Welcome to PCBFido! Our implementation of Fido will operate as both a
hub and as a site. The Fido technology gives you the ability to exchange
mail from all around the world or just between a few systems in the same
valley. The goal of this documentation is two fold.
First of all, for those SysOps who are already familiar with the Fido
technology and the world of terminology surrounding it, you'll find the
translation quite easy because the need for batch files to switch between
a mailer and a BBS are now gone. Most of your concerns will revolve
around getting familiar with the options in PCBSetup.
Secondly, for those SysOps who are unfamiliar with Fido technology, this
document will guide you though (step-by-step) on how to get connected with
FidoNet. Ah, there is that magical word--FidoNet. What is it?
The term FidoNet refers to a large number of BBSs around the world which
are dedicated to FidoNet activity. This very large group of BBSs are
broken down by three distinct characteristics. A ZONE basically defines
the continent the BBS is from (North America, South America, Europe, etc.).
Furthermore, the NETWORK is a smaller group of BBSs within the ZONE. It
is not uncommon to have several hundred networks in a zone. The last
defining characteristic is called the NODE. This is a unique number
within each network. For example, network #35 may have nodes numbered
1, 2, 3, and 4.
We now know all BBSs use a unique number to identify themselves. This
particular number is called the node address and follows the format:
Seeing a node address of 1:512/52, you know the address refers to node
52, in network 512, which is in zone 1. As you become more familiar
with FidoNet, you'll soon learn that zone 1 is North America, zone 2
is Europe, Zone 3 is Australia, and so on. You'll want to skip over
the next section which talks about converting from an existing mailer
and go to the next section where we will help you will be guided in
step-by-step fashion on how to get started in FidoNet.
I'm Already Running a Mailer ============================================================================
Welcome to the wonderful world of Fido where the words "batch file" are
not in our vocabulary. Seriously, it is entirely possible to setup Fido
without ever having to setup or run a batch file. We should mention
that optional batch files can be created to use different Zmodem modules
or to even handle .TIC processing.
Since you have run a mailer before, no doubt you are already familiar with
the Fido terminology. Your setup tasks mainly revolve around getting
familiar with the configuration layout of Fido within PCBSetup's Fido
Configuration menu option. Take a moment to browse this menu item and
look over the options. If you know the information like your node number,
or FREQ information, go ahead and fill it in. You'll be up in no time.
In the advent, you have problems in getting PCBFido properly configured,
feel free to step through the areas of the documentation dedicated for
new users. They will point out things you may not be aware of in PCBFido
which is different from other mailers. A classic example of this is in
assigning an area tag to a conference. This is done from the third
conference configuration screen as opposed to a data file.
I'm New to Fido =============================================================================
Fido is unlike any other net mail technology. It is complex. At some
times it may even be confusing but realize this is a widely accepted method
of transferring messages and files between all types of bulletin board
We will take you step-by-step through a set of tasks required to get you
up and running. After a major task is completed (e.g., setting up
netmail), we will show you how to test the new feature to make sure it is
working properly. Attempting to connect to FidoNet one step at a time
and make sure each is working properly is the best way to get you up and
running. A brief rundown of concepts we will cover in getting you
* Contacting the net coordinator / Get a node number assigned to you
* Setting up echo areas (message bases)
Before attempting to get FidoNet configured, make sure you are familiar
with the concepts behind it. A good source for this information is a
guide called the Big Dummy's Guide to FidoNet which is written by Michael
Schuyler. This guide is available on Salt Air (the support board for
PCBoard and CDC products) under the filename BIGDUMMY.ZIP. A wealth of
information regarding the mentality of those participating in the network
and also a brief rundown of terminology is included. You won't regret the
extra few minutes it will take to look it over.
Once you have a basic understanding of Fido, your next step is to get in
contact with the net coordinator so you can have a node number assigned
to you. If you do not know what a net coordinator is at this point, stop
and read the Big Dummy's Guide (BIGDUMMY.ZIP). It contains this
information and more.
Contacting the Net Coordinator =============================================================================
Why do you have to contact the net coordinator? He is the one who will
assign your node number to you. An obvious question at this point is
who is the net coordinator and how can in get in contact him.
It would be wonderful if it were just a phone number to dial and say
"sign me up". Unfortunately it's not going to be that easy. The way
you contact the net coordinator is by sending him Fido netmail. When
the request is sent via netmail, the coordinator knows you:
* Understand Fido enough to at least send netmail
* Have netmail working with your current Fido Configuration
Being able to do these tasks is proof that you know what you're doing so
the coordinator will be more than happy to get your node number to you.
