EchoLink® software allows licensed Amateur Radio stations to communicate with one another over the Internet, using streaming-audio technology. The program allows worldwide connections to be made between stations, or from computer to station, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio's communications capabilities. There are more than 200,000 validated users worldwide — in 162 of the world's 193 nations — with about 5,000 online at any given time.
The program runs on Microsoft Windows®. It is offered free of charge and may be downloaded here .
For licensed hams, EchoLink® software opens up new possibilities for communicating around the world with other amateurs. Your PC links you or your local repeater to any of thousands of other stations over the Internet.
There are several different ways you can use the EchoLink software. You can set up a "simplex link" in your shack, with a VHF or UHF transceiver connected to your PC, to allow anyone in range of your station to communicate by voice with any other EchoLink station around the world.
Or, you can use the PC's microphone and speakers and remotely connect to any of more than 2,000 different repeaters that have EchoLink capability.
The station-list screen keeps running tabs on who's currently on the system. Stations which have recently come on or off are noted separately. Sort the list any way you like. You can set up any number of "alarms" which will sound when your favorite stations come online.
In Sysop mode, EchoLink connects to a conventional FM transceiver using either the custom-designed linking interface boards from WB2REM and W5TXR, or general-purpose digital-mode interfaces such as the RIGblaster from West Mountain Radio. You can even build your own interface from junk-box parts. The board connects to your computer's sound card and serial port.
Virtually any type of Internet connection may be used with EchoLink, from dial-up to DS3. Custom settings allow you to tailor EchoLink to compensate for older computers or slower Internet connections.
The program includes a number of important security features, such as the ability to restrict access by country, to help comply with your nation's third-party traffic or reciprocal operating rules.
If the bandwidth of your Internet connection permits it, EchoLink allows up to 100 different stations to be connected to you at once. This is especially useful in Sysop mode for running a roundtable on your local repeater, or allowing "listening" stations to be connected without blocking out others.
The Kenwood TM-V71 and TM-D710 are the first commercially-available Amateur Radio transceivers with built-in EchoLink system capabilites. There are two different features of these rigs that make them useful for EchoLink operation:
- The rigs support EchoLink "node memories", for use when mobile. You can store the node number of your favorite EchoLink nodes in the transceiver's memory. When you are in range of a local EchoLink node, you can use a short-cut command to have the rig send the correct DTMF sequence to connect the local EchoLink node to a distant EchoLink node.
- The rig makes it easier to set up your own EchoLink node by including a built-in PC interface. If you purchase the optional PC cables, you can connect the transceiver directly to the sound card and serial port of your PC to have it operate as an EchoLink node.
The TM-V71 and TM-D710 have been designed and built entirely by Kenwood. Specific questions about this equipment should be addressed to Kenwood, or to your dealer. However, the FAQ below is being provided as a guide to getting these radios up and running with the EchoLink software.
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