REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Help with D-Star related issues
N8JDM
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:05 am

REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by N8JDM » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:22 am

Hello all, this is somewhat tangential to the Pi-Star software but I thought someone here might be able to point me in the right direction. I know there are three different reflector "types" REF, DCS, and XRF (and I get the differences between the protocols). Previously, K6KD at xrefl.net provided some central coordination of the XRF numbering series however he appears to have stopped doing that for the XLX-based reflectors. I and many people believed (incorrectly?) this was the correct and only way to get a "real" XRF allocation. In his posting, K6KD made a passing reference to the XLX software having an automated directory. However I don't understand how that would work. Nothing about my reflector, running in AWS, has the real public IP configured on it to tell an API-driven directory anything about it. The only way the right information made it into the Pi-Star (and presumably other systems) was via the xrefl.net list that keeps/kept some central list.

So I guess my question is, what is the source of truth for the REF, DCS, and XRF lists? How does one properly register/maintain an entry? Is one more stable than another? We are building a regional multi-protocol repeater network based on Pi-Stars with a reflector to link them all and now I'm a little concerned that part of the foundation we were building on isn't as stable as I thought? I've tried to find the answer online but I'm not succeeding.

Thanks in advance!

N8JDM
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:05 am

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by N8JDM » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:38 am

So, after reading through the XLXD dashboard code, I see how the information is sent up to the API and I presume they are using the source IP of the post to the API as the connection source IP. Also digging further into the Pi-Star innards, I see that my reflector is listed simultaneously as DCS330, REF330, and XRF330 and varies only by protocol for DCS, DPlus, and DExtra accordingly. It further appears that it's pulling my reflector and IP for all three protocols from xlxapi.rlx.lu. That's very cool.

But there are also references in the Pi-Star file to xrefl.net for DExtra, dstargateway.org for DPlus, and xreflector.net for DCS. I should have started with the code!

So It think maybe my question is - what happens if dstargateway.org, xreflector.net, or dstargateway.org create a "330" reflector? Does that one "win" in Pi-Star? Is there a "best" way to have a long-term stable reflector registration?


With xrefl.net no longer supporting XLX-based reflectors, it seems likely that eventually there will be a numbering conflict. DCS, based on the xlxapi.rlx.lu in-file comment seems stable as long as you're using an ID above 034. I couldn't find anything about dstargateway.org's listing. I know dstarinfo.com has a listing of reflectors with dstargateway.org DNS names, but it's unclear what the source of that is.

Sorry for rambling on but what I thought I knew about reflector registration processes was very wrong and I was surprised.

G4AON
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:34 pm

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by G4AON » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:31 am

I’ve been having trouble with DCS005 reflectors. Using D-Star (to D-Star) I’ve had around 25% lost audio on 005B, swapping over at my end to DMR on TG23402 (transcoded/linked to DCS005B) with the other station staying on D-Star, all works perfectly (other than slightly worse audio due to transcoding).

On a D-Star to D-Star test with a couple of stations, all was near perfect on an REF reflector, switching to DCS005N showed both of us affiliated to the reflector. There was no comms either way. The “status” page for DCS005 is: http://www.bm-dmr.uk/xlx/index.php

In the past, I’ve been told (a) the DCS reflectors were being scrapped due to server hosting issues, then (b) that they were only for cross mode (transcoding) use.

The lack of reference material on how the “system” works is frustrating to put it mildly. Is it all down to a handful of individuals who haven’t the time to write up web pages to guide us?

73 Dave
ID51 plus 2
ID5100
TYT MD-UV380
Chinese MMDVM on a Pi Zero W
DVAP on a Pi 3

M1DNS
Posts: 203
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:30 am

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by M1DNS » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:28 pm

The pistar update server pulls info direct from XLX
Each xlx available for general use has a call home feature. this callhome feature used by XLX is where the update server gets its info. If a new one comes on it'll only be 24hrs before it gets added to ur pistar install, by way of the overnight auto updates.

Currently xrf entries are manually edited.
If there's a change of IP or if a new one comes on we need to manually add it to the update server, once done that gets pushed out on the overnights. Although this sounds cumbersome, pistar has become such a "big deal" many sysops make us aware before hand when changes are afoot.

Thankfully there aren't many new xrf reflectors coming online as it seems most will choose to create an XLX reflector which can cater to the many protocols, and transcode to DMR with additional hardware if the sysop chooses.


As to the numbering order, if the reflector no. already exists in xrf or ref form it's usually recommended it be changed for something else. So not to cause such havoc with XLX having support for DPlus and DExtra.

Re. DCS going away. Although enitial reports were true in the original team were looking to hang up their hats, another group of hams stepped in at the 11th hr to continue support of DCS, FCS and ircddb.


