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IRLP, Echo Link, and D-Star


This is where I get to stick my neck out and worry that I may have someone give me the axe. It's an area I have not been participating in but instead have been watching a bit from the sidelines.


IRLP

My local ham club (West Coast Amateur Radio Association - WARA) have an IRLP link and it gets very little use, perhaps because there are not that many of us who know others who have links to it. I hope to change that by getting active in the use of the IRLP myself. Maybe you can too. There is plenty of literature on the WEB that explains all about it.




Here is a current list of the available BC nodes

BC IRLP Nodes  June 15 2009
Copied out of the IRLP Status Site:   
 


deID CallSign Node City Province or State Frequency CTCSS
1461   VE7RVA Abbotsford / Chilliwack BC 146.61 110.9
1747   VE7CRC Campbell River BC 146.55 None
1020   VE7RNA Chemainus BC 146.68 None
1073   VE7RAD Chilliwack BC 444.7 None
1503   VE7VCR Chilliwack BC 147.22 88.5
1547   VA7MWR Clinton Village BC 446.2 67
1160   VE7RAP Comox BC 146.91 None
1660   VE7CAP Cranbrook BC 146.94 None
1848   VE7KGF Grand Forks BC 147.33 67
1348   VA7RHH Hudsons Hope BC 146.54 100
1888   VE7JFB Kamloops BC 446.275 None
1473   VE7KTV KELOWNA BC 147.3 88.5
1491   VE7OGO Kelowna BC 147.57 100
1403   VE7ICA Langley BC 446.75 None
1958   VE7CPQ Logan Lake BC 146.58 None
1910   VE7RMR Maple Ridge - EchoIRLP -#51910 BC 146.8 156.7
1284   VE7RIZ Merritt BC 147.08 None
1811   VE7EDA Nakusp BC 146.94 None
1003   VE7ISC Nanaimo BC 146.64 None
1755   VE7BSM Nanaimo BC 446.725 141.3
1130   VA7LPG Nanoose Bay BC 444.3 141.3
1946   VE7EDA New Denver BC 146.56 None
1507   VE7WCC New Westminster BC 145.15 123
1015   VE7RNV North Vancouver BC 444.95 None
1375   VE7DTT Okanagan Falls BC 147.56 123
1180   VE7PQA Parksville BC 147.28 141.3
1164   VE7PEN Penticton BC 146.58 123
1606   VE7RCP Penticton BC 444.775 136.5
1849   VE7MTY Pitt Meadows-EchoIRLP #44463 BC 443.625 None
1120   VE7KU Port Alberni BC 147.24 None
1250   VE7FFF Prince George BC 146.7 None
1210   VE7DQC Prince Rupert BC 147.33 None
1190   VE7UHF Richmond BC 443.8 100
1207   VE7BAS Richmond BC 147.51 156.7
1148   VE7GDH Salt Spring Island BC 147.57 100
1041
  VE7BYN Sicamous BC 147.57 None
1126
  VE7RBH Smithers BC 147.33 100
1147
  VE7SQR Squamish BC 147 None
1150   VE7NUT Summerland BC 145.35 None
1463   VE7RSC Surrey BC 443.775 110.9
1420   VE7RAM Tappen BC 146.485 None
1560   VE7FFU Terrace BC 147.33 None
1000
  VE7RHS Vancouver BC 145.27 100
1010
  VE7RHS Vancouver BC 441.975 100
1396   VE7RPS Vancouver BC 442.225 107.2
1694   VE7RPT Vancouver BC 146.94 None
9000   REF9000 Vancouver BC Accepting Calls  
1269   VA7SCA Vancouver WIN System Affiliate BC 444.4 100
1228   VE7DIR Vernon BC 147.495 151.4
1301   VE7EGO Vernon BC 145.45 None
1050   VE7RVN Vernon (SIRG) BC 444.275 None
1030   VE7VIC Victoria BC 146.84 100
1040   VA7VIC Victoria BC 443.95 123
1649   VE7OVY Victoria BC 441.5 100

If you look at the Victoria nodes you will see the node # 1030,  frequency 146.84 and that's the main WARA repeater. If you look up at the top of the list you will notice that the Abbotsford repeater on node #1461, frequency 146.61 MHz  that we use for the Wild Card Net is right up there amongst the IRLP nodes.

One caution about this is that these are internet linked nodes. If we had an earthquake those links would quite likely be temporarily broken and so of no value. The same thing for Echo Link and for D-Star. All depend heavily on internet linking.  Practicing message handling and net managing using these tools is perfectly alright but should be backed up by having local simplex nets because simplex is what you can be sure of. If you have rough terrain then you will have to learn to have comunicators relay messages to get around the physical blockages, perhaps some in your groups should also consider purchase of radios which can provide cross band repeat so that you can have reliable local repeaters in a pinch. They can even be made portable to fulfill a local emergency communications need.


Echo Link

Echo link also leans heavily on use of the internet. With echo link you can call through someones linked radio but you can also place calls through distant radios via your computer. In that case if you are a new ham and can't afford to purchase a radio you can still get onto nets with other hams. If you live in a condo or restricted housing development then Echo Link mmay also be able to fill your immediate communications needs.

Echo link is a very viable communications alternative but one short fall is that it does not seem to have caught the imagination as broadly as the IRLP . You can see that by the volume of nodes each has. Still, those who use Echo Link seem to have a love or fondness for it so it's worth a try as part of your own education. It's easy to set up your own Echo Link node if you have the ambition and with a used mobile radio and an inexpensive adapter to go between your radio and a good used computer you're off and running.

http://www.echolink.org/

http://www.echolink.org/interfaces.htm

http://www.echolink.org/links.jsp?sel=latlon&lat_deg=48&lat_min=29&lat_NS=North&lon_deg=123&lon_min=19&lon_EW=West&gs=cn88i1&city=&state=&country=US&d=2


The last link I provided was one that shows nodes and I asked it for all nodes close to me. My lat and long of:

48 degrees 29 minutes North and 123 degrees 19 minutes West gave me that result.  You can do the same for any lat and long in the world and that site will find the local nodes for that area.

You have to go through a similar linking to call someone in a node area for both Echo Link and IRLP. So, you need to know the node in the location of the person you want to call.

D-Star

D-Star was developed by researchers in Japan, people who were members of The Japanese Amateur Radio League. I'll refer you to Wikepedia: 

There is a good article on the subject. We have a D-Star link at the WARA radio site in Victoria BC. D-Star is a hardware and data protocol supporting digital transmission of both voice and data. There are two big catches to it, there always is. It's almost twice the price for a D-Star radio than a conventional analog radio and Icom is the only manufacturer to date who has decided to support it. We are still waiting to see if other manufacturers will start manufacturing similar products which are compatible. There are many benefits to D-Star. The ease of data transport is one and the other is the clarity of voice transmission. The repeaters have to be connected to the internet to make full benefit of the capabilities.

 When you purchaase a D-Star radio you must program in your call sign and you must register that call sign:

Once registered and your radio is programmed your radio location is tracked and associated with D-Star repeaters close to you so that other people who also have D-Start compatible radios can connect to you through the D-Star network. The core of the network is the internet which links the nodes together around the world.










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