How to use repeater networks on Ham Radio
The repeater network is an important part of a larger network. The repeater itself receives a weak incoming signal, amplifies it and sends it back to the same frequency on which it was received. Since the repeater station listens to its own frequency, it can distinguish which signals are intended for it and which are not.
The repeater then transmits the signal over its coverage area on a different frequency. Since the signal from the source station (called “input”) has been strengthened, the signal can cover more territory with greater clarity.
A repeater is a “duplex” in that it can simultaneously transmit and receive signals on the same frequency. This allows communication throughout the system without having to relay information from one receiver to another.
Repeaters can be connected over large areas and over long distances using the Internet in three main ways:
1. EchoLink and IRLP
In IRLP and EchoLink systems, the links between repeaters and individual stations are controlled manually by the users of the system. If you want to connect to a system beyond your local repeater, you must manually enter the access code. The code will help identify the specific repeater system you want to use and the system in turn will make a connection and route your audio.
When you’re done, a disconnect message ends sharing. For EchoLink systems, users do not need to have a radio as it can be accessed from the computer over the Internet. You can use EchoLink whenever you cannot access a radio or when you are away from your home extender.
D-STAR is a comprehensive set of digital communication protocols for individual radios. Communication takes place via digital audio streams over the air to another D-STAR radio or a D-STAR repeater. The repeater receives the digital data stream and retransmits it as digital data. Voice signals can be shared or relayed easily over digital networks as they are already digital during transmission time.
Therefore, it is not possible to transmit D-STAR signals via regular FM voice radios and vice versa. D-STAR repeaters are connected to the D-STAR system via gateways. Amateur radios establish links between D-STAR repeaters by entering call signs into their D-STAR radios. Calls to any ham are routed to their last known D-STAR repeater and you will not have to know the location of the person you wish to contact.
3. IRLP reflector
IRLP nodes use the standard FM repeater with an internet link to relay the digitized voice. A user can request an IRLP node to connect to another IRLP code. After the node-to-node connection is established, the audio from both repeaters is exchanged in a way that can give the impression that both users are using the same repeater.
IRLP reflectors are used to connect multiple nodes and exchange digitized audio data from one node to multiple nodes in real time. Users who cannot access the radio can participate using nodes or IRLP reflectors as long as they are licensed. From there, the user can enter the access code and log in.
Internet to connect your repeater to a ham station
Many repeaters are linked together all over the world. When you use an Internet repeater, your voice is converted to digital data and sent over the Internet (often referred to as VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol). This data is then converted back to an audio format for the other repeater and transmitted by radio.
The big advantages of this approach are the absence of special equipment on the receiver side, low delay, cost savings for the repeater owner and user, good sound quality and the absence of radio propagation problems.
You can come into contact with other hams using any of the above methods wherever you are, as long as you follow the contact protocol.
As amateur radio operators, many of us have used repeater networks to communicate with others. In fact, it is thanks to the network of repeaters that we can have long distance communications using only portable radios.
If you are new to amateur radio and are wondering how to set up your own repeater, the above article has given you the basics of how it works. Amateur radios are still a very popular item despite their existence for ages. You can buy one for around $ 40, get a license, and build your own radio. Obtain an amateur radio license is not difficult and will open up a whole new world for you where you can talk to other people that you never thought you could reach.
Posted on July 15, 2021