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TCP-group 1994

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Re: Should we share

> I'd like to say the CB on this side of the Pond is virtually
> deregulated. Sure CB operators have to have a licence, but no-one
> enforces it as they have no official callsigns and there appears to
> be no minimum age of use so we get kids of all ages on the air. If
> the quality of CB in the UK is anything to go by I will have to say
> no way to sharing 44.x.x.x and I doubt if many over here have the
> technical competance to configure TCP/IP in the first place.
> Although I've heard rumours of CB Packet stations using ax.25 in the
> North of England (totally illegally as far as I can make out!!)

Well, with all this talk about CB being bad and illegal, I thought it might be
nice to hear some real world experience instead of wild guesses about what
packet on CB would look like.

First of all this: it is 100% legal here in the Netherlands. It is legal in
Germany as well (since very recently) on channels 24 and 25. I heard that it
was legal now in Australia, but I'm not really sure if that's true or not. It
may be legal in other countries. I've heard reports about 900Mc packet
connections between the Netherlands and England. The problem with legalizing
packet on CB is not a technical problem or an organizational problem, it's a
pure political problem. Governments are probably not very happy with unre-
stricted and unregulated communication between rather anonymous citizens.

There have been packet radio stations on the CB in Holland for about 5 years,
i.e. that is what someone told me. Since two years the number of stations is
increasing rapidly. The typical packet station is a PC with 1200bps Baycom
modem and SP or GP software. There are also NOS stations all around in the
country, but they're a small minority. There are two call-registration systems
(the so-called CB and NL calls). People are 100% free to register. Even though
many register, many don't. Those who do register use a call like CB1ABC or
NL0ABC and those who don't have a call that reflects their name and city, e.g.
JD1ADM (John Doe in Amsterdam). Some have fancy calls, like CARLA or CHRIS.

The same goes for IP numbers. Most people in the Netherlands use a 27.x.x.x
IP number (which is probably ``illegal'' since they're probably already in use
on the Internet). The country is divided into parts. Each part being a range of
zip-codes and each part has it's own, so called, ``director''. A director
hands out IP numbers and coordinates the TCP/IP users in his area. If the
27.x.x.x numbers were properly registered numbers, then I would be using them
too. But they aren't so I applied for my own class-C network and got it. Now
all TCP/IP people in the local area use numbers from that class-C network.

There are many NET/ROM nodes in the country and there are lots of BBSes (in
some places there are too many of them). Most BBSes use telephone forwarding
because they are either too far away from each other or the channels are too
busy. In this part of the country there are 4 channels in use, 34, 36, 38 and
40 and they're quite busy, especially in the evening. There is a nation wide
BBS network, called NLD-net, mostly consisting of FBB stations. Just recently
a forwarding started with South-African CBers using the Internet to transport
the messages.

There is an Internet gateway that converts packet BBS messages into RFC-822
style e-mail and vise-versa (there is no direct IP connection, yet) which
seems to work well. This gateway is reachable from most parts of the country
if they are connected to the NLD net. And there are also many NET/ROM nodes,
most of them are BBSes which run a BPQ packet switch.

Of course there are problems. It seems that almost everyone has a linear, 30W
is quite normal. Some stations have 100W or more. Some people don't behave
very social. (Most do however, it's been more than a year since I saw people
fighting on CB packet). Chatting is the most widely used application for CB
packet and some people also read bulletins on a BBS or for file transfer. Most
people on packet don't have a job and this way they have a cheap and powerful
way of communicating with others.

And there are hams on the CB packet. Yes, really! I know hams who are more on
CB packet than on amateur packet. So IMHO packet on the CB meets a certain
need for those people that amateur packet doesn't meet. It's speculation, but
I think that the freedom that people have on the CB is one of the reasons. I
mean, a ham complained on the CB packet BBS network that he was warned by the
HDTP (the Dutch FCC) after he talked with someone about diesel engines, that
was business stuff according to the HDTP, even though it was his hobby... I
know I would be pissed off too if they did something to me like that.

Thank you for listening. Now you may flame me if you really have to.

Peter Busser

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