Isle of Man Repeaters - Linking Guide
Before we begin, there are some important notes to bear in mind:
- GB3IM and its nodes are AllStar systems. Echolink connectivity is available BUT the standard Echolink commands will not work.
- We do not (and probably never will) support IRLP.
Using Allstar Link
All commands issued to a node are acted upon by the controller at that point in the network. Commands are not propagated to other nodes unless specifically required. For example, a command issued against the Carnane (GB3IM-C) repeater will only affect that node, and all responses will be generated by that node.
These are the ground rules:
- Every command must begin with a "Star" character ( * ).
- If a * is issued as part of a command string, it causes a reset of the decoder and the decode begins from the last entered * character. This is useful if you make a mistake; you just start again.
- Decoding is abandoned if the gap between digits is too long.
|*1 nnnn||Disconnect specified link|
|*3 nnnn||Connect to specified node in transceive mode|
|*4 nnnn||Enter command mode on specified node (see below)|
|*70||Report system status for this node only
|*72||Report last node to key up|
|*73||Report system status for all nodes|
|*80||Send station ID|
|*81||Give time of day|
In the above list, nnnn represents the AllStar Link node number to connect to / disconnect from.
A list of active Allstar nodes can be found at this location.
Allstar connections only require the use of the *3 and *1 commands above.
Using remote command mode
There are situations where the command that you want to send should be acted upon by another node in the system. This is particularly true when it is desired to set-up an outgoing EchoLink connection. This command code tells your local node to relay all received DTMF commands to the node that you specified in the *4 command.
Dealing With EchoLink
Any node in our system can make a direct connection to any other AllStar node in the world. Once such a connection is made, that remote node becomes part of the local network.
Because of limitations in the EchoLink system architecture, it is only possible to have one instance of GB3IM registered with EchoLink. This means that we have to have a single point of entry and exit for EchoLink connections whether they are inbound or outbound.
As far as the EchoLink network is concerned, GB3IM - with its multiple nodes - is a single entity.
The Snaefell node (2480) hosts the EchoLink gateway to our network.
It follows, then, that in order to make an outgoing EchoLink connection, you have to tell the Snaefell node to do what you want.
Rules for invoking EchoLink connections.
Allstar treats ALL EchoLink node numbers as 6-digits long. Nodes with shorter numbers need to have leading zeroes added.
e.g. EchoLink node 1234 = AllStar Node 001234
Also, in order to distinguish EchoLink node numbers from AllStar numbers, the 6-digit number has to he prepended with a "3". So the example above becomes 3001234; a total of 7 digits.
Having constructed the number of the desired node, we need to issue the command to make the link.
If you are operating through Snaefell (433.125), proceed to step 2 Otherwise.....
Invoke remote command mode on the Snaefell Node (node 2480).
Press your PTT and key * 4 2 4 8 0 then release PTT.
You will hear a rather strange message (stolen from Battlestar Galactica) saying "By Your Command". From here on, any DTMF command you enter will be forwarded to the target node (the hub in this case).
You will also notice that there is a second, rather ethereal, courtesy tone on your node.
Enter the DTMF code to tell the gateway to make the Echolink connection
For example:* 3 3001234 will issue a connect request to EchoLink node 1234.
Note that Dialling a star ( * ) on its own will cause the local node to exit command mode. You will then have to use the *42480 sequence again to re-enter command mode.
When you are finished with your call, enter the disconnect sequence.
Key *1 (the disconnect command from the table above) followed by the node number.
For example *1 3001234. You will get a disconnect message confirming what has happened.
Exit Command Mode.
Key Star ( * ) and remote command mode will terminate. This will be confirmed by the courtesy tone reverting to a single beep only.
After all of that, there is an easier way!
A system of shortcuts has been implemented which allows the same command format to be used irrespective of the node that is being used, provided that it's part of the Island Network. There are two base command sequences which are followed by a 2-digit "short form" code representing the desired node. You simply enter the appropriate base command (which represents a connect or disconnect instruction) and then the 2-digit code of the remote node that you wish to connect to. At present the list of nodes is rather short and looks like this:
To Connect, Key "*61" followed by the code shown below
To Disconnect, key *62" followed by the code shown below
|Node Name||Node Number||Type||Code|
|UK AllStar Hub||27066||AllStar||01|
If you would like a node adding to the list, please let me know. We have space for plenty more!
One last thing: When you're out of reach of a computer, it's often hard to tell how a remote link has occured or which of our nodes it is connected to, which can make disconnecting it a tricky operation. Because of that a "Kill Switch" code has been created that you can use to isolate the island from any other nodes. If you key *6999 it will silently run a command on each node in our local network telling it to disconnect from every other node except the local ones.
Any questions, please get in touch. If you get the node in a tangle, don't worry too much. One of us will sort it out when we notice that there's problem.