General Amateur Radio Discussions - if topics become popular, I will create individual form areas. In the meantime, post the general topics here.


Postby KG4QGR » Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:45 am


Does anyone have Echolink installed and using it? I recently dowloaded it and it seems to be a very neat program for 2m and 6m and HAMs to communicate long distance via internet.

I would like to hear any comments on this...

Postby WX9T » Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:01 am

However, it's hardly ham radio, isn't it? It's more like a chat program that happens to make some use of radio links.

Really, if you want the DX, you'll have to go where the DX lies. I doubt you'll be hearing the Peter I DXpedition on Echolink, for example.

And normally, I'm one to stand up for people who get dumped on as 'appliance operators'...but Echolink is really just a dog's dinner substitute for actual HF operation. I don't think it's 'ham radio' as such, despite the apparent connection to amateur operation that it has. I look at it as a distraction; knuckle under and pass your 5 WPM and higher theory elements and try the real thing, then go back to Echolink and I think you'll see how it's just not the same as trying to play _real_ 'ionospheric billiards'.

Postby KG4QGR » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:42 pm

Well Im kinda in agreement thats its kinda of different.

However it is a neat feature to be able to use. I definatly dont think it takes the place of the actuall rag chewing and the good DXing.

But the ability to VOIP over the net and then transmit out over a repeater in a different country or state is pretty neat. I know alota of the old school think its cheating. That kinda why i put the topic up.

Ill probably look at code soon. Im intrested in being able to read the beacons and some of the utility catches out there...

Postby WX9T » Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:34 pm

Oh, I don't even consider myself to be 'old school' (got my Tech Plus in 1987, and I come down on the 'no code' side of the silly morse rantfest), but I still think Echolink has an element of 'bogusness' to it. It's useful as a...well, curiosity, I think. But compared to, say, the 10m rig in my car during the high part of the cycle, it's just not the same. That requires no computer, no broadband connection, etc...just the antenna and radio, and on that alone I've worked as far out as central Argentina.

Echolink is really just another thing to do with VOIP...which, really, I find more useful for calling home from Tokyo when I'm over there (no expensive international call via NTT, etc) than for trying to simulate the sort of thing I can do with HF. And even then, it's no simulator as such, because it eliminates the propagation and other stuff that makes HF operation so entertaining.

What I've done with EchoLink

Postby NW7US » Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:44 pm

For quite a time, I had EchoLink set up here, tied into a VHF rig, so that I could have my whole family (nearly all the kids are licensed) particpate in using the EchoLink to talk with repeater users in Australia or Germany, for instance. When my daughter took her senior German trip to Germany, she took her handheld, and then used some Germany repeaters to EchoLink back to us here. That allowed us to stay in touch. That was great.

I see EchoLink as an "intertie" between repeater systems. I see it as a valuable tool to further communication between people. IRLP does this, as well. Purists want to have everything by radio. That's cool. But, do we have a high-bandwidth satellite linkage via ham radio between Western Australia and the U.S.A.? I don't think that HF is there, all the time, from a propagation stand-point. Matter of fact, I don't think I have yet worked any Western Australian stations on ANY HF band. I've worked many VK stations on HF, though.

Anyway, my perspective is that it is what you make it be. I used my radio gear to tie into it, and communicated with folks around the world using my handheld. That's enough radio for me to enjoy it.


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Postby KG4QGR » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:28 pm

I agree seem like a neat idea and it works great for a 2m guy like me being able to talk around the world and meet new operators.

That was pretty neat to have the family communicating like that and using technology to yuou advantage...

I do look forward sometime this year Ill be working for my next level and hopefully be up and have the ability to work some distance :D


Re: Echolink

Postby K5TEN » Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:09 pm

I always get a chuckle out of the folks who pile on Echolink with both fists, then look down on anyone who uses it.

If you can't show a valid amateur radio licence, you can't get on it.

It hooks you up via the internet with amateur radio repeaters all over the world.

A lot of ham radio is about meeting new people and making relationships, and Echolink does that. It also allows hams with severe antenna restrictions to be able to stay in contact with their friends. It even is now part of hurricane emergency nets and traffic handling.

It also allows hospital patients and folks in bad health and confined to long term care facilities to still be a part of ham radio---which is where we will all probably end up anyway.


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