Using the RBN

It has been over three years since I last wrote a tutorial for users of RBN spots, and I was amazed when I read the old one to discover how much things had changed.  Here's the current word.

There are three RBN relay servers, which provide RBN spots to "retail" DXClusters worldwide. lnet servers, at telnet.reversebeacon.net port 7000 and arcluster.reversebeacon.net, port 7000.  To find a cluster node that provides what you want, go to http://www.dxcluster.info and search by software type. Of course, geography is pretty unimportant these days, with the demise of RF clusters, but you'll want to check to be sure the node you use has Skimmer spots from the RBN as well as the filtering capabilities you want.

Both ARCluster Version 6 and CC Cluster provide a choice to users as to whether to include spots from the RBN in the spots they receive.  More importantly, each has its own set of filtering capabilities, with quite different underlying philosophies.  Why filter? Because even on a Monday morning, the RBN typically pumps out more than 120 spots per minute, and during a contest, the flow can be 20 per second average.

If you use a VE7CC (CC Cluster) node, he has already made some decisions for you.  His nodes provide de-duped data, which all by itself will cut the volume of spots by more than 80 percent, and he has done some pre-processing to reduce busted spots.

A complete list of CC Cluster commands is at http://bcdxc.org/ve7cc/ccc/CCC_Commands.htm. The easiest way to set filters is to use the very versatile CC User client program, available from http://www.bcdxc.org/ve7cc/default.htm#prog

state province

Among other useful features, CC User can be used between a cluster node and a logging program, to make it easy for you to manage your filters.

A caution - CC User is usable with DX Spider, CC and AR Cluster version 4 nodes.  It is not compatible with AR Cluster Version 6, which has adopted an entirely new  "Boolean" filter syntax.

AR Cluster V6 is the other RBN-friendly cluster software out there.  It is in a somewhat anomalous position, because its author, AB5K, disappeared off the Internet a couple of years ago.  His domain is no longer registered and his whereabouts, so far as I know, are a mystery.  Too bad because the software is excellent and many clusters are now using it.  The best reference I have found for usihng it is on K3LR's website.

73, Pete N4ZR