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EchoLink On Repeaters: Why?

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by N1BCG, Jul 8, 2019.

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  1. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    This question is primarily for repeater owners who have made the effort to connect EchoLink to their repeaters. However, thoughts from ops who find EchoLink-enabled repeaters to be useful are also welcome.

    So far, the reasons I've heard include allowing club members who have moved away to continue to be able to communicate with their friends. Another is to generate more usage by allowing those who are out of the area to connect.

    What are other reasons? What are the benefits of having an EchoLink enabled repeater?

    I operate mostly on HF, but with summer static in effect and wildly varying band conditions, it's nice to have the ability to reliably make contacts throughout the country, and world actually, where everyone really is "5-9".

    It seems as though this is a great way for new amateurs with Tech licenses to get a taste of "DXing" using the free EchoLink software. My experiences have been overwhelmingly positive, meeting ops with interesting stories during enjoyable conversations. I'm new to it, but find the possibilities amazing.
     
  2. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    This question is primarily for repeater owners who have made the effort to connect EchoLink to their repeaters. However, thoughts from ops who find EchoLink-enabled repeaters to be useful are also welcome.

    So far, the reasons I've heard include allowing club members who have moved away to continue to be able to communicate with their friends. Another is to generate more usage by allowing those who are out of the area to connect.

    What are other reasons? What are the benefits of having an EchoLink enabled repeater?

    I operate mostly on HF, but with summer static in effect and wildly varying band conditions, it's nice to have the ability to reliably make contacts throughout the country, and world actually, where everyone really is "5-9".

    It seems as though this is a great way for new amateurs with Tech licenses to get a taste of "DXing" using the free EchoLink software. My experiences have been overwhelmingly positive, meeting ops with interesting stories during enjoyable conversations. I'm new to it, but find the possibilities amazing.
     
  3. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Tip: Please don't cross post in multiple forums. It is confusing and dilutes the responses. b.
     
  4. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    True and understood, but the topic covers both EchoLink and repeaters and each has their own forum. I'm hoping to get unique responses from each group.
     
  5. W6KCS

    W6KCS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I do it so that I and others can talk on the repeater when we're out of the area. For example, if I go away on a trip, it's fun to get on my iphone and use the echolink app to see what everybody's up to.
    A friend moved to Hawaii and was able to talk to me on my repeater here on the mainland as I drove to and from work.
    We linked a couple of repeaters using it once when we couldn't get a good 420 path, and it worked great and we plan to do it again. I didn't like that it wasn't full-duplex, but it worked.
    We do bike race events on one repeater that has it, and it has been mighty handy at times to be able to access the repeater from a dead area to get some help on the way, like when a rider has crashed.
    I also really enjoy annoying people who tell me that it's not "Ham Radio", so much so that I'll often say that I'm using Echolink when I'm not. They really hate it when I do use it and don't ID since I'm not using a transmitter. Heh heh.
     
  6. W6KCS

    W6KCS Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Echolink was one of the first IP based linking "networks" out there (2002), along with IRLP. Prior to true, end-to-end digital modes (DSTar, Fusion, DMR, etc.), if you wanted to dynamically link to another repeater, Echolink and IRLP were how you did it.

    Now, I think the crowd that wants this sort of functionality has largely moved to modes that natively support it, but it's still useful and allows older FM radios to link around the world. The problems I have encountered are poor audio quality. Since it's analog on 2 sides, there is plenty of opportunity for levels to be off, compression to wreak havoc, etc., like with any linked analog system. When it works well, it works well!

    Bottom line is it makes a repeater more useful, IMHO. Much of that has faded with the newer modes, but there's still room for Echolink/IRLP/AllStar, etc.
     
    W6KCS likes this.
  8. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Echolink allows your repeater to transmit bad audio from stations around the world. :rolleyes:o_O
     
    W6KCS likes this.
  9. KB3WFV

    KB3WFV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Is the bad audio caused by the radio links connected to the repeaters? Or the computer or mobile device being used on the Echolink system? How is this audio any worse than most VHF/UHF operators on any given net or for that matter the majority of HF operators on any given world wide frequency?

    Is bad audio only limited to Echolink connected repeaters?
     
  10. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    It can be.
    It can be.
    The problem with EchoLink, IRLP, AllStar, etc., and people using the EchoLink smartphone and PC apps, is that too many of them don't bother or aren't smart enough to set their audio levels properly. Depending on the hardware it might not be possible to put out good audio.

    If you are just using a HT or FM mobile radio with a stock mic then there is probably nothing to adjust. HF radios are different because many of them have mic gain and other transmit audio adjustments that some people don't know how to set properly.
    No. Any linked repeater system can have crappy audio because of inconsistent audio levels, audio frequency response, preemphasis and deemphasis on each link. You need to send flat audio over the link and let the end user radios handle preemphasis and deemphasis but some systems don't do that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
    VE3CGA and KA9JLM like this.

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