Andrew M1DNS, (Mod)

Andrew M1DNS.
Pi-star Admin Team.

N8JDM
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:05 am

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by N8JDM » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:02 pm

Andrew, thanks for the reply that's what I was looking for. I'd chosen 330 both because it's the US telephone area code around here and because it wasn't used anywhere else. I just wanted to make sure that I knew how to deal with that registration going forward. I figured out the XLX API system after I dug into the code.

We have three area repeaters on Pi-Star right now (1 mid profile, 2 lows) and are planning to add two more high profile repeaters this year. We didn't want to build it all out and then have to socialize a bunch of changes. A lot of our club members and other area hams are getting into hotspots in a big way and we want to make sure everything inter-operates well.

Thanks again!

M1DNS
Posts: 203
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:30 am

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by M1DNS » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:30 pm



Andrew M1DNS, (Mod)

Andrew M1DNS.
Pi-star Admin Team.

k2dls
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:24 pm

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by k2dls » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:45 pm

M1DNS wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:28 pm

Thankfully there aren't many new xrf reflectors coming online as it seems most will choose to create an XLX reflector which can cater to the many protocols, and transcode to DMR with additional hardware if the sysop chooses.
This is valuable info and clarifies some questions that I also had.

I recently created both an XRF reflector and an XLX reflector. They are two separate reflectors at 2 IP addresses although the A channel is linked between them. I made a request elsewhere in the Forums to have the XRF IP added to DExtra_Hosts.txt (which I know someone on the team will get to at some point). And, as you say, the XLX info is autopublished and the address for XLX020 does show up properly in the XLXHosts.txt.

So, it would seem that one way to deal with things for XLX reflectors is to have them directly linkable by Pi-Star while in D-Star mode, presumably defaulting to DExtra protocol. Then, the need for a manual entry (at least in my case, but no doubt others) would not be necessary and I could tell D-Star users to link to XLX020 rather than XRF020. This currently fails.

Just a thought...

73

VK4TUX
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2018 12:50 am

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by VK4TUX » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:41 pm

ircDDBGateway XLX override works fine in v4.. once the configuration is set for it in /etc/ircddbgateway.
DCS is the best performing protocol on XLX D-Star systems.
Last edited by VK4TUX on Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

M1DNS
Posts: 203
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:30 am

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by M1DNS » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:18 pm

k2dls wrote:
M1DNS wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:28 pm

Thankfully there aren't many new xrf reflectors coming online as it seems most will choose to create an XLX reflector which can cater to the many protocols, and transcode to DMR with additional hardware if the sysop chooses.
This is valuable info and clarifies some questions that I also had.

I recently created both an XRF reflector and an XLX reflector. They are two separate reflectors at 2 IP addresses although the A channel is linked between them. I made a request elsewhere in the Forums to have the XRF IP added to DExtra_Hosts.txt (which I know someone on the team will get to at some point). And, as you say, the XLX info is autopublished and the address for XLX020 does show up properly in the XLXHosts.txt.

So, it would seem that one way to deal with things for XLX reflectors is to have them directly linkable by Pi-Star while in D-Star mode, presumably defaulting to DExtra protocol. Then, the need for a manual entry (at least in my case, but no doubt others) would not be necessary and I could tell D-Star users to link to XLX020 rather than XRF020. This currently fails.

Just a thought...

73
As written above DCS is the preferred protocol for XLX, but it will work with XRF DExtra and ref DPlus protocols. and linking the two as you suggested might be a workaround but personally I think anyone setting up an xreflector with xrfd is missing out and would suggest (and have myself) chosen to create an XLX reflector instead... As it offers far more imo.

Currently we're manually editing changes on xrf DExtra entries for the update server to feed out new addresses/ updates pertaining to DExtra XRF updates etc. and yes it was myself that answered ur requested update notice elsewhere. Image

But all XLX updates / additions etc. are done automagically, as long as the reflector is up and calling home to XLX base, so needs little interaction/ maintenance from the PS team, but that's more to the capabilities of XLX over XRF DExtra/ xrfd.

Andrew M1DNS, (Mod)


Andrew M1DNS.
Pi-star Admin Team.

k2dls
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:24 pm

Re: REF/XRF/DCS Listing - Source of Truth?

Post by k2dls » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:56 pm

So I'm running 4.0 RC3...

I set xlxEnabled to 1 in ircddbgateway's config. I restarted the ircddbgateway service.

How can I connect to XLX020A, for example? It is listed in /usr/local/etc/XLXHosts.txt. I tried via text entry from the dropdown on the admin console, but it has no effect. Nor does XLX020AL in the URCALL field on the radio.

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