Mail  AR-Cluster Sysop Manual

See the Mail section of the User Manual for details on user mail options.  There are two type of mail user mail addresses to a specific user and bulletin mail addresses to a group. 


The mail grid displays is used to examine the various types of mail as well as to read mail addressed to the sysop.  Mail can be viewed by double-clicking on the column on the left side of the mail grid.  Selecting a parameter from the mail filter combo box will filter the mail displayed in the mail grid.


The mail engine ignores the SSID.  If your node call uses a SSID, and you desire mail forwarded to the node, then add a console user using the node call without any SSID.  This feature allows a sysop to set up several AR-Cluster nodes using his call with different SSID’s on each node.  The mail engine thus knows to send the sysops mail to the no SSID call.


When a user logs into the cluster, the system notifies him of new personal and bulletin mail messages.


When new mail is received, the all SSID’s connected will be notified of the new mail message.


ARRL bulletins can be easily cut from emails and pasted into the AR-Cluster mail dialog using the Ctrl-V (paste) key.  Ctrl-V will paste the contents of the clipboard into the mail dialog.


During the AR-Cluster node-to-node initialization, if a connecting node indicates he is not accepting inbound mail, then we turn off the outbound mail protocol to the node.  This keeps us from queuing up bulletin mail to a node that's not accepting mail.



Distribution Groups

Mail distribution groups allow the sysop and users to configure a name associated with a group of calls to receive a mail message.    The Mail Cfg > Distr presents a dialog allowing the configuration of mail distribution groups.

Nodes participating in a region and the tag for the region is defined in CFG>NODES>Calls>AreaQualifiers.


Bulletin Mail

Bulletin mail messages are those addressed to ALL, FORSALE, HELP and WANTED.   Bulletin mail is send to all nodes in the network.  Other mail subjects can be flagged as bulletin mail by the sysop (Mail > Cfg Bulletin Defs) allowing AR-Cluster to adapt into regional networks using other custom bulletin mail tags.


Restarting Mail

The Restart/Mail (also Restart_Messages) command will remove deleted mail messages from the mail database table and will renumber all valid mail messages.   Adding the keyword “REQUE” to the message will reset the forwarding attempts of the mail so mail, which has timed out on forwarding attempts will be re-queued for distribution.




restart/mail reque

restart_messages reque     


Mail Forwarding

The mail engine has a built in forwarding routine that periodically examines mail to determine if it needs to be forwarded.  The mail tab view contains a filter to show mail in the forwarding cue.  A field in the mail database table is used to track the number of attempts the system has tried to send out a mail message.  Currently the max attempt is sent to three.  Mail does not get sent to nodes with outbound mail protocol turned off.


The FORWARD_MAIL command can be used to start the mail engine process to scan and send any mail marked for forwarding.  Normally mail forwarding is done automatically.  The mail forwarding logic will not forward mail that’s over 14 days old.




When the cluster receives mail, it is processed in the following manner:

1. If the to-station is a local connection or this node, keep on the node

2. If the to-station is a remote connected user, forward to user's current node

3. If the to-station is to-station is not connected but has registered a home node, and that node is on line, forward to that node

4. else just keep the mail on this node until the user logs into the system and then forward as needed.


The FORWARD/MAIL command can be used to force a mail message into the mail forwarding que.  Syntax: FORWARD/MAIL msg# NodeCall.  The node has to be directly connected to you and the message number is the unique number displayed in the Mail>Forward>QueuedMail dialog.



forward/mail 31 n1wr     



The Mail>Forwarding dialog displays the status of the internal mail forwarding logic.  Two tabs are displayed, one describing the state of inbound and outbound mail objects and the other listing mail queued for possible transfer. The Mail>Forwarding dialog works as follows:


Inbound Mail:  A directly connected node is listed in the "Active" column when inbound mail processing is active for that node.  The inbound mail process is started upon receipt of the mail start protocol PC28 and is terminated upon receipt of the MailComplete protocol (PC32/PC33).  Should the inbound mail transfer fail to complete, the node will be listed as active, however the next time the node starts a mail message (PC28) the inbound mail logic will restart.  The Reset button will terminate inbound mail processing to all directly connected nodes and force all inbound mail processing into the idle state.


Outbound Mail:

A directly connected node is listed in the Active columns when a mail transfer is started to the node (PC28).  The node remains in the active column until the mail transferred is complete or the mail transfer times out.  The current timeout value is 5 minutes.  The Reset button will cycle through all directly connected nodes and terminate any active outbound mail processing.  All nodes will be moved to the idle state.  Mail forwarding is normally cycled every 2 minutes if the "Enabled" option is selected.  It can be manually started with the Cycle button as needed for testing.

The mail forwarding logic scans the mail database table for potential outbound mail.  The priority of the transfer is based on mail with the fewest delivery attempts.  The logic then scans the connected nodes and users to see if any deliveries  can be attempted.  If a match is found, the logic starts a outbound mail process for the mail message.  The logic will try to forward 15 times before the message is removed from the transfer que process.


Queued Mail:

The queued mail tab displays mail that is queued for transfer.   Queued mail includes:

1)  Bulletin mail tagged for delivery for another nodes

2)  Unread User mail - As we are not guaranteed the user will return to this node

3)  Unread user mail that has a homenode listed will be queued for delivery to the home node.  The number displayed in the mail grid is a unique number that’s used for the mail and is separate from the normal message number.  You can double click on a queued mail message and open up the mail for viewing.


The sysop the mail send dialog has a Setup option which allows the configuration of the spell checker.  Options are NO Spell Checker and Word 97. 



Mail Settings

The max size for mail messages is configurable for each node, allowing the limiting of message sizes to nodes connected by slow 1200 baud RF links.  The initial size limitation is set to 1000 K Bytes.  Also the mail timeout is adjustable of a node by node basis.  The setting are set in the Cfg>Nodes dialog.