N9PE DXSpider is currently "OFF THE AIR" due to the lack of a connection to the internet. The DSL service that had been used for many years to provide the network connection to the DX Spotting Network was moved to another physical location and due to current internal security procedures at State Farm, replacement facilities cannot be provided. The radio of N9PE have been QSY'd to 144.39 MHz and the TNC reprogrammed for Automatic Position Reporting Service (APRS ) as a WIDE2-2 Digipeater N9PE-2 .


N9PE DXSpider is a DX Packet Cluster station operating as a memorial to Paul Hammond (N9PE), a DXer, co-worker at State Farm Insurance, and a great friend.


Please refer to the N9PE DXSpider Network Topology graphic by John Chubick, KB9LNS. The worldwide DX Packet Cluster network consists of hundreds of nodes similar to N9PE DXSpider. While there are numerous variations in their equipment, software, and interconnection, these nodes pass hundreds of DX spots (Callsign and Frequency) daily using the Internet, data circuits, dial-up, and radio. Indeed DX spots are frequently coming in from all over the world at a rate of six to ten spots a minute over the DSL connection to the Internet.


N9PE DXSpider operating parameters: Antenna height AGL (above ground level) 195 feet, Antenna height AMSL (above mean sea level) 1025 feet, Location – One State Farm Plaza, Bloomington, IL (40 28 N 88 57 W), RF Power +46 dBm ERP, Radio – Alinco Data Radio, TNC – Kantronics KPC-3 Plus, Computer - old surplus HP Desktop running Red Hat Linux and DXSpider connected to the internet.


In order to connect to N9PE, the following are recommended:

TNC settings:  (minimum required for using with N9PE)

DWait = 0 (if Slottime and Persist can be used) or a value equal to 350 ms.

FRack = 4 seconds

HBaud = 1200

MYcall = Your Callsign

PERsist = 63 (one in four chance)

SLottime = 10 (100 ms)

TXDelay = 350ms (varies with radio and TNC) During TXD flags are sent so the radio can come up to full power before data is sent. XTAL Data radios may have TXD as low as 2 ms while PLL radios may require 500 ms.


 TNC AFSK Output Level setting should provide approximately 3.5 KHz deviation. If you have an extra 2M receiver, tune it to 144.91 MHz and listen to packets from N9PE. When your radio is transmitting packets (i.e. Connect requests) the received audio level should be about the same as those of N9PE. Different TNC manufacturers typically provide jumpers or potentiometers to achieve nominal deviation.


Equalization – this is an adjustment / option to compensate for audio pre-emphasis or de-emphasis circuits in radios designed for voice communications. Data radios usually do not require equalization.


VHF FM Radio – anything with 5 KHz maximum deviation, 144.91, output power consistent with your distance from N9PE and your antenna height, keeping in mind N9PE’s antenna height. The unsquelched receive audio output on a unused, quiet frequency should be increased until the TNC receive (Data) indicator “lights”, then increase the radio squelch until the TNC receive (Data) indicator “goes dark”.





To use N9PE DXSpider, set up your computer terminal program to “talk” to your TNC, turn on your 2M radio to 144.91 MHz, and issue a “Connect N9PE” command. You should soon see ***Connected to N9PE, then;

Hello this is N9PE in Bloomington Illinois USA

Running DXSpider V.1.51 build 57.63


N1SF Radio Club is using N9PE in memory of Paul Hammond, N1SF member, friend, and DXer.


Please send your comments or questions to SYSOP AB9M


If you are a new user or the MYcall of your TNC has not been connected to a DXSpider node, you will be asked for the following; (or you can enter these commands later)

SET/NAME <Your Name>

SET/ADDRESS <Postal Address>

SET/QTH <City, State>

SET/LOCATION <DD MM N  DD MM W>  your station latitude and longitude,         i.e. 40 28 N  88 57 W  (just degrees and minutes) this information is used for beam headings, sunrise, MUF, and other calculations.


