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How to use Repeaters and Echolink

Using a Repeater

Radio signal repeaters (known as repeaters) are commonly used by Hams to make contacts over a wider geographic area and are especially useful for stations operating portable (ie away from their registered address such as in a park) or mobile (from a vehicle or walking with a hand held transceiver). They are frequently used for radio nets to ensure that all stations can hear and speak to each other when located over a wide geographic area, such as all across Ottawa. The most common Amateur Radio band for repeater use is the 2m band, but other common bands are 10m, 6m, 1.25m and 70cm. In some areas there are repeaters on the higher UHF bands such as 1.2 GHz. Repeaters are usually established on high points and often mounted on commercial TV or radio station antennas and therefore have the advantage of a greater coverage area.

Got questions about using a repeater? Devils Tower Amateur Radio Club has written a simple guide to using a repeater: [[http://www.wy7dt.com/Repeater_Guide/default.html]. Contrary to the comment in the paragraph titled "How do you call someone on a repeater?" stating "phrases like “nothing heard” or “no contact” are just a waste of time", those comments are useful as they let the station you are calling know that they are not being heard. Commonly this occurs because they have not set the correct frequency offset or CTCSS tone, so they are able to hear the repeater but the repeater cannot hear them (and thus no one can hear them).

When calling on a repeater, always call at least twice with a short pause between calls (say 10 - 20 seconds) because stations monitoring the repeater may not hear you call or may not hear your callsign the first time.

Always check that you have programmed the correct frequency offset and direction, along with the CTCSS tone (if the repeater has one).

A useful resource to find local repeaters anywhere in the world is the website Repeater Book at: https://www.repeaterbook.com/. There are also apps for mobile devices that can use your device's GPS to locate local repeaters.

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Using Echolink®

EchoLink® software allows licensed Amateur Radio stations to communicate with one another over the Internet, using streaming-audio technology. The program allows worldwide connections to be made between stations, or from computer to station, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio's communications capabilities. There are more than 300,000 validated users worldwide — in 151 of the world's 193 nations — with about 6,000 online at any given time. (Description from Introducing EchoLink)

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Echolink for Desktop Windows (Native Application)

This quickstart guide is for users using a Microsoft Windows desktop computer to connect to the National Capital Welcome Net. Please complete steps 1-9 at least 1 week prior to joining the net to ensure plenty of time for callsign validation on the echolink network.

  1. Log into the desktop computer you intend to use to connect to the net via Echo Link
  2. Navigate to the echolink website (https://secure.echolink.org)
  3. Select “Download” form the menu (https://secure.echolink.org/download.htm
  4. Install the latest version (eg 2.3.121)
  5. Refer to “installation Help for more details (https://secure.echolink.org/faq_installation.htm)
  6. Install Echolink
  7. Configure your network router firewall to allow appropriate ports to be forwarded
  8. Allow UDP destination ports 5198-5199 between Internet and PC in both directions
  9. Allow TCP (source port any, destination port 5200) from PC to Internet
  10. Test your echolink connection using the “ECHOTEST”
  11. Search for the echolink conference named “VA3EGY-R”
  12. Connect to the conference at the appropriate time
  13. Check-in when requested to do so.

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Echolink for Desktop Linux and RaspberryPi (QTel Application)

This quickstart guide is for users using a Linux or RaspberryPi based desktop computer to connect to the National Capital Welcome Net. Please complete steps 1-9 at least 1 week prior to joining the net to ensure plenty of time for callsign validation on the echolink network.

  1. Log into the desktop computer you intend to use to connect to the net via Echo Link network using the QTel Application
  2. Navigate to the SvxLink website which hosts the QTel Application (http://www.svxlink.org/)
  3. From the project wiki, select “Installation Instructions” (https://github.com/sm0svx/svxlink/wiki/InstallationInstructions)
  4. Install the latest version of QTel from either
    • Packaged software in your operating systems app store
    • Install From Source
  5. Refer to “QtelUserDocs” Wiki page for detailed usage documentation (https://github.com/sm0svx/svxlink/wiki/QtelUserDocs)
  6. Configure your network router firewall to allow appropriate ports to be forwarded
    • Allow UDP destination ports 5198-5199 between Internet and PC in both directions
    • Allow TCP (source port any, destination port 5200) from PC to Internet
  7. Open Qtel application
  8. Validate your Call Sign with Echolink at www.echolink.org/validation
  9. Test your echolink connection using the “Test Conference”
  10. Search for the echolink conference named “VA3EGY-R”
  11. Connect to the conference at the appropriate time

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Echolink for Desktop Mac (EchoHam Application)

This quickstart guide is for users using a Mac based desktop computer to connect to the National Capital Welcome Net. Please complete steps 1-7 at least 1 week prior to joining the net to ensure plenty of time for callsign validation on the echolink network.

