The IRLP and Echolink nodes at GB3OA were off-air from approximately 14.05 to 14.25hrs this afternnon for the nodes software to have its monthly back-up.
There are around ten individual daily users of Echolink and several IRLP users that are regulars, one in Blackpool virtually daily connecting to a node in West Sweden. Popular times seem to be after breakfast, either side of lunch time, late afternoon, and from 20.00hrs into the small hours, with US stations appearing around 01.00hrs each night. Local mobiles seem to be active around 08.45 and 17.00hrs.
Several times each week the IRLP node is connected to the Alaska Morning Net at around 18.15hrs, 09.15hrs their time. It’s not just for Alaskan stations – amateurs around the world do check in. Friday is a popular evening when Roy KI7PKL is Net Controller as he keeps things moving and is very enthusiastic (and was only licenced last October). Also, the same with Craig K5CAP on Monday nights. If you wish to connect GB3OA yourself use DTMF tones 9109.
The coverage of GB3OA continues to be good, encompassing the North Wales coast, northwards up the coast to the South Lakes, and inland to East Lancashire, with a regular from Nelson. A full coverage map is available at https://gb3oa.org.uk/coverage/
The New Years Eve welcome to 2018 will take place as usual on node 9200, the Crossroads reflector in the US where countries log in as they go through the New Year. GB3OA will be connected to this reflector when the countries who usually participate connect. These are:
- New Zealand – 11.00UTC
- Australia – 13.00UTC
- Malaysia – 16.00UTC
- South Africa – 22.00UTC
- UK – 00.00UTC
OA will be connected at five minutes to the hour for twenty minutes.
Users of GB3OA are welcome to connect OA to node 9200 at other times themselves, and especially for the US at 5, 6, 7 and 08.00UTC the following morning. As the connection will be via IRLP there is no need to put a # or * before the node number.
A full backup of the nodes server software takes place during the afternoon of the first Thursday of every month. The nodes are taken down at this point, but this lasts only for about twenty minutes.
Most evenings of the week OA is connected to the Alaska Morning Net just after 6pm (9am their time). This net is not just for Alaskans! Anyone worldwide is welcome to check in when the Net Controller requests more check ins, and that includes locals direct into GB3OA. There is a different Net Controller each day and they run the Net as they prefer i.e. some ask how your day has been, some have a topic (e.g. what do you think of Chinese HTs), some have a trivia question related to radio, etc. Some of the check ins specialise and are very knowledgeable about a particular subject. The Net doesn’t run on a Sunday, but on other days, if OA is not connected to the AMN then please feel free to connect using DTMF tones 9109 between 6pm and 8pm. Please send DTMF 73 when finished.
Note that the Echolink Android app is now not available on Google Play Store until February when a new version will be released. However, the old version is available free from Amazon or the Echolink web site.
Finally, the Repeater Keepers wish all who use GB3OA Southport a Healthy and Prosperous 2018!
There’s been a small change to a custom decode Echolink script at GB3OA repeater that should help local Echolink users.
The original IRLP/Echolink server required outgoing echolink request connections to be prefaced by the hash (#) symbol. With the new server software this changed to the star (*). This confused users but its change was detailed on both the GB3OA news page and the internet-linking page.
Looking at the logs many outbound echolink requests are still trying to use the hash symbol before eventually finding that the star symbol works instead. So to stop this confusion an addition to the DTMF custom decode script has now been added allowing either the hash or star symbol to work.
For example, to now connect GB3OA to GB3CA (Carlisle) both #412685 and *412685 will work.
This was not mentioned on the Internet Linking page on the GB3OA website and so one user was trying to do this. The following has now been added to the Internet Linking page….
Can I come into GB3OA using Echolink and send DTMF tones over Echolink to make GB3OA connect to an IRLP node or reflector?
The full answer is No.
Firstly, the nodes server filters out any DTMF tones on Echolink. Secondly it’s not possible to link Echolink to IRLP. The Echolink and IRLP bods have agreed this as the two are quite different, and it could lead to technical problems at the reflector or node. Thirdly, it’s possible to have several Echolink connections at OA at once, but only one IRLP connection, and if IRLP is being used then no Echolink connections are possible. This is the situation with all IRLP and Echolink repeaters.
Note also that on this page the link URL on the first link at the bottom of the page is now correct. This allows a user to see all IRLP nodes.
It seems some picking up the Air Show relay from shoutcast.com are having problems, and others not. This will be taken up with Shoutcast itself by the GB3OA Repeater Keepers.
For now, try Shoutcast and if there is a problem receiving the stream go to The Stream page on the GB3OA website and enter the given IP address into VLC as instructed.
A couple of local operators have asked for technical details on relaying pilots talkback during the Southport Air Show through shoutcast.com
The normal rig that receives GB3OA transmissions is a Baofeng UV-3R. Its audio output is pumped through a sound card attached to a Raspberry Pi v.2. This uses the audio level controller Alsamixer program and then DarkIce to convert the analogue audio to digital and send it to shoutcast.com.
However, the UV-3R does not have AM nor airband to be able to receive the pilots transmissions. So a Kenwood TH-F7 HT will be used instead of the Baofeng. This rig has wide-band receive from 100kHz to 1.3GHz, and can receive CW, SSB, AM and wide and narrow FM. It can only transmit on 2m and 70cms, using wide or narrow FM.
A test with this rig was carried out earlier in the week tuned to Manchester Airport Area Control Centre on 128.050MHz and streamed to shoutcast.com. All worked well. The main frequency that will be used for the Southport Air Show will be 121.175MHz although other frequencies will be monitored and the TH-F7 retuned should another frequency be more interesting.
Note that once the TH-F7 is set up during this afternoon it will be left as is until the Air Show completes on Sunday at around 17.00BST. Therefore there will be no relaying of GB3OA during that period.
Also, the introductory announcement on the stream to shoutcast.com will change, to explain the new relay for those listening in worldwide.
Since the change to a new nodes server at GB3OA the tweet messages of when there is a connection to the nodes has been offline. Now, through the efforts of Repeater Keeper Mark G4EID, this facility is all fully working again.
The tweets can either be seen on the right hand side of any page on http://gb3oa.org.uk , or by subscribing to GB3OA on Twitter. By subscribing on Twitter you get instant notification that a user has connected to one of the nodes, the distant IRLP or Echolink node or reflector in use, and the callsign of the user.