This section describes some general housekeeping and recommendations for keeping your DX Cluster node tuned for maximum performance.
The database files should be kept trimmed as a large database files may affect performanc. The Purge command can be used to remove old records from the database tables. Purge commands can be ran from the command line or programmed to automatically execute using the Scheduler. The following tables can be purged: WWV, DX, Talk, UserInfo, Announcement, WX, WX-Station, Mail, and Log. The Purge command requires a number indicating the number of months of data to keep in the database. Setting the month to a 0 (zero) will delete all data in the database table. The Purge/UserInfo command only deletes records where the Name, Location, Lat-Lon and home-Node are all empty. If the fields are not empty, the record is kept as it is used by the network. If the database table gets too large, it may take several minutes to purge.
The PURGE/DEBUG command will delete all files in the debug folder. The number at the end indicates the number of months of data to keep.
The PURGE/ALL command can be used to clean up all of the above database tables and also delete files in the debug folder. Recommended setting are to add a Purge/All 2 to the scheduler to run on a weekly interval around in the morning when node activity is slow.
As you delete records from your AR-Cluster database using the Purge command you will notice that the size of the database file does not decrease. The Purge command removes records from the database tables but the size of the database remains the same. This is very common among databases. About once a year, or when the database gets to around 200 megabytes in size, you will need to exit AR-Cluster and run an external tool, DbCompact.exe, to compact the public database. The DbCompact.exe tool is located in the database folder. When you run the DbCompact.exe tool it will create a new public database file named ARC_pubCompacted.mdb. Save your old file just in case and rename the new compressed file to ARC_pub.mdb. Alternately, you can also use the built in database compression tool in Microsoft Access 2000 for database compression as well. You can also use a freeware product called Access Maintainer that can be found at http://www.gracemere.com/AccessMaintainer/
The following databases will need to be compacted.
The RESTART/MAIL or RESTART_MESSAGES command can be used to delete obsolete mail and renumber user and bulletin mail messages.
The AR-Cluster/Debug folder contains files, which may be helpful in troubleshooting issues. This folder can be emptied at any time by simply deleting all files in the folder. You do not have to shut AR-Cluster down to delete the files from the Debug folder. These files can automatically removed using the scheduler and a Purge command.
As with most software applications, frequent backups are recommended. AR-Cluster data is stored in Microsoft Access 2000 compatible databases. Backing up these database files will save most of the information used by AR-Cluster. Should you loose power, during a write to a database, when power is restored you may get a “Unrecognized Data Base Format” error message. If you get this message you should restore to a backup database or repair the database using tools in Microsoft Access.
The scheduler can be used to execute AR-Cluster commands when a certain condition and interval are met. The name of the scheduler event can be used to document the programmed event. The scheduler interval sets how often, the system looks at the scheduled event for possible execution. Intervals can be set to run from once a year to every two minutes. The qualifier field consists of a pull down combo box containing valid qualifiers and an optional text box to enter specific data. Scheduled commands can be qualified on the hour equal to a specific hour; the date and hour equal to a specific date/time, if connected to a station and if not connected to a station. AR-Cluster is shipped with several schedule samples, which should serve as a guide for creating your node schedules. Editing an existing schedule event is done by clicking on the left side of the specific event on the main scheduler view screen.
The following simple scheduled event can be used to get an idea as to configuration of the scheduler. This event simply executes a T-Talk command every 2 minutes. Select Cfg > Scheduler from the main menu, select the new button and configure the schedule event as shown below. Make sure the command you enter is a valid command. In the example below, change the callsign AB5K to the callsign of your node so the T-Talk function will echo to your local console. This command will repeat every two minutes sending the following to the system console:
AB5K de AB5K: Test of Scheduler
AB5K de AB5K: Test of Scheduler
AB5K de AB5K: Test of Scheduler
one time scheduled event, based on a specific date and time can also be
programmed. For example a schedule event
can be programmed to automatically switch the node into the contest mode at a
specific date and hour. The example
below will execute and switch the node into the contest mode. Note the command will execute only once and
will not repeat every time the scheduler engine cycles (two minute
intervals). Thus when the date equals
Mode set to Contest
When executing specific date and time commands, the engine keeps track of the last time it executed the command and will not run another command if it already has done so in this hour. The date/time of last execution is stored in the Last Process text box. If you are testing and want to run another command the next time the scheduler executes, you can modify the Last Process date/time so the scheduler will execute the command a second time. Carefully modify the Last Process date/time and move it back a month or year.
The scheduler can also be used to Execute a Windows EXE file on a periodic basis. An example would be to run the BPQNODES.EXE program every hour. The following example details how to set up the scheduler to run the Windows NotePad every two minutes. In the scheduler, create a new scheduler event with the following settings:
INTERVAL: Every two minutes
COMMAND: EXECUTE C:\WINNT\NOTEPAD.EXE 1
The number at the end of the EXECUTE command indicates how you want the Window displayed. You can also run the EXECUTE command from the sysop input command line.
0 Window is hidden and focus is passed to the hidden window.
1 Window has focus and is restored to its original size and position.
2 Window is displayed as an icon with focus.
3 Window is maximized with focus.
4 Window is restored to its most recent size and position. The currently active window remains active.
6 Window is displayed as an icon. The currently active window remains active.
A sysop command script file is available for executing commands on the node. The scripts can also be ran as a command thru the scheduler. Example: Create a command file called MyCmd.TXT in the Configuration\CmdFiles folder. In the command file, add the commands DIR, SH/DX, HELP (each on a separate line). From the ARC command line, run the command RunCmdFile MyCmd.txt.