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What is Echolink? and why should I use it?
EchoLink is an Amateur Radio system that allows radio amateurs to communicate with other amateur radio operators using (VoIP) Voice over Internet Protocol technology on the Internet for at least part of the path between them.
It was designed by Jonathan Taylor, a radio amateur with call sign of K1RFD.
EchoLink allows reliable worldwide connection to be made between radio amateurs.
In essence it is similar to other VoIP applications (such as Skype) but with the unique ability to link to other Ham repeaters or transceivers for long distances using only an amateur radio transceiver or repeater
— or by using the EchoLink app to link to other transceivers or repeaters or smartphones or tablets or computers that have an EchoLink node.
So any low-power handheld amateur radio transceiver — or any smart phone or tablet or computer which has the EchoLink app can contact a local EchoLink node and can then use the Internet connection of that station to send its transmission via VoIP to any other active EchoLink node, worldwide
(a node is an active EchoLink station with a transceiver attached)
There are 2 modes (that’s Modes not Nodes)
1. The User mode (that’s us on the YL Net) with our handi talkies or big radios or phones or tablets or computers and
2. The Sysop mode — that’s the owner of the repeater that we are using for this Net — with a special interface that connects his /or her repeater to the Internet so we can hop on the internet through his /or her repeater and interface and node and talk anywhere in the world where there is another repeater or node linked by the internet to the system.
Or visa versa … if we are far far away we can hop onto the internet using our personal node that gives us access to the internet and then link to another node – which, in the case of this net, lets us talk to the YL Net on the 68581 node.
One thing that is really important about this is the INTERNET.
If you are using the EchoLink App, you SHOULD use your INTERNET CONNECTION to connect to 68581 or whatever node you wish to go to.
But if you have a huge or unlimited Data plan on your phone you can use the data plan. But Internet is better.
Why should you use EchoLink?
Well, it is a really nifty way to stay in touch with friends or nets or whatever– even when you are far far far out of the range of the local repeater on which the Net was being held or the friends you wanted to chat with are chatting.
So whether you are just barely out of range of your repeater or are hundreds or thousands of miles away or on the other side of the world you obviously can’t hit the repeater from where you are.
But — if you have access to the internet (or have a huge data plan) you can reach that repeater if it has a NODE and if you have a NODE. (And you get your personal node when you are validated as an EchoLink user – more about validation in a minute)
So when we have EchoLink (or AllStar which is another program ‘kinda like EchoLink but its another App program and another set of ‘rules’) we can be far far away and still stay in touch and check into Nets and chat with friends on a local repeater (if it and you have a node).
Who can use Echolink ? Only licensed Ham’s
How much does it cost? It is FREE
Where do I get it?
For Apple users, you get it at the Apple Store and can use it on iPhone and iPad
For Android phones and tablets get it at the Google Play Store
For computers you get it at the EchoLink.org website
But instead of putting it on your computer —
The best place to use it is either on your iPhone or iPad or tablet
Once I get the app, what do I do?
Echolink.org wants you to install and open the app on your phone or tablet or iPad or whatever you plan to use it on on BEFORE you do the VALIDATION process
What is the VALIDATION process?
It is the way they know you are a real ham.
Do I have to prove to Echolink that I am a ‘real’ ham to use it. YES
SO How do I do this Validation thing?
You have to be Validated by Echolink.
There are two ways to do this –
1. an easy way and
2. a jump through the hoops way.
For the Jump through the hoops way :
You get a digital picture of your License and have it ready
Then you go to the official website which is echolink.org
On that home page– on the left hand side you will see a list of links
Click on the VALIDATION link –it s.b. 3rd from the top on the Left
Then follow the directions.
Have your digital picture of your License available to submit
I don’t remember what all they ask for
(because it was several years ago) but I do remember that they ask for:
Your name and call sign,
the picture of your license
your email address so they can mail you the information that you have been accepted and to send you your Node number.
They will also ask for you to enter a Password (so make it up now so you will be ready)
I am Not sure what else, if anything, is asked for — as it has been a long time (several years) since I did this BUT not to worry—because They do NOT reveal any of this information to anyone. It is just so they can prove you are a real ham and then if you forget your password, they can send an email so you can reset it.
THE EASY WAY to Get Validated
But the EASY way to be validated (which is new) is to have your Credit Card ready — and for $1 they will do all the validating for you without you having to have the digital picture or jump through all the hoops. Everything else they ask for is the same (ie password, email, etc). This is a much simpler and easier method so strongly consider doing it this way.
How Long does it take to be validated?
Probably 2 or 3 days because people do this instead of robots.
It might take more or less time but it doesn’t take long.
However it will NOT be instantaneous because, as I said, people do it.
In a few days you will get an email saying you have been approved and you will be given a node number (like the 68581 node that we are using for our YL net.)
The node number that is given to you when you are approved will probably be a longer number – probably 7 or more or so digits long)
So Once You have been validated what do You do?
open your EchoLink app on your phone or tablet or whatever and
fill in the information in the settings for the app.
Ok, your assignment now (should you choose to accept it ) is
download the app and install it (preferably on your Smart Phone or iPad or tablet or computer)
and open it — and then go to the echolink.org website and apply for and get validated and be ready to roll.
Now let’s talk about what do you do once you have gotten your email saying you have been validated and with your node number. What do you do now?
Well now it is time to again open your EchoLink App and
enter the needed information into the Settings of the App. (I’ll be talking about the App on the iPhone but I assume it is similar on the Android devices)
When you open the EchoLink App, you will notice at the bottom, a row with several things
( QSO Text Stations Favorites Settings)
Right now we are only interested in the SETTINGS thing, so click on that
And let’s start looking at what is needed:
When you open the settings you will see that
It will ask for your call sign and password. Enter that information.
It will also ask for your location (my “location” says iPhone)
It asks for your first name (I didn’t do that so it says iPhone user)
Next in settings choose the NETWORK CONNECTION you want to use. I have checked DIRECT which is what most folks choose and seems to work best of all the choices given. It is the method you should check if you are going to connect using the Internet.
If you are going to mainly use your data and not the internet then check RELAY and be sure your cellular data is turned on.
Ignore the Public Proxy setting and the Custom Proxy setting
I have clicked to allow the End-RX sound
And to allow the Text Sound
And to stay in QSO in background
And now you are ready to roll. But if you have any questions email us and we’ll try to help.
Also — it you are having problems with set up and connecting — two more helpful links are http://echolink.org/Help/default.htm