Very basic guide to GB7RVB and what you can do with it
GB7RVB is classed by the RSGB as a packet mailbox, a packet node which also has a BBS. The node operates under a Notice of Variation (NoV) on my own licence M0RVB. As such, it runs all the time and does not need me to be in attendance. But what does it do and what can you do with it?
(I’m also learning so this is very much sketchy information!)
Packet radio was once all the rage but dropped out of favour. Much has been written on this but it is making a comeback driven, in the UK anyway by a number of groups. As there is nothing around here in Leeds I decided to build a node and get the NoV. There are now many packet radio stations around the world. A key thing here is they can interconnect.
GB7RVB currently has no RF links but does have an AXIP link to GB7LCN in Lincoln where the sysop (owner / operator) kindly provides email routing and access to other nodes on the network. And of course not all nodes are equal, some have games and a variety of other applications over and above the basic offerings of Chat and BBS.
GB7RVB has three ways to connect; gb7rvb aka gb7rvb-0 connects directly to the BBS; gb7rvb-4 connects directly to Chat; and gb7rvb-7 is the node itself. When you connect to GB7RVB-7 you get the main menu by sending a question mark, and from there you send whatever option you want to access, for example CHAT:
LDSBBS:GB7RVB-7} CHAT BBS CONNECT BYE INFO NODES PORTS ROUTES USERS MHEARD
chat LDSBBS:GB7RVB-7} Connected to CHAT [BPQChatServer-220.127.116.11] GB7RVB's Chat Server. … /b 73 de GB7RVB Returned to Node LDSBBS:GB7RVB-7
In CHAT, /b brings you back to the node and /quit gets you out completely and closes the connection. Currently the chat function is not connected to other servers but this is possible. I just haven’t implemented it yet. So, for now chat is just local.
Of the other commands, PORTS lists what ports are on the node, in my case there is a VHF port which connects to the radio on 144.950MHz, a AXIPUDP port which is the link to GB7LCN via our broadband connection, and a telnet port which is for local management though some nodes allow telnet access more generally which can be a useful way into the packet network if you have no RF access.
MHEARD, which needs a port number e.g. MHEARD 1 will show who the node has heard on that port.
USERS shows who is connected now.
ROUTES shows what connections the node has, in my case this will only show GB7LCN-7
NODES is the interesting one as it shows what nodes this node knows of directly:
LDSBBS:GB7RVB-7} Nodes CASDON:GB7NWL DAZBBS:SA6DAZ-3 DAZCHT:SA6DAZ-4 DAZNET:SA6DAZ-7 GAMES:PE1RRR-6 LCN:GB7LCN-7 LCNBBS:GB7LCN LCNCHT:GB7LCN-4 LDSBBS:GB7RVB LDSCHT:GB7RVB-4 NWLBBS:GB7NWL-2 RIJEN:PE1RRR-7 RRRBBS:PE1RRR-1 RRRCHT:PE1RRR-4 RRRCNV:PE1RRR-11 RRRDXC:PE1RRR-9 RRRNET:PE1RRR-5 RRRRMS:PE1RRR-8 RRRWAL:PE1RRR-2 VARC:MB7NHA WWW:PE1RRR-10
You can connect to these other nodes by using the CONNECT command, which can be abbreviated to just a c:
c pe1rrr-6 LDSBBS:GB7RVB-7} Connected to GAMES:PE1RRR-6 *** Connected to GAMES …
The above is an example of a specific offering on that remote node, but as a further example connecting to pe1rrr-7, i.e. the node itself you will see it has a many other options above the default BBS and CHAT:
RIJEN:PE1RRR-7} BBS CHAT DXC GAMES KEYS NASA NEWS NS RMS SATS TELSTAR WALL WWCONV WWW CONNECT BYE INFO NODES PORTS ROUTES USERS MHEARD
One final note, just as you can connect to gb7rvb-7 and then to another node, when you are on that other node you can use the NODES command to find yet more nodes and connect further. But you can easily get lost! Some, hopefully eventually all of those links will go via RF somewhere.
This is the mail and bulletin system. You can send and receive email, though currently only within the packet network itself, and you can send and read bulletins (bulls). Not all bulletins arrive at GB7RVB, for example ‘humor’, ‘equake’, and ‘today’ bulls are rejected.
For email, your address is your-callsign@GB7RVB.#19.GBR.EURO e.g. M0RVB@GB7RVB.#19.GBR.EURO - it is not case sensitive.
There are many BBS commands to make life easy, I will look for a document to link to rather than put them all here.