Some of my fellow members of the Cal Poly Pomona Amateur Radio Club asked if I could fill them in on the details of using Echolink. Specifically information on how to use and access Echolink with your handheld radio. The CPPARC Echolink node (AF6Z-L) is node # 289921 and can be accessed via radio in the Pomona area on 147.570 MHz (pl 136.5Hz).
Echolink is a system for communicating with amateur radio via the internet. Internet use is fairly simple and straightforward. Go to http://echolink.org/ to get an account and find out more about how to use the program (yes, there is a Mac version).
Connecting via the link on campus is a little different than using the computer program. If you have your radio handy on campus, you can connect via echolink to many locations throughout the world! The link node on campus is owned/operated by Glen, AF6Z, and is so known as AF6Z-L (the L stands for link). You can look it up on the Echolink program if you want to connect to campus from home. The frequency used is 147.570 MHz, and it uses a PL (aka CTCSS) tone of 136.5 Hz. The link is a simplex mode setup, so it is not a repeater and only has one operating frequency. With your radio set up to this frequency and access tone, you can use the link to connect to various stations by transmitting DTMF tones.
Here are a few DTMF codes you need to know:
08 - this will play the status of the link and announce what station it is connected to. This is a good way to find out if it is already in use (other than just plain asking).
E (aka *) - This will play a short message announcing the link ID etc.
F (aka #) - Disconnects the link. Specifically it will disconnect the last station connected (##/FF will disconnect all).
How to connect to a node? Simply send the node number in DTMF codes!
Here are some example node numbers (look up others at http://www.echolink.org/logins.jsp , http://www.echolink.org/links.jsp or with the Echolink program):
9999 - This is a test server. It will record any input and play it back.
355800 - *DODROPIN*, this is a conference server which is usually connected to several repeaters and links in the Texas/Colorado area. The people here are very friendly.
497278 - KD6DDM-R, this is a repeater located on top of Sierra Peak above Corona. It has a wide coverage over Orange, Riverside and some LA County. The echolink is connected to the 2M side of the repeater which is on 146.610(-,103.5Hz) and it also has a 440 side at 445.760(-,103.5Hz) which is not connected to the echolink. It is an open (very friendly!) repeater system and I can often reach it from campus with my HT.
289921 - AF6Z-L, this is the link at Cal Poly. You cannot connect this to itself, but you can connect to it from another repeater, link or from the Echolink program at home.
504285 - KJ6EZQ, this is my station. I often have Echolink running on my computer. With this node you can connect and say hello. If you connect from the AF6Z-L, you will be speaking over the air, through the internet to my computer. Since I am not a link or repeater, on my side you will only be heard on my computer.
What about operating protocol? It is suggested that you identify your station before or after sending DTMF tones. Other than that, you can identify normally. I like to add "via echolink" when I'm talking on a repeater.