WB4FAY.com -- Birmingham, Alabama

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Last updated: 01/25/11  Copyright (c) 2003-2011

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Internet gateway - using EchoLink


     Instructions for use over the air    Instructions for use via a PC        

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How to use the WB4FAY-L Internet Gateway Link 

on the W4TPA (147.280 MHz) Repeater  in the Birmingham area

Internet gateway links allow radio access to the internet.  Once the internet is accessed, the user can then connect to a amateur radio operator connected to the internet via their PC back onto a radio at the far end. This allows worldwide communication using HF, VHF and UHF radios. Stations can also access the system from a PC using EchoLink.


Just like in any other RF communications, you can either listen for another station and then engage in conversation with them or you can initiate a session by call a specific station or by calling CQ.

In the first case, simply listen for a CQ call to come through - if you hear a call then wait for the carrier to drop and call the station back. There will always be a few seconds delay between one station dropping transmission and the other station beginning to transmit. This is normal operation.  This mode requires no special operation by the local user.

If you want to initiate a call to a remote location via the internet link, enter in a pound sign (#) and then a four digit index number to connect to another linked system (if you know the number).  For a random connection to a user station enter pound and zero, zero (#00) on the DMTF tone pad.  For a random connection to another link system or repeater enter pound, zero, one (#01).  For a random connection to a conference server enter pound, zero, two (#02).   Always wait for the response 'connected go ahead' - before you then call CQ.   For example entering '#1053' would attempt a connection to the M0CSH-L link system in North Kent Great Britain.

Once a QSO is complete, a pound, pound (##) is used to disconnect a session that you initiated.  It is very important to remember to disconnect a session when finished.

If you want to know if the WB4FAY-L link gateway is operational - enter pound, start (#*) and if active the link with identify itself over the air.

Command summary:

bullet#nnnnn - Connect to station or link whose index number is 'nnnnn'
bullet#00 - Initiate a random connection to any online user station
bullet#01 - Initiate a random connection to another link system
bullet#02 - Initiate a random connection to a conference server
bullet## - Disconnect and reset link
bullet#* - Request ID of link. (Immediate response if active)

*** Note ***

All commands entered via the touch tone through the 147.280 repeater must start with a pound sign.  Without the pound sign, the repeater controller will not pass the remaining digits to the iLink interface.

A few index numbers are listed below and others can be found via an online web page 

N4UXY-L Mobile, Alabama Gateway (145.660 Simplex) 3003
K4KR-L Jasper, Alabama (part time node) 5132
W4UAL-R University of Alabama Repeater (Tuscaloosa) 10966
W4KDW-L Atlanta, Georgia Gateway (145.600 Simplex) 1416
W1CDM-L San Diego, California Gateway (WA6SYN/R - 449.980 MHz) 1314
VK2RMB-L Sydney Australia Repeater 1316
M0CSH-L Kent, UK Gateway (434.475 MHz) 1001

There are currently over 22,000 index numbers assigned!

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The first step is to download the current software client and install it on your PC.  The software is available from the EchoLink website.  The PC requirements are minimal but you must have audio capabilities speakers and microphone.

The first time the program is executed, it will ask for your call sign and ask for you to establish a system password.  This information is available for display to a remote station when you are connected to that station.   See the FAQ page for info on how to edit this file.

Click begin (BEG) in the top menu bar and a list of online links and stations will be displayed.  Link nodes are displayed first, then end user PC based systems, and finally any conference servers that are online.  The column on the right side of the display is the assigned index number for that particular station.  The color coding is as follows


White:   Online link node that is available for connection


Green:   Online end user system that is available for connection


Red:      Station or link that is online but currently busy.


Blue:      Conference servers

To connect to an available station (white or green), highlight the line by clicking on it and then click the "GO" button.  If the connection is successfully established, you will see the call sign in the main program window and it will indicate that you are in 'receive' mode.   You can then use the space bar to toggle between receive and transmit modes.  List to make sure the channel is clear and the transmit calling CQ.

You will also notice that a display is provided to indicate your audio level.  You want to keep your audio indicator out of the RED most of the time.  This will minimize overdriving the audio on the far end.  Adjust your level either by adjusting the microphone distance from you or by adjusting the microphone gain control.

Once you have completed your QSO and want to disconnect from the far end, simple click "END" in the top menu bar of the main program window.

Note that as long as you have the program running on your computer, it will be available for other remote stations to initiate a connection to you.


*** Configuration Note  ***

UDP ports 5198 and 5199 and also TCP port 5200 must be available for use by the link program.  These must be open to the internet.  If you are running a firewall you may have to adjust the firewall configuration to map these ports through to the PC running the link.  Be aware that some late versions of operating systems (e.g. Windows XP) have built in firewall software.

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