  1. Log into the desktop computer you intend to use to connect to the net via Echo Link network using the EchoHam Application
  2. Navigate to the EchoHam website which links to the EchoHam app in the Apple App Store (http://www.apphugs.com/echoham.html)
  3. From the project web page check out the guided videos
    • EchoHam Demo 1
    • EchoHam Demo 2
    • EchoHam Getting Started
  4. Install the latest version of EchoHam from the Apple App Store (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/echoham/id873302145?ls=1&mt=12)
  5. Configure your network router firewall to allow appropriate ports to be forwarded
    • Allow UDP destination ports 5198-5199 between Internet and PC in both directions
    • Allow TCP (source port any, destination port 5200) from PC to Internet
  6. Open EchoHam application
  7. Validate your Call Sign with Echolink at www.echolink.org/validation
  8. Test your echolink connection using the “Test Conference”
  9. Search for the echolink conference named “VA3EGY-R”
  10. Connect to the conference at the appropriate time

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Echolink for Android Mobile Device (Echolink Mobile App)

This quickstart guide is for users using an Android based mobile device to connect to the National Capital Welcome Net. Please complete steps 1-9 at least 1 week prior to joining the net to ensure plenty of time for callsign validation on the echolink network.

  1. Log into the Android mobile device you intend to use to connect to the net via Echo Link network using the Echolink Mobile Application
  2. Navigate to the EchoLink website to read the Android FAQ (https://secure.echolink.org/faq_android.htm)
  3. Scan the embedded QR code on the above page or navigate to the Android App store to install EchoLink App.
  4. Install the latest version of EchoHam from the App Store
  5. Configure your network router firewall to allow appropriate ports to be forwarded
    • Allow UDP destination ports 5198-5199 between Internet and PC in both directions
    • Allow TCP (source port any, destination port 5200) from PC to Internet
  6. Open Echolink for Android application
  7. Validate your Call Sign with Echolink at www.echolink.org/validation
  8. Test your echolink connection using the “Test Conference”
  9. Search for the echolink conference named “VA3EGY-R”
  10. Connect to the conference at the appropriate time

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Echolink for iOS Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch (Echolink Mobile App)

This quickstart guide is for users using an Android based mobile device to connect to the National Capital Welcome Net. Please complete steps 1-9 at least 1 week prior to joining the net to ensure plenty of time for callsign validation on the echolink network.

  1. Log into the iPhone mobile device you intend to use to connect to the net via Echo Link network using the Echolink Mobile Application
  2. Navigate to the EchoLink website to read the iPhone FAQ (https://secure.echolink.org/faq_iphone.htm)
  3. Follow link to EchoLink listing in the Apple App Store (https://secure.echolink.org/faq_iphone.htm)
  4. Install the latest version of EchoLink from the App Store
  5. Configure your network router firewall to allow appropriate ports to be forwarded
    • Allow UDP destination ports 5198-5199 between Internet and PC in both directions
    • Allow TCP (source port any, destination port 5200) from PC to Internet
  6. Open Echolink for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch application
  7. Validate your Call Sign with Echolink at www.echolink.org/validation
  8. Test your echolink connection using the “Test Conference”
  9. Search for the echolink conference named “VA3EGY-R”
  10. Connect to the conference at the appropriate time

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Satellite Repeaters

Yes, incredible as it seems, there are many, many satellites orbiting the earth that were funded by amateur radio operators and these are available to us to use as repeaters. There are two amateur radio stations on the International Space Station (ISS) and one is normally on full time as either a voice repeater or a packet repeater. It is possible to make a contact over several hundred kilometers using no more than a handheld transceiver and the rubber ducky antenna! That would require fairly optimal circumstances though but with just a few upgrades regular contacts can be made.

There are many resources on the web to guide you if this is an area of interest, try the following for starters:

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Page last modified on September 29, 2021, at 07:44 PM