Telnet BBSes and other online things

I’ve been playing with the wifi AT modem on my VT132 and have been dialing up a few BBSes to test it out. Interesting ones I’ve looked at so far:

I’ll share others that are worth a look as I come across them.

VT132 Using the AT Modem over WiFi

The VT132 includes a telnet/WiFi modem that supports AT commands to ‘dial’ online sites, such as BBSes that are accessible using telnet.

To connect to the modem, use the Alt-F1 menu and enable the ‘Enable modem locally’ option:

Useful commands:

AT$ – lists commands and help:

AT+W? – displays current WiFi status

AT+W=ssid,password : connect to WiFi ssid with password

AT+W$ – shows IP address when connected to WiFi:

AT+W+ : reconnects to WiFi using params last used and stored

AT+W- : disconnects from WiFi

Testing dialing up Retro Battlestations BBS: ATDbbs.fozztexx.com

Since VT132 also supports ANSI escape sequences, dialing up Blackflag BBS has some awesome ANSI graphics: ATDblackflag.acid.org :

Using a VT132 for Packet Radio

I have an AEA PK-232 that I picked up a couple of years ago at my Amateur Radio club’s White Elephant sale for a few bucks. With the VT132 that I just recently built, it works as an excellent terminal client to the PK-232.

To connect, set baud rate in the VT132 to 1200 8N1. Connect with a null modem cable. Power on the PK-232 and you should see:

Press type a star (*) for auto-baud routine.

Press * and then you should see the AEA PK-232 startup copyright message.

To get a cmd: prompt to enter commands, press Ctrl-C.

I’ve attached my 2m radio with the audio in so far, and here’s a pic while decoding some APRS messages:

Next I need to make a custom cable to connect to my Icom’s data port, and then I should be all set to work some packet.

VT132 kit assembly – step by step

I’ve just finished assembling my VT132 standalone kit from The High Nibble. It was an enjoyable build and pushed my soldering skills with soldering the tiny pins on the ESP32 chip. Initially I had issues getting solder to flow onto the tiny pins and pads, but I changed to a thinner tip which worked well.

Here’s a look at the board as it comes in the kit. I chose the option USB keyboard option instead of the default PS/2 keyboard connector:

Starting with the ESP32 first, here’s a look at my soldering on those tiny pins. I used the liquid flux, and the ‘drag’ method to pull the solder from the pads up to the exposed connector on the chip board:

Row of resistors for the VGA connector completed, and a few of the caps:

Almost done, just need to attach the DB9 and DB25 connectors:

First power on and looking at the settings. To access the ‘Set-up’ from a regular keyboard, press Alt PrtScrn. To view the onscreen menu help press F1:

More details on using the VT132 coming up in following posts.