Then you may have to enter the following;

SET/DX (Allows DX spots to come out to your terminal)

SET/ANNOUNCE (Allows Announcements to come out to your terminal)

SET/TALK (Allows Talk messages to come out to your terminal)

SET/WWV (Allows WWV messages to come out to your terminal)

SET/WX (Allows WX messages to come out to your terminal)


At this point you should be seeing DX “spots” displaying on your terminal. Some additional commands you may want to use are;


SHOW/DX (usually the last ten)

SHOW/DX on <band> (160M 80M 40M etc.)

SHOW/DX <prefix or callsign> (FR5* or FR5DX)


SHOW/MUF <DXCC Prefix> <Number of hours> (FR5 8)  Maximum Useable Freq.

SHOW/SUN <DXCC Prefix> DX’s Local Sunrise / set times in UTC

SHOW/TIME <DXCC Prefix> DX’s local time

SHOW/HEAD <DXCC Prefix> Your Beam heading to DX


To enter a DX spot:

DX <freq> <call> <remarks> - DX 7026 ZL8R QSX 7029


To enter a WX spot

WX Severe thunderstorm warning for McLean County IL until 6PM


DIR – lists messages in message directory

SEND <call> will create message to individual with callsign if they are a registered user.

READ will read the next unread message addressed to you.

REPLY will reply to your last read message.


HELP <command> to see how to enter commands i.e. HELP SEND (send mail commands)



To get only the spot information you are interested in and not waste 144.91 bandwidth with useless (to you) information, please “set filters” to accept and reject spot information based upon < band >, <mode>, <DXCC prefix>, and <DXCC origination>. For example, if your only interest is six meters and above, you probably are not wanting to receive HF spots from anywhere, but you will accept 6M spots originated by North, Central, and South America, and reject those originated by Asian, European, and African HAMS. Or maybe you are a DXer interested only in Five Band DXCC; you would reject 160M, 30M, 17M, 12M, and 6M. Reject VHF, UHF, SHF, and reject DXCC prefix W, K, N, etc., while accepting 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, regardless of country of origination.


10.1 General filter rules [1]

Upto v1.44 it was not possible for the user to set their own filters. From v1.45 though that has all changed. It is now possible to set filters for just about anything you wish. If you have just updated from an older version of DXSpider you will need to update your new filters. You do not need to do anything with your old filters, they will be renamed as you update.

There are 3 basic commands involved in setting and manipulating filters. These are accept, reject and clear. First we will look generally at filtering. There are a number of things you can filter in the DXSpider system. They all use the same general mechanism.

In general terms you can create a 'reject' or an 'accept' filter which can have up to 10 lines in it. You do this using, for example ...

accept/spots .....
reject/spots .....

where ..... are the specific commands for that type of filter. There are filters for spots, wwv, announce, wcy and (for sysops) connects. See each different accept or reject command reference for more details.

There is also a command to clear out one or more lines in a filter. They are ...

clear/spots 1
clear/spots all

There is clear/xxxx command for each type of filter.

and you can check that your filters have worked by the command ...


For now we are going to use spots for the examples, but you can apply the same principles to all types of filter.

10.2 Types of filter

There are two main types of filter, accept or reject. You can use either to achieve the result you want dependent on your own preference and which is more simple to do. It is pointless writing 8 lines of reject filters when 1 accept filter would do the same thing! Each filter has 10 lines (of any length) which are tried in order. If a line matches then the action you have specified is taken (ie reject means ignore it and accept means take it)

If you specify reject filters, then any lines that arrive that match the filter will be dumped but all else will be accepted. If you use an accept filter, then ONLY the lines in the filter will be accepted and all else will be dumped. For example if you have a single line accept filter ...

accept/spots on vhf and (by_zone 14,15,16 or call_zone 14,15,16)

then you will ONLY get VHF spots from or to CQ zones 14, 15 and 16.

If you set a reject filter like this ...

reject/spots on hf/cw

Then you will get everything EXCEPT HF CW spots. You could make this single filter even more flexible. For example, if you are interested in IOTA and will work it even on CW even though normally you are not interested in CW, then you could say ...

reject/spots on hf/cw and not info iota

But in that case you might only be interested in iota and say:-

accept/spots not on hf/cw or info iota

which achieves exactly the same thing. You should choose one or the other until you are comfortable with the way it works. You can mix them if you wish (actually you can have an accept AND a reject on the same line) but don't attempt this until you are sure you know what you are doing!

