History of the Heart Of Tennessee Bulletin
or HOT BBS as it was so often called.
This BBS has had many names as it is grown to what it is today.
Much experience has been enjoyed in the operations and development
of this BBS over the years.
It all began back in the fall of 1981, when we bought our first
Radio Shack Tandy Color Computer (4K) with a tape drive.
We played around with a part time BBS, any BBS with one Computer is
Part Time! Then in February 1982 we purchased another TRS 80 COCO.
COCO was the nick name for the Color Computer back then. We shared
a TV between the 2 computers for the Monitor. With a 300 Baud modem
and a Tape drive, 16K of memory we began to expand as we could afford
to do so.
The COLOR BBS was our first name. Right after we added a couple of
Teac Floppies, modified to look like 4 single sided floppies to the
COCO and Tandy DOS, we grew to a storage of just over 600K. That is
Kilobytes not Megabytes. At this time we began to transfer messages
(Manually) from our system to a Smyrna and we changed our name to
Latter we started exchanging messages with another Color BBS in
Hermitage Tennessee. Again we changed the name to TRI-County BBS.
Now we were running net mail of some type.
This carried on while we tied into Packet (Ham Radio Modems) and
enjoyed the huge amount of shareware programs available for the COCO,
about 90 or so...
In May of 1983 we bought another Tandy but this one was Supposed to
be IBM Compatible. Well close enough for me to start a IBM Board.
Running CPM and PC DOS on separate partitions and a 20 Meg Hard Drive.
Running Colossus Software we became The Heart Of Tennessee BBS or HOT.
We took part of the name from our old Ham Radio club here The HOT RC
or The Heart Of Tennessee Radio Club. In 1985 we had built our first
PC Compatible from Mail Order. It was a 0 wait AT Jr. or a Fast (8 MHz)
8088 with 0 wait state ram. We then began running Collie software and
had two 20 Meg (MFM) drives and an Adaptec RLL Controller for a 1.5
Compression to a total of 64 Megs. of Storage
Wow were we BIG or what...?
In 1985 we began running Opus software and Fido Net Mail on a IBM PC
and Double DOS (Multitasking) software. This allowed us the option to
do a little maintenance on a second node. Then in the fall of 1985 we
added our second phone line. A two line BBS was great on one original
IBM PC (4 MHz) with two 40 Meg Seagate MFM Drives a RLL controller for
a total of 120 Megs.
In 1987 we switched to PCBoard 3 node Software and a ArcNet Network.
A Generic 2400 baud modem, a USRobotics 9600 baud modem and a Hayes
9600 baud modem, Not Compatible with each other. SOLD the IBM PC...
Added three 8088 10 MHz machines and a 80 Meg Seagate BIG drive with
the ole Adaptec controller for 160 Megs.
In 1988 we bought two 40 Meg Seagate drive, switched over the Adaptec
controller to give us 160 Megs and then bought a new 16 bit Adaptec
controller to put into a new 80286 machine for a Server. Now we had a
total of 320 Megs of storage space. Early in 1989 we added another 40
Meg Hard Drive to the Server's RLL controller to give us a total of
380 Megs. In late 1989 we added the 6 node PCBoard BBS Software.
In early 1990 we lost the 80 Meg Hard Drive due to excessive errors
from the RLL Controller. Worked a bit of overtime and sold a few PC
systems so we spent some real money. We bought 3 AT Mother Boards at
16 MHz and 2 New 120 Meg Hard Drives. The system was growing fast now,
by the end of 1990 we had added a 320 Meg Hard Drive and the system
past the Half Gig mark.
In 1991 we added ethernet cards, a 386 40 MHz Server, two CD Rom.
drives and jumped to over a Gig and a half. By early 1992 we added
a 650 Meg ESDI Hard drive to the Main Server and went to over 2 Gigs.
By the end of 1992 we had bought another 650 Meg ESDI hard drive and
added the forth phone line.
In early 1993 we added 2 more 650 Meg CD Rom. drives. By the summer
we added a 1.2 Gig 3.5" SCSI Hard drive and Node 5 for Net Mail traffic
as we added Internet Mail and brought back FIDO Net.
In September we added a 6 CD ROM Player/Changer for over 3 Gigs of
In November we lost the 130 Meg HD on Node #5 (server 3) and added a
345 Meg IDE and Double spaced it to 545 Meg. Set it up to handle only
Internet and Fido Net messages.
In December right after Christmas we installed a Satellite receiver
at downlink modem at 19,200 baud. This allows us to receive the latest
programs, weather maps and TV listings as well as many Network packets.
Two Days into 1994 and we loose a 650 ESDI hard drive. I hope these
are not signs of times to come..
In January 1994 we replaced the 14,400 modems on Nodes 1 and 2 with
Hayes Optima V.FC 28,800 V-Fast Modems and the Hayes Serial card to get
speeds of 115,000 baud.
