Using the Wisconsin Network - Part 8

By Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

In the last part, we talked about using a variation of the "Nodes" command in order to determine the route to another node. We talked about "segmenting" the packet circuit so that the weakest link in the radio path is made stronger. This makes the overall circuit stronger, and faster. This month we will take a little time to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about travelling the network. Names and Node aliases have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty!

Q. We have a network node called "WIBRAT" here in Bratsville, and a friend of mine operates a Kantronics node in his TNC called "WISAUS". I can connect to the KA-Node WISAUS from my station, and can connect to the "WIBRAT" node from his KA-Node. However, I cannot connect to WISAUS from WIBRAT. Niether can anyone else, so I know it is not my station. The WIBRAT node won't even try, it just says "Invalid Call".

A. This is a peculiar situation, but easily explained. You see, the WIBRAT node is a network node, and only recognizes other networked nodes as being able to use aliases. KA-Nodes, even if they have an alias, are not networked nodes. They do not know how to speak the same language. There is hope, however. If your KA-Node operator changes the call of the KA-Node to his standard call-sign with a different SSID, you will be able to make a connection. Most KA-Nodes are factory set to have the node as -7. For example, if I had a Kantronics TNC and I elected to run a KA-Node, it would be KB9ALN-7. I suggest that people stick with the default here. It brings uniformity. While you can't make a network out of KA-Nodes, they can be a help in remote areas that do not have a convenient network note.

Q. What is an X-1J4? We recently had a change in our local node, and now the H command does not give me the "Heard" list.

A. TheNet X-1J4 is a slightly different version of the familiar "TheNet" nodes you are used to. Why have people changed? Because it offers a whole lot more features and capabilities, and a whole lot more network control. By the way, your heard list is still there. It is now the "M" command (or MHeard). It is a better heard list, that tells you how long ago a station was heard. The "H" command, if you haven't noticed, gives a "Help" listing. In future editions of this series, we will explore TheNet X-1J and newer nodes and modes in depth.

Q. When I connect to my friend in Beavisville, about 100 miles away, it seems to take forever to get my packets through. Funny thing is, it shows that I am connected to him fairly quickly. Why does this happen?

A. This is indeed peculiar, but easily explained. You have a weak link somewhere in your circuit. The reason why you seem to be connected right away is because a connect request is a very short packet. Remember, short packets go through the network much faster than long ones. Try "Segmenting" the circuit, and see if that helps. See part 7 for info on this.

On to Part 9 -  A look at TheNet X-1J series nodes

Back to Part 7  -  Segmenting your connection curcuit - how and why

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