You can arrange your filter lines into logical units, either for your own understanding or simply convenience. Here is an example ...

reject/spots 1 on hf/cw
reject/spots 2 on 50000/1400000 not (by_zone 14,15,16 or call_zone 14,15,16)  

What this does is to ignore all HF CW spots and also rejects any spots on VHF which don't either originate or spot someone in Europe.

This is an example where you would use a line number (1 and 2 in this case), if you leave the digit out, the system assumes '1'. Digits '0'-'9' are available. This make it easier to see just what filters you have set. It also makes it more simple to remove individual filters, during a contest for example.

You will notice in the above example that the second line has brackets. Look at the line logically. You can see there are 2 separate sections to it. We are saying reject spots that are VHF or above APART from those in zones 14, 15 and 16 (either spotted there or originated there). If you did not have the brackets to separate the 2 sections, then Spider would read it logically from the front and see a different expression entirely ...

(on 50000/1400000 and by_zone 14,15,16) or call_zone 14,15,16 

The simple way to remember this is, if you use OR - use brackets. Whilst we are here CASE is not important. 'And BY_Zone' is just the same as 'and by_zone'.

As mentioned earlier, setting several filters can be more flexible than simply setting one complex one. Doing it in this way means that if you want to alter your filter you can just redefine or remove one or more lines of it or one line. For example ...

reject/spots 1 on hf/ssb

would redefine our earlier example, or

clear/spots 1

To remove all the filter lines in the spot filter ...

clear/spots all

10.3 Filter options

You can filter in several different ways. The options are listed in the various helpfiles for accept, reject and filter.

10.4 Advanced filtering

Once you are happy with the results you get, you may like to experiment.

The previous example that filters hf/cw spots and accepts vhf/uhf spots from EU can be written with a mixed filter, for example ...

rej/spot on hf/cw
acc/spot on 0/30000
acc/spot 2 on 50000/1400000 and (by_zone 14,15,16 or call_zone 14,15,16)

Note that the first filter has not been specified with a number. This will automatically be assumed to be number 1. In this case, we have said reject all HF spots in the CW section of the bands but accept all others at HF. Also accept anything in VHF and above spotted in or by operators in the zones 14, 15 and 16. Each filter slot actually has a 'reject' slot and an 'accept' slot. The reject slot is executed BEFORE the accept slot.

It was mentioned earlier that after a reject test that doesn't match, the default for following tests is 'accept', the reverse is true for 'accept'. In the example what happens is that the reject is executed first, any non hf/cw spot is passed to the accept line, which lets through everything else on HF. The next filter line lets through just VHF/UHF spots from EU.

For more detailed explanation of how to set filters or other DXSpider commands or settings go to < http://www.dxcluster.org/main/usermanual_en.html  >.


DXTelnet is a terminal program that I’ve found to work well with my computer and TNC, providing both visual and audible information…. Yes, it speaks (phonetically) the callsign and frequency of the DX spot. It also has an alarm so that when those most wanted countries, not in your log are announced, a siren sound precedes the announcement to attract your attention.


For more information on DXTelnet, go to < http://golist.net/dxt.htm >


Finally, don’t expect N9PE DXSpider spots to put those “hard ones” in your log. You will find that most of the time, by the time you receive the spot (usually within minutes of  its origination), the pileup has already begun since the originator usually doesn’t spot any DX they need until after they have worked the DX and made their log entry. Also the originator may have run across a pileup in progress which was growing as they attempted to be heard by the DX.


You may find that N9PE DXSpider’s DX Spot log contains multiple spots for a particular DX station or DX-Pedition which can be displayed with the SHOW/DX <callsign> <band> command. Coupled with the SHOW/MUF <DXCC prefix>, SHOW/SUN <DXCC Prefix>, and SHOW/TIME <DXCC Prefix> , you may have some very good information which may help you with where to listen and when to transmit to put the DX in your log.









Attachment: N1SF Radio Club DX Cluster Network Topology

[1] Cut and paste from http://www.dxcluster.org/main/usermanual_en.html