1 9600 baud port
All of them share bulletins, messages readable by all users. A personal message is addressed to a specific user at a specific BBS and is only readable by that user. Some carry NTS messages (National Traffic System). NTS messages are readable by anyone, but are routed to only the closest BBS to that message's destination.
All BBSs operate more or less the same way, but not exactly. Each should have help files or info files that explain how to use it. Most will understand the command H (help) or I (info).
Please keep in mind that each BBS is operated in cooperation with the others. The forwarding of traffic doesn't happen by magic, each BBS has forwarding files that are maintained manually by the sysop. One can't simply address a message to a BBS that isn't part of the network and expect it to somehow get there.
A personal message address looks something like e-mail, but please remember this is NOT
e-mail. In this region (Northern CA), one's address is:
CALL is your call sign, BBS is the call sign of your home BBS, #NCA is our region code, CA is the State code, USA is the country code, and NOAM is the continent code (NOrth AMerica).
Suppose your call is K6ABC and your home BBS is N6XYZ. Another user could send you a message with the "send personal" (sp) command:
Fortunately, the BBSs in this region know about each other, so if your friend is also in this region, he/she could shorten that to:
Bulletins are sent to a title instead of a call sign, and are "flooded" instead of sent to a
particular BBS. The title needs to be no larger than the longest possible
call sign. The distribution range of your bulletin is specified with one
of the standard flood designators. The recognized floods in the NCA region
LOCAL (or the call of your BBS) (Limited to your BBS)
NCA (No. CA region)
CA (the State of CA)
USA (The United States)
NOAM (USA, Canada, Mexico)
WW (World Wide -- every BBS)
The most common are USA and WW
Bulletins are sent with the "send bulletin" (sb) command. Some examples are:
Choose the title wisely, it should have something to do with the topic of your message. Titles like "all" are too generic, many people will skip over those. The subject is the place for a more detailed description of the message; however, most BBSs will limit the length of the subject to 40 or 50 characters.
National Traffic System messages are a special case. They are routed based on zip codes and the message body uses a particular format. They are sent with the "send NTS" (st) command. If you don't know what you're doing, it's best to leave those alone, (although there's no harm in reading them).