Echolink, D-Star, D-Rats, CQ100, and DMR Nets

Echolink, D-Star, D-Rats, CQ100, and DMR Nets


To return to the previous page, press the BACK BUTTON on your web browser. This page was last updated Aug. 6, 2019.

Originally designed as a page for Echolink Nets, courtesy of The Millennium Net I have decided to update the page with just links for the Nets Menu, CQ100 Nets, DMR Nets, and D-Star HF Nets. Due to the abundance of out of date net listings on the dstarinfo.com website, I have REMOVED the link for such. Plus, with numerous things outside of Ham Radio, it has become very difficult to update this page with the information for all the net changes. So instead, I'm just updating the Nets Menu file ONLY. You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view/print the file.

Thanks to the acquisition of a ThumbDV, and the BlueDV For Windows, I can access D-Star, DMR, and soon will be able to access System Fusion with one program. Echolink, CQ100, and D-Rats, are accessed with their separate programs.


Contents
My Echolink Node
Echolink Overview Part 1
Echolink Overview Part 2
Echolink Overview Part 3
Resources For Echolink Information
Echolink Credits
Net Times
Net Listing Requirements
Checking Into A Net
D-Star And D-Rats Information
D-StarEcholink connecting amateurs throughout the world D-Rats

My Echolink Node


Originally licensed on Aug. 7, 1991 as N5VLZ...I changed to the vanity callsign AE5WX on June 5, 2009...then changed to the vanity callsign of WX1DER on Dec. 27, 2012...and changed to the new vanity callsign of WX4QZ on March 22, 2019 (this one is a keeper). I changed the callsign, and the emphasis from weather to Railroad Crossing Safety, because I got BURNED OUT on doing weather on ham radio for the last 28 years.

Since I switched to the Windows 7 Operating System, I've had trouble getting the EchoAnswer Add-On to work, so I disconnected it...and it may no longer be registerable. Right now, the only Echolink Net that I connect to is The Millennium Net, which meets on Wednesday night at 8pm Central Time. They only meet once a month during the summer. Further details on that net are located here (this is to their link on Facebook). Also, because Microsoft is ENDING security updates for Windows 7 in early 2020, I will be upgrading to Windows 10 later this year.

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Echolink Overview Part 1


Echolink is a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) mode of amateur radio, which allows ham radio operators with a Technician Class or higher license to connect to other stations, links, repeaters, or nets around the world...with no additional antennas or equipment requirements; if they're running it in single user mode. All that's needed is a computer with a compatable soundcard, a microphone and speakers (or a headset microphone), an Internet connection (dial-up will work, but DSL or cable is the best), and running either:

1) Microsoft Windows (98 or better), and the Echolink program; OR

2) Macintosh with the OS X operating system, and the EchoMac program; OR

3) Linux, and the EchoLinux program.

I understand that EchoLinux is no longer maintained, and is not recommended these days. Other alternatives include EchoIRLP...which is IRLP and Echolink together (a radio is required). Other choices include QTel, and SVXLink.

Echolink is particularly useful for stations that have power and/or antenna restrictions at their locations. With Echolink in Single User Mode, NO ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT, WIRES, ANTENNAS, ETC. ARE REQUIRED.

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Echolink Overview Part 2


Here is an overview of Echolink:

1) Echolink is FREE to use...although you do have to pay for internet usage charges...check with your local ISP for details. Also, if you are on a dial-up internet connection, the speed needs to be at least 28800 baud or above. Anything below that...including 14400 baud...will cause significant packet loss in your transmission. The faster your internet connection (DSL, broadband, etc.), the better.

2) Echolink REQUIRES either a router setup, or going through a Proxy Server. Proxy servers may have LIMITS on how long one can be connected, and are usually RESTRICTED to Single User Setups Only. For further details on Routing and Port Forwarding, click here. The PFConfig program...available for purchase...allows much easier router configuration on your network...and in my opinion, is well worth the cost.

3) Echolink has various nodes (single user, simplex link, repeater, and conference servers). If the stations are just connected via Single User Setup, NO RF OCCURS. However, if a station is connected to either a simplex node, a repeater link, or a conference server, RF WILL OCCUR.

4) Echolink will only allow phone transmissions...but it can play either .WAV or .MP3 audio files...such as the Amateur Radio Newsline, and the ARRL Audio News...as well as recording files in a specific .WAV format.

5) Echolink station information is shown on the transmitting station only on the first time they key up after connecting.

6) Echolink connections (if one or both stations are on RF) may be affected by noise, interference, erratic internet connections, etc., which may make the signal difficult to read.

