Connecting to Internet Clusters

Top  Previous  Next

Connecting to an internet cluster is quite easy in TurboLog 4 and requires very little user interaction. Most preparations need to be carried out offline in the Configuration Menu. The subsection Packet needs to be addressed. When opened it will show the following frame:


Figure 247:  Internet Cluster Configuration

Figure 247:  Internet Cluster Configuration


An internet cluster site is characterized by the following parameters:

IP-AddressThis is the unique address of the site in the internet.
PortThis is the address of the site's interface port.
CallThis is the licensed ham radio identifier.
CommentContains information about QTH, country, etc..


We have collected these parameters in a separate database which can be accessed by a data grid. You can scroll through the data in order to find your favorite cluster site and select it. Your choice will be displayed again in another arrangement of the data fields in the central part of the frame for a better overview of all parameters available. It may be easier to find your candidate if you know its call by sorting all data by the column under the caption "call" and then entering the call into the search field. The incremental search mode will help you to find the complete data set by entering just a few keystrokes. If you want this internet site to become your default you only need to click the Select as Active button. This action internally includes pressing the Accept button. Your selection is automatically saved.You can now leave the frame, e.g. by clicking the Cancel button.


You can sort the data base by the content of another column by simply clicking its caption. This will turn the column into the master status which is indicated by the grey arrow next to the caption.


Pressing the Cancel button before you have put your selection into "active" will mean to leave without making changes. Pressing the Help button will bring up this help topic.


We acknowledge VE9DX's efforts to provide a continuously updated collection of cluster site information on his website at:


We capitalize on the data this site provides to the public. We cannot guarantee, however, integrity and correctness of the data we adapted from there. If you have more comprehensive data at hand you can edit the database in TurboLog 4 at any time. If you want to edit an existing data set click the Edit button or press F2. Click Delete in order to remove the data set from the database. You will be prompted before execution. Click Add to add a new data set to the database. While editing is in progress the Accept button will become active. Pressing Accept will save your modifications to the database but will not automatically turn the edited data set into the default cluster site. This requires to press the Select as Active button as outlined above.


Most internet cluster sites run DX-Spider software these days. Log-in to these clusters is very straight forward since only the call needs to be responded at the cluster's prompt. This procedure and the structure of the prompt is well suited for an automatic connect. TurboLog 4 is fully adapted to this type of log-in and will establish the connection almost instantaneously even when the cluster is entered for the first time.


Unfortunately the AR-Cluster software is a completely different story. These clusters can be identified by their use of port address 23 in most cases. The first log-in to these clusters is not well suited for an automatic connection since the applicant is asked for numerous personal details, such as name, QTH, Locator, etc. in a multi step dialogue before the cluster lets him in. Once this hurdle has been taken any future log-ins requires to respond to the cluster's prompt by call only. The prompt structure, however, is different from DX-Spider. This is not much of a problem, though, and we have managed to adapt TurboLog 4 to AR-Clusters as well. Thus, if you connect to an AR-Cluster site for the second time you would not realize any differences to DX-Spider at all. Sorry, the first entry to an AR-Cluster site, however, would require to use an external Telnet-terminal in order to pass the dialogue sequences .... unless the AR-Cluster SYSOP would configure his entry procedure as to match the common handshake as applied in DX-Spider software.


In view of this situation we strongly recommend you make your first steps into the internet by connecting to a cluster site which uses DX-Spider, e.g. to one of those sites given below. Once in the internet distance to a cluster site is virtually irrelevant. Thus, unlike Packet Radio there will always be a suitable cluster within reach from your location.


This concludes the considerations and preparations towards connecting to an internet cluster.


You must now move into the packet information window and select the Dis/Connect button from its menu bar. Clicking the sub item Internet will start internal services (WinSock) in TurboLog 4 in order to establish the connection to the default cluster site.


With access to a DSL link the internet connection to the cluster will run fully automated.


If you are still on ISDN and you did not already establish a connection to your internet provider from an external program you are now prompted to make your choice on routing it. The dialogue box which pops up is generated by low level services of your operating system. As a consequence it will contain the language elements which belong to the country your WINDOWS version has been set to:


Figure 248:  Internet Connect via ISDN

Figure 248:  Internet Connect via ISDN


Select your internet provider and click Connect to continue.


While the connection is in progress you should move into the All Spots (Basic) packet grid display in order to monitor the welcome text arriving from the cluster. If you see it arriving ... you successfully made it. The status bar will show the existing connection.


In case of trouble you should try another cluster site and/or your internet setup in WINDOWS. We found the following cluster sites being very well maintained and available most of the time:




There will be most certainly many more sites just waiting to be tested.




ClickSelects line in grid; activates diverse buttons.
Double ClickExpands tree view in menu.




AcceptAccepts inputs and leaves frame.
ApplyPuts changes into action.
CancelCancels all changes and leaves frame.
HelpOpens (this) help window.
Select as ActiveDefines the default cluster site.
EditEnables editing
DeleteDeletes database entry
AddAdds new line.


This topic was last edited on  Thursday, 17-Jun-2021,  at  10:49