Echolink And CQ100
From Daryl Stout
@618:250/33 to All
on Fri Aug 28 16:35:48 2020
Echolink And QSONet Overview
This bulletin describes 2 VoIP Ham Radio modes...Echolink, and QSONet (formerly CQ100).
Echolink allows amateur radio operators, with the equivalent of a valid
U.S. Technician Class license, or higher...to connect to other stations,
links, repeaters, or nets around the world...with no additional antennas
or equipment requirements; if they're running Echolink in single user mode.
All that's needed is a computer, an Internet connection (dial-up will work,
but DSL or cable is the best), and running (for Echolink) either:
1) Microsoft Windows (98 or better), and the Echolink program; OR
2) Macintosh with the OS X operating system, and the EchoMac program; OR
3) Linux, and the EchoLinux program.
If a user is in the local area of an Echolink node, they can use DTMF commands on their rig keypad to access these nodes directly. The Echolink
user can also run their system in Sysop Mode...setting up connections
between their rig and a computer for a simplex link, or a link to an
area repeater. Callsigns with asterisks (*) are Echolink conference
servers. Other callsigns are either repeaters (-R suffix), simplex links
(-L suffix), or single user stations (no suffix). It's best to search by Echolink node number to find the correct listing.
The current edition of The ARRL Repeater Directory...available in
either the Pocket Sized Edition or the Desktop Edition, has a listing
toward the back of Echolink, IRLP, and WIRES-II repeaters.
The Desktop Edition has a bit larger print than the pocket sized
edition, but it's not what I'd call "overly large print"...such as to
help those who are visually impaired in some way, such as myself (I'm
More details are at the Echolink homepage (www.echolink.org); including details on Validation Requirements before you're allowed access to the
network. A list of Echolink Nets is at www.wx1der.com/elk.htm -- along
with information on it.
Two articles from past issues of QST, published by The American Radio
Relay League (ARRL), provide good reading on Echolink...both of these are available in the Ham Radio files area in PDF format. The first article,
from the February, 2003 issue, has an overview on Echolink, eQSO, IRLP,
and other Voice Over Internet Protocol modes. The second article, from
the April, 2006 issue, tells of a ham radio operator using Echolink in
an Omaha, Nebraska hospital...allowing several patients to use "The
Echolink Magic Carpet" to talk to ham radio operators around the world...
to take some of the loneliness out of their day. You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Acrobat Website to view either of these
NOTE: The following information...used by permission...is from page 2-7
of the publication VoIP: Internet Linking for Radio Amateurs, published by
the American Radio Relay League...which has more information on Echolink,
and the other Voice Over Internet Protocol modes of IRLP, eQSO, and
Echolink is the creation of Jonathan Taylor, K1RFD...and Echomac is the creation of Steven Palm, N9YTY. EchoMac is based partly on a project called Echolinux, spearheaded by Jeff Pierce, WD4NMQ, which brings an Echolink compatable client to the Linux platform.
QSONet, formerly CQ100 is a "Virtual Ionosphere For Ham Radio"...and is
the creation of Doug McCormack, VE3EFC.
QSONet uses the internet to receive audio signals from a ham radio transmitting station, then instantly reflects the audio back to all
stations listening on that frequency. There is NO RF involved, so there
is no RFI to contend with. Everything is done over the internet. The
result is a simulated ionosphere for worldwide amateur radio communication. Stations can use voice, CW (Morse Code), PSK, and FSK modulation.
QSONet works with dial-up, DSL, and cable internet connections. There
is no need to configure router ports. The network consists of an array
of network servers, which provide streaming VoIP audio between stations.
After installing transceiver software, QSONet stations are connected to
a central server, by a single outbound TCP connection.
What They Have In Common
Echolink and QSONet have a few things in common to each other.
1) Usage is RESTRICTED to licensed amateur radio stations. Proof of ones amateur radio license is required, before access to the system is granted.
2) On the air, you are expected to:
a) Identify your callsign frequently. As per FCC rules, this would be
once every 10 minutes, and when you sign off.
b) Always be courteous. Do not use a frequency that's already in use.
If you are on a frequency, conference server, etc. to participate in
a net, that's fine...nets are meant for several hams to be there at once.
c) Do not use voice on the CW portions of the bands...although CW can be
used on voice, if for instruction in learning Morse Code.
d) Do not engage in commercial/business activity (no advertising, or communications that would benefit your employer).
e) Do not transmit music.
There are several differences with Echolink and CQ100 as follows:
1) Echolink is FREE to use. QSONet costs $39 US Dollars per year;
although licensed hams can get a 90 day free trial. Prices for QSONet
may change without notice. Licensed stations on QSONet may use the
system for free every Sunday (0000 to 2359 UTC).
2) Echolink REQUIRES a router setup, or going through a Proxy Server.
QSONet does NOT REQUIRE any router or proxy server configuration..
which makes it great for "tempermental aircard setups".
3) Echolink has various nodes (single user, simplex link, repeater, and conference servers). QSONet has "simulated" operations on portions of
the 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands.
4) While RF occurs on Echolink Nodes (unless the connected stations are
single user setups), no RF occurs on QSONet.
5) Echolink will only allow phone or CW transmissions on the frequencies. QSONet can integrate other programs to do digital modes (PSK31, RTTY, CW, etc.), and with an extra program called QSO_TV (available to registered
QSONet users), you can exchange pictures like it was amateur television.
6) Echolink station information is shown on the transmitting station only
on the first time they key up after connecting. With QSONet, you can click
on the callsign of the transmitting station, and be taken directly to
their listing on the QRZ website (www.qrz.com).
7) Echolink connections may be affected by noise, interference, etc.,
which may make the signal difficult to read. With QSONet, there's no such
thing as a "noisy signal".
8) Echolink nodes may limit the number of stations that can connect with
their node or conference server. With QSONet, any number of stations can connect to a particular frequency.
9) Echolink can run on Windows (98 or higher), Mac, or Linux systems.
QSONet only works on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, or 8. Some note that
with Windows 7 and 8, you need to use the Windows volume controls instead
of the transceiver knobs. If CQ100 and QSOTV will not run at all, the
problem is likely with your anti-virus software. Try to avoid using
products from Norton/Symantec, Kaspersky, or McAfee. It's recommended
to use ESET Nod32, or Microsoft Security Essentials...and just get the anti-virus alone, without the full security package. The latter tend to
cripple Windows from doing what it was meant to do, and cause more
problems than they solve.
10 Echolink doesn't tell you at a glance if someone is on a particular
node (unless that node is shown as BUSY). QSONet has a spectrum graph,
which shows radio activity within a settable sweep range of 50, 100, 200
and 500 kHz.
11) Echolink requires you to observe Third Party Traffic and Reciprocal Operating Agreements. QSONet does not, since no actual RF occurs.
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