7) Echolink nodes may limit the number of stations that can connect with their node or conference server. Note that Conference Mode is NOT recommended, if a user is using a dial-up internet connection. The faster ones internet connection (DSL, broadband, etc.), the better. In fact, some confernce servers will AUTOMATICALLY DISCONNECT you, if it's determined that you have Conference Mode enabled.

8) Echolink can run on Windows (98 or higher), Mac, or Linux systems, as noted above. An app for Echolink is also available (the link is on the upper right of the Echolink website.

9) Echolink doesn't tell you at a glance if someone is on a particular node (unless that node is shown as BUSY), and if you have the Show Name Of Conference Server option enabled under Preferences. However, once connected to a node, the number of connected stations shown is determined by your choices under Preferences. Once you do connect to a node, if that node has conferencing enabled, you'll see a list of stations currently connected to that node. If the list is long, only the stations that made a ''recent transmission'' will be listed.

10) Echolink requires you to observe Third Party Traffic and Reciprocal Operating Agreements...if RF is occuring over your connection.

11) Echolink requires the equivalent of a valid U.S. Amateur Radio Technician Class license or higher to access and use it.

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Echolink Overview Part 3


If a user is in the local area of an Echolink node, they can use DTMF commands on their rig keypad to access these nodes directly. The Echolink user can also run his system in Sysop Mode...setting up connections between their rig and a computer for a simplex link, or a link to an area repeater. Callsigns with asterisks (*) are Echolink conference servers. Other callsigns are either repeaters (-R suffix), simplex links (-L suffix), or single user stations (no suffix). It's best to search by Echolink node number to find the correct listing.

More details on Echolink are at the Echolink homepage...including details on Validation Requirements, before you're allowed access to the Echolink Network...where there are a wide selection of conference servers and nets (I know I've only scratched the surface with this listing).

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Resources For Echolink Information


Two publications from The ARRL Store offer additional information on Echolink.

The first one is the Nifty EZ Guide To Echolink Operation, by Bernie Lafreniere, N6FN. Using easy to understand explanations and illustrations, this is your complete guide to EchoLink installation and operation. Step-by-step learn how the system operates, and how contacts are made using computers, RF Simplex nodes and repeaters. For those interested in installing EchoLink software on their own computers, it includes full installation, setup and operating information. You'll discover how to use your radio or personal computer to make EchoLink contacts anywhere in the world!

The second one is VoIP - Internet Linking For Radio Amateurs, by Jonathan Taylor, K1RFD, the creator of Echolink. This second edition is your complete guide to several of the most widely-used VoIP systems used by hams, with particular attention to EchoLink and the Internet Radio Linking Project, or IRLP. The book is designed for beginners who need information on how to get started, set-up, and use these systems. For the more advanced, it provides plenty of technical ''meat'' for those who want to dig deeper into VoIP applications and discover how they actually work.

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Echolink Credits


NOTE:The following information...used by permission...is from the publication VoIP: Internet Linking for Radio Amateurs (2nd Edition), published by the American Radio Relay League...which has more information on Echolink, and the other Voice Over Internet Protocol modes of IRLP, eQSO, and WIRES-II.

Echolink is the creation of Jonathan Taylor, K1RFD (who is the author of the book VoIP: Internet Linking for Radio Amateurs (2nd Edition)...and Echomac is the creation of Steven Palm, N9YTY. EchoMac is an open-source VoIP package designed to be fully compatable with Echolink, fulfilling the need for desktop Internet linking for Mac users...and it can be downloaded here. EchoMac is based partly on a project called Echolinux, spearheaded by Jeff Pierce, WD4NMQ, which brings an Echolink compatable client to the Linux platform.

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Net Times


Since many ham radio logging programs and contests use UTC time, there are several programs to use to show the USA Time, in comparison to the time zone where you may be located.

One such program to show world time is called Sun Clock from Mapmaker. It can display all time zones around the world either as a screen saver, or a stand-alone program. To view this program, click here. Another recommended program is SymmTime, a freeware timezone clock for Windows. To get it, click here. Also, MFJ Enterprises has several clocks in their product line...some that display local and UTC time...which you can use in your ham shack. Just do a search for clock in the Product Search box on their website, and select the desired product.

Another highly recommend program is Dimension 4. Most operating systems...especially Microsoft Windows...are notorious for bad timekeeping. This freeware program will synchronize your Windows system clock with a time server...and it'll make running other ham radio applications like PSK31, JT65, etc.

