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Packet Node Operator's manual

Document is under construction! -- March 2, 2015

Some material co-opted from John Wiseman, G8BPQ.
1Getting it to work
1aassumptions -- what you have for hardware
1creference manual -- same as 1b but sorted by topic
2Operating it
2aassumptions -- what you have for hardware
2cNode Commands Reference Manual
3Theory of operation
3aTheNET/G8BPQ nodes in general
3bLinux, raspberry PI, I2C, TNCs
3cDebug output - analyze G8BPQ operation
The linbpq node software which runs on the Raspberry PI can pass traffic through, or can serve as a command processor. When a station connects to the node the command processor delivers a prompt to the user, much like a Unix/Linux/MSDOS or CPM computer would. When a command is entered, the command processor interprets incoming commands and will either take action or will answer with a reply message, or it can take action and then answer with a reply message. Reply messages take the form of NODENAME:NODECALL-SSID} Answer

For example, if I connect to my own node via BPQtermTCP
*** Connected to switch
I can enter in a command of XYZ (an invalid command) and get back the answer
TADD:KA2DEW-2} Invalid command — Enter ? for command list

The list of valid commands includes commands that may only be handled after a password verification has taken place. There are some commands which have additional capability after password verification has been provided. Below is a complete list of commands. The table includes whether the command requires password or not, and what command group it is in. I will create a web page for each command group and explain the commands in that group including syntax and expected response.

"User" Commands -- no password required
Full command name Short description
? Requests list of commands
BYE Disconnect from this node.
CONNECT Connect from this node to some other station or node
INFO Requests text INFO file from node
L4T1 Requests the ISO-Level-4 Timeout #1 value. This is an init value and is always the same. Set globally for all nodes.
LINKS Requests information about current ax.25 sessions
MHEARD Monitor Heard -- Requests list of stations heard by the node on a particular port
NODES Requests a list of all nodes known by this node
PACLEN Reads the packet length limit set in the node. I don't know why. Hint, it's 236
PASSWORDRequests access to password protected commands.
PORTS Requests list of ports (radios) configured for the node
ROUTES Requests list of neighbor nodes for this node
STATS Requests file of statistics for this node.
USERS Requests list of stations connected into or through this node's command interpreter
"Password" Commands -- only if authenticated with PASSWORD
Full command name Short description
BBSALIAS needs-description
BTINTERVAL needs-description
DIGIFLAG Queries or enables the digipeat flag for one port. Not used in TARPN systems. Digipeat is always 0 or OFF.
DIGIPORT Queries or enables the digipeat-to-this-port flag. If true, a digipeater packet to this node will be emitted on this port. Not used in TARPN systems.
FRACK Queries or configures the Frame Acknowledge Timeout value for a port. This is in thirds of a second and indicates how long after a frame is sent before it will be retried if the acknowledgement has not been received.
FULLCTEXT I think this lets the operator read or change enable for sending connect text, by port
FULLDUP read or change enable for fullduplex, by port
HIDENODES Queries or enables the hide-nodes function which suppresses the display of NODES with an Alias that starts with a # sign. This was used on networks where TheNET nodes are also present. With TheNET nodes, only nodes which faced services or zoo channels had "visible" node names. Others had # in the first character.
IDINTERVAL read or change the automatic ID interval (in minutes) for all ports
L3ONLY Queries or sets the L3-only flag for a specified port.
L3TTL needs-description
L4DELAY needs-description
L4RETRIES needs-description
L4TIMEOUT needs-description
L4WINDOW needs-description
LINKEDFLAG needs-description
MAXFRAME needs-description
MAXUSERS needs-description
MINQUAL needs-description
NODEIDLETIME needs-description
NODESINT needs-description
OBSINIT needs-description
OBSMIN needs-description
PERSIST Queries or changes the PPERSIST value for a single port. This command is invalid for TNC-PI and some other KISS TNCs because the PPERSIST value is set on the TNC where the node software can't read or write it.
PPACLEN needs-description
QUALITY needs-description
REBOOT Instructs the node software to quit immediately. On a TARPN node this triggers a rebuild of the configuration. This is handy if a global node configuration change is made since a rebuild can load the changes over the Internet.
RECONFIG needs-description
REMDUMP needs-description
RESPTIME Queries or configures the response-time for an individual port.
RETRIES Queries or configures the number of retries for a failed message for an individual port.
SAVENODES Tells the software to save the current nodes-list immediately for use next time the node software starts, i.e. after KILL or REBOOT. This is handy if the node-broadcast interval is long and the network rarely changes configuration.
SENDNODES Tells the node to send a nodes broadcast on each port. The software takes a few seconds to start.
SOFTDCD needs-description
STARTPORT needs-description
STOPPORT needs-description
T3 needs-description
TXDELAY needs-description
TXTAIL needs-description
VALIDCALL needs-description
XMITOFF needs-description
Port Params


The above display or update the corresponding parameter for a specified port,

eg PACLEN 1 100 PERSIST 2 50

If the third parameter is omitted, the current value is displayed.

It is not currently possible to update VALIDCALLS, but you can display the current setting.

*** Warning ***

At the moment the FRACK value is in 1/3sec units, and the TXDELAY is in 50ms units for HDLC cards, and 10ms units for KISS TNCs. I'll be sorting this out when I get the time to rationalize the timer code, but in the meantime, I suggest you make a note of the current values before you start fiddling.

Also KISS users should note that the params are only sent to the TNC every 5 mins or so, so the updated values may not take effect for a while.

System Params


The above display or update the corresponding Node parameter.

System Commands



To update an entry, enter ROUTES Call Port Params

eg ROUTES G8BPQ-2 2 100 - Set quality to 100
ROUTES G8BPQ-2 2 ! - Toggle 'Locked Route' flag
ROUTES G8BPQ-2 2 100 ! - Set quality and toggle 'locked' flag


Close or reopen Port n (which must be a KISS Port). Enables another program to use the port to allow the tnc to be reconfigured without closing the node

© Tadd Torborg, 2014, 2015 -- all rights reserved