There are two modes of connection on the IRLP. One is Node to Node. The other is Node to Reflector.
Node to Node is a “one” to “one” connection, it is a direct connection. Direct connect is just like it sounds where repeater (node) “A” connects direct with node “B”. With this type of link the two nodes are interconnected and no other IRLP connections are possible. While repeaters “A” and “B” are connected, anyone attempting to connect with either node will be told by a recording that – “The node you are calling is currently connected to callsign” however all local traffic on each repeater will be heard on the other repeater as well.
Node to reflector is a “one” to “many” connection. A reflector sits on lots of internet bandwidth capable of allowing many repeaters to be inter-connected together by streaming the received audio back to all other connected stations. Each reflector has 9 sub channels allowing up to 10 separate virtual reflectors to operate. These are identified by the last digit. For example – 9200 is the main channel with 9201, 9202 9203 etc being virtual reflectors with identical capability as the main channel.
When using a reflector the first thing you must remember is to leave a pause between transmissions. This allows other listeners on the reflector to join in. It also allows other nodes time to send DTMF commands to drop their connection from the reflector.
AVOID LOCAL TRAFFIC WHEN CONNECTED
By its nature, the reflector has a large footprint and a wide audience, therefore if local users would like to have a discussion, they should disconnect from the reflector. If the reflector op. hears a local conversation (all participants coming from the same node) that continues, one of the other reflector control ops will likely ask them to disconnect. If attempts to break into the conversation are unsuccessful, the node may be blocked from the reflector (more on blocking later).
Along the same line, if two stations become engaged in an extended dialog involving only themselves, then I would recommend they both move off the reflector and make a direct node to node connection, freeing up the reflector for others. If more than two nodes are involved, then moving to one of the lesser used reflectors might be an alternative, especially if one of the stations can check the web site for an available reflector.
It IS acceptable to call CQ, in fact, if you really want to make a contact, it is preferable to say “This is VY2CGA calling CQ, is anyone available for a contact?” as opposed to “VY2CGA Listening” …silence for 2 minutes, followed by a disconnect. However 3 x 3 x 47 CQs are unnecessary and should be left for CW/SSB frequencies where tuning around is the observed practice. Odds are they heard it the first time.
It IS acceptable to talk about the weather, or anything else that is geographically significant. But like anything else, within reason. A station in Indiana that says to a Colorado op, “Hey I heard that you have a mountain out there” will probably cause eyes to roll worldwide.
In general though, long winded, channel consuming conversations should be avoided. Remember there are usually a dozen or two connected systems, with perhaps hundreds of users that might like a chance to use the system.
LISTEN BEFORE CALLING
Listen first. When connecting to a Reflector or Node, odds are that you are dropping into an existing conversation. Wait for at least 15 seconds to make sure you are not interrupting an existing QSO before calling.
Pause between transmissions. Many nodes are connected using simplex links, therefore the only time it is possible for them to disconnect is between transmissions. Be sure to pause AT LEAST 5 seconds between transmissions.
Key your transmitter and wait before speaking. There are propagation delays across the Internet, as well as delays caused by sub audible tone decoders and other devices that cause a delay before the audio path is cut through. If you speak immediately upon PTT, the beginning of your transmission will not be heard.
BEING BLOCKED FROM A REFLECTOR
IRLP reflectors have a management function allowing reflector control operators to block specific nodes from accessing the reflector. When a node is blocked, the reflector ALWAYS automatically generates an e-mail message to the e-mail address of the Node owner as submitted to databaseirlp.net. The e-mail should contain the specific reason for the block. This blocking is NEVER personal. It does NOT mean that they don’t like you, but is only done to ensure continued operation of the reflector.
Nodes are usually blocked for a technical malfunction, such as a locked COS, open squelch noise, extended hang time, or repeater ID (with no user traffic) or courtesy beeps audible to IRLP, or any other problem that that impairs operation of the Reflector. Your node may also be blocked for rapid fire local traffic making it impossible for nodes to break in between transmissions.
Cross-linking other VoIP networks on IRLP reflectors is not allowed as very few non IRLP VoIP systems mute Station IDs, hang timers and courtesy tones. IRLP does not permit retransmission of any source that is not part of a users PTT transmission. With 20 or more repeaters connected together, sheer chaos would result if this hard rule was not enforced.
The reflector control ops may try to contact a local control op on the air to advise the problem, however this may not always be possible. It is important that the node owner respond to the e-mail message advising the problem has been corrected.
MAKING A DIRECT CONNECTION
First of all listen on your local machine for at least 15 -30 seconds before transmitting and then ask if the repeater is currently in use. Assuming all is clear, identify your self and give the node name or number you wish to call . Example: “VE3xyz for the Sydney node” – – then enter the ON code for the node and release your PTT. Your local repeater should come up with a carrier as it waits for the connection to be authenticated. This can take a few seconds of dead-air so don’t be concerned. When the connection is confirmed, the voice ID of the destination node will be transmitted back to you as well as your nodes voice ID to the other repeater.
