Operating Procedures for Users
by Paul Cassel VE3SY
Thanks to Dave Cameron VE7LTD, Amateur Radio is receiving
a new breath of life through his Internet Radio Linking
Project. Many repeaters around the world that were next to
empty are now alive and well with radio amateurs now speaking with other
hams around the world.
As with any new technology, it does take some time to
adopt to operating procedures that differ from conventional FM repeater
use. This work in progress can serve as a guideline for those
wishing to use their local IRLP enabled repeater node.
The following guidelines may differ from those provided by
your local node operator. These notes are only a guideline and at
no time should take precedence over the wishes of your local node
sponsor. Feedback on suggested changes or additions to this
document is requested via info (at) bsrg.org
There are two connection modes for an IRLP connection. Direct
one-to-one or, one-to-many via a Reflector.
Direct connect is just like it sounds where node
"A" connects direct with node "B". In this mode
the two nodes (repeaters) are interconnected and no other IRLP connections
are possible. While "A" and "B" are connected,
anyone attempting to connect with either node will be told by a
recording that - "The node you are calling is currently connected
The most common IRLP connection in use today is via
the Denver reflector (Ref 2). A reflector is a Linux Computer that
is not connected to any radio but rather sits on lots of bandwidth capable
of allowing the multiple linking of repeaters by streaming audio back to
all nodes that are connected. At any given time there are usually 6
to 10 repeaters around the world interconnected via the
reflector. You can always check who is connected to the
reflector by visiting http://status.irlp.net
and looking for nodes connected to REF 2.
With reflector use the first thing we must all remember is to leave a gap
between transmissions. So this is probably a good time to list the
three main rules when connected to a reflector:
Similar to the three rules when home hunting: location,
location and location.
Due to the slight increase in delays created by multiple
Tone Squelch radios in the links between the repeater and IRLP link radio
a slight change in our normal operating procedures is required with
By leaving a pause between transmissions it .....
Leaving a pause after pressing the microphone
button and between transmissions is the most important guideline to
MAKING A DIRECT CONNECTION
First of all listen on your local machine before transmitting and then ask
if the repeater is currently in use. Assuming all is clear, identify
your self and give the node you are calling. Example: "VE3xyz
for the Sydney node" - - then enter the ON code for the node and
release your PTT. Your local repeater should come up with a carrier
as it waits for the connection to be established. This can take a
few seconds of dead-air so don't be concerned. When the connection
is confirmed the voice ID of the destination node will be transmitted back
to you as well as your nodes voice ID to the other repeater.
After hearing the confirming voice ID wait at least 15
seconds before transmitting as.......
The repeater may be in use, and your
entry may have occurred between transmissions.
The voice ID of your node is longer
than the voice ID of their node, and the connection is not made until
the ID is fully played.
Their computer may be slower, and
hence take longer to process the connection than yours.
Press and hold the microphone PTT for a second and then
announce your presence and your intention. Are you calling someone
specifically or just looking for a QSO with another ham in that city.
If no response is heard, announce your call and your
intent to drop the link and then touch tone in the OFF code. Not
a good idea to transmit touch-tone commands without first giving your
call-sign. Not only is this courteous it is a regulatory issue in
many countries who may be connected to the reflector.
Some nodes are configured so you cannot connect with them
if the repeater is active. In this case you will receive the message
"The node you are calling is being used locally" If
you receive this message wait 5 or 10 minutes and then try again.
Should you stay connected to a node and there is no
activity for 5 minutes, the connection will time out and automatically
disconnect providing voice IDs to both nodes that the other node is
CONNECTING TO THE REFLECTOR
As above listen to your local machine and then announce your intention for
the Reflector before keying the Reflector 2 Link ON command. When
you hear the confirmation ID always WAIT at least 15 seconds before
transmitting as you are most likely now connected with many repeaters and
a QSO could be in progress. If after 15 seconds you hear nothing,
identify yourself and indicate you are listening to the Reflector
from "City and, Prov./State, Country". With the world
wide IRLP activity your local repeater now has world wide coverage thus
the suggestion to better detail your QTH.
Don't be in a hurry to hear someone come back to
you. You may have to do a bid of pleading from time-to-time to
un-lodge someone from whatever they are currently doing.
Connections to the Reflectors DO NOT time out with no
activity so it is not unusual for repeaters with minimal traffic to stay
connected to the Reflector for extended periods of time.
If you are new to IRLP you should always consult with
your local node sponsor to confirm the local guidelines on reflector
connections in your area.
If you hear or wish to engage in a prolonged rag-chew (long
discussion of a local nature) on your local repeater you may, out of
courtesy to other node listeners, wish to drop the reflector.
From time-to-time you may receive error messages when attempting to
connect with a node or reflector. The most common ones are:
"The node you are calling is not responding,
please try again later"
This is caused by a loss of internet connectivity to one
end of the call attempt.
"BEEP Error- The call attempt has timed out, the
connection has been lost"
This error occurs when a node is OFF-LINE. Some
nodes such as in the UK use dial-up connections and then, only for short
periods. Also there may be temporary net or node problems.
"The Connection Has Been Lost"
If the internet connection drops, this error message will be
heard. I found this out when I accidentally kicked out my network
cable while working around the node computer.
DO'S and DON'TS
In summary then a few do's and don'ts
- DO pause between transmissions to let other in or others
to enter DTMF command.
- DO identify before sending DTMF command tones.
- DO hold your microphone PTT for about 1 second before
talking to allow all systems time to rise.
- DO NOT rag-chew on your local repeater while connected to
- DO pause for 10 seconds or when entering the reflector
Every other Sunday an IRLP net is held inviting check-ins from around the
world which is an excellent chance to hear IRLP at its best. To
participate in the net there must be a local net controller for your node
otherwise you will only be able to monitor.
A few guidelines which will be enforced by the Central Net
Controller will be
Do not connect your local node to the
net during net times unless someone is acting as a local net
Do not make calls directly to other
stations during the net.
Above all NO local conversations
during the net while connected to the reflector.
Do not attempt a call unless your
local net controller has you as a pre check-in.
Disconnect our node if any local
interference is present.
Keep your check-in short and to the
point. Remember that several hundred others may be waiting for a
chance to check-in as well.
Check the Official
IRLP Net web page at for details on schedules
Original page © 2001
Amateur Radio Club Inc.
Modified for Atlanta by
N4NEQ, Ralph Fowler
webmaster (at) bsrg.org
October 7, 2001