Purchasing Retro-Dial
Retro-Dial Station List


Retro-Dial is a telnet-accessable chat server based on the Diversi-Dial system created by Bill Basham in the early 1980's. D-Dial was an Apple //e "CB Simulator" with which sysops could host simultanious chat between up to 7 users via multiple phone lines and modems. Sysops could also use one or more of their lines to connect to other D-Dial stations and "link" them together so people on two or more D-Dial stations could chat together. D-Dial was popular from around the mid-80's to the mid-90's and was a precursor for many of the later chat networks such as IRC. The look and feel of Retro-Dial is almost exactly the same as D-Dial, as are many of the commands, although some command structure has been changed and some new functionality added. R-Dial is also completely link compatible with D-Dial.


When you connect to a Retro-Dial station, you will be presented with a logon prompt. To logon to the station, enter your password here, or just press enter to logon as a guest. You will then be connected to one of the seven lines on the station, numbered #1 through #7. (There is also a line #0 which is used by the sysop from the console of the station.) When you first logon, the station will send a broadcast to all users showing that you logged on, which may look like the following:
-->. +
The arrow with the plus (+) sign means somebody has logged on to the station. Under this, it shows what line was logged in, what channel the user is in, and in this case, a question mark (?) since the user has not set their handle yet. For members, this will show their handle (which is saved each time they logoff) and their user id. A broadcast is also sent to all users when somebody logs off the system. This looks the same, except instead of a plus (+), there is a minus (-) like the following:
-->. -
To chat with other users on the station after you have logged on, simply type what you want to say. Any text which starts with a slash (/) is processed by Retro-Dial as a command. For example, to change your handle, you would use the /H command:
/h Joe
This would set your handle to "Joe". The system responds to all commands with an arrow (showing it is a message from the system) followed by the system's message. In this case, to acknowledge your handle has been changed, the system would reply:
--> Done
When someone types a message, their header will show before the message, for example:
#1(T1:Joe) Hi all!
Headers show information about the user who sent the message and are made up of the following:
  • Line number - #1 through #7 (Or #0 for the sysop at the console)
  • Access - Access level marker of the user.
  • Channel - Which channel the user is currently on.
  • A colon as a separator in between the channel and handle.
  • Handle - The handle of the user.
  • A right parentheses as a separator in between the handle and user's text.


There are 4 channels, T1-T4 which users can chat in, and an additional channel T0 for sysop and co-sysop use only. T1 and T2 are public channels and allow any number of validated users to chat in them. T3 and T4 are private channels, and only two users at a time are allowed in these channels. In addition, certain station broadcasts are not shown in channel T3 (semi-privacy), and no station broadcasts are shown in T4 (full-privacy). When a user types a public message, only other users in the same channel can see this message.


The sysop can use one or more of the station's lines to link to other stations, allowing users on either station to chat with each other. When a station is linked, all of the other station's users will have the number of the line their station is linked on show before the user's header. For example, if the sysop of "Station A" uses line #5 to connect to "Station B", once the stations are linked, users of "Station A" will see a "5" in front of anything sent by users on "Station B":
#1(T1:Joe) Hello from Station A!
5#3(T1:Bob) Hi, I am on Station B.
5#1(T1:Mary) I'm on Station B too!
#1(T1:Joe) Hi Bob and Mary!
On "Station B", the users will see all messages from "Station A" prefaced with the line number that "Station A" connected to. For example, if "Station A" connected their line #5 with line #7 on "Station B", the users on "Station B" would see the conversation like this:
7#1(T1:Joe) Hello from Station A!
#3(T1:Bob) Hi, I am on Station B.
#1(T1:Mary) I'm on Station B too!
7#1(T1:Joe) Hi Bob and Mary!
Sometimes there will be many stations linked together. For each station linked from another station, the line number used to connect to the station will be added to the header. For example, if "Station A" used line #5 to connect to "Station B", and then "Station B" used it's line #3 to connect to "Station C", a user on "Station A" would see a message from a user on "Station C" as follows:
53#1(T1:Bill) Hello from Station C!
Each subsequent "station hop" adds a line number to the header. For example:
537752#1(T1:Matt) Wow, I'm SIX stations away from you!
Stations will send a "station broadcast" from time to time, to show their station name, status, and who is online. For example, a station broadcast from a station connected on line #7 might look like this:
7-.Station B!
 #6[T1=Station A
All status broadcasts begin with a dash (-), then are followed by a comma (,) if the station is locked and only allowing users with passwords to logon, or a period (.) if the station is unlocked and open to guests. Next, it shows the name of the station, in this case "Station B!". Underneath the station name are shown which lines are in use and their line headers. In this case, we see "Bob" is on line #1, "Jim" is on line #3, and "Station A" is connected on line #6. We can tell line #6 is a link because it has an equal sign (=) between the channel and handle instead of the colon (:) for users. Any users on either station chatting on the channel the link is on will be able to see each other. A dash (-) between the channel and the handle means that line is a dual-channel link. Any users on either station chatting on either the primary or the secondary channel of the link will be able to see each other if they are on the same channel, just as if they were on the same station.

