by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN
Happy New Year! I hope that yours was an uneventful one with no Y2K troubles. And I hope that you continue to have a safe and happy New Year, full of peace and prosperity.
In December, the packet community was active, and we have seen an arrival, and a few departures.
First, the arrival of a new node. The new backbone node in Door County, #446DC: W9AIQ-9 is on the air! Jim, WA9ARB sent me an E- Mail note announcing the birth of the new node, and so far, it works great. It will help to provide a more reliable link to the Door peninsula LAN nodes.
Previous to this, the two Door county nodes, W1DC:W9AIQ-1 and WISTB.W9AIQ-7 were only accessible through the LAN node in Algoma, WIALG:KE9LZ-8. Along with the good news, there is a bit of bad news connected with the Door county node system.
It seems that the WISTB site was broken into and the radio stolen. This leaves the people in the northern areas of Door county without a node temporarily. That makes for an awful long path back to WIDC, located in the southern part of the county. The Door County Amateur Radio Club plans to replace the radio and re-activate the node. I'll report here when WISTB once again lights up the air.
Another departure also makes the news, however this one is more voluntary in nature. Hawk, WA9KEC is taking his BBS off the air after 15 years of operation. He sent a packet message notifying everyone of the BBS closure, which was effective as of New Year's Eve. Hawk states the reason for the closure was that his interests have changed, and he wishes to move on to other things. The packet operators and BBS operators who have benefited from his 15 years of BBS Sysop'ing owe him a big thanks and best wishes in whatever endeavors he undertakes.
Another BBS and a large associated node system will also be closing. Left, N9QIP notifies us that he has decided to pull the plug due to a low volume of messages and a lack of time. If you have read messages on your local BBS, there's a good chance that you have seen Len's call-sign in the forwarding path header.
Len's BBS did not see a large user base, but it's presence has been key to mail forwarding, especially in the southern parts of the state. At a time when there was very little of a pipeline to get messages in and out of Wisconsin. Len was there with his BBS and node system to get traffic flowing. He now feels that there are enough alternate paths and the investment in time is not worth the results.
Along with the BBS, I mentioned nodes. There were two differing systems, and as I mentioned earlier, there were quite a few that Lea constructed to support mail forwarding. These also will be gone, and the changes have already been seen. As of this writing, a few have been deactivated, and as soon as Len can find the time to visit all of the associated sites, the remainder will go silent.
Along with the nodes used for mail forwarding, the status of the ARES nodes that Len constructed will change, although exactly how is not yet known. Some of these were constructed by Len at his own expense, and they will be either sold to the highest bidder, or donated to responsible entities if the situation is favorable. It is Len's hope that they remain on the air so that packet connectivity to the Division of Emergency Management in Madison -remains possible for ARES and RACES groups within reach of the ARES network on 145.610 MHz.
Note that some of these nodes were owned and operated by Len, but not all of them. Some were owned by ARES organizations, and their status is not immediately known. One can assume that they will remain on the air, as well.
Len deserves thanks for his efforts to keep mail forwarding alive, in Wisconsin at a time when mail forwarding was getting awfully tough. We hope he fares well in his future endeavors and takes pride in the work he has accomplished for a lot of packet operators in Wisconsin.
One additional note on this. Many of you may know that Len has been associated with the Wisconsin Interstate Network. This organization has been active in the packet world, and you may recognize Len as one of it's most visible members. Take note that this departure of Len from the packet radio scene does not mean that W.I.N. is gone-the Wisconsin Interstate Network does more than involve itself in Packet Radio. It also supports an extensive voice repeater network, which will still be here, unchanged.
Len's departure will mean that some areas in the state, particularly the south-central and southwestern areas, may find a lack of nodes making some packet connections difficult. In a few cases, mail forwarding will become more difficult. WAPR is now trying to fill in these gaps and help keep the Wisconsin packet network operational. Additionally, WAPR is committed to making certain that packet connectivity is maintained with the State Hamshack in Madison. As of this writing, we are working with the affected parties in an effort to see that this happens. We'll keep you posted on future developments concerning this situation.
This pretty well sums up the news for this month. Until next time, 73 from Andy.
Linux and Packet Radio Part 4 by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN
In part 3 of our mini-series, we discussed the two methods you can use to put packet radio on your system with AX.25. One is kernel-based, meaning that AX.25 is built into the operating system. The other is application-based, which meant that all AX. 25 operation is done by a program without any unusual aid from the operating system.
Currently, the kernel-based AX.25 system is in the process of a re-write, and major changes are in the offing. Rather than give outdated information, we will be discussing an application program that will give you AX.25 capabilities - JNOS. Because of the large amount of information we'll present here, it will require presenting it in two parts.
