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Background information on Internet Linking
This was posted by Jim Millner, WB2REM, on www.qrz.com on January 8, 2002 and is reposted here in its entirety.
I-LINK is a software program designed by Graeme Barnes, M0CSH. It allows for crystal clear, real-time communications with repeaters and other amateurs around the world. I-LINK differs from other amateur based internet telephony systems by the shear virtue that it is run in a windows based environment. This makes it available for use by most Amateur Radio Operator computer owners with a 486 or better computer and an internet connection. The USER program is easily downloaded at www.aacnet.net in a zipped format. The program is only 300 KB in size and can be downloaded in seconds. Don’t let the small size of this program fool you. It is an extremely powerful program which uses four dedicated servers around the world in order to provide 24 hour uninterupted [sic] operation.
After I-LINK has been unzipped, run the program. It will ask you your call and location. Push begin to see the list of stations and repeaters available for QSO. Before calling someone, make sure the microphone of your computer is set up properly. This can be done by going to the volume control, properties and checking the recording button. Once in the recording section, check the microphone box. Keep this screen available so that you can adjust your microphone gain to a proper level when you contact another station. To contact another station, highlight the call and push OK. You will see the call of the connected station appear at the top of the box. The BEGIN screen lists the stations in order of repeater links (white), base stations (green) and conference rooms (aqua). All stations, except conference rooms turn red when busy. Wave patterns, similar to an oscilloscope, show if you or the other station are over or under modulated. The space bar is used, by tapping it once, to put the program in transmit and tapped once to go back to receive. That is it!!!!!!!
There are many other features of the program. It has a text box with details about you or your station which is viewed by others when connected to you, capability of text chat and a call waiting indicator that is included in the program.
Repeater Operators reading this article may ask, “How can I put this on my repeater?” There is a SYSOP version of the software, which used in conjunction with an I-LINK INTERFACE BOARD (www.ilinkboards.com), can be remotely connected to your repeater to allow for repeater to repeater or repeater to base operator connections. Through touchtone commands, repeaters around the world can be accessed.
I know that many of you are skeptical of this type of operation. I have heard it all from people who feel that this will ruin Ham Radio to UHF/VHF wasn’t meant for long distance etc. These are also the type of people that complained about the emergence of single sideband during the AM days. We are communicators and why does it matter what type of medium we use to communicate with each other. This will open a whole new world to Hams in retirement communities or one’s who live in apartments or areas with antenna restrictions. This will allow them to become active again and enjoy our hobby. It could also attract new hams to your repeaters and clubs. So let us not complain about what harm this can do but celebrate the new technology and communicate with each other through I-LINK!
Jim Millner, WB2REM
Also, read Jim's article in the March, 2002 issue of , "I-Link, the .WAV of the Future"