To send the netmail to the coordinator the following steps must be
1. Find a FidoNet site in your area
2. Obtain a nodelist (the white pages of FidoNet)
3. Get the address of the net coordinator
4. Configure PCBoard to send netmail
5. Manually send netmail to the coordinator
Once these have been accomplished you have almost finished setting up
PCBFido. Let's go find that coordinator.
1. Find a FidoNet Site in Your Area
Although this is just the first step, it can be the toughest to
accomplish. To help make this step much easier, you can call
our support BBS (see the printed manual for contact information) and
execute the FINDFIDO command from the menu. This PPE uses your area
code or country code to generate a list of Fido sites close to you.
2. Obtain a Nodelist
Utilizing the list obtained in step #1, contact one of the BBSs and
request a nodelist. The nodelist may be located for download in the
file directories, so look there before leaving a message to the SysOp.
3. Get the Address of the Net Coordinator
To send netmail to the network coordinator we need to know the proper
address where netmail is to be sent. As a general rule, the coordinator
is assigned node 0 of the zone and network you want to join. For
example, if the zone is 1 and the network is 311, you'll most likely
send mail to 1:311/0. CONFIRM this with the SysOp of the Fido system
the nodelist was obtained from as this is vital information.
4. Configure PCBoard to Send netmail
Before configuring PCBoard to send netmail, make sure you have the
* Fido address of the net coordinator
Fido Menu Options/Settings
Our next step is to configure the bare essentials of Fido so we can
send a message to the net coordinator. Load PCBSetup and select
Fido Configuration from the Main Menu. This screen has the following
A Fido Configuration
B Node Configuration
C System Address
D EMSI Profile
E File & Directory Configuration
F Archiver Configuration
G Phone Number Translation
H Nodelist Configuration
I FREQ Path List
J FREQ Restrictions
K FREQ Magic Names
L FREQ Deny Nodelist
1. Starting with "Fido Configuration", the first menu option, mark each
of the following fields with a "Y":
Enable Fido Processing
Allow Node to Process Incoming Packets
Allow Node to Export Mail
Allow Node to Dial Out
2. Press ESC to return to the main Fido Menu and select the "System
Address Option". We need to enter a temporary node address to use
during the application process. The zone and net information can
be gathered from the address for the echo coordinator. For example,
if you were told the net coordinator's address is 1:311/0, the
1:311 is the zone and net information. For the node number enter
9999. Using the example information the entry looks like this:
Press ESC and save the changes.
3. You're back at the Fido Main Menu. Select "EMSI Profile". This is
the menu option where we fill out all of the information about the
BBS, who the main SysOp is and so forth. This information is used to
identify the caller when calling other Fido sites. Fill in all of
the fields with the exception of the one titled "Flags". This
information is provided by the net coordinator at a later time.
When finished entering the BBS Name, City, State, and so forth,
press ESC to return to the Main Menu.
4. Next, select "File & Directory Configuration" from the Menu. We
need to enter valid DOS subdirectories for the all of the fields
on this screen. Recommended defaults are:
Dir of Incoming Packets : ..\FIDO\IN\
Dir of Outgoing Packets : ..\FIDO\OUT\
Dir to store Bad Packets : ..\FIDO\BADPKTS\
Dir of Nodelist Database : ..\FIDO\NODELIST\
Work Directory : ..\FIDO\WORK\
Dir to store *.MSG : ..\FIDO\MSG\
If you have installed PCBoard on a different drive or subdirectory,
make the appropriate changes. Also, you may want to change the
location of the work directory to another drive if it has more
free space. Keep that in mind if appropriate. Press ESC when
you are happy with what is entered.
NOTE: The directories you specify are automatically created
if they do not already exist.
5. From the Fido Main Menu, select the "Phone Number Translation" option.
The phone numbers stored in the nodelist database will have the extra
information such as area code or country code stored in each entry.
In most situations, the coordinator will be a local call to you so
we need to make the appropriate entries to strip the unwanted numbers
from the phone numbers.
For example, assuming you are calling from Utah (area code 801) to
a coordinator in your calling area. We need to strip the 1-801-
information from the beginning of the phone number. This can be
done with the following entry:
Find Change To
We've told Fido to find any number containing 1-801- and replace
it with nothing. In essence we've managed to strip it out and now
we can place the local call properly. Press ESC and make the
selection to save changes when the appropriate entry is made.
