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Sep 18, 2016

Big Check-Ins on a Small Repeater

Members of the Atlanta Rabbits Amateur Radio Club checked into the Dallas Amateur Radio Club (DARC) Meeting On the Air (MOTA) net earlier tonight.


Category: General
Posted by: W5BFF

The club's repeater trustee, Jerry A. Goodson W5BFF, built a new controller for the club's repeater using a Raspberry Pi 2 single-board computer (SBC), an Easy Digi soundcard interface, and an ID-O-Matic IV repeater controller.  Running SVXLink (http://www.svxlink.org) as the controller software on the Raspberry Pi 2, club members are now able to connect the Rabbit Repeater to other repeater systems using DTMF (dual-tone multi-frequency) codes via internet telephony technology known as EchoLink (http://www.echolink.org).

Cody (N5GNR) and Kyle Wayne (N5KWG) Goodson checked in on the DARC MOTA net from their hand-held radios and gave a few comments about themselves and the Atlanta Rabbits Amateur Radio Club.  

 "The MOTA an on-the-air informal meeting of all DARC members and guests. The net control operator and DARC president, Tony Mendina NT5TM, was very friendly and welcomed our check-ins," said Goodson.  "Nets are a very good way of meeting other amateurs on the air, fostering camaraderie, and sharing information relevant to the amateur radio hobby.  Hams in the Dallas area were particularly pleased there were youngsters checking in.  I got tickled that our group had hams in the Dallas area looking us up to figure out where was Atlanta, Texas."

EchoLink is typically used by individuals to connect to repeaters via the internet, but the Atlanta Rabbits Amateur Radio Club went a step further by connecting the whole repeater.  The connection by the repeater allows any person with a radio to talk to stations over the repeater to remote locations that are connected via the internet.

EchoLink Linking Example

Similar to the example above, Station "A" and Station "B" would be replaced with full repeaters instead of individual stations.  Station "A" would be the DARC repeater, and Station "B" would be the Rabbit Repeater.  The two repeaters were connected via EchoLink over the internet.  Our club members used their hand-held radios to speak to Dallas area hams, also using their radios.

Rob PD0JMY from the Netherlands connected to the Rabbit Repeater and had a conversation with Goodson when he was first building the new repeater controller.  

"This is huge," Goodson explained.  "This technology allows entry-level hams with a Technician Class license to communicate over long distances with an entry-level radio that costs under $50.  Furthermore, if a new ham hasn't yet had the opportunity to purchase a radio, they can download a free app for their smartphone that allows them to connect to repeaters, such as the Rabbit Repeater, and get on the air.  I am elated this technology is available to Atlanta Rabbits who wish to get in the hobby."