Novaterm 10r2 - An Empiric Report

German Version
English Version


This short text deals with the matter of connecting a C64 to the Internet. Hardware requirements are a C64, a floppy disk, an interface (Swiftlink, Turbo232 or HART cartridge) and a modem. The software is a program named Novaterm 10r2. This program is only partly finished, and the only working internet application is a telnet client. In order to access other internet services an UNIX-account somewhere in the world is required. Then it is possible to visit web pages or to send mails using a stock C64 system.


For me it was not easy to get along with Novaterm 10 without a manual. I for myself do not feel competent enough for writing a full manual, but I can tell how I set up a working telnet connection with an ordinary C64, a Swiftlink, a modem and Novaterm 10 - after several attempts and moments of deep frustration.

Even the access of the program was not easy for me. You can download it from Strobe's c64 Stuff as The author recommends unzip64v215 for extracting the file, because otherwise the filename case would be wrong. This is a program for the C64, and I found no way to copy the zipfile to my C64 or to an emulator. Maybe I missed a very obvious option. I used TargetD64 instead for opening the zip and extracting two .d64 diskimages out of it - two, because the files do not fit into one disk side. No problem, if you have a 1571/1581/FD2000-drive. Otherwise some files have to be deleted (e.g. C128-files for a C64 user, the not working ftp-files, all fonts except 80x25, and protocols except Z-modem). Because TargetD64 did not output the filename case correctly, as predicted, I had to rename all files manually. Unless you have no better idea, you can avoid this problem and download the zipped disk images here.

Novaterm 10 by Nick Rossi, Novaterm 10 Release II by Errol Smith / Strobe:

Extract the zip on your computer, and use Star Commander (or 1581-Copy for 1581/FD2000 owners) for transferring the disk images to real C64 disks.


Meanwhile I hacked around on Novaterm 10 a little bit. The first modification concerns the interface address. If your Swiftlink or Turbo232 runs on $DF00, you should use the modified files. The second modification concerns the length of the username for login. T-online, a popular provider in Germany, requires 28 characters, while Novaterm 10 provides 20 characters for the username. In the modified version the username can be up to 28 characters, but the length of the password is shortened from 20 to 12 characters.

Step-by-step guide:

The following description is illustrated with screenshots from the Vice emulator.

Itīs not unimportant to know, that "start" loads the terminalprogram, while "inet" loads the internet suite.

Some settings seem to cause problems in the internet suite. Therefore it can be recommended, to load "start" first, and to do the basic configuration in the terminal program.

Novaterm shows the loading process. After the loading is completed, press C= together with the key C for the configuration menu.
Select an item with cursor left/right/up/down, press RETURN for input or selection, and RETURN again in order to finish the input. You have to select a serial driver corresponding to your interface: Swiftlink, Turbo 232 or HART-Cartridge. This will determine the maximal baud rate. Select terminal emulation VT102 or ANSI, which seems to work in any case. (You can change the this item later on without problems.) The rest of the settings I leaved as set by default.
I experimented a while with the modem configuration, but most of the dafault settings worked anyway. Consult your modem manual in daught. You can test the modem initiation from the terminal by pressing C= I.
You do not need to do any protocol settings, because they are not used for telnet.
Telnet doesnīt work with a 40 characters screen. You have to choose between 80x33 or 80x25. 80x33 is quite nice, but has only two colors. Some telnet pages are multicolored, and in this case 80x25 is the best choice.
My GeoRam is useless, because the expansion port is occupied by Swiftlink. C64 internal memory in my case.
Set your device numbers, if needed.

Important note: Novaterm 10r2 (maybe?) does not work well with (any? some?) fastloaders, particularly after the internet connection is established. I myself do not use any fastloaders and canīt tell anything about the problem. Therefore, it can be recommended _not_ to use fastloaders or any extraordinary equipment, at least at the first attempts.

Novaterm could read the time of the day from external device, which I do not own. Manual time set in this case. I set the key repeate rate to 8, which is the slowest. Telnet works with significant delay sometimes, better be careful with pressing a key constantly...
Save your settings, quit the configuration menu with f1, and quit the program with C= Z.

If, at any reason, you want to restore the default configuration, you have to scratch the file "nova config 10" seq on disk.

In future, as long nothing in the basic configuration has to be changed, simply load "inet" for starting your telnet session. It will bring up the main menu of the Novaterm Internet Suite.
Some settings have to be done here first also. You have to set up an internet profile.

Attention: pressing f1 in the menu will quit the program without check-back!

First, the profile has to be named. This name will be used for saving or loading a profile on disk.
Enter the phone number of your internet provider, your username and the password. If no terminal emulation is set, Novaterm uses the one, which was set in the configuration menu (usually VT 102 or ANSI).
In most of the cases the TCP/IP type will be PPP. If your provider uses PAP authentification, you have to set PAP. In case of manual login this setting seems to have no meaning, thus PAP is okay anyway. If your provider does not allocate a permanent IP address, leave this entry blank. You will receive your IP adresse when logging in. You should fill in the DNS (domain name server) address of your provider, which you will find in the information/faq for installation.

Mail and news settings are irrelevant.

After saving the internet profile, quit with f1. Now you can connect to internet.
Novaterm dials in. If the first attempt does not work, you can press space for the next attempt.
(I have no screenshot from the login, because I canīt emulate that.) After the connection is established, "connected" will be printed at the top of the screen, together with the baud rate. The further steps depend on whether your provider uses manual login or not.

In case of manual login, a greeting message will be printed, followed by the request of your username and password. The password will not be echoed. In my case afterwards a chain of senseless characters will be printed on the screen. No worry, no hesitate - press C= W immediately! You would loose the connection otherwise.

If your provider uses automatic login via PAP, simply press C= W after the connection is estabilshed, without hesitation.

C= W will bring you back to the main menu.

If the connection works, your IP adress will be printed below the menu. It may happen, that error messages like "bad IP address" are printed in the top of the menu. Looks awful, but donīt worry, the connection usually is okay.

After TCP/IP status shows "activ", change to the internet section and choose telnet, which is the only working internet application.

The terminal screen will come up. If you want to view all commands, press C= M. The most important command is C= A, in order to specify your telnet host.
You can type in the name of your telnet host. Novaterm will fetch its IP address from the DNS server, if specified. Otherwise you would have to type in the IP address in numbers.
It may happen, that the telnet connection becomes fuzzy, quite at the start or at any time. Your input is not echoed on the screen, or it lasts very long, or you hear a "ping" noise. If nothing goes on, it is better not to press C= X for closing the connection, because Novaterm tends to crash in this state. Better call the command overview with C= M, return with f1 in order to refresh the screen, and maybe you will recognize, that the connection was already closed by the telnet host. You can connect again using C= A, without loosing the connection to the internet provider.

If you have a telnet account somewhere in the world (e.g. at C= Homestead), you can use the available UNIX programs for browsing the web, chatting and mailing. Your C64 is part of the internet, like any other participating computer. You have to pay for an account usually, but some limited free accounts are available for testing (see Free Shell Provider List, Free Shell Accounts or - Free shell accounts Free Shell Provider List). E.g. at you can use the friendly program PINE for sending and receiving mails, or TIN for reading newsgroups. Even without an account you can log into some telnet based MUDs (multi user dungeon).

Happy Surfing!!!

Please give me feedback, in order to improve this text!

Franz Kottira Frankieīs C64 Seite