This file edited for the Baton Rouge Area by Alan Jennings, Sysop of: The Holy Cloakroom B
This file edited for the Baton Rouge Area by Alan Jennings, Sysop of:
* The Holy Cloakroom BBS - Online Ordination! 504-927-4509 (1:3800/6)
Fidonet Netmail and Internet mail.
By Dave Appel, Indianapolis, IN. 1:231/30
Adapted from an article originally appearing
in the INDY PC NEWS
This article describes a low cost amateur email network that is
available to Baton Rouge area bulletin board users.
I am using the term "email" to mean electronic mail messages that
you enter on one bulletin board and then get sent automatically to
one or more bulletin boards around town, around the state, around
the country, and around the world. This article will deal with an
international amateur network called FIDONET.
Just a couple quick definitions. BBS stands for Bulletin Board
System. A BBS is a computer and modem that someone has dedicated to
a phone line so people like you can call it with a computer and
modem. Sysop is short for SYStem OPerator. The sysop is the
owner/operator of a bulletin board.
Fidonet currently has over 19,000 separate member bulletin boards
worldwide. It is by far the largest of the amateur networks. There
is a list at the end of this article that contains the bulletin
boards in the Baton Rouge Area. This list is updated weekly, so call
your favorite BBS (or Helpnet #1, the local net coordinator) to
get an up-to-date list.
First, I'll give you the basics of email, and then go on to the
fancy stuff like gateways that allow you to send mail to other
networks like Internet, Compuserve, America Online, MCImail,
ATTmail, and others.
There are two categories of email that one can send on Fidonet.
These are in addition to the "local only" messages that stay on the
bulletin board on which you enter them. The first is a person-
to-person message that is transmitted from the BBS you are using to
the BBS of the recipient. There may be several BBS's in between that
pass the message on, but there is a defined "origin" BBS and a
"destination" BBS. This is also called "point to point" or "one to
one." This kind of email is called "netmail" on a Fidonet BBS. To
enter a netmail message, you must enter the section of the BBS that
is specifically called NETMAIL.
You must also know two things about the person with whom you are
corresponding. You must know the exact spelling of their user name
on their bbs. For instance, to send netmail to me, you must send it
to "Dave Appel" and not to "David Appel". The second thing you must
know is the "node number" of the bbs. The node number is the address
of the BBS in terms that the BBS software can understand. For
instance, the Helpnet #1 is known as 1:3800/0. The "1" is the
zone. Zone 1 is North America. The "3800" is the network, or
just plain "net." Net 3800 is the Baton Rouge Area. And the "0" is
the individual bulletin board, which is called a "node" within the
3800 network. Node "0" always indicates the local net
By knowing that I am "Dave Appel" of 1:231/30, anyone on any of the
19,000 Fidonet BBS's in the world can send me netmail. If you are a
member of Rob Haverly's Paladen BBS, your netmail address would be
The second kind of email is that which is entered in an "echo
conference." This email is called "echo mail." This is where a
message you enter on the BBS gets transmitted to several BBS's
around town, around state, around the country or around the world.
This is a "one to many" relationship. After you enter your message,
eventhough it may be addressed to one person, it is sent to ALL
BBS's that are "participating" in that echo conference.
"Participating" in this context means that the BBS has this
conference "turned on" and is receiving messages for this conference
from the local "Echo Coordinator." The Echo Coordinator is the local
BBS that makes the long distance phone calls on a regional or
national level. The Echo Coordinator then distributes the echo mail
conference messages to the local bulletin boards for efficiency and
If the preceeding paragraph confused you, let me give you a real
life example that might clear it up. There is a national echo
conference for skydiving. The conference name is SKYDIVE. Southside
BBS, 1:231/30 has the SKYDIVE conference "turned on" and a
conference message area set up.
I call Southside BBS, and navigate the menus to go into the national
Echomail area of the bbs. I select the SKYDIVE conference. I read
all new messages, and reply to a few. I see messages from people in
Florida, Norway, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, and Purdue University. I see
a message from a guy who's going to go to a skydiving convention in
Richmond Indiana. I reply to that message, and tell the guy to look
for me at the convention, and I'll be wearing a T-Shirt with
"Frankfort Indiana" on it.
