What is “Repeater Linking” and how does it apply to the WG6OTA 449.160 repeater?
Repeaters can be linked through RF (radio) links or IP (internet) links, this system is linked through an IP connection, we use devices identified as “nodes” connected to the radio via a “controller” with multiple audio chains and switches allowing those nodes to key the repeater for transmit and receive audio from the radio to be fed back through those nodes. our RLC-4 controller has four “radio ports” one for the Motorola MTR2000 radio and three more for adding the nodes.
Internet connections on Sunset Ridge are challenging at best as there are no phone lines, cable connections or fiber optics at this remote site. Our connection (link), that is shared with the N6USO/K6TEM system and is served by a medium range point to point RF link from a commercial office in Ontario. we use a “Ubiquity” Dish style antenna, access point for this link. this is split though a network switch that feeds two routers, one for WG6OTA the other serving N6USO/K6TEM.
Currently, our RLC-4 controller Port 1 is connected to the Motorola MTR2000 radio, port 2 is connected to a “Micro-node” IRLP/Echolink node and port three is connected to a Micro-Node RTSM Allstar thin client but it is not currently configured or powered on. Port 4 is currently not connected but is planned for a separate EchoLink node (this will allow concurrent IRLP and EchoLink operation).
Our system currently uses the IRLP/Echolink node, it is configured to automatically connect to the western 9660 IRLP relector on channel 5 or 9665, if you have a IRLP node or a repeater with an IRLP node you can simply connect to the 9665 reflector from an internet connection and you are “linked” connected to WG6OTA on sunset ridge.
Each of these linking systems uses unique “central” connections to facilitate multiple connections to the repeater or repeaters. the IRLP nodes use their “Reflector” system viewed at this link IRLP node Status.
The Echolink system is another computer/internet based system that uses many methods computer, tablet, cellphone, radio links to connect either directly to another “node” or a “conference server”. the conference server is a method for either chatroom style connection or to link a repeater to multiple users, or to other repeaters.
Allstar based on the “hamvoip” software is arguably the simplest internet linking system it is less dependent on port forwarding and local network configuration allowing it to be more simply connected through hotspots on cellphones and mobile devices making it the more attractive option in mobile operation, many long haul truck drivers use these nodes to stay in touch with their Amateur Radio friends while on the road.
If you study these systems closely you realize they all use what could be referred to as a “Star” topology, each node ultimately linking to a central point sharing their audio keying and tone control. Our “Control operators” also access the repeaters functions through these systems along with having controls though the RF receive channel (445.160) with DTMF tone control in the event of a internet failure.
Long term plans on the WG6OTA repeater are to have all these links available simultaneously on the system being served by the IRLP reflector, Echolink Conference Server and a Allstar hub.
We look forward to serving our users and their local and remote Ham buddies with the links on this system.