In February 1994 we replaced the 2 of the 286 machines with 386 40
MHz CPUs. This should allow for a much faster operation in retrieving
files and loading door programs.
In April 1994 we added Node 6 and a new 386 40Mhz and a BOCA 14400
Modem. We also removed all of our adult files that were of questionable
data and replaced them with over 1 Gig of BBS ready files and pictures.
We also added a satellite video receiver to view BBS news and
information on the same satellite as our data receiver in the KU band.
In May 1994 we added 3 more SONY CD-ROM Drives. Thanks to upgrades
from the Assistant Sysops.
Also added a Computer for digital voice answering and Fax machine
on our voice line (895-7737) and Fax (896-5397)
In June 1994 we replace Nodes 3 & 4's 14400 BOCA Modems with ZOOM
28800 baud modems.
In July 1994 we added another Hard Drive, 2.1 Gig 8ms 3.5 inch
In August 1994 we added a Single Speed Panasonic 6 CD Changer.
with a special SCSI controller card.
In September 1994 we tied our E-mail directly into the Internet.
No more dial ups and downloads. Fast Internet E-Mail with links
to CompuServe, AT&T, Prodigy and AOL. We used a 28,800 baud modem
to dial up and link directly to the net from our PC server. We used
several copies of Qmodem in a DOORway (Drop to DOS) and allowed our
users to access the internet through telnet and ftp terminal. A few
weeks latter and SLIP was available with Mosaic Web Browsers to Surf
In January 1995 we added a Hayes 56K ISDN terminal Connector and a
Northern Telcom NT1 terminator. Now we had some High speed access
and added a Linux 386/40 machine as a router. This was were we made
a major change in running a BBS. We moved all of our Files to a 486
40 mhz Server still running Lantastic Networking and used the Linux
machine (named hot) to answer the calls on 16 external COM ports.
The default login was to telnet to the BBS. This was much less over-
head than the 6 nodes and 3 servers. The Linux machine allowed for
PPP connections directly to the Internet. The Internet was alive and
In July 1995 we purchased a Pipeline router (128K) and 64 port
Compucom terminal server. The terminal server replaced the 16 com
ports on the Linux box and allowed ethernet connections through a hub
directly to the router and out to the Internet. We also built a OS/2
machine to run the New PCBoard BBS software. On OS/2 with Vmodem we
could emulate COM ports through telnet connections. The BBS was still
alive, although many had given up BBSing for the internet.
Our Internet Service had become our new on-line hobby. 24 Phone lines
were enough to keep our small service going while we took the time
to learn about HTML programming, Linux commands and a whole new
world of telecommunication. With the addition of a Pipeline 400 router for
512K access and additional 30 phone lines we were able to offer unlimited
internet access at $19.95, while others were charging by the minute.
In September 1996 we dropped our prices to $15 for unlimited access,
Tax had to be collected now, everyone wanted a piece of the Internet
In January 1997 we were trying to hold a login ratio of 10:1. This
would help with busy signals. Many people were adding a second phone
line in their home just for the internet. Now that many people were
thinking they could stay on-line all day, we changed our terms to
Flat Rate, meaning no additional charges for time on-line. Unlimited
access first meant there was no surcharge for using the system outside
of evening and weekend hours.
In October 1997 we added 30 more Phone lines and had some terrible
modem experience with USR modems. After removing a great modem
that would only connect to other USR modems, we replaced them with
In November we added another Linux box and upgraded the old hot
machine to 133 MHz K5. Both machines are identical. hot runs all the
web service and mail handles all the mail services. The old HOT became
a internetworking server and monitored all of our equipment alarms.
In December 1997 we added a T1 router and moved the ISDN routers off
to answer ISDN calls. Filled all com ports with phone lines and new
In July 1998 we Gave up on OS/2 and PCBoard software, since they
went out of business. We switched over to Wildcat v5.0 and WINS.
We placed the software on a new 133mhz K5 AMD with Windows 98 and
a 2 gig hard drive. We found little need for drive space now that
the Internet has it all.
In September 1998 we added another Linux Box for Shell Accounts
and local logins.
In October 1998 the TRA and Bell South phone company passed a new
ruling that anyone with over five residential lines in their home
must pay business rates for those over five. Now that the phone
company is in the internet business, competition must pay!
In November 1998 we upgraded the BBS to a 300 MHz K6 machine with
a 10 gig hard drive and installed Windows NT Small Business Server.
In December 1998 we began dropping some of our phone lines in
preparation for the phone company's rate hike.
In January 1999 we dropped all of our phone lines, except for five
and leased wholesale digital ports. This was great for most of our
users because we now offered ISDN and 56K as well we now had
thousands of new phone numbers for our customers to dial into.
1999 we added a 20
gig hard drive just for backups. Hard
In May 1999 we purchased a 400
Mhz K6-2 Processor and
2 20 Gig Hard
Since the invention of the
have grown so fast it has been hard