G4ILO-L EchoLink Node
EchoLink node #3098
I operate an EchoLink Simplex Node G4ILO-L (EchoLink #3098) on 145.2375MHz NFM running 5W ERP. The node covers the town of Cockermouth and the surrounding villages including Brigham, Great Broughton, Little Broughton, Dearham, Seaton, Bothel, Aspatria and Pardshaw.
G4ILO-L uses the voice side of my Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver. Due to UK amateur licence restrictions the node operates only whilst I am in attendance - mostly late afternoon / evening times, but not every day or evening.
All users are welcome to call in to G4ILO-L EchoLink node. Just key the node number 3098 into your transceiver or the EchoLink software.
This is a simplex node, not a repeater, so do not connect and then expect to be able to sit on the side and listen to activity. If you managed to connect then the node was not being used. After you connect, call CQ or announce that you are listening for contacts, or call me if you want me to reply.
The node does not serve a highly populated area so it is possible that no-one will reply to your call. I will monitor when I can, when the node is on, and will reply if called, if I am able to do so. But I may be in the middle of a QSO on another frequency, melting solder or some other activity. Sometimes the node will be left running so that other local stations can use it if they wish. If you do not get a reply, please try another time.
Local amateurs are welcome to use G4ILO-L EchoLink node when it is operating. I apologize if the node is not a strong signal with you. The 5W ERP power is the maximum permitted on the 2m band by Ofcom. If you have not used an EchoLink node before then the following information may be helpful.
You need to set your radio up as follows:
- Frequency: 145.2375MHz Simplex
- Modulation: Narrow FM
- CTCSS Tone: 77.0Hz (the same as for repeaters in Cumbria.)
Your radio needs to support DTMF dialing if you wish to connect to other stations or join conferences. It is not necessary if you only want to reply to someone you hear calling on the frequency.
The G4ILO-L node is not usually connected to an EchoLink conference so if it is operational or if it is being used by someone (probably me) using a handheld and low power you may not hear anything on the frequency. To check the status, set your radio up as above then send either of the following using DTMF:
- * (star) to hear the voice ID
- 08 to hear the current status
There are four categories of EchoLink stations: users, simplex nodes, repeaters and conferences.
- Users are amateurs who are connected via the internet, using their computer or mobile phone. Connecting to them is much like calling them direct over the air.
- Simplex nodes are stations like mine which are connected to a radio, so the conversation uses RF for the "last hop". Using these is just like having a simplex QSO. Connecting to a simplex node is like switching to a simplex frequency. You need to call once connected so anyone listening knows you are there and want to make a contact. Most simplex nodes can only accept one connection at a time so you should disconnect when you are finished to free the node for someone else to use.
- Repeaters are, well, repeaters. Repeaters tend to be well sited and also well known by their local users so you are more likely to hear activity and make a contact. When you connect to a repeater a QSO might already be in progress, so you should listen briefly to make sure no-one is using the repeater before making a call. You should allow 4 seconds after the end of an over before replying to allow the repeater to transmit its ID (which you may not hear over EchoLink) and reset its time-out timer. Many repeaters can also only accept one EchoLink connection at a time so remember to disconnect before leaving the repeater.
- Conferences are special EchoLink servers that can accept connections from many EchoLink users at a time. Only one person at a time can speak, but everyone else who is connected hears the conversation. Anyone can join in, but you should take care to avoid "doubling." It's also important when using conference servers to wait 4 seconds after someone has finished transmitting to allow all the systems in the conference to register the end of the over and reset any time-out timers. With most conferences it's acceptable to connect and just listen. But some conferences can only accept a limited number of connections so it's good practise to disconnect when you have finished listening. Some conferences may disconnect you automatically after a period if you don't transmit.
To connect to an EchoLink station in any of the above categories you simply transmit their EchoLink node number using DTMF. This means, obviously, you need to know their EchoLink node number, which isn't easy to find if all you have in front of you is a radio. Here are a few that you might like to try using my EchoLink node:
- 9999 - ECHOTEST: The EchoLink test server. This server records your audio and then plays it back so you can hear what you sound like to other EchoLink users.
- 2605 - IRELAND: The Ireland conference is very popular not just in Ireland but throughout the UK and indeed the world. It can accept a lot of connections so there is usually someone listening, if not actually talking, at any time of day. A good choice to try making your first EchoLink contacts.
- 9198 - SEATTLE: Seattle WA Gateway.
- 42840 - VK3JED: VK Drivetime Net.
- 412685 - GB3CA: 70cm repeater in Carlisle.
Suggestions / recommendations for other good links to try are welcomed.
To disconnect from a link that you have connected to, transmit # using DTMF. For reference, here are some useful EchoLink DTMF commands:
- 08 - check link status
- # - disconnect
- 09 - reconnect
I hope that these instructions prove useful and will encourage people to try out EchoLink for themselves. Enjoy using G4ILO-L EchoLink node!