The PCUG Bulletin Board

Unfortunately, the software used on our BBS was not Y2k compliant, and decreasing use of the BBS made it uneconomical to upgrade. The BBS thus closed on 31 December 1999.
This is a big topic! We won't try to explain it all here - there really is no substitute for just trying it out. However, here are the salient points:

What is a BBS?

A Bulletin Board System is a computer running some software that allows you to ring it up and communicate with it - much as though your keyboard at home was controlling the BBS computer, and the BBS computer was displaying stuff on your screen at home. To do this, you need to have appropriate hardware and software - this is described in more detail below. For the phone numbers and so on, see the Contacts page.

The Sysop

Short for System Operator, the Sysop of a Bulletin Board is the person who runs it, making sure that it keeps providing the service it should. Questions about its use, or suggestions for enhancement should be sent to the Sysop.


The primary function for most users of the Bulletin Board is its messaging facility. The BBS lets you send and receive electronic mail - either specific (addressed to particular people) or public (everyone can read it and reply). Because the BBS is part of a worldwide amateur network called FidoNet, you have this facility worldwide - for the cost of a local phone call. Note that at this stage FidoNet electronic mail is distinct from and incompatible with Internet email.

File Transfer

The BBS also holds thousands of files. These files are available for download (ie., transfer to your PC at home). There is also a means for you to share your own files with others by uploading them to the BBS, so that others can download them.

A word of warning though - the PCUG does not allow or condone software piracy. If you knowingly upload software for which you do not own the copyright or for which the copyright owner does not specifically permit such actions, you will permanently lose access to the BBS.

Files stored on the BBS CDROMs are only accessible if you have paid your Software Access Fee.

Access Rights

All PCUG Members are eligible to use the BBS at no extra cost. However, the BBS has its own membership list and you need to tell the Sysop that you would like access. When you first log on, you will be asked for several details, which will be recorded. When you log off, the BBS software will ask if you would like to leave a message to the Sysop. Say yes and leave a message stating your full (and REAL!) name and your membership number and ask for full access to the board. Your request will typically be processed within one working week.

What You Need

To access the BBS, you will need a modem and appropriate cables to connect your modem to the telephone system and to connect the modem to your computer. The BBS supports modem speeds up to 28800 bps (V.FAST), but does NOT support speeds slower than 1200bps. If you are buying a new modem, the dealer will be able to advise on appropriate cables. Note that your computer will need to have a serial port available. If any of these terms are totally foreign to you, contact the BBS Sysop for advice.

You will also need appropriate software. The Software Library has a number of excellent shareware packages available and we can highly recommend Telix. Again, if you need advice contact the BBS Sysop.

The technical information you will need, regardless of what software you use, is as follows:

Luckily, these are almost certainly the defaults!

Your First Call

We strongly recommend that you get a knowledgeable friend to guide you through setting up and using your communication software for the first time. Alternatively, attend the PCUG course "Using the BBS".

Set your software up to dial the BBS phone number, then tell it to dial. You will probably hear your modem dialling and may even hear the BBS answer. A series of changing tones will follow, as the BBS and your modem 'lock on'. The tones will suddenly stop, and you should see the 'CD' light on your modem light up. As long as that light is on, you are connected to the BBS.

Wait a few seconds - the BBS will send you a welcome notice, and you are on your way. The BBS software has very comprehensive menus, with help available for most options.

You should probably spend your first session on the BBS 'playing around'. We recommend that you read the bulletins first, as these contain the latest information about developments on the BBS.

Remember - nothing you can do (short of pouring coffee into the keyboard or suchlike) can possibly harm the BBS or your computer. Feel free to experiment. The worst that can happen is that the connection is lost, in which case just dial up again.

Peak periods

There are a limited number of modems on the BBS. The most popular times to call are between about 5.30pm and 11.00pm. If you can avoid that period you will experience less frustration and help out those people who can't call early in the morning or during the day.

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