I’ve had several responses to my previous email on Fusion with requests to explain rooms and nodes. So I’ll give it a try here.
First of all you don’t need to know anything about nodes and rooms to use Wires-X. It works in the background and can be totally transparent to you. The repeater you are using may or may not be connected to a room. The only way you can find out is by pressing the Wires-X button on your radio. No one will yell at you for pressing the Wires-X button. All data communication is muted so there are no annoying data bursts to hear and you won’t break anything. When you press the Wires-X button several things happen.
Your radio sends a handshake request to the repeater.
If the repeater is not connected to a node your Wires-X request will time out and your radio will return to normal operation. You will then know that the repeater is not connected to a node and does not have internet access. Therefore it is not connected to a room.
If the repeater is connected to a node the node will respond and send a datastream back to your radio via the repeater. Your radio will then parse this datastream and display information on your radio. The information you see will depend on the type of radio you have. Radios such as the FTM-400 and FT-991 have large color screens and can display a lot of information while an FT-100, FT-1D and FT-2D have small screens that can only display a little information. But what you will see on all of them is the name of the room the repeater is connected to and how many nodes are connected to that room.
At this point there are several things you can do. Having satisfied your curiosity you can simply take your radio out of Wires-X mode and return to normal use. Or you can change from the existing room to another room. For example if you find the node is connected to the America Link room you can disconnect from it and then connect to the Worldwide Wires room. If you don’t know what room to connect to you can request a list of rooms from the node. This list will display on your radio and you can select one to connect to.
I can’t list the instructions necessary to perform these operations because they are different for each radio. Now that you know what is happening you can read your manual and see what steps are required to do what you want to do.
You may have noticed that I used repeater and node interchangeably. That’s not exactly correct. The repeater is nothing more than an intermediary. It facilitates the communication between your radio and the node station.
A node station is a station that a ham has set up to allow the conversations on the repeater to be fed into the internet. The node station consists of a radio programmed to the repeater frequency, a personal computer connected to the internet that is running Wires-X software and an interface box that connects the radio to the computer.
When the ham constructed his node station he registered his interface box with Yaesu. Yaesu then gave him two numbers. One number is a node number the other is a room number. Forget about the node number.
The room number is like your street address. If I want to see you I can drive to your address and talk to you. If I want to talk to you I connect my node to your room number and I can talk to you there. If several different nodes want to talk to you they can all connect to your room number and then you can all talk to each other. So as you can see a room is just a collection of nodes.
One thing to keep in mind is that every node is issued a room number. So if you build a node station you automatically have a room. Don’t let that confuse you. Most people don’t use their own room for anything. They prefer to connect to rooms where other people congregate. You can find a list of all active rooms on the internet. Go to https://www.yaesu.com/jp/en/
My room number is 28952 but my alias is Kansas-City. Hence we refer to our linked repeaters as the Kansas City room.
If I have the node stations for the 146.910 Overland Park repeater and the 442.600 Shawnee repeater and the 147.300 Warsaw Missouri repeater connect to my room we can all now talk to each other. These repeaters are now linked together simply by connecting them to my room. The linking is done via the internet because remember each node is connected to the internet.
The Wires-X software by Yaesu runs on the node computer and is what allows you to change rooms and do a bunch of other stuff we have not talked about yet. There are a lot of other things that can be done using Wires-X but what I’ve talked about here is about 99 percent of what people do.
Don’t be afraid to press your Wires-X button. Nothing bad will happen. But keep in mind that when you press it your radio only sends ONE datastream request to the repeater. If you don’t have a good signal into the repeater the node may not be able to decode your request. If that is the case just press it again and see if it connects. If you know that there is supposed to be a node station on that repeater and you can’t connect after several tries it’s possible that the node station may be down.
We’ve struggled at times to keep our node stations on the air. Between power failures and internet interruptions and hard drive failures it has been a challenge. But we’ve learned a lot and with new firmware and new hardware from Yaesu it is getting more reliable every day.
I’ve mentioned that you can change rooms via Wires-X commands on your radio. However, we are using the Kansas City room to continuously link the local repeaters. Everyone using these repeaters expects them to be linked all the time. So please don’t change from the Kansas City room to another room. If you do, the software is programmed to disconnect from whatever room you connect to after 5 minutes and reconnect to the Kansas City room. So even if you are talking to someone in another room, after 5 minutes you will be cut off and returned to the Kansas City room. I promise no one will yell at you but you may get a visit from the Wouff-Hong.
Hopefully this will help you understand nodes and rooms. There is no magic involved just a lot of hard work in the background to make this available for you to use.
“Van” VanDaveer, K0HCV