Do I have to be a Member to use IRLP?
The MAARS Board made policy in 2002 to require membership status to initiate IRLP calls to other connections. Non-members may participate in IRLP-based QSOs, but may not initiate them (make calls) on their own. Members and non-members alike may answer incoming IRLP calls. Travelling visiting hams may use IRLP to make calls if they write us, and ask for permission. We will then send them a copy of the MAARS repeater policies, and inform them on how to use the IRLP system. For more information, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who set IRLP up on the MAARS Repeater?
David Schank KA9WXN and Christian Reynolds KC0ARF setup the IRLP program on the MAARS repeater. It consists of a computer interface, an internet network connection, and an audio interface to the repeater’s controller.
Why is it on our repeater?
IRLP is an emerging technology that is connecting numerous repeaters together in the spirit of ham radio — to meet and talk with new people. MAARS in the past installed a number of technical advancements — the first repeater with a receive site in SE Wisconsin, the installation of the remote base equipment, and the installation of the autopatch. Think of the internet as one large, infinite receive site. We implemented the system to meet other people on the air in the spirit of amateur radio. It also means that if you travel to another city, and it has an IRLP node, depending on local policy over there, you might be able to call Station 5590 (us) and talk with your friends here in Milwaukee.
Do my dues support the IRLP Installation?
No MAARS funds were used during the installation of IRLP. The computer was donated by Christian, and the IRLP board by Dave. The electricity and internet connection are part of the annual tower rent, so in short, the IRLP installation will not add to any MAARS expenses.
If there is a Weather Net in progress, what happens to IRLP?
MAARS has an agreement with the Sullivan Committee to offer the repeater during times of Severe Weather. Thus, when Sullivan Weather informs us that a full net is required (when the tone changes from doo-da-loop to the WX Morse Code) any IRLP connections in progress will be locked out of the system. Anyone trying to “call” us during weather mode will not be able to hear conversations on the repeater — the controller locks out the audio port, isolating the two systems.
Is the IRLP Always ON? Are all of our conversations going over the internet somewhere? Are we always linked?
Think of our IRLP installation as a telephone installation in your home. The telephone is on your desk, waiting to ring, or waiting for you to call someone. The IRLP installation is in the same context…. We are not always linked, but we can receive a “call” at any time. Likewise, we can make a “call” at any time. Conversations only go to another repeater when someone initiates a call on this side in Milwaukee, or if another ham decides to call our city from somewhere else. In this context, the IRLP behaves just like the remote base.
As currently programmed, the IRLP subsystem will be available from 5:15 am until 12:00 am (midnight). Any other times are possible if scheduled ahead of time, or if a control operator is available, and willing to remain available.
Isn’t our repeater too busy for IRLP?
No. IRLP encourages conversation. If another node calls our repeater, please answer them. If you are a member, and are interested in making connections, please contact us for training.
What if I want to contact a fellow club member / wife / friend during an IRLP conversation?
IRLP conversations are normal QSO’s, thus normal courtesy should be applied. It is suggested that we do not connect to reflectors during drive time, so that small brief QSO’s may be made without disturbing a number of stations using the reflector.
I heard a message on the repeater… “connected to node xxx… link on” and didn’t hear anyone ID on our side. What happened?
Another station called us. The “phone” rang, and the repeater answered it. Pick up your microphone, and talk with the station.
The station disconnected after about 4 minutes. What happened?
I have configured the IRLP system here in Milwaukee to disconnect if no one is talking after 4 minutes. Think of it as a silent timeout. When connected to reflectors, we do not have a timeout, as QSO roundtable times may be large, and we didn’t want to suddenly disconnect. Reflector connections will reset overnight.
I heard a message on the repeater… “the node called is not responding…” What happened?
The linking process is done on the internet… meaning it can experience typical internet problems. Just like a stubborn web page that doesn’t want to display… sometimes connection problems exist. Try calling the node again in 10 – 15 minutes.
I have more questions….
Please write Christian and he will find an answer for you… he can be reached at email@example.com.