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To send mail to people using a Fidonet BBS, you need the name they use to log onto that system and its "node number." Fidonet node numbers or addresses consist of three numbers, in this form: `1:322/190'. The first number tells which of several broad geographic zones the BBS is in (1 represents the U.S. and Canada, 2 Europe and Israel, 3 Pacific Asia, 4 South America). The second number represents the BBS's network, while the final number is the BBS's "FidoNode" number in that network. If your correspondent only gives you two numbers (for example, `322/190'), it means the system is in zone 1.

Now comes the tricky part. You have to reverse the numbers and add to them the letters `f', `n' and `z' (which stand for "FidoNode," "network," and "zone'). For example, the address above would become


Now add `fidonet.org' at the end, to get `f190.n322. z1.fidonet.org'.(5) Then add `First Name.LastName@', to get


Note the period between the first and last names. Whew!

The reverse process is totally different. First, the person has to have access to his or her BBS's "net mail" area and know the Fidonet address of his or her local Fidonet/UUCP gateway (often their system operator will know it). Your Fidonet correspondent should address a net-mail message to UUCP (not your name) in the "to:" field. In the node-number field, they should type in the node number of the Fidonet/UUCP gateway (if the gateway system is in the same regional network as their system, they need only type the last number, for example, `390' instead of `322/390'). Then, the first line of the message has to be your Internet address, followed by a blank line. After that, the person can write the message and send it.

Because of the way Fidonet moves mail, it could take a day or two for a message to be delivered in either direction. Also, because many Fidonet systems are run as hobbies, it is considered good form to ask the gateway sysop's permission if you intend to pass large amounts of mail back and forth. Messages of a commercial nature are strictly forbidden (even if it's something the other person asked for). Also, consider it very likely that somebody other than the recipient will read your messages.

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