Fwd: net.ham-radio from 30 years ago [telecom]

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I crossposted this from rec.radio.amateur.moderated. My thanks to Paul


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: net.ham-radio from 30 years ago
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2011 21:46:12 EST
Organization: Novia Internetworking, http://www.novia.net /
Newsgroups: rec.radio.amateur.moderated

Hash: SHA1

There is a web-site that is replaying Usenet from exactly 30 years ago
(currently late 1981).  The site is:


The old-style VT/ANSI terminal interface is a nice touch.  I don't
recognize the software it is emulating.  It's not rn, for example.  Is
it readnews?  It appears to closely resemble the Elm mail client.

If you prefer to use your own newsreader, the site also supports an NNTP
server at:


I checked out net.ham-radio.  The only user name I recognized was Phil
Karn, KA9Q (though I did recognize references to non-Usenet third
parties like Dr. Tom Clark, W3IWI, and King Hussein of Jordan, JY1).  At
that point, if you were on Usenet, you either had a UUCP (dialup,
Unix-to-Unix Copy) connection, or were at a University or military site.
Even the user who was relaying ARRL bulletins was receiving them
manually on a fixed schedule via HF radioteletype, capturing the text on
an early Heathkit PC, and uploading the text to the newsgroup.  There
were a lot of references to "read this magazine" or "read this
newsletter" for more detailed information external to the newsgroup.
The World-Wide Web would not invented until over a decade later, and
dial-up UUCP links did not support easy file retrieval.  Even if you had
a direct TCP/IP link to the larger Internet, so-called "anonymous FTP"
sites like Simtel20 at the White Sands Missile Range were not as
information-rich as websites today, and their contents were not keyword
indexed.  As recently as the early 90's, I recall some users like KA9Q
even going down to the FCC reading room on M Street in Washington DC to
read hardcopy comments on petitions.

The ARRL may have had a cable address, and like any other office could
receive telegrams, but I believe that 1981 predates any E-mail presence
for the League, even via CompuServe or MCIMail.  The arrl.org domain
wasn't even set up until the early 90's.

This is a far cry from today, where amateur radio organizations have web
sites with huge on-line databases of information, multiple departments
reachable via E-mail down to the specific person, and their bulletins
are automatically relayed to the rec.radio.* newsgroups when they are
received over a broadband TCP/IP connection via E-mail directly from the

- --
73, Paul W. Schleck, K3FU
http://www.novia.net/~pschleck /
Finger pschleck@novia.net for PGP Public Key

Re: Fwd: net.ham-radio from 30 years ago [telecom]
Quoted text here. Click to load it

No, that's notesfiles, which looked nicer but had some internal limitations
compared to software that used native news formats.

When I visited the site, the first thing it showed was a message that
I personally posted to net.unix-wizards 30 years ago.  Yow.


Re: Fwd: net.ham-radio from 30 years ago [telecom]
On Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 12:32:14AM -0000, John Levine wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

There's some kind of AI logic in there: I got the first issue of the
Telecom Digest, from 1981.

The "notesfiles" interface has a sidebar "feature" that give other
posts to look at in other groups, but if you click on one, it opens
that post in the /sidebar/, not the main window, with about twenty
characters per line. I don't know what they called the program back
then, but I know that I've used it before, because I remember that
annoying habit it has of opening post in the sidebar.

Bill Horne

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