6. The last thing we need to do from the PCBSetup configuration is to
configure where the uncompressed nodelist obtained earlier can be
found. A good recommendation is to put it in the same directory
specified for the nodelist database in PCBSetup | Fido Configuration |
File & Directory Configuration. Typically, the filename will end
in a number specifying what day of the year the nodelist is for.
In the field on the screen, enter the full path and filename (do NOT
specify a file extension) where the uncompressed nodelist can be
found. The reason an extension is not specified is because it
changes on a daily bases. The following illustrates:
Nodelist Path (No Extension) Diff Filename
Press ESC and save changes when finished. You will be returned to
the Fido Main Menu.
--- PCBoard (R) v15.3/M 10
* Origin: (1:226/600)
From Jeff Binkley@1:226/600 to All on Mon Oct 22 05:25:00 2007
Compiling the Node List
With each Fido site being referred to by a bunch of numbers, we need
some way to look up the actual information for this site. That is how
we will know what number to dial. The nodelist contains this
information. Early on in the configuration for Fido, one of your tasks
was to obtain the nodelist.
Looking at the list, you can see it is a standard ASCII file. To look
up a site in this file would take a lot of time. That is why many Fido
compatible mailers, including PCBoard, will compile the node list. In
compiled form, sites can be looked up quickly by referring to an index
Compiling the list is very easy with PCBoard. The "Nodelist
Configuration" and "File & Directory Configuration" options from the
Fido menu tell PCBoard where the source nodelist can be found and where
the compiled nodelist database is stored respectively.
From the PCBoard call-waiting screen, press ALT-F. The following
menu will appear in the middle of the screen:
Ί Sysop FIDO Menu Ί
Ί 1) Poll a Node. Ί
Ί 2) Request a file. Ί
Ί 3) Transmit a file. Ί
Ί 4) Force next call. Ί
Ί 5) View/Modify Queue. Ί
Ί 6) Scan for outbound mail. Ί
Ί 7) Process inbound mail. Ί
Ί 8) Compile Nodelist. Ί
Ί 9) Send Mail to a Node. Ί
Ί Enter selection: Ί
Notice number 8 on this menu. When you select this option PCBoard
shells out and compiles the nodelist. The display you see while the
list is compiled resembles the following:
This process will take several minutes to complete. At any time,
pressing ESC aborts the compilation and returns you to the call-waiting
Adding a User Record for the Coordinator / Host
PCBFido keeps track of information about other sites you exchange mail
with in user records. Before netmail can be sent, we have to have a
user record defined for the coordinator.
To add the user record for the net coordinator follow these instructions:
1. Select "Users File Maintenance" from the Main Menu
2. Select "Edit Users File". At this point you should see the
SysOp record (#1).
3. Press ALT-A to add a new user record.
4. In the "Name" field, enter "~FIDO~" followed by the address of the
net coordinator. To create an account for the Fido node 1:311/0,
enter the following:
5. Press F3 to view the Fido Form of the user record. The screen
resembles the following:
Edit User Record (Fido Form)
Name : ~FIDO~1:311/0
Phone Override :
Security Level : 0
Delete User : N
6. There are three possible passwords to be concerned with when
sending or receiving Fido messages: Session, AreaFix, and Packet.
For now, leave these blank. Once you permanently become a part of
the network, you will probably have a session password assigned
Creating the Netmail Conferences
The final setup step for sending netmail is to setup the netmail
conference, where all mail is sent and received, and what is coined as
the "Bad Mail" conference, where unplacable mail is stored.
What follows assumes knowledge of how to create a conference in PCBoard.
If this topic is unfamiliar, consult the index in the printed manual
for additional information.
When adding a new network to the system, many SysOps like to make
the starting conference number even. A good example of this is making
the first conference number 100, 200, or 1000. Following this type of
number scheme provides a good way to group conferences.
For the purpose of this example, let's make the starting conference
number 100. We'll make conference 100 the "Bad Mail" conference and
101 will send/receive the netmail.
Create conferences 100 and 101 and configure them to be clones of the
Main Board (#0). Once that is done, all that remains is to edit the
location of the message bases and configure a few options. The following
breaks down all that must be done to configure the two conferences after
"Bad Mail" (Conference 100)
1. Change the name/location of the message base to P:\PCB\FIDO\BADMSGS
or whatever is appropriate for your system.
2. Press PgDn to edit the conference options.
3. Change the "Type of netmail" option to 5 so PCBoard will know it is
a Fido Conference.