In addition, all logon/logoff broadcasts will be shown in the same manner, for example:
53-->. -


The lowest access level is "Guest", which is any user who does not have an account on the station. These users have limited access to the station. They are not allowed on a station if it is locked, and if it is unlocked, they can only chat for a specified amount of time before they are disconnected. If a co-sysop or sysop is on the station, however, they have the option to validate a guest, which will give the guest unlimited time on the station and will allow the guest to use some functionality available to members such as the ability to change channels or send and receive private messages until the guest logs off the station.

If a guest wishes to become a member of the station, they can request a user account from the sysop. The sysop can then assign the user a user id, which is a 3-digit number from 001-899. Alternately, if the user is a sysop of a different station and would like to request a link account so they can logon to the station and automatically be linked, the sysop can assign the other station a link id, which is a 3-digit number from 900-999. In each case, the sysop will also give the user a 6-digit password. The user id or link id is to be entered at the logon prompt upon connection followed by the password. For example, if the user id is 112 and the password is 123456, the user would enter the following at the logon prompt:
Users should not under any circumstances give their passwords to anyone else, for obvious reasons.

Once a user has an account on a station, they can take advantage of the many benefits including unlimited time, ability to chat in all channels, private messaging, email, and notes among other things.

There are two kinds of co-sysops on R-Dial, Minor and Major. Minor Co-Sysops are basic moderators and have the ability to validate users as well as disconnect them from the station if needed. Major Co-Sysops are administrators which help run the station and have the ability to link other stations, do user account maintenance, lock and unlock the station, and assign message slots to users for advertising, among other things.

A user's access type is shown by their access marker in their header. The access markers are as follows:
   ( - Guest
   [ - Validated Guest or Member
   < - Co-Sysop or Sysop

For example:
#3(T1:Joe) I'm just a guest...
#4[T1:Mary) I'm a member.
#2<T1:Lisa) I'm a minor co!
#1<T1:Jim) I'm a major co!!!
#3[T1:Joe) Thanks for the validation!
#0<T1:Que?) I'm the sysop, dammit.


