The DARC now allows Echolink Internet connections to the W5FC repeater (146.880MHz + PL 110.9) via W5FC-R, node 37247. The purpose of link is to allow members and non-members, outside the reach of our repeater to connect to friends and fellow hams through a dial-up or high speed Internet connection. The Echolink connection was tested for about 5 months before going on-line 24/7 in August 2009. The gateway is hosted by one of the members, though someday it may move to the repeater site, should internet services be established.
Echolink checkins are welcome and encouraged on the nightly NTS net at 6:30PM local (CDT) time, and on the Dallas Meeting on the Air, which is the first and third Sunday of the month. Unfortunately no checkins are currently allowed for any RACES net due to the 2 second delay between transmissions however it is okay to listen to the nets (please do not transmit during this net).
Echolink is available to all licensed hams, but you must register with the service (cost is $1 - which covers the Paypal transaction fee) and download the program. You may also want to read the setup instructions to set audio quality. Software is available for the Windows and Mac OS's. Echolink can also be run via WINE (a Windows emulator) for LINUX. The program works remarkably well.
Suggestions for using Echolink:
1. Get a good microphone or headset. The idea is to use something relatively close to your mouth, but doesn't produce "popping" sounds.
2. Check your microphone audio levels at *Echotest* before connecting to the repeater. Experience has shown that Echolink connections are not as high quality as a radio with a properly calibrated microphone, however very acceptable sound is possible by just adjusting sound levels.
3. Allow up to 6 seconds in conversations. Echolink must encode, transport, and decode the audio. This is similar to cell phone conversations which suffer from the same lag.
4. Announce on the repeater your are on Echolink and mention the delay described in point 3. This will keep conversations from "doubling" or "clipping" due to the delay.
As with anything "radio", it is possible technical problems may occur, the "W5FC-R" may not be in the list of active stations, or someone inadvertently transmits or connects more than one party to the repeater. Please assume someone has made a mistake before assuming malicious behavior on someone's part.
or a phone call to a board member is all that's usually required. Echolink can be disabled or altered via a cellphone.
Please enjoy our new method of communication and feel free to comment on its use and possible applications.
www.echolink.org - Registration and software download.
Echomac - MacIntosh Client