Using the Wisconsin Network - Part 16

by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

Last time we traveled our Wisconsin network, our discussion centered on sending a message from a typical BBS you would find on our packet network - the "MSYS" BBS. While this type of BBS provides the usual services associated with any other BBS, it also can be used as a node in many instances. In fact, it is pressed into that service in many parts of our state.

MSYS nodes use the very same computer to operate the BBS as the Node. The call-sign will have a different SSID than the BBS (commonly it will be -5).There is also a bit of a price to be paid for operating a sophisticated BBS and Node on one computer. MSYS Nodes operate a little more slowly than a dedicated network nodes, but they do get the job done.

MSYS BBS's will function as a node in a couple of ways, as non-networked or networked. As a non-networked node, you will find that it operates in much the same way that a K-Node operates. If you have a Kantronics TNC, or use one as a local "Wild Node", you pretty much know how it operates. The basic commands of the K-Node style MSYS node will look something like this:

Bye BBS Connect Help Info JustHeard Knode Ports Talk Users

Depending on the way that the BBS and node are configured, you may see more of these commands, or perhaps fewer. This is a typical arrangement. The most obvious differences are shown in the JustHeard, Knode, Ports and Talk commands.

The JustHeard command will give you a heard list, broken down by port number. For example, a typical JustHeard list might look something like this:

On BBS         Port 0         Port 1        Post 2      Port 3        Port 4
W9XBD        KB9XTL      NU9UR       W2XBS    KX9TC      DL0MEN

Note that there are a couple of odd things going on there. Just as normal network nodes have more than one port, an MSYS node can, too. Notice, too that the BBS is counted as a port. You can usually connect to the BBS from the node by typing BBS when you connect to the node.

Also notice DL0MEN on port 4. Yes, this type of node may have several radios hooked to it, and one of them might very well be an HF radio.

The Ports command will give you a listing of just what port does what. For example, you may see a listing like this when you invoke this command:

Port 0 is 145.090
Port 1 is 446.375
Port 2 is 145.030
Port 3 is 446.200
Port 4 is 14.105

The Knode command is similar to the Nodes command you will find on networked nodes, but only lists known Kantronics Knodes. No network nodes will be shown.

The Talk command will connect you to the BBS operator's keyboard, so you can talk to him or her. When you issue this command, you will see this:

Paging SYSOP for 60 seconds.

If the sysop is prepared to answer your call, he or she will break in and converse. If not, you will be returned to the node and will see the prompt:

Node Cmd?

The remainder of the commands are the same as a standard network node, with one exception. The Connect command is different because of the number of ports involved. In the example above, we know from issuing the Ports command that Port 2 is 145.030 Mhz. If you wish to connect to W2XBS on that frequency, you would alter the standard connect command to include the port number. It would appear as:


If your station was on port 1, you would use C1 for the connect command. Networked MSYS nodes operate in the same way as the usual "TheNet" style node. The Help command will return the same information as the K-node version, with a couple of additions.

These are Nodes and Routes. They will give you the same results as "TheNet" type nodes. The Connect command shares some of the restrictions of the Knode, unless you are making a connection to another Network Node.

For example, if you find a node that you wish to connect to by using the Nodes command, you do not need to know what port it is on - it's automatic. If you intend to connect to a station that is not a node, you still need to add the port number after the C (or Connect). If you try to make a connection to a network node by using the port number along with the C, the MSYS node will make that connection as a standard "AX.25" connection. In other words, the node will behave as though it were a Knode, and you will loose the advantages of the network connection.

When in doubt as to the type of node, you can always issue the Help command. MSYS nodes will have a long and thorough help file that will list the valid commands and a short explanation of each. That wraps up our discussion of the node function of the MSYS BBS. Next time, we will do a "wrap-up" of loose ends concerning the BBS and Node operation of the MSYS BBS program.

On to Part 17 -  Tying up some loose ends with the MSYS BBS

Back to Part 15  - Sending personal and flood messages with the MSYS BBS

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