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From: [email protected] (Jeffrey Herman) Newsgroups: Subject: Guide to the Newsgroups Date: 9 Nov 2001 06:18:17 GMT Message-ID: <[email protected]> Summary: This article provides an overview of the newsgroups devoted          to the personal radio services (amateur and CB), describes          each newsgroup and its charter, and gives a brief tutorial          on netiquette. Keywords: faq radio amateur ham cb netiquette X-Newsgroups:,, X-Newsgroups:,, X-Newsgroups:, X-Newsgroups:, X-Newsgroups:, X-Newsgroups:, X-Last-Updated: 1999/05/16 Posting-Frequency: 15th of each month  Archive-name: radio/personal-intro  This message describes the*,,, and newsgroups, as well as their Internet mailing list counterparts and complements. It is intended to serve as a guide for the new reader on what to find where. Questions and comments may be directed to Jeffrey Herman, KH6O, [email protected], or Paul Schleck, K3FU, [email protected]  This message was last changed on 14 March, 1998.  History =======  Way back when, before there was a Usenet, the Internet hosted a mailing list for hams, called (appropriately enough) INFO-HAMS. Ham radio discussions were held on the mailing list, and sent to the mailboxes of those who had signed up for it. When the Usenet software was created, and net news as we now know it was developed, a newsgroup was created for hams: net.ham-radio. The mailing list and the newsgroup were gatewayed together, eventually.  Over the years, as the net grew, the volume of discussion became progressively higher. First one by one, and then as part of two reorganizations, what was once one group became many. In the process, developments elsewhere on the net were reflected in the groups as they were created, most notably the change to place all of the ham radio groups in one hierarchy.  The collection of newsgroups continues to grow as more people join the net, and as more topics of discussion gain volume, I expect to see more groups be created as well. This follows what is happening on the rest of the net.  Nearly all of the radio newsgroups have corresponding mailing lists, the notable exception being There are also a few mailing lists that don't have newsgroups.  The Current Groups ==================  It's important to post messages to the group that's appropriate for them, and not to the groups that aren't. The whole idea of having different newsgroups is so that folks who aren't interested in, say, homebrewing, don't have to wade through messages about homebrewing on the way to read about Field Day. Posting appropriately is just good etiquette.  The group is the catchall. It is what rec.ham-radio was renamed to during the first major reorganization. Any amateur radio- related message that's not more appropriate in one of the other groups belongs here, from contesting to DX to ragchewing on VHF to information on becoming a ham.  The group is for discussions related to (surprise!) digital amateur radio. This doesn't have to be the common two-meter AX.25 variety of packet radio, either; some of the most knowledgeable folks in radio digital communications can be found here, and anything in the general area is welcome. The name was changed to emphasize this, and to encourage discussion not only of other text-based digital modes, such as AMTOR, RTTY, and Clover, but things like digital voice and video as well. The former group,, was removed on September 21st, 1993. It is obsolete, and you should use .digital.misc instead (or the appropriate new mailing list, mentioned below).  The group has .misc as part of the name to allow further specialization if the users wish it, such as .digital.tcp-ip.  The swap group is This recognizes a fact that became evident shortly after the original group was formed: Hams don't just swap ham radio gear, and other folks besides hams swap ham equipment. If you have radio equipment, or test gear, or computer stuff that hams would be interested in, here's the place. Equipment wanted postings belong here too. Discussions about the equipment generally don't; if you wish to discuss a particular posting with the buyer, email is a much better way to do it, and the other groups, especially .equipment and .homebrew, are the place for public discussions. There is now a regular posting with information on how to go about buying and selling items in; please refer to it before you post there. To answer a frequently asked question: No, there is no mailing list that goes along with this group. If you can't read Usenet news directly, you're out of luck.  The group was created as a place for all the discussions that seem to drag on interminably about the many rules, regulations, legalities, and policies that surround amateur radio, both existing and proposed.  Recent changes to the Amateur Radio Rules (FCC Part 97) have finally laid to rest the Great Usenet Pizza Autopatch Debate - it's now legal to order a pizza on the autopatch, if you're not in the pizza business - as well as complaints about now-preempted local scanner laws hostile to amateurs, but plenty of discussion about what a bunch of rotten no-goodniks the local frequency coordinating body is, as well as the neverending no-code debate, may still be found here.  The group is the place for all discussion about the Citizens' Band radio service. Such discussions have been very inflammatory in rec.ham-radio in the past; please do not cross-post to both and* unless the topic is genuinely of interest to both hams and CBers - and very few topics are.  The group is just what its name implies: it's the place where informational messages from across* may be found, regardless of where else they're posted. As of this writing, information posted to the group includes Cary Oler's daily solar progagation bulletins, ARRL bulletins, the Frequently Asked Questions files for the various groups, and radio modification instructions. This group is moderated, so you cannot post to it directly; if you try, even if your message is crossposted to one of the other groups, your message will be mailed to the moderator, who is currently David Dodell, WB7TPY. The email address for submissions to the group is [email protected] Inquires and other adminis- trivia should be directed to [email protected] For more information about, consult the introduction and posting guidelines that are regularly posted to that newsgroup.  