PACKET RADIO: Forwarding Restrictions


(This text from the W8IZ packet radio bulletin

board. It's formatted to fit a 80 character screen.)


FROM: Steve, NO8M

SUBJECT: PBBS Forwarding

(... or ...

Why We Can NOT Forward


This is about the NCARC Packet Bulletin Board and forwarding.

This is a who, what, where, when, why and how of our forwarding.

It is also a canned message as to why we can not forward our

bulletins to each and every station that decides to run bulletin

board software.


The NC PBBS was set up originally on 145.09. We moved there

because the Local Area Network (that is "LAN") frequency for

Cleveland, 145.05, was far too crowded. We did not choose 145.01

as a port because forwarding was done there. We chose 145.09

because no one was there. Our users could have a nice, quiet,

clear channel to use a PBBS on. There were no (shhhh!) computers



When computers forward, they go about it with unlimited

patience, incredible determination and it never files a grievance

on working conditions. It just sits there and plugs away. It

tries and tries and tries and tries.

When a user tries to share a channel with a couple of bulletin

board computers forwarding, there is bound to be a problem. The

silly human will get madder and madder about how slow things get.

The computers just plug on. The human will try to adjust the

station to meet the congestion. The computer will just plug on.

The frustration will build and build until the silly human will

throw up their hands in frustration. The computer could care less.

(This is the reason you will see hate mail about some user or

another getting flustered over their attempted use of an HF

forwarding channel. Throughput is much slower on HF and the

frustration level is MUCH higher. Every once in a while some user

will complain about NO8M on Pactor. Tenacious bugger, that NC PBBS


North Coast obtained a KPC-4 dual port TNC and set up a port

on 223.07. This was the Northern Ohio Forwarding frequency. What

had been on 145.01 was gradually moved over to 223.7. Here was a

frequency that could be used and the users would not be affected.

The computers could slug it out with each other. 223.7 is a

FORWARDING CHANNEL. The users don't have to fit in between the


THE MOVE OFF 145.09 TO 145.73

145.09 is used as a LAN channel in Mansfield. Most of the

users and a good deal of DX Packet Cluster activity takes place on

145.09. K8EIW put up a node (MFD) there to help those users. When

the band was up, we sometimes heard each other.

For this reason we bee-bopped around two meters until landing

on 145.73. Now, FINALLY, we had a quiet place!

Well, we did until MERCER County, PA decided to erect a bunch

of alligator forwarding computers on our channel. They do not hear

us and apparently could care less. We are getting wiped out by S-9

signals at times. I am not sure what they are using for radios but

perhaps 160 watts will get by their tube sets. Requests to them when

they first came on yield claim that their frequency was "coordinated".

So much for coordination, eh?


Most of our forwarding is in and out to the stations around

us. We handle western OH, IN, IL, WI, MI and VE traffic by sending

it west to N8ITP in Elyria. We send all our easterly stuff to

WA8BXN in Kirtland. Our southerly bound stuff goes to WB8BII in

Cuyahoga Falls. We are direct with a few other BBSs.

The stuff for far away (other than Europe and Central/South

America) goes to WA8BXN. Mike has ports on 80, 40 and 20. If it

will not go out there, and it might not if band conditions are bad,

it goes to WB8BII and then south.


We average hundred of messages a day. Most of those are

either messages that are forwarded to other PBBSs or flood

bulletins forwarded to all the PBBSs we forward to. That is a

tremendous amount of air time. Almost 100% of the day, NC is

forwarding something to somewhere. Try a "U". You will almost

always see "Forward" listed as one of the processes. You may also

see "$ BBS" in the list. That means that another PBBS is

forwarding into us. Often, you will see both processes at the same


We very rarely are caught up. Do a LB (list bulletins) and

you will see the bulletins that are still to be forwarded marked

with a "B$". The ones which have been fully forwarded are marked

with a "B#". We are always behind getting stuff to Haiti.


Weeeeelllll, there have been many new PBBS systems appearing.

Each would like to handle all the bulletins. Every PBBS wants

every bulletin that is sent to any route ... they all want


The problem begins with time. It takes time to forward and

eventually you run out of time. You end up taking more time for

forwarding than you have and your mail (personal mail, not

bulletins) begins to get delayed.

The next problem comes when you run out of frequency. This

happens when there are just too many stations on at once. You run

out of time on the forwarding channel. This is where we are at on

223.7. We are out of time. At 2000 hours we end up having

difficulty holding a connect to WA8BXN. Our 223.7 station is

optimized for that path and loosing that connect signals a major

problem. The problem is here.

As PBBSs inside a LAN become busy, they hesitate to forward to

other PBBSs. The PBBS that wants the traffic sent looks out from

the congested area. Perhaps they are able to find another PBBS

further out that will send the bulletins. Now, the traffic on the

channel is doubled. One set of bulletins comes in to the normal

PBBS and another set to the new PBBS. Bang! Congestion.


As stated above, we do not have the time or the frequency to

support further forwarding. We are topped off. Nothing is left.

There ain't no more!

That is why we can not forward to every computer that gets a

copy of MSYS. Even if it was not hurting us, it would further

degrade the network.


The future appears fairly clear. We need to establish a

closed, high speed forwarding link between the major NEOH PBBS

systems. This will allow us to continue serving the area without

worrying about forwarding on the LANs. Either the 223.7 port will

be moved, boosted and closed or a real 440 port installed.