Voice Over IP



aniupdat.gif (1845 bytes)       July 11, 2002        aniupdat.gif (1845 bytes)

new11.gif (3768 bytes)     What's happening with I-Link and EchoLink       new11.gif (3768 bytes)

      When EchoLink was released in early May (2002) it was intended by the author to work with         
      and in conjunction with the I-Link software and servers. This worked very well for the first couple 
      of weeks until changes were made and EchoLink users were no longer able to access the I-Link     
      servers. In response to this new servers were quickly made available to EchoLink users. From      
      this point I-Link and EchoLink users have been operating separately with no ability to communicate
      with each other. At this time, both I-Link and EchoLink still appear to be using the same registration
      server so your I-Link password and node number will work with EchoLink.                                    

      If you have not tried either systems, or are new and not aware of the current situation you       
      may want to consider the following in deciding which program to use. Since EchoLink's arrival it   
      quickly became the program of choice by most users. The reason was likely it's standard,              
      comfortable user interface, ease of use, extra features and simplified interfacing for SYSOP mode.
      (Link and Repeater). When the I-Link and EchoLink systems were split, even more I-Link users   
      changed to EchoLink. By checking the lists of Nodes on line it is very easy to confirm this situation.
      At the time of writing, my check of the lists showed 12 users on I-Link  and 309 on EchoLink.     
      The numbers clearly speak for themselves.                                                                                    

      There has been no information made available on why this has happened and/or who was               
      responsible for making the decision to separate the I-Link and EchoLink users. At this time there  
      are only rumors as to what the reason was and that in future the two systems will again be              
      reconnected. Until the authors of I-Link and/or EchoLink make an official comments no further     
      information can be made available.                                                                                               


Introduction to Voice over IP

Voice over IP is not new but it has received a lot more attention and interest in the past year. Some of         
you may have experienced VOIP in one form or another without even knowing. If you have ever listened     or talked to someone on a repeater connected to IRLP (Internet Linking Project), that system uses voice   
over IP. This is also true if you have ever used voice chat with any of the popular Internet instant messenger programs. Some may say that this is not amateur radio because it does non use a radio. Others   
look at it as just another extension of the hobby and are having fun communication with other ham around    
the world via this new medium. This can be an inexpensive way to link repeaters. In addition it is a great way for anyone who can not get on the air because of antenna restrictions at their present QTH or while away     from home.           
From what I could find on internet, Ham VOIP goes back to around 1996. In the December 1996 issue, QST featured on article on Linking repeaters to the Internet, written by James Millner, WB2REM. It was titled "A New Band for Your Radio". VocalTec's Iphone was used to send the voice over the internet. The Iphone software had problems with not very stable or controllable.                                                                                                   

Amateur Radio VOIP - What's available now

IRLP - Internet Radio Linking Project

IRLP was conceived by David Cameron, VE7LTD, in the late 1990's  to overcome what he saw as the major deficiencies in IPhone.  IPhone and its Windows operating system suffered from instability and the lack of security. Thus, IRLP was designed as a secure and flexible Internet linking system. Unlike other systems, it is designed to prevent direct access to linked systems from the Internet. At the node level, PGP cryptographic is used by the nodes to authenticate each other. The only way to access IRLP is via a connected radio gateway (node). IRLP connections are initiated by the end user keying DTMF codes from their radio. This allow controlling link connects and disconnects.. IRLP offers both point to point and "reflector" (conference room) connections.

Unlike other Internet linking systems, IRLP runs on the Linux operating system, which is extremely stability. . The use of the Linux platform offers a number of other benefits to node owners, such as automatic updates of both the operating system and IRLP software. To setup an IRLP node, you must purchase a custom interface board.

For information on the Internet Radio Linking Project - http://www.irlp.net
Node List -


I-Link started in May 2001, when Graeme Barnes, M0CSH, released the first version of his Windows based Internet linking system. It  provided a Windows based alternative to IRLP, with the added feature
of direct connections from the Internet. I-Link has come a long way since its initial release, now having over 23,000 registered users. .

I-Link allows radio connected nodes to be controlled by DTMF commands. It also supports both point to point and conference connections. Computer users can contact other computer users, or RF links and repeaters. When new user registers for the first time, they are denied access until their callsign is verified.  Once verification is completed, the user is receives an index number and can log on from a computer using the index number and password.

I-Link's computer access allows amateurs to use Internet linking without having link radio or repeater available in their area. It also allows linking repeaters from any where in the world or participating in conference groups. I-Link software is FREE

I-Link - http://www.aacnet.net
Current Nodes Online -

Yahoo!  User  Groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ILINK-GEN/


EchoLink is a very new program that was released in the first week May 2002. EchoLink is an I-Link compatible program written by K1RFD. It is an excellent and well written program Unlike I-Link which has  computer user and SYSOP versions, EchoLink comes in one version, which supports both functions. Also, for connecting the computer to a radio, it requires a much simpler hardware interface. You can use interfaces such as commonly used for current many soundcard modes such as PSK. The reason for this is that the software handles all the DTMF decoding. EchoLink also has built in conferencing, allowing more than one person to connect to a user at the same time. There are also functions that allow the user to limit connections by station type (repeater, link or Internet user), as well as region and individual callsigns.  This is excellent  for countries that do not allow direct Internet connections to local repeaters, or where third party traffic restrictions apply.

The EchoLink software is FREE - http://www.synergenics.com
                                                - http://www.echolink.org
Current Nodes Online -

Yahoo!  User  Groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/echolink/


eQSO came along in 2001 to replace the loss of  the IPhone conference servers. Originally known as the M0ZPD Internet Gateway, it was later renamed to eQSO in early 2002.

eQSO is very different than IRLP and I-Link as it is based around the IPhone style conference room operation. eQSO only has conference room facilities with no end user DTMF control. Like IPhone and I-Link, direct computer access is allowed to the servers. There is also an application that allows browsing the servers list to choose a conference room.

eQSO offers a widest range of options for interfacing a radio, including VOX and hardware PTT. The VOX is reliable, and its easy to hookup. The audio quality of eQSO is not always as good as I-Link or IRLP.Like I-Link, eQSO's computer interface is easy to use. A Linking version offers courtesy tones and CW ID. One of the greatest concerns with eQSO is that it requires no authorization to use it. This makes it possible for none hams to access radio links and repeaters. Non Hams are allowed to access conferences, and there are some with no RF links, to enable hams and SWLs to communicate.

eQSO is also a free program - http://www.eqso.net

[ Home ]