Posts Tagged ‘irlp’

ETH075 – RFinder

If you are anything like me you have used those little repeater Everything Ham Radio Podcast Logodirectories and strained your eyes in the process. I use to hate trying to find a repeater to use while I was on a trip. Most of the time, while I was on a trip, the town that I was in didn’t have any repeaters in it, but the next town over did. Maybe it was two towns over, or the third of fourth town that I look at in the directory. Either way, it was a pain in the…well you know.

Bob had the same thinking that I did all those years ago, but he acted on it. He went and digitized all the repeater data that was available and made it into an Android app. It is now available to IPhone, Android and on the web for just a small fee.

RFinder is the official repeater directory of Canada, the United Kingdom as well as 13 other countries. This year the ARRL partnered with RFinder to print the 2017 ARRL repeater directory. This years directory has 10,000 more listings and is the first time that the ARRL has crowd sourced the repeater information. The data that RFinder uses comes from many different places including Repeater societies, club websites and directly from repeater owners.

For more information about RFinder, hear it from Bob himself in the latest episode of the Everything Ham Radio Podcast at

Radio Scouting Adventure


The Jamboree-on-the-Air, or JOTA, is an annual Scouting event that uses amateur radio to link Scouts around the world, around the nation, and in your own community. Held on the third full weekend of October each year, this worldwide jamboree requires no travel, other than to a nearby radio amateur’s ham shack. Many times the hams will come to you by setting up at a Scout camporee, or perhaps they already have a ham shack at your council’s camp. There are many ways to get your Scouts involved in JOTA.

I look forward to monitoring IRLP reflector 9091 for JOTA traffic all day.

Filed under: Ham Radio Tagged: irlp, jota

Five Ways IRLP is Better Than D-STAR

The history of the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) goes all the way back to the last century when David Cameron, VE7LTD created it. His was an effort to link repeater systems across Canada using the Internet. Since then, the system has evolved, matured and grown. And it’s still growing. Today, there are nearly 1700 active nodes around the globe.

I built an IRLP node (4212) way back in 2003 and have operated it as a simplex UHF node in my home ever since. With it and my handheld transceiver, I’m only ever just a few touch-tone presses from linking my system to repeaters and other simplex nodes around the planet.

These days, much attention is heaped on D-STAR, the growing digital network promoted by ICOM. Digital systems have some advantages that might be very useful going forward in the amateur service. I use and support the continued deployment of D-STAR, but if you’re thinking about diving into linked systems, I can think of five good reasons why IRLP should be considered before taking the digital plunge:

  1. IRLP uses standard FM. There are few radio amateurs who don’t already have a standard two meter or 440 transceiver at their disposal. D-STAR equipment is generally more expensive, and it obsoletes perfectly good hardware.
  2. D-STAR systems usually require all new repeater hardware. IRLP can make use of existing, standard FM repeater installations with the addition of some simple equipment. Clubs don’t have to chuck their previous investment in their repeater system to deploy IRLP.
  3. If you can push-to-talk and press a few touch-tone keys, you can link your local IRLP system to others. D-STAR equipment is much more complex to use. Programming software is generally employed to make the task of setting the new D-STAR radio up a bit easier but despite ICOM’s best efforts to make it simple, it remains a steep learning curve.
  4. The D-STAR system can be accessed directly via the Internet via the DV-Dongle. While this could be seen as an advantage, radio purists will blanch at the notion of operators “getting on the air” directly via the Internet. Sure, the Internet provides the backbone for IRLP, but it’s a system design requirement that real radios are required on both ends of an IRLP link. That’s why VE7LTD used the “keeping the radio in ham radio” motto.
  5. And then there’s the audio. Listening to an FM transmission from a properly adjusted ham radio repeater is a joy. D-STAR audio on the other hand is compressed, tinny-sounding. It’s not a showstopper and most D-STAR fans will tell you they have grown to prefer the pinched audio. Still, the first impression of many is that the audio is painfully compressed.

I might also add that IRLP is available over a wider geographic region than D-STAR. That’s probably due to its ease of deployment, lower investment, and the five year head start it has on digital systems.