Lastly, you can get a Windows program called QLOCK. There are 3 versions...a freeware version, a Pro version, and a Gold version. The Pro and Gold versions require purchase, have more features, and have much better product support than the freeware version...each of these can be obtained here.

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Net Listing Requirements


If you have an Echolink, D-Star, or D-Rats Net that you'd like listed in the Nets Menu, I need the following information:

a) Callsign and node number of the node (Echolink), the Ratflector (D-Rats), or the Repeater, Reflector, X-Reflector, XLS Reflector, or DCS Reflector (D-Star).

b) A ''brief title description'' of the net.

c) The days of the week that it meets.

d) The time that it meets in local U.S. Time. Only these times are noted.

e) Any comments, and additional weblinks for those who want more information.

To contact me information on a net that you'd like for Nets Menu, click here, and please include the items noted above.

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Checking Into A Net


Depending on the Echolink Net, or Conference Server Location...or even the D-Star Reflector or Ratflector, you may need to be SURE that your country has either a Third Party Traffic Agreement or a Reciprocal Operating Agreement set up WITH the country, where the Echolink Station or Net that you plan to connect with is located. The only exceptions to this are if a station has EMERGENCY OR PRIORITY TRAFFIC, or if you, as a single user station, CONNECT DIRECTLY to another single user station via Echolink, and NOT over an RF link.

The reason for this, is that occasionally, DX stations may ask you to pass a third-party message to a friend or relative in the United States. This is OK, as long as the United States has signed an official third-party traffic agreement with that particular country, or the third party is a licensed amateur. The traffic must be non-commercial, and of a personal, unimportant nature. During an emergency, the US State Department will often work out a special temporary agreement with the country involved. But in normal times, never handle traffic without first making sure it is legally permitted.

Links to a list of countries having Third Party Traffic Agreements, and Reciprocal Operating Agreements with the United States...along with other information...can be found here, then click on the desired links from that page.

Once you do connect with that Echolink Station or Net, please WAIT until the appropriate time for Echolink checkins are called for. Then, key your mic, BUT WAIT 2 SECONDS to give all the links a chance to key up, before you continue...otherwise, the first part of your transmission will be cut off!!. Then, call the net control station by their callsign, give your callsign phoenetically; then UNKEY, AND WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE RECOGNIZED BY THE NET CONTROL STATION before keying up to speak again. Most net controls will just ask for your callsign first, then will ask for your name, location, and comments. If you are checking in ''just for the count only'', please advise the Net Control Station of such.

If you're at your computer when using Echolink to checkin to a net, be sure that your TEXT WINDOW and DOUBLING ALERTS are ENABLED...so that you can tell if you're doubling with another station. If that occurs, you may have to check in again. Also, if you have Echolink minimized, you can NOT transmit with the spacebar.

As most, if not all, of these nets are DIRECTED NETS, please listen for any other directions from the Net Control Station...such as if they can take several stations at once...or only a few at a time...due to the Net Control Station being a blind ham radio operator.

If checking in via an Echolink repeater or simplex link, please TURN OFF your DTMF tones, and DISABLE the conferencing feature while you are connected. Several Echolink conference servers can detect if you have conferencing enabled when you connect to them...and they will immediately disconnect you if that is the case. With Echolink, only one station can transmit at a time...so, you WON'T be able to transmit, if another station is already transmitting.

Lastly, because politics and religion are emotional hot buttons for many people, many of the nets may either allow you to BRIEFLY TOUCH on these subjects...or they may DISCOURAGE discussion of these topics altogether. In fact, some countries amateur radio regulations PROHIBIT these discussions...and one can FORFEIT their amateur radio license as a result!!. Besides, there are plenty of other topics that can be discussed besides politics and religion.

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D-Star And D-Rats Information


Affectionately known as ''Echolink On Steroids'', D-Star and D-Rats expand the digital modes of amateur radio. One can just ''quick key'', and their callsign comes across automatically. Nets are either on Repeaters, Reflectors, or X-Reflectors, and can be accessed via D-Star Radios, or via the DV Tools program by Robin Cutshaw, AA4RC. The D-Rats program, originally by Dan Smith, KK7DS, allows sending of messages and files, plus chat in real time, via several Ratflectors. Unfortunately, the D-Rats program is not in development at this time. Also, unfortunately, development of the Peanut app, which allowed one to check into D-Star Nets via their Android Smartphone has been STOPPED.

For more information on D-Star, D-Rats, and to get registered on the gateway, click here. Note that I started the listings of selected D-Star and D-Rats Nets, because a lot of the nets at this page were out of date. To my knowledge, every net in the Nets Menu has been VERIFIED.

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