N0KTA Packet Radio Node

N0KTA is the Wichita, KS node; see Central Kansas Packet Radio for more information on getting started with systems in the area.

This node runs a Kantronics TNC, and will be fairly typical of such nodes that you may see. It could be a useful example even if you aren’t in Kansas.


To connect to this node, you will tell your TNC to connect to KSMLV. Most TNCs will do this with the command C KSMLV – the C is short for CONNECT.

Upon connecting, you will see:

  Welcome to the KSMLV K-Net node.  Press ENTER for commands.

At this point, you’re connected and the node is ready for your commands.

Gathering Information

Let’s see a bit of information the node can give us. We’ll start by typing ? for a list of commands.


  BYE       BBS       CONNECT   CQ        HELP      INFO      LINKS     MHEARD

Recently-Heard Stations

That’s quite a few, and some of them aren’t terribly relevant. Let’s start with the MHEARD command, which will tell you which stations N0KTA has recently heard. A heard station is just a station it’s monitored traffic from. Note that you can type a whole word, or just the uppercase letters in it for a command. Let’s try it:

That’s the system saying it wasn’t us to be more specific: let’s give it a port name as it wants.

  K0VRZ      12/12/10 17:36:31
  W0ON       12/12/10 19:09:03
  WB0LFH     12/13/10 23:49:54
  AJ5BS      12/16/10 05:26:39
  KR0L-7     12/16/10 19:40:28
  KB0EFQ     12/16/10 19:43:47
  KR0L-14    12/16/10 19:52:17
  NEWBBS     12/16/10 20:39:47
  K0HNC      12/17/10 02:14:47
  KA0ZIS     12/17/10 21:14:18
  KR0L-1     12/17/10 21:41:05
  N0KTA      12/17/10 21:45:13
  W0BZN      12/17/10 21:49:16
  KR0L-2     12/17/10 21:51:07
  N6ZOP      12/17/10 21:51:47
  W0BZN-2    12/17/10 21:52:52
  KSNEW      12/17/10 21:53:32
  KR0L       12/17/10 21:53:33
  KR0L-15    12/17/10 21:53:34

That’s a lot of stations. The most recent ones are at the bottom of the list. One thing to note: a station ending in -15 or -14 is one that is probably being relayed via another node and may not be in direct reach. There are often other stations in range as well, but this gives you an idea.

Connecting to a remote station

Let’s connect to the Newton node:

  KSMLV:N0KTA} Attempting downlink to W0BZN
  KSMLV:N0KTA} Connected to W0BZN
  #KSNEW:W0BZN-7} Welcome to W0BZN network node

And now you’re connected to Newton, just like that! You can type BYE when done to disconnect from both nodes.

Connecting to the BBS

To connect to the BBS, you can just type BBS; this is a convenience shortcut for instead connecting to MLVBOX. You can’t usually connect from a node to another service on the same radio, so this simply for your convenience.


When done, just type BYE.

NET/ROM VHF and Internet Nodes and Information

You can, of course, connect from node to node, run MHEARD on them, and figure out how to get to where you want to go via nodes. But why not let the computers figure that out for you? That’s what NET/ROM is for. Nodes that understand NET/ROM – not all do, but W0BZN and N0KTA do – will periodically broadcast information about what services they have. What’s more, they’ll broadcast information about the nodes they can connect to with NET/ROM, and the nodes those nodes can connect to, and so forth. This lets the computer figure out how to hop between nodes for you.

Let’s see what NET/ROM can do on N0KTA.

Gathering NET/ROM Information

Let’s first see what systems we have NET/ROM information from. This is going to be a subset of the MHEARD output: the list of stations we have heard AND have given us NET/ROM information.

  KSMLV:N0KTA} Routes:
    1 KR0L-2 70 2
    1 W0BZN-2 70 2

We see that the system has information from KR0L-2 and W0BZN-2. This information is sort of FYI, but now it’s on to the real guts of information: the NODES command.

  KSMLV:N0KTA} Nodes:
  GSLBOX:KR0L-3      KSGSL:KR0L-2       KSNEW:W0BZN-2      NEWBBS:W0BZN-3

NET/ROM systems publish aliases that you use to connect to them. This system lists an alias, a colon, and the callsign that published it. You can see the Newton node coming in: KSNEW:W0BZN-2. You can also see GSLBOX:KR0L-3 and KSGSL:KR0L-2.

Connecting to a NET/ROM Node

To connect to a NET/ROM node, you use the C command, just like with any other; the computer figures out the best port for you. And you use the alias. So, you could connect to Newton with C KSNEW, or to the Newton BBS with C NEWBBS.

Tower and location information

Is on the Central Kansas Packet Radio page.

For an introduction, take a look at the Packet Radio and Kansas Amateur Radio pages.