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
with which sysops could host simultanious chat between up to 7 users
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
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
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
#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
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
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:
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:
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
- 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
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
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
on line #7 might look like this:
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:
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
time on the station and will allow the guest to use some functionality
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
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
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
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
#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.
PRIVATE AND STATION MESSAGES
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:
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:
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:
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
/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.
STATION STATUS, CALL HISTORY, AND MEMBER LIST
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
#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
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:
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.
BASIC COMMANDS (All Users)
/? - 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)