4. Press PgDn again to get to the Fido Configuration screen for the
conference. In the "Area Name" field, enter "BAD". This name is
referred to as the tag for the area.
"Netmail" (Conference 101)
1. Change the name/location of the message base to ..\FIDO\NETMAIL
or whatever is appropriate for your system.
2. Press PgDn to edit the conference options.
3. Using the list below, set the fields listed in the left column to
the response in the right column.
Make All Messages Private Y
Force Echo on All Messages Y
Type of Netmail Conference 5
Allow Internet (long) TO: Names Y
4. Press PgDn to get to the Fido configuration screen. As the tag
or area name for the conference, enter "NETMAIL".
That's it. We're now ready to test the netmail capabilities and send
the message to the coordinator.
Sending the Netmail Message
Congratulations! The hard part of the configuration has been done.
Now, we're ready to put the configuration through the paces and see
if there are any problems. The test is sending a netmail message to the
hub and in receiving a reply.
1. Log into the system as the SysOp.
2. Join the netmail conference you setup in the "Creating the Netmail
3. Use the "E" command to enter a message. When asked who the message
is to be addressed to, enter
SYSOP@(Fido address) <+C> <+D>
Replace (Fido address) with the address of the coordinator. For
example, to send mail to the coordinator of 1:311, the message is
SYSOP@1:311/0 <+C> <+D>
The +C and +D flags tell PCBFido to send the mail out as CRASH
(don't wait for an event to tell it when to dial out) and DIRECT
(ignore routing information). Don't worry if you do not understand
the terms CRASH and DIRECT . As you learn more about Fido and
continue on with the setup, these concepts will become more familiar
4. When prompted for the "subject", enter something meaningful such as
"Request to become a new Fido node."
5. Information about you and your system must be entered in the body
of the message. A good format to follow is:
Request to have a node number assigned to my system:
Model - CPU---:
Mailer Softw--: PCBoard v15.21
Mail Tosser---: PCBoard v15.21
BBS Software--: PCBoard v15.21
Compression---:(ZIP, LZH, ARJ, ARC, PAK)
6. When all of the information has been entered, save the message.
7. Logoff the BBS and return to the call-waiting screen.
8. Press ALT-F to bring up the Fido menu. Select "Scan for outbound mail"
from this menu.
9. The screen will flash as PCBoard scans for mail to be exported.
10. Next, check to see if the mail was found to be exported. Select
"View/Modify Queue". When you do, the Fido window will look
similar to the following example:
11. Hit ESC until you get back to the call-waiting screen. Now just
wait for about 1 minute or two when the dial timer (PCBSetup | Fido
Configuration | Fido Configuration) and PCBoard checks for any outgoing
mail. A call will be made to your hub and the message is sent. Expect
at least a couple of days before you receive a response via netmail.
Before you can receive a response, you must make sure Zone Mail Hour
is honored/configured on the system.
Configuring Zone Mail Hour
Now that the mail has been sent to the coordinator, zone mail hour must
be setup on your system so a reply can be received and a node number
assigned to your BBS. It is during Zone Mail Hour that the mail assigning
your node number is sent. Zone mail hour is one hour where every site
in the network is set to disallow human callers and netmail is
transferred. Utilizing this design, netmail is sent in a quicker
Setting up Zone Mail Hour is really quite easy. Using PCBoard's event
editor, simply add an entry resembling the following:
Batch Begin End Last
Act Mod File Time Time SMTWTFS Date Date
ΝΝΝ ΝΝΝ ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ ΝΝΝΝΝ ΝΝΝΝΝ ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ
1) Y M MAILHOUR 02:00 03:00 YYYYYYY 00-00-00
That's all there is to defining the event. The most difficult step for
you is determining when the Mail Hour is. The POLICY4.TXT file
(obtained when using the FINDFIDO command on Salt Air) reveals
additional information about when zone mail hour is. If you have
difficulty determining the time, contact a node in your area (refer to
FINDFIDO.LST if you must); they will have the answer.
*** NOTE: Most likely this event will only need to run on one node. If
this sounds like what you need, be sure to rename the MAILHOUR
file to MAILHOUR.### where ### is the node number. For example,
if node 9 is to run the event, I'll rename the MAILHOUR file found
in the event batch file directory to MAILHOUR.009 (the leading
zeros are important).
Now just wait for a reply for coordinator. Remember, it can take up to
two weeks to do all of the processing and assign a node number please be