JNOS is one of the most popular packet radio programs, particularly with BBS operators. Don't let this scare you, though. It can be scaled back to suit your needs. You don't have to operate a big, powerful station if you don't want to. Although the capability is there, should you decide to go in that direction later.
A Tiny Bit of History
JNOS is a packet radio program that was based on a program originally written by Phil Karn KA9Q, called NOS. It was originally written to run on the MS-DOS operating system, and was quite a change from what was available at the time. It was the first widely-available program that brought TCP/IP capabilities to amateur radio. It is also the basis for a number of other programs that have NOS in their name, JNOS included.
JNOS was originally customized by Johan Reinalda, WG7J. He later turned development over to James Dugal, N5KNX. It was later adapted to Linux through a cooperative effort with Brian Lantz KO4KS, the author of TNOS. JNOS has undergone very many refinements and enhancements over the years reflected in may versions. The. version mat we will be working with is the most current one that I know to be available, version 1.11d.
JNOS is available from a number, of sources, and in a couple of different forms: One form is the source code, that you compile by yourself into a binary executable program. Compiling a working program is no problem for the experienced Linux user and allows one to custom-tailor a version. For most people, another method is preferable. That is the Red Hat Package Manager file (RPM File), put together by Jose Marte. HI8GN. One word of caution, however. This RPM is file is specifically constructed for Red Hat Linux version 5.2. By the time you read this, newer versions of the RPM file may be available for use with Red Hat Linux 6.0 and 6.2. While the installation process may be slightly different for newer versions of Red Hat, the configuration of this version of JNOS will remain unchanged. Sources for JNOS, the RPM package manager, the JNOS RPM file itself and the documentation package (it is not included in the RPM file) are listed at the end of this article.
Instruction on the installation process are documented fairly well in both methods of installation, and we do not have the space to cover that here. We will start by presuming that you have JNOS installed and are ready to configure it.
Before you actually start configuration, you need to know a few things about the capabilities of JNOS and how to manage them. JNOS uses a system of servers and clients to support particular functions. For example, JNOS has a World Wide Web sever available, if you wish to use the capability. You are not forced into using JNOS as a "super-server BBS" if you don't want to. In order to determine what you may need in your system, it is helpful to discuss what these servers are and what they do. Some of them only relate to using TCP/IP over packet radio, and to use them, you will need an IP address different from that of your Linux host. Here's a list of servers and clients, with a short description of what they do:
This one you'll need. This is the AX.25 subsystem
This allows people to participate in a "roundtable", much like an Internet chat room, requires telnet and an IP address.
This starts a process called a Domain Name Server. This matches a hostname (like kb9aln.ampr.org) to an IP address. Not needed if you do not plan to use TCP/IP, and then it is only needed if you plan to provide this service to other TCP/IP stations. You will need an IP address when using it.
This allows people who connect to your station to pull a short information file on other users of the system, and allows you to do the same on other systems. If you plan on using TCP/IP on packet, you'll want to turn on this one. Requires, you to also start the telnet server, and have an IP address.
This allows you to send and receive files without the aid of YAPP, 7Plus, or other file transfer programs. Not essential, but very convenient. Only works with TCP/IP stations, and you need an IP address to use it.
This allows you to forward packet mail as a BBS. Again, not essential, but pretty nice if you send out a lot of mail to a BBS or to other folk's TNC mailboxes.
This is a web page server. It does not have a client associated with it. Not necessary, of course. 1 recommend you do not start tins untif you get totallyfemiliar with it and wish to experiment with something new. Requires telnet be started as well, and requires an IP address.
Used optionally in the smtp system. Not essential in most cases.
The Net/Rom (TheNet) node system. Don't turn this on unless you are already a node operator, or are going to be one.
This is the internet-style mail handling system. Not essential if all you plan to do is exchange BBS and mailbox type mail. It is customary to turn it on when you run TCP/IP, and awfully convenient for automated delivery of mail to TCP/IP stations.
This allows you to remotely log on to a computer, and accept logins from remote computers. Users generally need a user name and password, similar to logging into a Linux computer. If you're running TCP/IP, this is one you will want. And you will need an IP address.
A special form of telnet that does not require the login process, and allows you to chat keyboard-to-keyboard with other TCP/IP users. As with all other TCP/IP functions, you need an IP address different than the one assigned to your Linux system.
That is all we have time and space for this time out. While you are waiting for the next installment, check out these sources of information and programs;
To obtain JNOS sources and it's document packages: ftp://pc.usl.edu/pub/ham/jnos
To obtain me RPM version of JNOS: http://lnx.hi8gnampr.org/pub/Linux/HamRadio/jnos
To obtain the Red Hat Package Manager:
Until next time, 73 from Andy
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