A Brief Packet Cluster Tutorial

Adapted from the WU3V East Coast Megacluster

[Command Reference][Telnet Access to DX Packets Clusters][NG3K Home]

A cluster system is a DXer's desktop utility. The system has many commands to provide DX information, mail, bulletins/files, and informational databases. You won't need to know all of them to make the network work for you. Following is a introduction to the ones a DXer should know to best benefit from a DX Cluster.

When you logged on you probably went through a registration dialogue asking for your name and QTH. If you were not and plan on returning to utilize the network, it is normally asked that you provide your name, QTH, and latitude/longitude of your station. Here's how:

  1. To enter your name, type SET/NAME [name], e.g. SET/NAME Chuck.
  2. To enter your QTH (or full address/telephone), type SET/QTH [qth] as in this example: SET/QTH Kensington 20895, Montgomery County.
  3. To use the features which give the DX station heading, and sunrise-sunset times, you need to enter your latitude and longitude. Enter for example, SET/LOCATION 39 2 N 77 7 W.
  4. To verify the information entered, type in SHOW/STATION [yourcall], i.e. SHOW/STATION K2YMD. Using some other user's callsign, you can get their station information.

The most important item of the network is the sending and receiving of DX information. To see what DX has been sent, type SHOW/DX. This will list the last 5 DX annoucements. If you're interested in one band, say 10 meters, type SHOW/DX 10. To find spots of a particular call, use: SHOW/DX [callsign], e.g. SHOW DX XZ1N. To send a DX annoucement, the format is: DX [freq] [call] [comment-optional], e.g. DX 14223.4 VU2TTC -or- DX 28012.0 9X5AA QSL via W4FRU

Although examples here are given in UPPER CASE, lower case will work equally well.

Other primary commands are:


ANNOUNCEA msgAnnouncement to LOCAL users only
ANNOUNCE/nodecallA/call msgAnnouncement to users on node (call)
ANNOUNCE/FULLA/F msgAnnouncement to users on ALL NODES
BYE or QUITB or QLog off node
DELETE or KILLDE msg# or K #Delete a mail message
DIRECTORY or LISTDI or LList last 5 mail messages
DIRECTORY/ALLDI/AList all active mail messages
DIRECTORY/NEWDI/NList all new mail messages
DXDX fq call cmtAnnounce a DX station
HELP or ?H or ?Brief command summary
READR Read a mail message TO YOU
READR msg#Read a specific mail message
READR/filearea fnRead a file in a specified filearea
REPLYREPReply to a read message TO YOU
REPLY/DELETEREP/DReply to a read message & delete
SENDS all or callSend a mail message to (all) (call)
SEND/PRIVATES/P callSend a PRIVATE mail message
SEND/RR S/RR call Send mail message with return receipt
SET/HERE SET/H Specify you're at the keyboard
SET/LOCATION SET/LO Enter your latitude/longitude
SET/NAME SET/NA Enter your name
SET/NEED SET/NE pfx,pfx Specify your needed countries
SET/NOHERE SET/NOH Specify you're away from keyboard
SET/NONEED SET/NON pfx Delete needed countries
SET/QTH SET/Q Enter your address/city
SHOW/ANNOUNCEMENT SH/AN Show last 5 TO ALL announcements
SHOW/BULLADDR SH/BULLA Show list of TO ALL mail addresses
SHOW/BULLETINS SH/BU Show files in BULLETIN files area
SHOW/CLUSTER SH/CL Show number of nodes & users
SHOW/COMMANDS SH/COM Show available DATABASE commands
SHOW/CONF/NODE SH/C/N Show nodes connected
SHOW/CONFIGURATION SH/C Show nodes and users connected
SHOW/DX SH/D Show last 5 DX announcements
SHOW/DX SH/D band Show last 5 DX spots on (band)
SHOW/DX SH/D call Show last 5 DX spots for (call)
SHOW/DX SH/D frq1 frq2 Show DX spots between Freq1-Freq2
SHOW/FILES SH/FI Show files in GENERAL files area
SHOW/HEADING SH/H prefix Show beam heading to a country
SHOW/LOCATION SH/LOC call Show lat/long/distance for user
SHOW/LOG SH/LOG Show last 5 system log entries
SHOW/LOG SH/LOG call Show system log for user (call)
SHOW/MUFSH/MU prefixShow MUF to country (prefix)
SHOW/NEEDSH/NE callShow country needs of user (call)
SHOW/NEEDSH/NE prefixShow user calls needing (prefix)
SHOW/NOTICESH/NOShow (review) local node notice
SHOW/PREFIXSH/PR prefixShow country assigned and zones
SHOW/STATIONSH/ST callShow information on user (call)
SHOW/SUNSH/SU prefixShow sunrise/sunset for (prefix)
SHOW/USERSSH/UShow users logged onto local node
SHOW/USERS/FULLSH/U/FShow users logged onto all nodes
SHOW/USERSH/U callShow NAME/QTH of user (call)
SHOW/WWVSH/WShow last 5 WWV announcements
TALKT callEnter talk mode to a user (call)
TALKT call msgSend a 1-line message to user (call)
TYPETY fn.extDisplay a file in BULLETIN area
TYPE/FILESTY/FI fn.extDisplay a file in GENERAL area
UPDATEUPD/filenameUpdate a DATABASE file (restricted)
UPLOAD/BULLETINUPL/BU fn.extUpload a file to BULLETIN file area
UPLOAD/FILEUPL/FI fn.extUpload a file to GENERAL file area
WWVWWV sfi=,a=,k=Send Solar Flux as reported on WWV
EXIT A MESSAGE/EXITEnter this command on a new line

Note: This list is NOT complete, but contains the MOST USED user commands.

Last updated: October 6, 1996