[pskmail] Re: Sailing trip across Atlantic with PSKmail

  • From: "Rein Couperus" <rein@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: pskmail@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2012 22:27:48 +0100 (CET)

Hi all,

although I am probably not the rigth person for this, I will try to 
sort out some of the stuff...

First, smtp:
Smtp is handled by the pskmail server. The smtp server is fixed on the pskmail 
This means that the pskmail server will try to send any outgoing mail through 
that smtp server.
At the moment this enabled for gmail and for smtp servers which do not use the 
TLS protocol.
To send your mail, the pskmail server needs your mail record, for smtp 
specifically the return address.
The mail record must be sent in advance to any pskmail server you use, they are 
not talking to each other. You send your data with 'update server' after 
To enable password scrambling, you should also set a session password. See the 
on how to do this.

PSKmail has a footprint of only 500 Hz. Remember we are using ham radio bands.
The speed/bandwidth ratio of PSKmail depends on channel conditions, and it is 
automatically optimizwed by the server.
The throughput/bandwidth ratio of PSKmail is MUCH better than with pactor III,
and a LOT cheaper.

PSKmail is a decentralized system, without a single point of failure.
It does not use a central email address like xxx@xxxxxxxxxxx, but 
enables your own mailbox at your provider, if that has POP3 enabled.
Gmail automatically disables POP access every time you use the web interface,
so remember to re-enable POP when you leave the web mail page.
POP3 needs your POP address, your userid and your password.
The system has been laid out in such a way that you can manage that yourself 
by sending your data to the server before using it the first time.

The igate is just an HF APRS receiver for stations who run the pskmail client 
at home. The Igate sends every APRS beacon and message heard to th APRS 
central servers.
The PSKmail servers listen to the APRS backbone, and forward messages 
back any pskmail client which is linked to them.
This way, one one server sends the message.

Mode table:
you can set your own mode tables.
The servers use a default mode for listening to APRS. In the US this is PSK250,
in the rest of the world it is PSK500R.
Set your client default to the server default, so all servers on frequency have 
a chance 
to hear you.

is the normal mode of operation
sends your connect in the minute you set, this is for scanning servers,
which change their frequency every minute.
So if you know the server is on 14111 in minute 3, you can set the connect 
minute to 3,
and the client will send connect frames during minute 3,8,13,18 etc...
Prints valid blocks to the screen, and switches off scanning. So you can 
monitor 1 frequency intensively.

sends a ping to a specific server, so you get an answer from only that server. 
In EU we 
get 5 answers when we ping, and they are mostly unreadable because the servers 
tx on top of each other.

Once connected you can e.g. telnet to a packet BBS on the internet, or a dx 
cluster... or to your own machine at home... etc....

Hope this sheds some light...

If nobody reads the manual, maybe we should put less time into making one?


Rein PA0R/M
(on the way to EA3)

>Good topic.
>My thoughts on jpskmail so far- please bear in mind that all of this
>is meant constructive. I really think you do an awesome job on
>pskmail, but it is allways easier to talk about what doesn't work than
>what just works and doesn't get in your way.
>Please also considder that I just started with ham radio, so, although
>I am willing to learn, a lot of things which might be second nature to
>you guys are things I simply don't know (jet!). Well here it goes:
>Well, as said before there is not much we can do about this- physics.
>On the other hand, why complain about a free lunch. You guys are
>"competing" against pactor III- this is probably faster, but also much
>more expensive and it uses a huge bandwidth.
>User Interface:
>The Pos. button should move to the APRS Page- I had the problem for
>weeks! that the position always defaulted back to Northern Europe. If
>you press Pos., you send out a wrong Position- confusing everyone back
>home. If the Button is on the APRS page you have an easy visual
>control of if what you are sending makes any sense at all.
>I also had problems with the default modes. Make two modesets- one for
>the US and one for the rest of the world. If you want to tweak the
>modetables further you could go to some advanced settings or
>something. Of course it is a matter of RTFM, but this alone had cost
>me two evenings- I tried a boatload of modes nobody appears to listen
>Since I just started the whole pskmail- APRS thing I'm not sure how
>often you really would get APRS messages on the server you connect to,
>but it might very well move to the bottom of the menu.
>What is an Igate? Even after consulting the manual, I still have no
>clue what it does. I don't know what an APRS backbone or a Tier2
>Server does. Any helpful links in the manual would be great.
>Why is there a save button in the preferences menu- do I have to save
>the preferences again after clicking OK?
>The manual says you can make the server you connect to "permanent" by
>clicking "save"- what?
>In the mode menu there are three items that make no sense at all to me:
>In the Link menu I only know Ping and Link and update server- all the
>other stuff is a bit weird-
>Quality (don't I see this on the modem page already?)
>Inquire? No idea...
>Beacon?- seems to be the doublette of the Pos. button.
>Telnet?- useful for a friend of mine who used Linux from Kernel 0.9***
>on and runs several servers in his house, but for the average sailor?
>Some might say most of this is easily solved by reading the manual-
>and of course they are right. But It would be really helpful to have
>little popups that appear when you hover over a button or menu item. I
>had to consult the manual several times before I was able to click a
>button (e.g. should I "Stop transaction", "Quit" or "Abort").
>It would speed things up considerably. Especially the Link menu and
>the Modes menu could profit a lot from it I think.
>Thanks again for your incredible work.
>Cheers, Christian DL3ZFC

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