Linked VHF/UHF repeater systems aren’t for everyone, but I see plenty of utility in amateur radio having its own “intercom” system that provides reliable, stable, enjoyable communications — when the Internet is up and all systems are “go”.

Filed under: Ham Radio Tagged: dstar, irlp

Show Notes #102

Episode #102 Audio (Listen Now):


  • Rob from the MintCast podcast is on the show tonight filling in for the nomadic and enigmatic Richard.


  • The 2013 Dayton Hamvention is coming up May 17-19 in Dayton, Ohio. We are still in need of donations. Please keep ‘em coming.
  • The Wouff Hong Podcast, member of the Black Sparrow Media Network, have released their first episode. If you don’t subscribe to the BSM aggregate feed, you can find them at the link above. Good episode, and they mention LHS.
  • Rob and Russ use BeyondPod on Android as a podcast manager.
  • Roy, KK4ATD, will be in Atlanta at RARSfest as an ambassador for LHS. If you’re anywhere near Raleigh, NC on Saturday, March 30, 2013, stop by and say hello. [LHS will NOT be present at RARSfest this year. Sorry for any confusion. -Ed]
  • The sponsored ads in the right column of the LHS web site actually make us a not insignificant amount of money when you click on them. If you want to help us out without donating your own money, please click on an ad when you visit our site. We get money in our donation box, and you don’t lighten your own pockets. Thank you!


  • Visit KE8P’s blog. One of the articles documents using a Raspberry Pi as a temperature monitor.
  • KK4ATD has developed Hamux, a 64-bit, CentOS-based Linux distribution with ham radio applications. This is a “live” CD image, so you can boot it from CD and try it before installing. At 698MB, it just barely fits on a CD.
  • Our hosts embark on a brief digression about Douglas Adams.
  • Slow Scan TV (SSTV)SSTV is a method of sending still images using radio frequencies on the HF bands. FSTV (fast-scan TV), which is typically done on VHF and UHF frequencies at distances up to a couple hundred miles, is similar to broadcast TV.In order to operate SSTV, you’ll need a radio (and a license to transmit), a computer, a sound card interface to connect them to each other, and software. For Linux, we have QSSTV. The current version is 7.1.7, released on January 4, 2012. It is compatible with the Ham Radio Control Libraries (hamlib) for controlling the radio.Russ gives a brief overview of the various configuration options and interface of QSSTV.
  • Rob is not a ham, but has considered obtaining his license. Unfortunately, he lives in an area with deed restrictions that prohibit outside antennas. What are his options? There are several resources on the web for ham operation with antenna restrictions. Some of these are:

    Though in Rob’s case, with aluminum foil-lined roof tiles, attic antennas are not likely to work very well.

    Other possibilities: using EchoLink, IRLP, operating mobile or portable. Perhaps tossing up a temporary wire antenna in the back yard, operate, then take it down.

    Rob and Russ discuss the various options, potential for TVI, and VEC testing opportunities.


  • David, KE0AZ, writes to say he’s sorry to see Richard to go, but will continue to listen.
  • Frank, K4FMH, would like to see more technical content in future episodes.
  • W. Lynn writes to say that the Belton HamExpo will be April 20, 2013 in Belton, TX.
  • Gary, KE2YK, will miss Richard, too. He also appreciates the mention of Linux Mint 14 as it reminded him to give it a try.
  • Pete, VE2XPL and the host of the wAVEgUIDES podcast, sends his congratulations on 100 episodes and best wishes for Richard.
  • Gary, KE2YK, also sent comments about episode 101, including a link to his review of the Raspberry Pi.
  • Brian, WB4ES, sends his thanks for Richard’s introduction to JT-75 screencast. (Available to subscribers.)
  • There are more comments on LHS Facebook Page.

Contact Info:


  • “Insanity” by Mad Mav from the album Black Sheep, courtesy of Jamendo.
  • “Strike the End” by Convergence from the album Points of View, courtesy of Jamendo.