But since I enter my message in the "echo conference" and not in
"netmail" my message actually gets transmitted to ALL the bulletin
boards in the world who are tied into the SKYDIVE conference.
Therefore, all the other skydivers who read the echo conference will
know that Dave will be wearing his Frankfort Indiana T-shirt at the
However, if I don't want to broadcast to the world what I'll be
wearing, then I leave the echo conference section, and go to the
netmail section and enter a private person-to-person message to my
correspondent. Every message in an echo conference has a line at the
end called the "origin line." The origin line tells the name and
node number of the originating BBS. So before I leave the echo
conference, I look at the other guy's origin line to find out how to
address the private reply.
BR_CHAT is another echo conference, but it is a local only
conference. The sysops have it set up so that only the
Baton Rouge Area, Net 3800, bulletin boards have this conference.
If I enter a message in BR_CHAT, only the BBS's in the list
at the end of this article can receive it, and then only if the
sysop has BR_CHAT activated on his BBS.
Activating a conference or "turning it on" is a complicated
procedure that only the sysops need to know. User's don't need to be
concerned with how that is done. If your favorite Fidonet BBS
doesn't have your favorite conference activated, just ask your sysop
to "turn on" such-and-such conference. "Carry," "turn on," and
"activate" are synonymous in regard to conferences.
LA_CHAT is an example of a state-wide echo conference. This
conference is carried by Net 3800 and other Fidonet networks
in Louisiana. Again, only if the individual sysop wishes to.
Whether an echo conference is "national" "international" "state-
wide" or "local" is up to the sysops and Echo Coordinators involved.
The benefits of having many local bulletin boards carry the same
echo conferences is that if your favorite BBS is busy or has
crashed, you merely call another BBS in the network, and see the
But even more than this, echo conferences give you the ability to
share your interests, from Agriculture to Zymurgy, with others
Now we get to the real juicy part of all this. This is where you are
going to learn to really have fun, impress your friends, and SAVE
One of the mondo cool things of Fidonet is its ability to link with
MOST MAJOR EMAIL vendors through another network called "Internet."
Defining and explaining Internet would take a whole book. Therefore,
I will merely explain how to use it, instead of going into an
explanation of what it is.
This time I will start with an example first. Suppose you have a
user account at one of the Fidonet boards listed at the end of this
article. Suppose you have a friend or business associate with a
Compuserve account, and he wants you to send email to his Compuserve
account. But you don't want to pay $95/year to subscribe to
Compuserve when you can get access to a Fidonet BBS for free.
Here is what you do:
Sign on your favorite Fidonet BBS. Go into the netmail section.
Enter a netmail message to the user "UUCP" or "Uucp". When the BBS
asks you the net/node address, enter "1/31". All you need to know
is that "Uucp" at "1/31" is our local Internet gateway for
Now comes the tricky part. In the VERY FIRST line of the message,
starting in column 1, you must put "To: email@example.com".
But you must replace the number with the person's actual Compuserve
number. 76543.9999 is just a made-up number. And don't type in the
quotes. "To" must have an uppercase "T" and lowercase "o". There
must be exactly one space after the colon. You must replace the
comma in the Compuserve account number with a period, and you must
not have any spaces other than the space following the colon. There
must not be anything else on this line.
In the SECOND line of the message put at least one space followed by
a period. Do not put anything else on the second line.
There are other ways of formatting the address, but I'm just telling
you what will work for all situations, just to be on the safe side.
That's all there is to get your message to Compuserve. Enter your
message, save it, and within 24 to 48 hours your message should
appear in your correspondent's in-box on Compuserve.
Note that I said "should" not "will." That is because Fidonet is an
AMATEUR network run by people who are not being paid to do it. If
for some reason your email doesn't reach the destination, you have
no legal recourse. So if you have email that is of an urgent nature,
or you have business depending on it, then go ahead and get an
account on Compuserve.
Now I'll explain a little bit of the "To: " address above. The
format of the "To: " address is the standard Internet format which
is "username@domain". In our example, "76543.9999" is the username,
and "compuserve.com" is the domain. Again, defining what a domain is
gets complicated. Suffice it to say, you need to know your
correspondent's username and domain. Once you know those two things,
you are all set.
