Table of Contents
What is the International 11 meter Cluster?
The International 11 meter Cluster is an initiative to create a real 11 meter DX cluster. An 11 meter DX cluster is a network of interconnected computers which exchange DX information for the 11 meter band. This cluster is based on cluster nodes. Cluster nodes are individual computers permanently connected to the Internet and running cluster server software.
Yes. There are several different software packages that can be used to interchange DX information between nodes. All of these software packages are written to support HAM band operation, but we have adapted one of those software packages called DXSpider so it works on the 11 meter band.
Why yet another cluster?
It is a common mistake to say that there are already so many cluster out there. What you probably referring to are the many websites where you can read and post spots. While they are called clusters, in reality they are not. As I stated before, a cluster is a group of interconnected computers and the websites you are referring to are not connected to anything or anyone. They are basically lonely "spot islands" and don't interchange any information between each other.
So what's wrong with those cluster websites then?
There are a couple of issues with having isolated "spot islands".
First of all you don't get a complete view of what is happening on the 11 meter band. If you go to a website of a particular group you will typically see only spots posted by members of that group.
Another issue is that you have to be member of that group or website to be able to post and sometimes even to see spots. The 11m cluster is an open platform accessible to everyone.
Cluster websites are usually managed centrally. This is a good and a bad thing. The good thing is that you always have one responsible for the website, so if you have a problem you can contact that person and he or she will (or will not) help you. But also be aware that when the owner of the website is able to change the rules for that website, he can ban you if he likes, he can start to charge for using the website, he can restricted access if he wants so. Since the International 11 meter Cluster is more a platform than we site, the cluster has no owner. Proper behavior on the cluster is enforced by the community, that's you. You are asked to behave and you are building your own image as a professional 11 meter operator by doing so.
If a cluster website goes down for any reason, you are left without any DX information. If one or more of the nodes in the International 11 meter Cluster goes down, you can simply connect to another node and you will have the same information you had before. This is called resilience in the network.
How do I connect to the International 11 meter Cluster?
There are several ways of connecting to the International 11 metr Cluster. The most convenient one is using cluster client software. Currently the following software supports the International 11 meter Cluster:
We have created a page with Software Manuals on how to configure this software for the International 11 meter Cluster.
Via Telnet connecting to one of the nodes.
Via the DXSpider Java interface. To be able to use the Java interface effectively you need to understand the commands used in DXSpider. A command overview can be found in the DXSpider User Manual. A list of nodes that have the Java interface enabled can be found on our nodes page.
Other ways to follow the International 11 meter Cluster
There are several other ways of following the International 11 meter Cluster.
- Via the [* http://www.facebook.com/International11mCluster International 11 meter Cluster Facebook page].
- Via Twitter by following @11MeterCluster.
- Via the Latest Spots page on this site.
Many nodes also have their own web interface. Which nodes have web interfaces is documented on the Nodes page.
Following the cluster like this is just that, following the cluster. Using these interfaces it is not possible to send spots.
Do i have to register to connect to the International 11 meter cluster?
No. To connect to the cluster the only thing you have to do is connect as described in the previous chapter. However, you will only be able to receive spots. You will not be able to send spots. We have implemented this registration process to prevent that people connect to the cluster with a callsign that is not theirs. So this registration process is for your protection and that of your fellow colleague operators.
Registration is easy. Just send an e-mail to the contact address of the node you want to connect to. Usually within a day the owner of the cluster gives you access. And if not, then just try another node. You can find the contact addresses of the nodes on the Nodes page.
How to become a node
To become a node in our International 11 meter Cluster is fairly simple. You will need the following:
- A dedicated PC that you can leave running connected to the Internet 24 hours 7 days a week.
- A name that people can find from the internet. This can be done in three ways:
- Under your own domain name. You will not only need a domain name, but also fixed IP address for that.
- Under a dynamic DNS domain. Examples are [* http://www.dyn.org dyndns.org], [* http://www.no-ip.org no-ip.org], etc.
- Under 11mcluster.net. We will provide you with the details on how to set that up.
Once you have all this set up just send a mail to ten.retsulcm11|nimda#ten.retsulcm11|nimda and request the DXSpider software.
We deliberately do not post the software here because we want to keep track of who will be installing this software for two reasons:
- Someone who is new to setting up DXSpider most probably needs help during the installation. To make the setup easier we can help already in the beginning and make the setup of DXSpider very easy.
- After the installation of DXSpider we need to connect the new node to the cluster. You will need our help for that anyway.
- We recommend that the new node also gets registered on our Nodes page.
Don't worry,this is not a screening process. We will not reject anyone who wants to be a node in the International 11 meter Cluster.