Central Idaho Amateur
Radio Club
     
W7CIA IRLP / EchoLink Node
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Radio Linking

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Radio Linking enables two or more repeater systems to be connected together over the internet. Some forms of VOIP Radio Linking also allow a computing device (e.g. an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android or Windows PC) to be connected to a repeater or remote radio. Connections being made to the repeater network, via the internet, are considered to be inbound connections. Radio stations that are making a connection to the internet by transmitting to any repeater receiver in the repeater network are said to be making an outbound connection.

An embedded Linux computer, with audio interface, is connected between the W7CIA repeater controller and a hard-wired internet connection. The Linux system supports both Internet Radio Linking Protocol (IRLP) and EchoLink voice over internet protocols. IRLP and EchoLink cannot be used simultaneously. For example, if an EchoLink connection is in progress and an IRLP connection is desired, the EchoLink connection must be terminated prior to establishing the IRLP connection.

It should be noted that when a station makes an inbound connection to the W7CIA repeater via IRLP or EchoLink, an announcement is generated by the Linux computer and is transmitted over all active transmitters in the repeater network. Similarly, when the IRLP or EchoLink connection is terminated, an announcement is generated by the Linux computer and is transmitted over all active transmitters in the repeater network. This automated announcement can be very disruptive to active QSOs or to repeater monitoring. Stations that establish either an IRLP or EchoLink connection and then terminate the connection without making a call between establishing a connection and terminating a connection will be deemed as a VOIP abuser. This is analogous to calling someones phone and hanging up as soon as they answer. At the discretion of the W7CIA control operator, such stations may be added to a disallowed station list and blocked from making inbound connections via IRLP or EchoLink. To avoid being placed into the disallowed station list, do not establish and terminate VOIP connections without making a call.


Stations found violating any of the following VOIP policies may be denied access to VOIP services:

  • All station operators must be familiar with etiquette mandated in the online IRLP and EchoLink documentation prior to using IRLP or EchoLink.
  • All non-member station operators are authorized to make inbound connections via IRLP or EchoLink subject to abuse filtering. All non-member stations that desire to make an outbound VOIP connection are required to ask permission over the air. Failure to obtain permission is not to be construed as granting permission to establish an outbound VOIP connection. If permission is not received then you do not have permission. Should the non-member procedures be abused, the W7CIA control operator may implement automated processes to block outbound access for all but member stations. These procedures are established to ensure that CIARC members are granted priority access to VOIP facilities and to ensure that the use of the open CIARC repeater system is not abused by non-member stations. VOIP access restrictions imposed on an individual station, except abuse restrictions, may be removed simply by joining the CIARC.
  • The VOIP services are NOT to be used for testing or validation of an operators station equipment or computer. Stations making a connection and announcing a test session will have their VOIP privileges revoked permanently.
  • Generally, all CIARC members are authorized to make both inbound and outbound connections via IRLP or EchoLink. CIARC members are not exempt from the operating limitations described on this page and the related reference material.
  • DO NOT establish inbound connections and terminate connections without making a call.
  • Stations that make repeated connections with poor audio quality (including excessively low audio or overdriven audio), or no audio, will be denied access to the VOIP services. Audio levels and router settings should be properly configured and validated prior to connecting to VOIP services.
  • Stations that use VOIP services to key the repeater while rotating their antenna to obtain the best signal will have their VOIP privileges revoked permanently.
  • Use of any CB lingo, including phrases listed below, are grounds for immediate and permanent revocation of access privileges.
    • The handle is...
    • The personal is...
    • Got a copy?
    • Give a shout out to...
    • Negative contact...
    If you have any problems with this restriction then you are advised to read New Licensee - What Do I Do Now. If you were not properly mentored in this area, this document is your opportunity to obtain proper instruction on amateur radio operating.

VOIP services are a privilege, and are provided as a courtesy to the Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club. If your activities are not abusive, disruptive or annoying to other operators, you should not have any difficulties maintaining access to VOIP services.


IRLP

An outbound IRLP connection requires a Dual Tone Multi Function (DTMF) transmitter capability and can be established by performing the following procedure:

If the connection is established, a voice announcement will be transmitted to all active transmitters in the repeater network to indicate that the connection is established and to where the connection is established. If the connection was not established, then a voice announcement will be transmitted to all active transmitters in the repeater network to indicate that the connection was not established and why the connection failed. If no announcement is heard then DTMF control did not occur (i.e. the issue is most likely at the transmitter and not at the repeater).

To terminate either an inbound or outbound IRLP connection, perform the following procedure:

If the connection was successfully terminated, a voice announcement will be transmitted to all active transmitters to indicate that the IRLP is disconnected.


The W7CIA repeater IRLP node number is 3210.



IRLP does not support multiple concurrent connections. If there is a need to connect to more than one repeater simultaneously over IRLP then both repeaters should connect to an IRLP reflector. It should be noted that any other repeater can connect into the IRLP reflector at any time and no announcement will occur associated with this connection. Other repeater users have been known to connect to an IRLP reflector, and without listening for activity, start talking over an existing conversation. There is no guarantee of exclusive access to a reflector (user beware).



A slow internet connection can result in dropped VOIP data packets. The resulting system behavior can range from audio breaking up to no audio at all. When this occurs, it is sometimes possible to achieve a higher performance connection by using an IRLP reflector.



Inbound or outbound IRLP connections during the scheduled ARES District 3 NET (see the Calendar page) are prohibited unless the connection is in support of the ARES District 3 NET.


EchoLink

An outbound EchoLink connection requires a Dual Tone Multi Function (DTMF) transmitter capability and can be established by performing the following procedure:

If the connection is established, a voice announcement will be transmitted to all active transmitters in the repeater network to indicate that the connection is established and to where the connection is established. If the connection was not established, then a voice announcement will be transmitted to all active transmitters in the repeater network to indicate that the connection was not established and why the connection failed. If no announcement is heard then DTMF control did not occur (i.e. the issue is most likely at the transmitter and not at the repeater).

To terminate either an inbound or outbound EchoLink connection, perform the following procedure:

If the connection was successfully terminated, a voice announcement will be transmitted to all active transmitters to indicate that the EchoLink is disconnected.


The W7CIA repeater EchoLink node ID is W7CIA-R while the EchoLink node number is 696264.


EchoLink software is available for the iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, smart phones running the Google Android operating system and Windows PC. An application for the Apple Macintosh exists but has not been maintained and is unstable. Supported devices enable an operator to use the repeater network while outside of the radio coverage footprint for the repeater network.


The EchoLink inbound connectivity is configured to support up to six simultaneous EchoLink connections. It is possible for EchoLink performance to degrade as the number of connected stations increases due to internet bandwidth limitations.



Inbound or outbound EchoLink connections during the scheduled ARES District 3 NET (see the Calendar page) are prohibited unless the connection is in support of the ARES District 3 NET.