IRLP from here in Charleston?

A. Maitland Bottoms aa4hs at
Tue Aug 17 20:42:18 CDT 2010

Terry Fox writes:
 > The only IRLP node that I've found here in the Charleston area does not 
 > appear to be open and generally available.  It's on a repeater downtown, 
 > which is part of the HEART repeater system for hospital disaster and 
 > emergency use.  It is also part of the VOIP Wx net and Skywarn.  It is 
 > available by "permission only".  I'm sure me talking with the DC gang 
 > would not be considered acceptable.

It's not too hard to see both sides of the issue. But after seeing the
"Privately Owned Repeater Networks" flea market spot at Dayton, sometimes
I wonder if these groups aren't giving PORN a bad connotation.

 > So, I looked at the IRLP page, and found that I could buy a "node" 
 > hardware & software for $188 (which includes an "optional" $40 donation, 
 > yeah right).  I can scrounge up an old PC, and possibly a radio, to run 
 > the node.  For those of you familiar with IRLP, a few questions:

Yeah, IRLP is committed to the Parallel Port, which just is no longer
found on new computers. I just bought a Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150 to upgrade
my link computer from an old VIA CPU mini-ITX box. I may just set up
another new mini-ITX system with an Intel Atom motherboard.

 > 1.  Can I run the IRLP with the computer directly?  Maybe fake the COS, 
 > and just do my own sound in & out (no actual radios)?  Seems doable.

Part of joining IRLP is promising to always keep the "radio" part of
Amateur Radio. Not having a radio will likely result in the IRLP node
operators blacklisting you and denying access to their radios.

 > 2.  If not, could I hook up a small radio (with COS mod) to act as the 
 > "node" radio (maybe into a dummy load), and use a second HT to actually 
 > talk/listen?

Yes, but then again, IRLP is not the only game in town.

 > 3.  I assume from reading the IRLP info that full-dux (repeater) is not 
 > required.  What hassles are involved in simplex use?

Additional key-up delays, and being stepped upon by local users when
you are coming in as a remote user.

 > 4.  Any legal issues with items 2 & 3 above?  What freqs would be legal? 
 > 2M and/or 440?

No legal issues. The rules do say something about having a control operator
for stations in automatic operation. But in your case, you'll likely be a more
attentive control operator than most repeaters have.

 > 5.  What do the IRLP folks have to say about simplex operation and/or no 
 > actual radio?

I think there are more /L IRLP nodes than /R. But they are a network
of linked radios. If you aren't linking a radio then you are out of
their charter.

 > 6.  Would I need local coordination of a freq for just me?  Is that a 
 > repeater pair, or just simplex, and how is simplex coordination done?

Coordination is all about avoiding interference. If your are willing to QSY
to avoid other users, or have such a local coverage (your TX feeds a dummy
load in your basement) that you are unlikely to bother anyone else then
coordination isn't even necessary. If yout link TX is putting out 100W
into an omni at over 1000 feet above average terrain then by all means
talk to coordinating groups in your area. In addition to repeaters and
wide area simplex links they also coordinate point-to-point RF links.

 > 7.  How about if I added someone else (maybe Mel) who lives only a mile 
 > away?  I believe I know the answer to this one... yes if any radiation 
 > involved.

Directional antennas and limited power levels can be as effective as
coordination in limiting interference.

 > 8.  Is it worth it?  If I make a few-hundred dollar investment to do 
 > this, are there enough AMRAD people still on the repeater?

No. Actually, I made a sub-$100 investment for linking the AMRAD repeater
so that no one else needs to make that choice. Hopefully soon the AMRAD
repeater will be reachable from IRLP, Echolink, and the Allstar networks.

Work and continuing participation in non-amateur-radio hobbies are
severly limiting my time on this, but hopefully soon I can coordinate
with K0BRA and get a multiple internet radio link established for the
AMRAD repeater. 

 > Mainly because IRLP is what is on the AMRAD repeater.  I see that it may
 > be possible to add Echolink capabilities to an IRLP-enabled repeater,
 > but it took a long time just to get IRLP running, I'm not sure if or
 > when Echolink might be added.

Well, at least Echolink has been registered.

The AMRAD Repeater linking report, 17-Aug-2010:
IRLP: node 4721 registered, operational.
Echolink: node 521545, W4CIA-R. registered, not yet connected.
Allstar: pending registration, not yet connected.

Other good news is that I have my own Asterisk linked simplex
node, and it sometimes shows up on Echolink as
AA4HS, echolink node 500261. I expect I'll have an Allstar
registration just as soon as AMRAD does.

 > 9.  Any thing else that I'm missing?

Yes. At the July meeting I talked over a VoIP linked radio
using a telephone.

The future is coming. I wouldn't be surprised to hear Skype
reverse autopatch connections soon....

 > I'd like to catch up with you guys, but I want to be sure it's 
 > doable/worthwhile before putting the time and money into this.
 > Thanks.
 > Terry, WB4JFI

Hopefully people on the list will continue to chime in with
Radio over IP modes that they have used.

Who is QRV on Echolink?
Who has VoIP telephony hardware?
Who has used their min-DIN radio port?


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