET/NOFILTER [prefix]. Use ALL if you have previously set your filter to filter all prefixes on a given band and/or mode. To clear only a part, specify the part of the filter you wish to delete, just as with SET/FILTER above. For example, if you previously SET/FILTER ALL and you now SET/NOFILTER JA, the cluster will only send you JA spots!
To check and see what filters the network has set for you, you can use the command SHOW/FILTER [prefix]. Currently, the only way to check whether a filter is operating is to specify the specific prefixes affected; ALL is not recognized under this command.
When the network is in "contest mode", filters are disabled.
From time to time the packet network is connected through the Internet to PacketCluster nodes in other parts of the country, or overseas. This can result in a large additional volume of DX stations being spotted - some on bands that are not open, or never would open. Some people find this increase in information to be a waste of time, others find it valuable. You can control how much of this information comes to you by setting some filters yourself or working with your SYSOP.
Filtering you can control yourself:
You can use the SET/FILTER command to filter by band, mode and prefix. Check out the syntax with HELP SET/FILTER.
Additional filtering controlled by the SYSOP:
This is additional filtering based that is based on which node the DX spot originates from.
Level 1. No filtering -- you get it all. This is the default setting for all users. The local stuff, the east coast, west coast, Europe, JA, everything from 160 through UHF. You can filter out spots by band/mode/prefix using the SET/FILTER command.
Level 2. East Coast -- you get spots from the east coast nodes only. This means only spots that originate on nodes from New England down to FL and out to W0 (there may be some exceptions) will be sent to you. You can filter out spots by band/mode/prefix using the SET/FILTER command.
Level 3. Only SEDXA nodes -- this list is just the nodes in South East area and folks to the immediate north. You can filter out spots by band/mode/prefix using the SET/FILTER command.
To select one of these filters, send your SYSOP a message asking for level 2 or 3. They will have to enter your call into a list to make this effective. Filtering will stay in effect until you ask them to change it. (Not all sysops have implemented these filters)
Other combinations of filters can be created if there is sufficient interest - let your SYSOP know what you would like.
User Command File
The User Command File permits you to supply a list of cluster commands that is executed each time you log on or whenever you give the EXECUTE command. To create your user command file, enter the command UPLOAD/USERCMD. The system will then prompt you "Ready to receive file. Ctrl/Z to terminate, Ctrl/Y to cancel." At this point, you can enter any series of cluster commands that you wish to have executed one after another. An example follows:
The commands given here would list users on your local node, new mail messages, the last WWV report, the last three DX spots and the last two announcements; and limit the number of consecutive lines sent to you before a prompt to "Press ENTER to continue" at 132. Do not include a SET/FILTER command in your USERCMD file -- it's unnecessary.
You may review your user command file by entering TYPE/USERCMD [your call]. To change the file, you must redo it from the start with the UPL/USERCMD command.
When the network is busy, a lot of users all employing long USERCMD files can add up to significant congestion, so it's best to keep your logon command list short and simple.
Hints for Using the Cluster Effectively
This is far and away the most difficult section to write, because it is the most subjective. Trying to suggest ways in which people should use the spotting network in order to maximize its usefulness to all users is a risky business. Suggesting things people should NOT do on the system is even more risky. Nevertheless, the following are a set of suggestions, "dos and don'ts" which we believe will be in the common interest. They reflect an underlying concern that the system's throughput is a scarce resource, which we all need to conserve; and that the system should serve us all, DXer and contester, big gun and little pistol alike. That means that we all will probably have to give a little, but the result will hopefully be worth it.
For openers, do use the SET/FILTER command to filter out those spots that are of no use to you -- bands or modes you do not operate.
The more difficult part is voluntary restraint. The whole trick is to establish a balance between tying up the system and making sure that people get the spots or other info they need. On 15-20-40, there's no need to put out common DX, because members of the system either have it already or can readily find it for themselves on the band. You should/can be more liberal on the WARC bands and 80, while almost anything is worth putting out on 160 and 6 meters. Put out full callsigns (not BAND, OPEN, etc) that announce the opening of a band to a given area, but not callsigns from the same area hours later.
Other suggestions from active members of the system:
"If you are not going to be at your terminal, use the SET/NOHERE command to let the system know. If you are going to be away for a significant period, log off and reconnect when you return, to reduce system overhead while you're gone. You won't miss anything."
"Only use ANNOUNCE if your house is on fire or a ZA comes on and requests a sked for SEDX members only. If you can't resist the temptation, scream it out loud first. If it sounds stupid then, it will sound even more stupid as an announcement."
"Use the TALK command to converse with a specific station, not ANNOUNCE or DX spots!"
(The issue here is that ANNOUNCEMENTS are repeated at least once for each person currently on the cluster. That can be a hundred or more messages for each announcement, blocking other activity on the system until they are all received and acknowledged.)
"Wait until you get the call right before you make the putout. Do a SH/DX before you make a putout to be sure that somebody hasn't put it out while your attention was on the quarry."
"Don't wait for a contest weekend before you learn how to use the network."
"In general, during contests you should only use the system to putout or receive DX spots."
"If you are calling CQ in a contest and a rare one answers you, resist the temptation to let everyone know with a putout. If it's REALLY rare, put it out for the search-and-pounce group, but be sure to use a generic frequency (7000, 28500, etc) and add something in the comment field like "answered CQ", so that all the rest of us won't go spinning down the dial only to find YOU calling CQ."
"The definition of 'common, not worth putting out' is a little different during a contest. A good example is EI. That's probably not worth putting out during the rest of the year, but during a contest there are usually not too many of them around."
"Use SH/DX/1 [prefix] to check whether a 'quasi-rare' station has already been put out (the '1' limits the load on your node by only finding the most recent putout). Similarly, use SH/DX/1 10 to see whether others have reported 10 opening to wherever by putting out a common call."
"Don't use the system during a contest to put out spots on the opposite mode, at least until AK1A changes the software. It's confusing."
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