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
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.
Let’s see a bit of information the node can give us. We’ll start by
? for a list of commands.
? KSMLV:N0KTA} TYPE 'HELP' OR ? FOLLOWED BY COMMAND FOR MORE INFORMATION BYE BBS CONNECT CQ HELP INFO LINKS MHEARD NODES PORTS ROUTES STATS USERS SYSOP
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.
mheard KSMLV:N0KTA} 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:
C KSNEW 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
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
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.
routes 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
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
Tower and location information
Is on the Central Kansas Packet Radio page.