Using the Wisconsin Network - Part 6

by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

In Part 5 of our series, we started a journey from Green Bay to Milwaukee, and stopped our travels in Manitowoc. We saw the "Routes", "Nodes" and "Info" commands in action, and started to decipher the seemingly mysterious and cryptic node aliases. We found that the "Routes" is often a much better indicator of where a node goes than the "Nodes" command, and we also found it useful in avoiding unintended journeys onto LANs.

Last month we stopped our journey in Manitowoc. Some folks felt they were "stuck" there. Now really, if you looked around a little, Manitowoc is not such a bad place to be, is it? This part will find us moving on to Sheboygan. In addition to being a nice town, it also has an interesting nodestack.

And when we were in Manitowoc, our use of the "Routes" and "Info" commands told us that the 9600 baud backbone node in Sheboygan is #446SH:NF9R-9. So now we will connect to that node. Once connected to this node, which we know as a backbone node, we send the "R", or "Routes" command. Here is what we see (in abbreviated form):

#446SH:NF9R-9} Routes

   1 WISHEL:NF9R-8
   1 #SHEX:NF9R-6 1
   0 SHEBBS:NF9R 1
   0 #SHE2:NF9R-2 1
   0 #SHEB:NF9R-3
> 0 #446MT:N9GHE-9

Now let's look at the possibilities for continuing our journey via the "Backbone" nodes. Remember that backbone nodes generally have aliases starting with the # symbol. The SHEBBS is just what you'd think - The Sheboygan County Amateur Radio Club BBS. #SHEX does not seem to indicate much to us (but really does - it is a "Cross-Stack" Node). There appear to be 2 possibilities here. Let's try connecting to them in order - first, #SHE2.

Once connected, sending the "I" (Info) command tells us that this is a backbone node intended to connect us to the KR9S DX Cluster. DX'ers may want to stop right there, but we are headed to Milwaukee and this is clearly not the right route. So, we send the "B" (Bye) command and are returned to #446SH with the "Welcome Back" greeting. Now we try the other possibility, #SHEB and connect to it.

The "I" command will tell us that it is a 4800 baud link between Plymouth (near Sheboygan), and a node located in Slinger (near Milwaukee), #SLGB. If you have been looking at a state map, you have a good idea of the locations. So now we connect to #SLGB. The "R" Command will show (again, in abbreviated form):

#SLGB:WB9TYT-8} Routes


It appears that we have neared the end of our journey. If you connect up to each node and send the "Info" command, you will find out which ones are LAN nodes, and what frequency and area they serve. If you have been keeping track of the journey, you will have a record of what nodes have been used. The correct sequence of nodes thus far is:

WIGRB, #446GB, #446AG, #446MT, #446SH, #SHEB, #SLGB, and then the LAN Node (Either WISLG or WIMKE).

We have finally made the journey, and have used Backbone nodes between the LAN nodes. In our next installment, we will discover a few techniques that will insure a good connection without as much typing. We will also see how to deal with "Marginal" paths.

On to Part 7 -  Improving connections on marginal network paths

Back to Part 5  -  Beginning a mythical journey from Green Bay to Milwaukee

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