The groups r.r.amateur.antenna, .boatanchors, .dx, .equipment, .homebrew, and .space are for more specialized areas of ham radio: discussions about antennas, the older tube based amateur, military, and commercial gear, commercially-made equipment, homebrewing, and amateur radio space operations. The .equipment group is NOT the place for buying or selling equipment; that's what is for. Similarly, the .space group is specifically about amateur radio in space, such as the OSCAR program and SAREX, the Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment; other groups cover other aspects of satellites and space. Homebrewing isn't about making your own alcoholic beverages at home (that's rec.crafts.brewing), but rather construction of radio and electronic equipment by the amateur experimenter. The .dx group is devoted to long distance amateur communications. Each of these subgroups has its own charter and FAQ; please refer to the archives to find these documents.  Except for and, all of these newsgroups are available by Internet electronic mail in digest format; send a mail message containing "help" on a line by itself to [email protected] for instructions on how to use the mail server.  All of the groups can be posted to by electronic mail, though, by using a gateway at the University of Texas at Austin. To post a message this way, change the name of the group you wish to post to by replacing all of the '.'s with '-'s - for example, becomes rec-radio-swap - and send to that [email protected] ([email protected], for example). You may crosspost by including multiple addresses as Cc: entries (but see below). This gateway's continued availability is at the pleasure of the admins at UT-Austin, and is subject to going away at any time - and especially if forgeries and other net.abuses become a problem. You have been warned.  Mailing Lists =============  In addition to the mailing lists that mirror the Usenet newsgroups, there also are a few that stand alone. These cover specific areas of ham radio, and discussion is focused on just those areas. PLEASE BE SURE TO SAVE THE WELCOME MESSAGE YOU RECEIVE AFTER SUBSCRIBING -- IT WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFO REGARDING UNSUBSCRIBING!  The cq-contest mailing list is for discussions of contesting in ham radio. To join, send an email to [email protected]  The DX mailing list covers the finer points of DXing. This one is also joined by mailing "subscribe" on a line by itself, this time to [email protected]  There's also a VHF mailing list, for VHF operators of the weak signal persuasion. You can join this one be sending "subscribe vhf" on a line by itself to [email protected]  The QRP-L list is devoted to building and operating gear at low-power outputs. To subscribe, send an email to [email protected] and only write:    subscribe qrp-l Your Name.  The TopBand e-list is devoted to all areas of operation on 160m. To subscribe, send an email to [email protected] and only write: subscribe topband and follow the instructions you'll be sent. This site,, also hosts a couple dozen other ham-related e-lists. Use the above address, and only write:  lists to get the entire index.  The Boatanchors e-list is devoted to the older tube-based ham, military, and commercial communications gear. To subscribe, send an email to: [email protected] and only write: subscribe boatanchors  For homebuilding transmitters and receivers using tube technology, there is the Glowbugs e-list; send an email to: [email protected] and only write:  subscribe glowbugs <[email protected]>  The VHF DX discussion list can be accessed by sending an email to:  [email protected]  and only writing: subscribe VHF-DX-discuss.  We now have a list devoted to amateur radio history. To subscribe, send an email to: [email protected] - leave the body of the message blank. hosts over 100 ham-related e-lists, including lists devoted to each state, manufacturer, mode, band - too many to state here. Send an email to [email protected] and only write:  lists    to get the complete index.  For one of the most complete indexes of email lists, see the excellent web site  Please do NOT send subscription requests to the mailing lists themselves; that doesn't work very often, and is very annoying to those on the list. Also, please keep your electronic mail address current with any mailing lists you subscribe to, as dealing with returned email is a nuisance for the person maintaining the mailing list.  A Few Words on Crossposting ===========================  Please do not crosspost messages to two or more groups unless there is genuine interest in both groups in the topic being discussed, and when you do, please include a header line of the form "Followup-To:" in your article's headers (before the first blank line). This will cause followups to your article to go to the group listed in the Followup-To: line. If you wish to have replies to go to you by email, rather than be posted, use the word "poster" instead of the name of a group. Such a line appears in the headers of this article.  One of the few examples of productive cross-posting is with the newsgroup. To provide a filtered presentation of information articles, while still maintaining visibility in their home newsgroups, the moderator strongly encourages cross-posting. All information articles should be submitted to the moderator so that he may simultaneously cross-post your information to the appropriate newsgroups. Most newsreaders will only present the article once, and network bandwidth is conserved since only one article is propagated. If you make regular informational postings, and have made arrangements with the moderator to post directly to the group, please cross-post as appropriate.  -- Jeffrey Herman, KH6O   --  Telecommunication Specialist          Mathematics  Lecturer       U.S. Coast Guard             University of Hawaii System    jherman @             jeffreyh @ 
A person who reads/browses newsgroups but does not actively post.