NOTE: If your node is already connected to another node or reflector, a greeting will play saying; – “your node is currently connected to…ID of the connection”) In this case confirm if anyone desires the connection to remain up before dropping by using the OFF code..
Once connected and after hearing the confirming voice ID, wait at least 15 seconds before transmitting as…….
The repeater may be in use, and your entry may have occurred between transmissions.
The voice ID of your node is longer than the voice ID of their node, and the connection is not made until the ID is fully played.
Their computer may be slower, and hence take longer to process the connection than yours.
Press and hold the microphone PTT for a second and then announce your presence and your intention such as you are calling someone specifically or just looking for a QSO with another ham in that city.
If no response is heard, announce your call and your intent to drop the link and then touch- tone in the OFF code. Not a good idea to transmit touch-tone commands without first giving your call-sign. Not only is this courteous it is a regulatory issue in some countries who may be connected to the reflector.
Some nodes are configured so you cannot connect to them if that repeater is active. In this case you will receive the message “The node you are calling is being used locally” If you receive this message wait 5 or 10 minutes and then try again.
If you stay connected to a node and there is no activity on your repeater for 4 minutes, the connection will time out and automatically disconnect with a voice ID disconnect message on both nodes.
WHAT ARE THE NODE CODES
Here on the VE1CFR Repeater there is no prefix. For example, if you want to connect to the VE1BHS Repeater. You would key up and enter the DTMF code 2109. When finished you would disconnect with a code of 73.
For a list of IRLP codes Click Here.
CONNECTING TO THE REFLECTOR
As above, listen to the repeater for local use and then announce your intention for the Reflector before keying the ON command. When you hear the confirmation ID always WAIT at least 15 seconds before transmitting as you are most likely now connected with many repeaters and a QSO could be in progress. If after 15 seconds you hear nothing, identify yourself and indicate you are listening to the Reflector from “City and, Prov./State, Country”. With the world wide IRLP activity your local repeater now has world wide coverage thus the suggestion to better detail your QTH.
Don’t be in a hurry to hear someone come back to you. You may have to do a bid of pleading from time-to-time to dislodge someone from whatever they are currently involved with.
By default, connections to the reflectors now time out with no activity however many node owners set this period for a long period so it is not unusual for repeaters with minimal traffic to stay connected to the Reflector for extended periods of time. When or if the node times out from a Reflector connection a standard time-out greeting will precede the timeout saying, “Activity time out … Reflector xxxx, link off”
If you are new to IRLP you should always consult with your local node sponsor to confirm the local guidelines on reflector connections in your area.
If you hear or wish to engage in a prolonged rag-chew on your local repeater (long discussion of a local nature) out of courtesy to other node listeners drop the reflector.
From time-to-time you may receive error messages when attempting to connect with a node or reflector. The most common ones are:
“The node you are calling is not responding, please try again later”
This is caused by a loss of internet connectivity to one end of the call attempt.
“BEEP Error- The call attempt has timed out, the connection has been lost”
This error occurs when a node is OFF-LINE. Some nodes such as in the UK use dial-up connections and then, only for short periods. Also there may be temporary net or node problems.
“The Connection Has Been Lost”
If the internet connection drops, this error message will be heard. I found this out when I accidentally kicked out my network cable while working around the node computer.
In summary a few do’s and don’ts
DO pause between transmissions to let other in or others to enter DTMF command.
DO identify before sending DTMF command tones.
DO hold your microphone PTT for about 1 second before talking to allow all systems time to rise.
DO pause for 10 seconds or when entering the reflector before talking.
DO NOT start or plan a Net without pre-authorization from the reflector owner
DO NOT rag-chew on your local repeater while connected to the reflector.
All commands accepted by the VE1CFR node, will cause some sort of audible signal to be returned to the user. This may be in the form of beeps and bops or spoken words. You will note that EchoLink commands are prefaced with the DTMF “8” digit.
IRLP Node 2363 Commands
|Connect to IRLP Node xxxx|
|Disconnect IRLP/EchoLink Connection|
|Disconnect EchoLink Connection|
|Connet to EchoLink Node x...x|
|Summerside 3 Day Weather Forecast|
|Summerside Extended Weather Forecast|
|Summerside Weather Observations|
|Summerside Marine Forecast|
|Speak Node Status|
|Speak Node Station ID|
|Speak Current Local Date & Time|
|Speak Station ID and Date & Time|
|Speak Last Call Received Node & When|
|Speak Last Called Out Node & When|
|Speak Last Call Waiting & When|
|Speak All Last Connections|
|Connect to Last Call Received Node|
|Connect to Last Called out Node|
|Connect to Last Call Waiting Node|
|Connect to Last Connected Node|