Using the Wisconsin Network - Part 29

by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

In the last two installments of our series, we have been discussing how to automate our packet mail system. You will recall that we discussed the general concepts at first, then looked at specific commands used in the set up a of a Paccomm Tiny-2 for this service. In this installment, we discuss how to set up another popular TNC model, the Kantronics KPC-3, for automated mail delivery and pick-up.

Users of other Kantronics TNCs may find that a lot of these commands are similar, if not the same. Do note that this TNC has been around a while, and there are a number of firmware revisions since the first one rolled out of the factory doors. For that reason, you should also double-check these commands against the ones in your manual. The commands I used are from a fairly recent firmware version of this TNC, version 6.0. Some older models may have a slightly different command set, and not all are capable of every feature. Of course, if you have read the last two parts of this series, you no doubt remember that you will have to consult your BBS sysop when configuring your station. Also read the other cautions in part 27 of this series. Now on to the meat of things.

You found out that setting up the Tiny-2 is fairly easy when it comes to your forwarding parameters. The KPC-3 on the other hand, requires a little more time and effort to set up. In exchange for this effort you get a few extra features (and some of them you may very well use). One special word of warning is required for KPC-3 users. This TNC has precious little memory available for the PBBS to start with, and certain features enabled, even less. You will have to perform a delicate balancing act with TNC memory management or live without certain features.

Perhaps the most prominent, and sometimes unused feature of this TNC is the KA-Node. In areas not served by a local network node, or distant from it may find this feature valuable. If you find that you are maintaining a KA-node for a user group of any size, you may want to re-evaluate your situation and change your strategy. Each KA-Node connection circuit requires 4K of memory, with a maximum of 6 circuits. If you use all 6, you have no mailbox to deal with at all.

Another feature requiring memory usage is the Remote access feature. This allows you to remotely manage your mailbox and TNC from another station. If you clear the MYREMOTE call-sign and RTEXT, you will not have to worry about this feature using memory. Of course, then you have no remote access.

All of this changes if you have additional memory (up to 512K) installed in the TNC. That is one option you have if you find that you are providing a lot of users with PBBS and KA-Node services. With all of that being said, let's look at the commands you will become familiar with:

HTEXT (text string)

This is your hierarchical address. Kantronics recommends that you set this to only part of your
            hierarchial address. For example, if your home BBS is WX9APR.#CWI.WI.USA.NOAM then enter

MYPbbs (call-sign with SSID)

This is the call-sign of your mailbox, usually your call with a -1 after it.

PBbs (5 or more)

This allocates 1K blocks of memory to the Mailbox in the TNC. If you have a memory expansion kit in your TNC, you may set this much higher. The default is 5, meaning 5K, which is about 2 printed pages' worth.

PBForward (call-sign) (Every) or (After) (time interval)

Usage requires you specify a call-sign of the BBS used in forwarding, and a the word EVERY or AFTER and a time in hours. This tells the TNC to try a forward session to the BBS at a certain time interval. You might wish to keep this set to every 3 hours or so to avoid tying up your LAN frequency.


Now you get a taste of BBS Sysop-ing. This sets the TNC to hold all messages so that you can review them before they are forwarded. FCC Rules hold the originator and first forwarder (this is YOU!) responsible for message content.

PBRevers ON

This allows your TNC to request a collection of your mail right after it has finished forwarding your outgoing mail.

The following commands can be set differently than the recommendations with care. They will depend on your operating habits, but you will still have to look at them.


Sets the maximum number of users of your station to 6 (5 connections plus a Mailbox user). If you find you rarely type to more than one person at a time, you might try 3.


This is the number of converse connections available. Again, you may set this lower to conserve memory.

The next few commands deal with the KA-Node. If you have no use for it, or seldom use it, then you can turn it off with these commands, also to save memory (see the above discussion on memory).


Turns the "wild node" function off.

NText (text string)

Here, (text string) is the connection text that people receive when connecting to your node, if it is enabled. I recommend turning it off unless it is needed. Therefore, clear this text out.
NUMnodes 0

This shuts off the KA-node function of the TNC. Again, it is best to turn this off unless it provides a regular service.

The next 3 commands can be set to your preference, but there are some important considerations in setting them.

PBKillfwd (ON) or (OFF)

When you turn this off, all personal and NTS traffic messages will remain in you mailbox even after they have been forwarded. It is best to keep this ON to save memory space.


When this function is turned on, it prevents a message from being addressed to anyone other than you.

PBHeader (ON) or (OFF)

When you turn this to ON, the mailbox will also store the routing headers along with the message. This takes memory, and some messages have a half-page of lines with this information. If you have the memory, it is nice. Turn it off if you need memory.

Naturally, if you are not familiar with the operation of the mailbox, you might wish to "practice" with it. And always, follow the recommendations of your local BBS sysop when setting any parameters.

On to Part 30 - Setting up an AEA TNC for mail forwarding

Back to Part 28  - Setting up a Paccomm Tiny-2 TNC for mail forwarding

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