Any validated user or member can send private messages to other users, or station messages to anyone on their station. To send a private message to another user, type /P, followed by the user's line number, and then the message to send. For example:
/p2 Hi Amanda, how are you?
When a user receives a private message, it looks the same as a public message, except there will be a "P" (for Private) in front of the message. For example:
P#1[T1:John) Hi Amanda, how are you?
Using this example, if Amanda wanted to reply to John, she could type:
/p1 Hi John, I'm fine, and you?
And John would see the following:
P#2[T1:Amanda) Hi John, I'm fine, and you?
Private messages can be sent to users on linked stations as well, by simply typing all of the numbers before the user's header, as well as the user's line number after the /P. For instance, if a user wanted to send a private message to a user with the header:
They would type /P, followed by 573, followed by the message. For example:
/p573 Hi Dave!
Then Dave might see:
P77#2[T1:Alicia) Hi Dave!
To reply, Dave would type:
/p772 Hi Alicia!
If a user is having a long conversation via private messages with another user, they can use the "Auto /P" command, which will save them from having to type the /P command every time and will automatically send the message typed to the other user. To use the "Auto /P" functionality, simply add an asterisk (*) after the line number of the user the message is being sent to. All subsequent messages will be private messaged to that user. For example:
The system will reply with:
--> On
To show the Auto /P is on. From now on, anything the user types will be sent to the user at 772. To turn the Auto /P off, type:
And the system will reply with:
--> Off
A station message is a private message from a user to everyone on their station. If other stations are linked, only users on the sender's station will be able to see the message. To send a station message, type /PS, followed by the message to send. For example:
/ps Those guys on the other station are hilarious!
When users receive a station message, it looks the same as a public message, except there will be an "S" (for Station) in front of the message. For example:
S#2[T1:Alicia) Those guys on the other station are hilarious!
Using this example, only users on Alicia's station will see the message. To send a station message to another station, a user can send a /P to the other station's line and the message will be shown as a station message to all users on that station. For example, if a user wanted to send a station message to the station which the following users were on:
The user would type:
/p57 Do you guys all live near each other?
Using this example, Jeff, Dave, and any other user on their station would see:
S77#2[T1:Alicia) Do you guys all live near each other?


Everyone with a user id receives an email account. To send email to another user on the station, type /E, followed by the user number to send to, followed by the message to send. For instance, if you want to send an email to user #200, you would type:
/e200 Just saying hi!
To check your email, type:
If you have email, it will show the oldest email in your mailbox. To see the next oldest email, type /e again. If you do not have any email, the station will respond with:
--> No Email
Once emails are viewed, they are automatically removed from your mailbox.


There are 36 message slots available to anyone with a user id. They are /M0 through /M9 and /MA through /MZ. Users can view a message by typing /Mx, where x is the number or letter of the slot. Also, if advertising is enabled by the sysop, these messages will be displayed to all users on the system at specified intervals.

If you would like a message slot, talk to your station's sysop or one of the co-sysops, and they should be able to assign you a message slot if available.

Once you are assigned a message slot, you can enter text into it by typing /Mx= (where x is your slot), followed by your text. Semi-colons (;) are replaced with newlines. To remove a message from your message slot, type /Mx- (where x is your slot). For example, if you are assigned /MG, you would type:
/mg=For Sale:;Apple //e-$250;Commodore 64-$175;;If interested, email #123!
When a user types /mg or if advertising is on and your message shows in public, users will see:
For Sale:
Apple //e-$250
Commodore 64-$175

If interested, email #123!


Everyone with a user id recieves 10 note slots, /N0 through /N9, where they can store messages which only they can read. To save a note, type /Nx=, where x is the note number, followed by the note. For example, to save a note to slot 1, you would type:
/n1=John's Phone #: 555-1212
To read your note, type /Nx, where x is the note number:
John's Phone #: 555-1212
As with message slots, semi-colons are replaced with newlines. To delete a note, type /Nx- where x is the note number.


Each station has an information index which can be viewed by typing /I. This will show the index of information pages and what content they contain, as shown below:
Information Index

/I0 - Welcome Message
/I1 - News Bulletin 1
/I2 - News Bulletin 2
/I3 - News Bulletin 3
/I4 - News Bulletin 4
/I5 - News Bulletin 5
/I6 - Station Information
/I7 - Station Operators
/I8 - Station Full Message
/I9 - Station Locked Message
To view any of these information pages, just type /In where n is the page you would like to view. For example, using the example above, if you typed /i7 it would show a list of the system operators, or if you typed /i0 it would show the welcome message for the station.