Show Notes #076



  • The Black Sparrow Media application for iPad, iPhone and iPod has been submitted to the iTunes store. It is just awaiting validation from Apple, which may take up to two weeks. We’ll let everyone know when it’s available.
  • Special Event Station W0S (Whiskey Zero Sierra) will be operating from the Titanic Branson Museum from April 13-15, 2012, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. Russ, K5TUX, will be operating the station at some point.


  • Scott, AD7MI, asks for help linking APRS and his his Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station with Xastir. Our hosts suggest trying one or both of these:
      • Meteo – Davis weather station platform software for Linux. You can subscribe to the Meteo mailing list by sending a subscription request to [email protected]. It has been several years since Meteo was updated, and is still not at version 1.0. You must download the .tar file from the web site as it does not appear in the distribution repositories.
      • wview- Cross-platform weather station software. It does need an internet connection if you are going to contribute information to various weather sites, such as:

        This program is under active development. Even if it requires a work-around to perform as you wish, it may be worth the trouble. If you’ve ever configured a Linksys router, the web interface of wview looks a lot like that. wview has a support site via Google Groups at

    Let us know how you get on, Scott!

  • Paul, M0PGX, replied to our recent discussion of D-STAR and suggests trying the AllStar Link Network. Like EchoLink, it allows you to talk to other ham radio operators using just your computer and a microphone, including those operators running D-STAR.

    Russ signed up for the AllStarLink network; it’s very similar to joining EchoLink. AllStar uses the Asterisk VOIP system, and Jim, WB6NIL, is the author of the repeater link software. Russ had success using a Mac computer, but not with a Linux machine.

    Richard sees the biggest problem with EchoLink is that it only allows one connection per IP address, so you can’t have both a server and client at home. The EchoLink site only sees your IP address assigned by your ISP, which limits you to one connect from home. In this respect, AllStarLink appears to better in that it seems to allow multiple connections.

    AllStarLink is available in several combinations of Linux and Asterisk:

    • ACID – based on CentOS
    • Limey Linux – based on embedded Linux and bootable from a flash drive, and runs ONLY on several specific Mini-ITX motherboards.
    • Pickle – a specialized embedded Linux distro designed to operate on a BeagleBoard-xM (and DMK Engineering LOX board).

    Russ then provides an overview of setting up an AllStar Link client.

  • Back to Paul’s email, he suggests we use the term “digital mode” when we should say “protocol”, which brings us to…
  • Leif, KC8RWR, responded to Paul’s comment that D-STAR specifies a protocol, modulation mode, voice codec, etc. The modulation mode used is GMSK.

    Richard defends the use of “mode” as appropriate as the definition allows it to mean “a method or means of doing something”. For example, CW vs DFCW (dual-frequency CW), where DFCW uses frequency shifts to distinguish dots and dashes, rather than two different lengths of the same frequency, and spaces. Both are CW.

  • Leif, KC8RWR, also comments on the possibility that he’s been nitpicking, as well as the use of Q-signals in voice conversations.
  • Bill, KE5WMA, suggests that hobos migrate to New Orleans from Dallas this time of year because Dallas doesn’t have Mardi Gras!
  • We received a donation from Bill H. Thanks, Big Poppa! :)
  • Contact Info:


    • To be added.

    LHS Episode #076: BIG PAPA

    After our quick renumbering, we come now to Episode #076. It didn’t start out as an all-feedback episode, but that’s how it wound up. The best part is, we had such good feedback from our listeners it made an entire show. As it also happens, most of our discussion revolves around digital mode communication for amateur radio using Linux. We touch on D-Star, Echolink, IRLP, Allstar Link and more. If you’re interested in using computers to connect to your radios and talk around the world using a multitude of digital technologies, including VoIP, this is the episode for you.

    Please keep those donations coming in for our Hamvention Fund, if you’re able. We want to be a part of Hamvention and we hope you will be, too. Thank you for all you do.

    AmateurLogic.TV 33: One Jam Packed Show

    George visits the studios and interviews Randy Hall, K7AGE. Tommy visits the Huntsville Hamfest. Jim builds an Audio Isolation Interface. Peter shows us the DATV QSO Party.

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