Pagesat High Speed News

Ready to get your news the high-tech way—with a satellite dish? Here's the scoop.
Ready to Install the Software

If you don't already have your Linux system(s) up and running, do it now. Run down to your local software house and pick up a CD-ROM containing the latest version of Linux (I like Slackware), follow the instructions and get it installed. It's easy—all it takes is a little time. Take the extra time needed to customize your kernel in order to save RAM. Next, get X-Windows up and running, so that you can monitor several things simultaneously. Make sure your TCP/IP is working, be it LAN or SLIP/PPP, to allow posting capability. Now you're ready to set up the news system. We chose to obtain a source code version of INN off the Internet rather than use the distributed version. Key files worth reading are most notably the FAQs in /usr/lib/news/tools.linux, and the README files in the base directory. These files explore the configuration options and operating procedures.

Now it's time to build your news repository. First, fetch the latest “active” file from Then write a simple script to strip out and retain the newsgroup name, and append “00000000 000000001 y” to each entry to reset the news article counters. Make your modified file the “active” file. Now run /usr/lib/news/bin/makehistory and watch a lot of your disk space be consumed by the directory structure being built to house the news data. Next, you will need to edit some of the INN control files in /usr/lib/news. The following examples are excerpts from our working files, with explanations. Feel free to copy and/or modify to suit your configurations.

File 1: control.ctl
## mail notification to root for all control
## functions, and create new newsgroups.
File 2: expire.ctl
## expire control and junk after 1 day, keep
## 2 newsgroups for 90 days, keep biz.pagesat
## forever, expire all other news after 3 days.
File 3: hosts.nntp
File 4: inn.conf
## our org, server and domain... please use your own.
organization:   Webworks Internet Services
File 5: newsfeeds
##  feed this machine and slave everything., output
##  posts to slave and pagesat.
## exclude some posting from pagesat
File 6: nnrp.access
## allow/disallow  newsreader/nntp acess<\n>
*:: -no- : -no- :!*
* Post:::*
File 7: nntpsend.ctl
## the FQDN of all the machine names that we intend to feed
Ready to Install the Pagesat Antenna

Once again, the main thing to remember is to follow the directions. Read the documentation that comes with the dish and receiver. Grab a compass and protractor, an extension cord and the tools necessary to assemble the dish. Don't forget a beer or two, a lawn chair and a friend with two hands to help. Go out into your yard and plug everything together. Then, using your compass and protractor, aim the dish in the general direction of the satellite to obtain a tone signal. This tone will help you orient the dish to the proper location, so that you can decide where to mount it permanently—a position that should be free of current and future obstructions. Once you get the antenna mounted, attach it to your computer, and start up PSFRX -v to see if you're pointing at the correct satellite. If you are, you should see a series of dots representing data blocks—it isn't a continuous flow, so be patient. If you see other characters like C and S, which represent errors, try re-aiming the dish a little, twisting the LNB for proper polarization. You really need a friend within earshot to fine-tune the aiming of the dish. If you're getting data, you're aimed at the right place. Now you can re-attach the receiver next to the dish for fine-tuning. Using the tone and meter, you can really zero in on the satellite. Once done, go back into the house, and re-attach the receiver to your PC: you're ready to start receiving the news!