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Adventures in Nightskying, Part I

Spent a solid ten hours multibridging last night. I'm happy to bounce around at any time of day, but nightsky routing is, while easier in some ways, also more complex and challenging because the possibilities open up so much when the sun goes down. And there's that sense of infinite possibility that you don't get when you're day-tripping over a few standard-issue R-54s and the occasional STellA internodal.

Days are for browsing or otherwse using the network in the way it was designed to be used. Nightskying is a different animal. At least for me, it's different. I lease a PROC/5 initiator. I realize that what's free (or, "free") for me is something that most people pay for. (The moral of the story: PROC/5's - or pseudoprocs, which get you everything but downrange flutter mitigation - won't break the bank; cut out proteins and you're halfway there.)

Anyway, I'm EST, so especially during the winter, one of my favorite jumpoffs, after warming up on some SE-5 or SE-6A stations in Florida (or sometimes the ECAN reterminators near Halifax) is a POD/PAD that shallows the Presidio in San Francisco called Fairchild NorCal-47P. As its name suggests, It's an old-school P-type, but it does the trick. (It is, if I remember correctly, a repurposed Cold War missile site.) You will find it at 37°47'33.3"N, 122°28'24.5"W; that is, you will find it here.

So last night, sunset in San Francisco was around 4:45 PM (PST). So at 7:45 local time, after a bit of fun with the Canadian ECANs and such (and some excellent order-in sushi), I RF'd Fairchild NorCal-47P and got an 0.79 strength, so I waited. 7:56, I get an 0.97 and that was good enough for me: I was off. Slotted into Northwest B slot 72 (they spell it all out, as they generally do for P-types; weird, but if you don't, you'll be going nowhere). The NWs generally work best for me on most NorCal relays; less likely than on other slots to get booted by twitchy algorithms or twitchy WBs.

What I like about this Presidio station is that it's a straight shot to ISM-429/G - a pseudo, obv, in geostationary orbit (at 122°28'23.7"W; no joke). Straight shot; never blocked. Since I was on a pseudo, of course I had to find a non-pseudo twiplet; the good news was that this ISM's TLOC was enormous (another reason it's one of my faves). I latched onto a 3B-style tri-band that let me maintain 94% downput: good enough for me.

But the thing was, damn, this tri-band felt familiar! A little blue-shifty on the edges, but in a way that had negligible impact on winnowing. Very high Branson factors, but mostly they cancelled each other out (how often does that happen???). And an insanely strong PSL handshake: 54 mR. (Not joking.) Whatever: I knew this tri-band; I do a "look -R" and guess what: "3B-4D8E".

Mystery solved! My old friend 3B-4D8E, migrated from the Frankfurt Corridors (when???). The Bransons should have been a dead giveaway but I was focused on other stuff. Anyway: I was un-pseudo'd (and onto a tri-band, no less, basically the only way I ever do it) and ready for a see-you-off.

I checked to see if my favorite tri-band was still sinusoidal; it was. (You never know; another 3B I used to like went parabolic back in January and I didn't know that because I didn't check: always check. Always.) That complicated things for a see-you-off, but with obvious advantages (please let me know in the comments if the advantages are not, in fact, obvious, and I'll do a post about SPTs). The auto-manifest showed (big surprise) Andromeda-0/0/0, but there was a tempting neutie as well, at least 20x out, Centix-3032/M. I opted for the neutie: you only live once, plus I do love Centix for this sort of stuff. Next wave peak: 45 seconds (ever had one of those nights where everything, literally, falls into place?). So I'm all "drx -Rf -n Centix -m M -p 3032 --nonmil", cued that shit up then 3, 2, 1... Enter (I never do timers for these; more fun to go old-school - reminds me of my old Perkins console at LaGuardia). So I was pooned onto Centix-3032/M. Expecting to just look around, scan for stray terrestrial RF leaks or other fun stuff, maybe some left-over Pontix shards like the ones I keep seeing, but my drx session hadn't exited, which was odd. It was still thinking but then it... terminated, with this: PROG/X partial 2254/R descriptor match >>> Lancaster/11-34:NW.


And the "partial match" was only because I'd forgotten to kill Willis. Killed that process and a subprocess, did a "drx -uf", and... PROG/X 2254/R descriptor match: >>> Lancaster/11-34:NW.


Things were a blur after that, but from what I can remember, and glean from my IFR downloggers: DR/D reflectors (and not only Bradleys; also Honfleurs and Kenilworth 7s); BridgX rejuvinators which I know for a fact nobody's seen in like six years unless (maybe) they work for the NSA; Rumford skimmers (mostly Series/44s but 45s and I think a 47 too); Saco joists literally everywhere; gorgeous reverse-injected parajoists used where you'd normally just see an inverted Conspira span or an Agra. ...Also some RF which had to have come across the bridge: what sounded (seriously) like an interview with a very, very old Beyonce (talking about her husband, whose name was Fletcher or something, so...). I know we don't have proof that this stuff can happen, and many reasons to think it can't. Would love to hear another reasonable explanation, is all. (I mean: happens too often, right??? On the eastways especially. Wtf.)

After a bit, I realized that while the NorCal station had several good hours left, my own nightsky was decomposing. 0.81, then 0.73, then 0.71, then... Well: all good things must come to an end. Bound an ER-2 beacon - of course lol - and then unpooned. Quite a night: top five ever, maybe top three.


  • 7:45 PM EST: RF to Fairchild NorCal-47P @0.79 - terminate

  • 7:56 PM EST: RF to Fairchild NorCal-47P @0.97 - bind to "Northwest B slot 72"

  • 8:17 PM EST: open ISM-429/G (pseudo)

  • 8:28 PM EST: twiplet latch (unpseudo) 3B-4D8E tri-band

  • 8:31 PM EST: drx (poon) Centix-3032/M

  • 8:48 PM EST: lrx Lancaster/11-34:NW

  • 7:01 AM EST: RF to NorCal target degrading :(

  • 7:03 AM EST: bind ER-2 beacon > Lancaster/11-34:NW

  • 7:12 AM EST: terminate RF to NorCal target

Hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know, and please let me know of your adventures in the comments. I've decided this will be an ongoing series: basically, "awesome multibridging routes of the world." More soon; winter is, as they say, coming.

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