Echolink - How to use
1. How does it work?
2. How do I use it?
3. Who can I talk to?
4. How does it work with a repeater?
5. How do I get into Echolink from a repeater?
These are just a few questions I have heard concerning Echolink and
Repeaters are used to give someone utilizing a Hand Held
transceiver with low power output or mobile units with
limited range so signals can be sent over a greater
First, there are repeaters that use two frequencies to operate. A
repeater is defined as a automated system where a signal
is received on one frequency and transmitted on another
frequency, either simultaneously or immediately,
depending how the FCC wants to define a repeater.
Second, there are repeaters called simplex repeaters which receive
a signal, records for a set period of time then when the
input stops or the time has expired , the repeater
re-transmits the signal on the same frequency.
Simplex repeaters are very popular with operators of Echolink,
where a transceiver is attached to a computer where the
audio outut from the receiver goes to the computer thus
sending your audio through the Internet to another
computer and the audio coming back to the computer is
then transmitted on the same frequency to the radio
operator. It is a two way conversation while sending
only one direction at a time, normally called the “over
procedure” just like talking simplex that most hams
should be very familiar.
If a two frequency repeater is used with a computer operator of
Echolink then the signal repeater output is received and
the audio is passed to the computer and the audio
returning through the computer link will be transmitted
on the input frequency of the two frequency repeater.
This is also the “over procedure” talking one direction
at a time. If you don’t stop and listen you will be told
you are “doubling”.
As everyone knows, repeaters or any signal transmitted over the air
can be heard by anyone that has a receiver, thus this
makes it just like the “old party line” on the telephone
that many older people are very familiar.
Echolink is the same thing except it uses Voice Over Internet
Protocol (VOIP) and anyone that has the Echolink
software installed on their computer and is a
registered, licensed Ham Radio Operator can listen in.
All of these computer links are called “Nodes” and are
assigned a unique number. All registered Nodes can
connect to any other Node thus making all of the Nodes
operate as a single “party line”.
If you install the software and you are registered with Echolink
registry and on your computer you will see a list of
Nodes. Usually as many as 4000-5000 at any given time.
Some are listed as just operators with only their
individual call sign, others are listed as links (CALL
SIGN-L), some listed as repeaters (CALL SIGN-R) and then
last but not least the ones listed as CONERENCES
(*NAME*.). To the radio operator (links and repeaters)
appear to operate the same and the only difference is
the type of connection that has been registered with
If you do not want to operate Echolink from your computer you do
not have to download the software and install it to get
a Node listing. You can go the Echolink web site
www.echolink.org and click on “Current Logins” and you
can obtain all Nodes that are currently active.
Some Nodes that are connected to repeaters and links have the
ability to be controlled by the radio operator by the
use of sending tones from the keypad on their
microphone. The tones are called DTMF (Dual Tone
Multi-Frequency) not to be confused with CTCSS which are
the sub audible tones sent by a radio to activate entry
into a repeater. Most Echolink Nodes that are connected
to a simplex repeater system use DTMF tones, just like
the touch tones on a telephone receiver by the radio
operator to send Node numbers to connect. (The
information of whether an Echolink Node accepts DTMF
must be obtained from some source such as web sites or
listings on QRZ.com under the call sign listed for the
Node. For a list of Default codes can be obtained from
If you are on a repeater, either simplex or a two frequency
repeater and the repeater is connected to a Node, when
you talk your audio is going over the Internet and
anyone coming back on the Internet is heard by everyone
that is listening to the repeater.
When you are connected to a CALLSIGN-L, CALLSIGN-R or a Conference
everyone else connected to the same Node can hear
everything you are saying and they can talk to you, this
is the same as a “party line” as previously mentioned.
Nodes listed as CALLSIGN-L, CALLSIGN-R are normally limited to a
small number of connections where CONFERENCES list the
number of connections that the conference can handle
which can be from a few to several hundred or thousands.
As an example, K8TPH-R allows a small number of connections (12)
and then will be listed as busy and no one else can
connect to K8TPH-R, but K8TPH-R is normally connected to
a conference, such as “USA” which allows 1000
connections, thus allowing up to the 1000 connected
Nodes and all can hear each other. Also if you connect
to K8TPH-R directly and it is connected to the "USA”
Conference you are also connected to the “USA”
Conference. This also is true to any radio operator that
is on the repeater to which K8TPH-R is connected will be
transmitting to any Node or Converence to which K8TPH-R
is connected, you can be heard by all connected and you
can hear all that are connected to K8TPH-R or any node
to which K8TPH-R is connected (Clear???)
If you don’t understand the procedure just ask your 6, 7, or 8 year
old and they can explain to you how a “Chat Room" works.
Echolink is just a great big Audio Chat Room. All you
have to do is know which Node (Chat Room) you want to
For information purposes the following are Default codes used.
These may or may not be used on all Echolink Nodes.
Connect to a
node number * plus Node number
Disconnect from a node #
Node status 08 zero eight
Node operators can chose any codes they wish to use but normally
list these on their individual web site or QRZ.com
listing under the call sign.
The Echolink program installed
on a Windows Computer