The station status (/S) shows station information such as station name, who is online, how long each user has been online, their user id (if applicable), when the last call to the station was, and the current date and time. For example:
--> Bob's R-Dial
#0<T1:Bob) 042/#000*
#1[T1:Alice) 014/#023*
#2(T1:Jim) 004
#7[T1=Jim's RDial) 305
Last Call: 01/03/08  11:42 PM
--> 01/03/08  11:58 PM
This shows the name of the station is "Bob's R-Dial", Bob (User #000) is logged on at the console (line #0) and has been logged on for 42 minutes. Alice (User #023) is logged on line #1 and has been on for 14 minutes. On line #2, Jim has been logged on for 4 minutes. We can see Jim is a guest, as there is no user id shown for him. On line #7, there is a link to another station, called "Jim's RDial", which has been on for 305 minutes. The last caller to the station was at 11:42PM, and the current time is 11:58PM.

To view the station history, type /SH. This will show the last 10 callers to the station by handle, user id (if applicable), and what time they logged off as shown below:
--> Last 10 callers
Jackie           #003  Logged off: 01/19/08 11:58 PM
Jim              #204  Logged off: 01/19/08 11:39 PM
?                ----  Logged off: 01/19/08 11:39 PM
Alison           #124  Logged off: 01/19/08 11:17 PM
Matt             #017  Logged off: 01/19/08 10:56 PM
Joe              ----  Logged off: 01/19/08 10:55 PM
Dave             #118  Logged off: 01/19/08 10:50 PM
Jessica          ----  Logged off: 01/19/08 10:43 PM
Angel            #305  Logged off: 01/19/08 10:41 PM
Liz              #777  Logged off: 01/19/08 10:36 PM
--> End
To view a list of all members on the current station, the command /SM will show a list of members on the station by user id and last handle used as shown below:
900:Jim's RDial
901:R-Dial #54
--> End


If a user does not wish to see messages from another user or another station, they can squelch the line. For example, if there is another station linked on line #7, and a user only wants to see messages from the station they are on, they can type:
This will squelch line #7 and no messages from this line will be seen by the user. If the user wishes to see messages from that station at any time, they can un-squelch line #7 by typing /x7 again.


To display a new line in your message, you can type a carat (^) and it will be displayed publically as a newline. For example, if a user typed the following:
To reply to all of you:^Jim - Yes^Alicia - Good, how are you?^Mike - HAHAHA
Publically, it would display as:
#1[T1:Bob) To reply to all of you:
 Jim - Yes
 Alicia - Good, how are you?
 Mike - HAHAHA
If /CR is on, newlines will appear in place of the carats in all messages you recieve. If /CR is off, the carat will be displayed.


Commands may be entered in either upper or lower case. They will be listed here in uppercase for readability.

/?          - Show command reference
/I          - Information Index
/In         - Show information page n (where n is 0-9)
/H [handle] - Set handle to [handle]
/S          - Show station status
/SH         - Show station history
/SM         - Show station members
/Mx         - Show message in slot x (where x is 0-9 or A-Z)
/B          - Toggle beeps on/off
/CR         - Toggle carat/newline
/CP         - Console page
/Q          - Quit

VALIDATED COMMANDS (Validated guests and members only)

/Tn           - Tune to channel n (where n is 1-4)
/Pn [message] - Send [message] to line n
/Pn*          - Turn auto /P on, send all messages to line n
/P*           - Turn auto /P off
/PS [message] - Send [message] to all users on station
/SB           - Toggle station status broadcasts on/off
/Xn           - Toggle squelch for line n on/off

MEMBER COMMANDS (Members only)

/A              - Toggle ad display on/off
/E              - Read email
/Ennn [message] - Send [message] to user #nnn via email (where nnn is 000-999)
/Mx=[message]   - Save [message] in slot x (If slot is assigned to member)
/Mx-            - Delete message slot x (If slot is assigned to member)
/Nn             - Read note n (where n is 0-9)
/Nn=[message]   - Save [message] as note #n (where n is 0-9)
/Nn-            - Delete note #n (where n is 0-9)