After earning my ham radio technician license on 10/28/2020, I dove head first into the hobby. One of the things that interests me in particular is digital modes and packet radio. At the recommendation of a colleague, and many folks on the Internet, I picked up an OpenSpot3 hotspot. This hotspot is very capable, and is a good fit for my C4FM based Yaesu radios. I made the rounds with AmericaLink and ZombieNet, but initially had no idea these were not actually Wires-X rooms, but rather, other entry points accessible to hotspots that were being bridged to their native existence.
Ok, got it, I think. In essence, my first visit to the digital ham world was via my local clubs dual-mode (FM & C4FM digital) repeater. Armed with the frequency and tone info from RepeaterBook, and fumbling my way through learning to program my new FT3DR, I was speaking digital. This repeater in particular is part of a set of repeaters in my general geography, which are all integrated via a device called an HRI-200 which allows them to connect to an IP-based system known as Wires-X which is operated by Yaesu, and allows RF to be bridged into the IP world, and directed to other stations and repeaters anywhere in the world.
Clear? Of course not. I finally stumbled upon this explanation and the key here is "Hotspots can only connect to YSF or FCS reflectors. A station on a given reflector system can only talk to other stations on that system unless the system has been bridged."