PACKET RADIO: Forwarding Restrictions
Steve Wolf, W8IZ@W8IZ.#NEOH.OH.USA.NA
(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
ALL@EVERYWHERE to EVERYONE@ALLOVER)
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
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.
STATE OF THE FORWARDING
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.
WHERE ARE WE AT NOW?
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.