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What is a DX Cluster?
A DX Cluster is a means for Amateur (Ham) Radio operators to tell each other, in realtime, about DX stations (other interesting or rare Amateur Radio stations all over the world).

To quote what is probably the most comprenhsive source of DX Cluster related information, the DX PacketCluster WebNet, a Cluster is:-

One station is set up with PacketCluster and is linked to one or more other stations who have installed the software. These nodes when connected are called a cluster. Clusters are connected to clusters, expanding the network. Individual users connect to the nodes on a frequency different from what the node stations are linked on. Users are capable of announcing DX spots and related announcements, send personal talk messages, send and receive mail messages, search and retrive archived data, and access data from information databases among its many features.
 

So what is DXSpider?
PacketCluster nodes have been around since roughly 1985. The original PacketCluster idea came from Dick Newell, AK1A, and ran under DOS. In about 1992 Dick stopped the development of the PacketCluster software for amateur radio. Many systems are still using this relatively old DOS software today.
There are several new compatible cluster programs around now, including DXSpider. DXSpider is a clone of PacketCluster software that runs under several operating systems including Linux and Windows. Linux is fast becoming the choice for amateur radio stations because of it's flexibility, reliability and the lack of the memory limitations of DOS. Linux supports multitasking and is also multiuser. It has support for AX25, ROSE, NetROM and TCPIP built in, making it the ideal choice for amateur radio. It is also totally free!
DXSpider was conceived and begun in 1998 by Dirk Koopman, G1TLH as an exercise in perl programming. It has developed rapidly and today is a very powerful cluster program. It was designed to be totally compatible with the AK1A program, although several commands have been extended to improve functionality.
This manual is designed to help you become familiar with the commands that DXSpider supports and to help you get the best from the program so you can enjoy working that rare DX! As DXSpider is being improved all the time, commands will be added as time goes by, so make sure you have the most upto date version of this manual. The latest version will always be included with the cluster program so if you are unsure, simply ask your sysop. The manual will also be available on the wesite.

                                  The DXSpider User Manual v1.50

                                       The DX Spider Home Page
 

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