Using the Wisconsin Network - Part 38

by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

The last two parts of our series have found us exploring the Internet Gateway. We will conclude with a catch-up of miscellaneous topics in a "Q&A" format.

Q - I saw in part 37 of this series that one can send binary files if they are encoded. However, the sysop of the gateway I use frowns on this practice. Why?

A - The reason is that he does not want to spend his time trying to decode and view every encoded message that goes through his system. The same rules regarding regular packet mail forwarding apply to the internet when Amateur Radio is involved. The originator of the message, as well as the first forwarding station are legally responsible for the content of the message. Therefore, a good gateway operator will want to keep a close eye on things, it is his license on the line. Obviously, you are using the gateway at the pleasure of the Sysop, so it is reasonable for him to limit encoding mail messages - it does take a lot of time to make sure their content is legal.

Q - What should I do if I get SPAM mail at a gateway?

A - If you are in the process of reading it, stop immediately. If you must do a hard disconnect, so be it. Don't kill the message yet! Then contact the gateway Sysop and inform him or her of the situation. The Sysop will probably want to look at the message to see if the point of origin can be determined. If this can be done, a Sysop can generally set a trap for that originator and block out future mail delivery attempts from that internet host.

Q - I have been trying to mail a friend of mine, and every time I try, the gateway says "Bad host" and won't let me leave a message. What is happening here?

A - Chances are, you have something wrong with the way you typed the address. E-mail addresses are structured like this:

[email protected]

The username is your friend's internet mail name. The optional computername is followed by a network name, then the domain. Valid domains are org, net, com, gov,  mil, tv, biz and a few others you will be seeing shortly.. If your friend has an internet provider in a country other than the US, you will probably see a country code in it. Internet addresses are in most cases entirely lower case. Occasionally you will see a username in Capital letters. If this is the case, then type ONLY that portion in capital letters. Pay special attention to the rest of the address - That is what the gateway says is wrong with the address. What it is saying is "There appears to be no such computer known by that name on the internet". So you need to triple check the address, and correct it.

Q - I sent a message to a friend and got another message later titled "Failed Mail" from "Delivery Subs". I did not ask to have subs delivered, what is this?

A - Nobody called up a sub shop as a prank - this is a message from the mail delivery subsystem telling you that your message was refused by the destination computer. The most frequent reason is an incorrect user name in the To: address. Another reason could be that the destination computer was not able to be reached. It may be because of a network failure, or the destination computer was temporarily off-line. Included in the message will be a notice that the mail system keep trying for 3 to 5 days. If this is the case, wait and see if you get another message telling you it had failed and was deleted. If you do not get this message, then you should try mailing again.

Hint: If you get one of these messages, save it to a file on your computer. That way, if it fails completely, you can re-edit it and upload it later in another message. That is, if you do find out where the problem is.

Q - What is an AXIP link? What do I have to do to use it?

A - AXIP is a way to send the AX.25 protocol that we all use over the internet. An AXIP link will operate as though you are in direct communication with another AX.25 station. This allows network nodes to function over the internet in the same manner that they operate on radio. While not particularly efficient, it does work and provides a lot of AX.25 users with an easy way to access remote Net/Rom nodes over the internet. If you connect up to a gateway and connect to a remote node, you are using an AXIP link. There is nothing special to do, an AXIP link generally appears transparent to the user. If you know how to use a regular networked node through the internet, you know what to do. If you have not ever used a node, check out the first few parts of this series to familiarize yourself with one.

That's all we have space for this time.

On to Part 39 - A look at Flexnet

Back to Part 37  - Internet Gateways - Part 3

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Back to the WAPR home page  - Look at something else