In summary, 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 discourage you from pressing the Wires-X button. All data communication is muted so there are no annoying data bursts to hear and you won’t disturbanything or anyone. When you press the Wires-X button when tuned to a particular repeater frequency, 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 andthat there is no access to the internet. 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-991A 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 the 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 this room and then connect to a different room that serves your interest. 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.
The instructions necessary to perform these operations are radio specific and now that you know what is happening you can read your manual selectively and see what steps are required to do what you want to do.
The words repeater and node have been used interchangeably and that is not exactly correct. The repeater is nothing more than an intermediary. It facilitates the communication between your radio and the node station connected to the repeater.
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 someone wants to see you they can drive to your address and talk to you in person. If they just want to talk to you they connect their node to your room number and 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 assigned. 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 Yaesu Web Site.The DTMF ID column contains the room number. If you click on the Act (activity) column it will sort by the number of nodes connected to a room. The Act column will show how many nodes are connected to each room.
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 such as process messages and photos but what has beendiscussed 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.
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.