When your correspondent receives your message, their mail system
should tell them your address as the sender of the message. But if
you want them to send you mail first, you'll have to give them your
address. Again, I'll start with my example and then explain.
If someone on another system with Internet access (such as
Compuserve or MCImail) wants to send me email on the Southside BBS
they would send it to: "Dave.Appel@f30.n231.z1.fidonet.org". Note
that I put the period outside of the ending quote because the ending
period of that sentence is not part of the address. And of course,
don't include the quote marks.
Now let's analyze that. My user name on Southside BBS is "Dave
Appel". But Internet addresses can't have embedded spaces, so the
convention is to put in a period. The "f30" part means node 30,
which is the node number for Southside BBS. The "n231" means network
231, which is the Central Indiana Fidonet. "z1" means Zone 1, which
is North America. And "fidonet.org" tells Internet that it has to go
to a Fidonet gateway.
If your name is "John Doe" and you are on the Paladen BBS, your
Internet address would be "John.Doe@f20.n231.z1.fidonet.org".
MCImail's domain is "mcimail.com". America Online's domain is
Internet is the network that links just about all university
computing centers together. For instance, everyone who has a student
account on the INDYVAX computer at IUPUI has access to Internet and
thereby to Fidonet and the other Internet-linked email services.
Suppose someone's IUPUI INDYVAX account is ILWF123. Their Internet
address would be "ILWF123@indyvax.iupui.edu". You could send them
mail from any Fidonet BBS as described above. ILWF123 is the
username, and indyvax.iupui.edu is the domain.
So if your college friends have accounts on a university
computer, ask them their account name, and the "Internet domain
address" of their college's computer, which will probably end in
There are many other factors and features involved in email,
netmail, echo mail, Internet, and gateways that are too detailed to
go into here. I hope the above gives you enough to start with. Good
luck and have fun.
Baton Rouge Area Network (as of 3/1/93)
Stan Brohn, Network Coordinator
3800/1 HelpNet #1 Stan Brohn 504-273-3116
3800/2 HelpNet #2 Stan Brohn 504-343-3116
3800/5 The Holy Cloakroom Alan Jennings 504-927-4509
3800/6 CompuChurch (tm) IHQ Alan Jennings 504-927-4509
3800/8 The Alternatives BBS Lloyd Doub 504-923-0460
3800/12 Ranger's Place Thomas Coon 504-925-9307
3800/13 The Fountain BBS Vince Flaviani 504-775-5879
3800/15 BearTel BBS Adam Tate 504-336-4453
3800/16 The HotLine Gerald Jolie Sr 504-929-9806
3800/17 The Black Eagle Jeanne' Re Montandon 504-667-2675
3800/18 The Chatter Box Timmy Bernard 504-775-7825
3800/21 Lucife's Kitchen! Sean Sherlock 504-338-0376
3800/22 Muses Wade Tsai 504-767-4668
3800/23 Jack's House Jack Coffee 504-293-9608
3800/24 The Simple Board Rick Ferguson 504-664-2524
3800/25 PFFL BBS Randy Wesley 504-275-2605
3800/26 The Phone Booth BBS Patrick "PAT" Doyle 504-272-2000
3800/27 The Leading Edge Shelton McAnelly 504-924-4998
3800/28 Tech Notes Keith Duke 504-295-8795
(Note: the above list may not be accurate by the time you read this.
Some of the above BBS's may be part-time hours. Permission to print
this list was obtained from the Net 3800 coordinator.)
The other Fidonet networks within Louisiana are:
Network # Name No. Active BBSes
--------- ----------------------- ------------------
19 TX_AR_OK_LA Region 2 (LA) (Monroe area)
380 S'port/Bossier_City 16 (incl. Ruston)
384 South_Louisiana 18 (Houma area)
390 Southeast_Louisiana_Net 14
394 Hammond_Area 8
396 New_Orleans_Area 36
3803 Lafayette_Area 9
3807 SoWeLa_Net 14 (Lake Charles area)
3817 Central_Louisiana_Net 19 (Alex/Pineville)
For a more detailed listing of the BBSes in each net, you can scan a
specified net's BBS listings while preparing to post in the
"Leave a Message" function of NETMAIL areas on the various networked
BBSes. This ability, however, is software dependent and is a function
of the BBS software in use, and may not be possible on all systems.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank