WB4FAY.com -- Birmingham, Alabama
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Last updated: 01/25/11 Copyright (c) 2003-2011
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Internet Linking Frequently Asked Questions
Note: This page is focused on the older iLink software. FAQ's for Echolink are available at the Echolink website site.
Important Note: All instructions and FAQ's regarding the remote use of the iLink node indicate the use of a pound sign (#) preceding all input commands. This is to accommodate passing all tones following a # through the ACC RC-850 controller used on the 147.280 repeater. The use of the initial # may or may not be required in other RF link implementations at other iLink nodes.
1. What is iLink? iLink is a system that allows licensed amateurs to establish links between their PC's and/or transceivers via a link over the internet. This allows the following point-to-point link configurations:
There is also in development (Beta test) 'conference server' software that will allow multiple connections to a single point for establishing a 'conference bridge'.
2. Where do I get the user software? The software has been developed by Graeme, M0CSH, in England. The latest version is available on his web site - www.aacnet.net. It is available as either a ZIP file or as and EXE self extracting zip file.
3. How do I install the software on my PC? The software has no special installation procedure. Simply extract the files from the download (see # 2 above) and place them in a directory by themselves. I use "C:\Program Files\ilink" for the directory.
4. How do I configure the software on my PC? This is somewhat system specific but here is a starting point. In the directory where the iLink software was stored (see # 3 above), edit the "info.txt" file with your Notepad editor. Include whatever short information you would like displayed to the other station when you connect. For example, include your call, first name and QTH at a minimum. This can be changed later if you desire. Now, launch the program ilink.exe from the directory in which you installed it. You will be asked to enter you call and a password. This will register you with the server and allow you to participate in the iLink network. At this point you should be online to the network.
5. What is the "index number"? The index number is a unique number assigned to each user (or node) the first time a connection is made to the server. This number assignment will not change. It is used to establish connections to another station or node when using the network over an RF link. The index number can be entered via a DTMF key pad to initiate a connection.
6. When I attempt to establish a connection, it seems to work but then quickly drops. What is wrong? If you are running the software with a firewall between you and the internet, then it likely is not allowing the required port numbers through to the PC. Contact your firewall administrator and request that TCP port 5200 and UDP ports 5198 and 5199 be allowed through and directed to your PC. Incoming packets with these port numbers are required for the software to work properly.
7. How should my microphone audio level be set? The microphone gain should be set so that when you are talking to another station, the audio display should be mostly in the green (at least 90 to 95 percent of the time). If there is much red in the display, then the audio is too hot and the microphone gain should be reduced.
8. When using the repeater, how do I initiate a session to an iLink user? A session can be initiated with touch-tones from a remote location. After listening to insure that the repeater is not already in use, identify your station and indicate that you are attempting an iLink connection. Then one of the following sequences can be entered.
9. When using the repeater, how do I disconnect a session? A session can be disconnected by entering a pound, pound (##) via the touch-tones. After a brief pause, the node should speak "disconnected" to acknowledge that the disconnect has taken place.
10. If I hear an illegal user coming in on the internet, what do I do? In the event that you hear illegal transmissions that are originating from the iLink node (e.g. someone with no license, someone playing music, etc.) then try to communicate with the originator and deal with the problem as you would on any local repeater. If you are not successful, then force a disconnect on the session if possible (see # 9 above). In all such cases, please relay information to the node operator as quickly as possible so that if appropriate action can be taken with regard to the online node.
11. How can I keep from being interrupted by a remote iLink user when trying to use the local repeater? By entering a pound, zero, five (#05) via touch-tones, the iLink node will be marked as busy to the network thus preventing incoming connections. This busy status is marked for a period of 10 minutes. The 10 minute timer can be reset to extend the time by entering #05 again. Once marked busy, the node cannot remotely be made available again until the 10 minutes expires.
12. How will I know when new software releases are available? You can check the www.aacnet.net website for updates or you can subscribe to the iLink mailing list and receive email notifications when new releases are available for download.
13. When I connect, I sometimes see info about that station appear in my Information window. How do I sent my information? This information is contained in a file named "info.txt" on your computer if you have entered any information. This file can easily be created and accessed by clicking on the "UTIL" menu item in your main iLink window and then clicking on the "EDIT INFO.TXT FILE" selection in the menu. You are encouraged to enter your name and QTH at a minimum.
14. What is the iLink Pro (IL-PRO) version of the software? The "pro" version of the software is a version that is made available to those that financially contribute to the iLink development effort. This version contains some additional features that are not available in the standard user version. Contributions are used to support the cost of the network servers and also to promote iLink.
15. If I choose to contribute, what is a reasonable amount? The amount is entirely up to you. Graeme, M0CSH, does not suggest an amount nor require any specific amount to receive the IL-PRO version of the software. From what I have heard from others, the common amount is between $10.00 and $25.00. Judge for yourself what you think iLink is worth after using the standard (free) user version of the software.