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Creating an ECHOLINK NODE

Discussion in 'Echolink/IRLP Tech Board' started by KG4ULT, May 16, 2011.

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  1. KG4ULT

    KG4ULT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello folks,

    I am curious how to setup an echolink node and link it to a local repeater. Id like to participate in one of the local nets and right now i cannot put up an antenna high enough to reach the local repeater - just yet that is.

    Until then it would be cool if someone with good coverage can do so, this way those of us who cannot "hit" the repeater or do not have a VHF rig can get on echolink and join in.

    Thanks
     
  2. K0RGR

    K0RGR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Lots of people actually use EchoLink for this.

    All it takes to set up a node is a computer running Windows, a soundcard interface, and the software. Now, to do it correctly takes a little more work. Ideally, the node would be wired into the repeater for PTT control, so that it only retransmits the audio when there is an actual signal on the repeater receiver. That will eliminate squelch tails and IDers. Another way to do this is to set up the repeater to transmit a tone, again, only when there is a signal on the input. Then, the transceiver used for the link can use tone-squelch so it only responds to the tone.

    But, if you can't do either of those things, you can come close by adjusting some of the parameters in EchoLink. There is a function that will clip off the courtesy beep and squelch tails, which helps a lot once you have it correctly adjusted. IDer's however, will continue to be heard, which will make your node unwelcome on EchoLink conference servers. But for the purpose you've described, it should not be an issue.
     
  3. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Pretty simple really. Start out by setting up a "Link" node on Echolink. (Use a simplex frequency so you can talk out through Echolink with a hand held radio.) All this needs is your computer running on Echolink connected to some kind of simplex RF radio, With a keying circuit.
    (I use a Rigblaster)
    Once you have the simplex link up and running, Then you would need to be able to access the repeater you want to operate through. And unless you actually OWN that repeater, You should get permission from the owner or trustee before you just put Echolink on it........
    Although it might be nice to "hardwire" Echolink in to a repeater, Most do not. Most are just a simple, Distant RF linked radio to the repeater.

    We have found that adding Echolink to a VHF/UHF repeater does add lots of good activity to it!
    Good Luck!
     
  4. W9PSK

    W9PSK Ham Member QRZ Page



    If you are trying to do what I think you are trying to do, I don't think you will be able to do it. If you set up your own Echolink node, the repeater would have to have one too for you to talk into and through that repeater. If you think that you can set up your Echolink node using the repeater's frequencies, it will work for anyone who wants to use it except for you because you will run into desense issues.

    I ran into just such a problem. I got permission from one of the local repeater trustees to use the repeater's frequencies. Anyone talking through the repeater could access my Echolink node, but I couldn't access it through the repeater because of desense. I tried everything I could think of, but there was just no way for me to use my own Echolink node without spending serious money on some cavity duplexers. As soon as I keyed up a radio on the repeater's input frequency, there was no way my node radio could hear what was coming out of the repeater's output frequency.

    Keep in mind that this was on a 2 meter repeater. It might work on a 70cm repeater because the offset is 5MHz. I hope I haven't confused you. If I have, lemme know and I will go into more detail.
     
  5. K0RGR

    K0RGR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, that may be true - the person with the local EchoLink node at his house may have a problem or two. But he should be able to access the repeater using a second radio - just might not be able to hear the repeater directly when the EchoLInk is transmitting. He can switch to listen to the input frequency for the repeater to hear the EchoLInk node.

    I partly solved this problem at my house by using a small beam for the EL node. I mounted the beam on the side of my tower, down as low as I could and still have a good signal into the repeater. I ran the link radio at 100 mW. That allowed me to still hear the repeater using a different antenna that was at a right angle to the link antenna, and as far away as I could get it. I suspect that if I'd used a beam for both antennas, the rejection between them would have exceeded 40 dB, and I wouldn't have known the link was even there.
     
  6. W9PSK

    W9PSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are able to hit the repeater with 100mW? It must be very close to where you live. I am sure the beam helps quite a bit.

    The problem I had wasn't in hitting the repeater. It was the node radio that would desense any time I keyed up the other radio to get into the repeater. I tried all kinds of stuff to work around it. At one point I created my own cable that went into the soundcard's mic input. It "Y"d off. One leg went to the soundcard, one went to the node radio and the other one went to a scanner that was tuned to the repeater input. I had a little success with that configuration, but not a whole lot. I couldn't quite get the audio level right on the two radios with that set up. Because I was so close to the scanner, I was pretty much overloading the front end of it, but I couldn't turn the power down because I needed it to get into the repeater so anyone using the repeater could hear me. It was a mess! LOL! I finally decided it just wasn't worth the trouble and went back to using simplex.
     
  7. KB0OXD

    KB0OXD Guest

    You also need the permission of the repeater owner/trustee too if that isn't you

    Cheers & 73 :)
     
  8. K0RGR

    K0RGR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Absolutely! In my case, I started the node on simplex and two local repeater groups wanted me to move it to their repeater. Now, we'd like to put IRLP on one of the other machines, but nobody wants it, so it lives on simplex.
     
    N2AJO likes this.
  9. AK4GA

    AK4GA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Also, SERA says they will de-coordinate any repeater running a remote base on its input/output.

    POLICY 17 - REPEATER DE-COORDINATION
    5. c - "operates remotely controlled transmitters and/or receivers for the purpose of repeater linking, which utilize any allocated SERA repeater input and/or output frequency, which cause harmful interference to coordinated repeater operations."

    But then SERA would have to follow their own policies and guidelines. I would say you are pretty safe. Just FYI.
     
  10. KG0S

    KG0S Ham Member QRZ Page

    Use PL

    Absolutely you can set up your node to act just as a regular repeater user. One thing I would recommend is getting the repeater owner to configure the controller to use tone on the output only when there is voice on the input. In other words you don't want ids and courtesy tones going to the Internet. Trust me it gets annoying, especially if you connect to a conference.
     
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