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IRLP in Clallam County

From the creator of IRLP

The Internet Radio Linking Project was started back in November of 1997 as an attempt to use the internet to link radio systems across Canada. The first full time link that was established ran from Vancouver, BC to Saint John, NB. The link had many problems and was shut down in March of 1998 due to the numerous computer crashes and repeater lockups it was causing, and the lack of user control over the system.

I set out to design a better way to use the same technology to perform the same task, while improving usability, user control, and sound quality. My first breakthrough was to replace the existing operating system, Windows, with a more stable and versatile language. I chose Linux, a IBM form of the operating system UNIX, because of its superior networking characteristics, its reliability, and its ease of programming.

I designed my own interface board to interface the radio to the computer. This allowed a large amount of delay to be removed from the system because two VOX circuits were no longer being used . I also wrote my own custom control software, and modified an existing voice-over-IP software package to accommodate the project.

The final product was a combination of hardware and software that created a nearly seamless radio link between two remote sites on the internet. The product works so well that many people can not believe that they are talking through a link at all!


What is IRLP?

IRLP is an acronym for the Internet Radio Linking Project, the brainchild of Dave Cameron VE7LTD of Vancouver BC. IRLP is a state-of-the-art technology concept that links VHF/UHF-FM radio equipment together via the Internet (widely known as VoIP - Voice over IP), similar to how and why some large repeater systems are able to cover such a wide area. Without getting into detail, IRLP basically allows you to have a conversation with another ham or hams around the world by either connecting a local IRLP-equipped repeater or simplex base station to a remote repeater or simplex base station at a different location (known as a node), or by answering an incoming call initiated by a ham from a remote node. Here's an example:


From what this sounds like, IRLP isn't ham radio

This issue depends on how each ham interprets ham radio and IRLP. It's another method of conveying messages around the world, using wireless radios at each end. As K4KR states, "Is this the end of HF? [No.] HF radio is a very different kind of magic. On HF, you [can] build your own station and send your own signal to the other side of the earth. Just because Internet Linking allows you to talk to people around the world doesn’t mean it compares to HF. Hams get involved in HF to experience the magic of radio, not simply to talk to people around the world. There are many, non-ham-radio ways to talk around the world." While it is true that radios are not connected directly to each other, there are radios fully utilized at each end which makes the experience just as interesting and has a multitude of contemporary real-world applications. By no means does IRLP intend, nor will IRLP EVER, replace skywave and satellite communications; IRLP is simply just another method, and has its limitations and vulerabilities as well, such as power and/or connectivity outages due to anything from an accidental cable-cutting mishap to catastrophic events such as an earthquake.

It's understood that this is an issue that ruffles the feathers of many hams, for and against IRLP. Before complaints are sent to the node owner, please read an interesting eHam.net article regarding IRLP. Located there are is about a year's worth of readers' messages for and against IRLP, and has some very strong points that must be considered before one becomes closed-minded about their opinion.

How do I find out more about IRLP?

Start here: IRLP.net - The Official IRLP website
Then check out the following web sites:
IRLP in Australia - An excellent place to read up on what IRLP is all about
IRLP Suggested Operating Procedures for IRLP Users - How to use IRLP
IRLP in depth - Another Canadian Invention is Sweeping the World
IRLP Yahoo Groups - IRLP information and discussion

Before using ANY IRLP or EchoLink node

Please be aware of the guidelines specific to each node prior to use. Reading and following the node guidelines is a manditory requirement and is expected to be followed every time you use IRLP or EchoLink.

Guidelines common to all IRLP nodes, including reflector use, proper protocol, error messages, do’s and dont’s, and other tips are located at the official IRLP website:
http://www.irlp.net - click on ‘IRLP guidelines’

See the EchoLink website regarding EchoLink procedures, use, etc. at http://www.echolink.org

What nodes are available around here?

Here are a few well-known IRLP nodes within range of our area.
Click on the node for more information.

Here is a document that details how to use IRLP in Clallam County.

Who can I conctact locally about IRLP?

Contact Bob by email at k6mby@olypen.com