We’ve been working on a project for the last couple of weeks and now we can reveal it. Our 443.3 MHz repeater is now Allstar Link node 28941. We removed IRLP from this repeater and used most of the same hardware to convert it to an Allstar node.
What drove this change was an email from Cox Communications that forced our hand. Since we had two IRLP nodes, on the same Internet service, at the same location, it required us to have two external IP addresses. The reason for this is two identical nodes require the same ports for control and audio. When inbound calls arrive at the router, we have to have set pre-determined port forwarding. The signal has to know which computer to go to. Unfortunately we had two nodes vying for the same ports and you cannot forward packets to go to the same port on two computers. This is why we paid extra for an additional external IP address.
Well Cox seems to have changed their policy on issuing out extra IP addresses to residential service accounts. They will no longer do it and will not grandfather you in, if you already have one. They wanted us to subscribe to Cox Business Services account. To do this would vastly increase the price for a service that we already had. This is just not a feasible option.
As a result, we had to come up with an idea to maintain two nodes without using the same ports. Allstar was a natural choice because they only require one computer (server) and can have many nodes attached to that one server, with only one external IP address. We had already requested a node number several years ago but had never put a node together. This situation forced our hand on doing something. Since we already had most of the hardware on hand, we decided to build one.
As of yesterday, September 21, 2017, at 2:00 PM, node 28941 signed on the air.
Allstar is a completely different system and the operating procedures are not the same. We are currently working on updating our User Guide to include operating instructions for our new Allstar node. Many of the IRLP reflectors are now on Allstar Hubs, like the WIN System. Where they are node 9100 on IRLP, they are node 2560 on Allstar. We are hopeful that you will like using it and we are trying to quickly get some instructions on our web site.
Special thanks to our Trustee, W5QO for once again, hosting this site for us. If you have any questions, please direct them to club [at] delcityars.com.
We have connected the 443.3 MHz repeater to the National Hurricane Center net on a listen only node. This way you can listen to the coverage without risking interrupting the net if you accidentally keyed up the repeater. If you want the visual of what is going on, this stream is being simulcasted on Youtube at this link.
Feel free to tune in and listen to the coverage. While the activity is more intermittent early on, it will pick up as the hurricane moves on land. If you would like to read up about this net and its activation, links, node numbers, you can visit their page at VOIPNET. We in Oklahoma tend to get excited about severe weather so we thought listening in on the net may interest some locals.
If you have questions, you can direct them to our Facebook Page or our Twitter account.
A couple days ago we posted about potentially shutting down the repeaters if the storms got too bad. Well as you probably noticed, there were no storms at all. The same holds true anytime there are storms. It is really nice when you own the tower because you have access to the repeaters at any time. When you rent space or loan space on someone else’s tower, you are at the mercy of a third party to get permission to go up on the tower. In our case, it is as simple as disconnecting a few cables and enjoying the storm.
In times that we do turn off the repeater, you can still get some pretty good storm coverage from WX5OUN on the WX5OKC repeater on 145.41 MHz. It is usually a controlled net so it is not recommended to just go over there and start talking when you hear the CW letter “W” (dit dah day) on their courtesy tone. Another good source that I’ve found is the W5NOR, 147.06 MHz or the K5EOK repeater 147.315 MHz.
There are infinite weather sources in the area so there is no need to leave our repeater on the air when lightning is close by. Usually, we either get on simplex, 147.48 MHz or we’ll browse around and listen to other repeaters during severe weather. We hope you all stay safe and for those other storm enthusiasts like me, enjoy them all you can.
With potential severe weather this afternoon in the area, we may decide to disconnect the repeaters in the event of a lot of lightning. The repeaters and their respective IRLP/Echolink nodes are very expensive equipment and it only makes sense to take whatever precautions we can. It is very possible that we get no storms at all, and there is a possibility that we will. We just want you to know that if you try to key them up this afternoon and get no response, then you’ll know that we took them offline on purpose until the weather passes.
If you have tried using the IRLP or Echolink nodes on the 443.3 repeater you may have noticed the audio would drop after connecting. We’ve discovered that it was just a simple push to talk (PTT) wirecoming lose from the terminal. We will have that fixed today so it shouldn’t be a problem. We’re sorry for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused.
A couple days ago, K5GLH and W5QO were talking on the 146.7 MHz repeater when they noticed the signal coming back from the repeater was intermittently weak and was preceded by static. Later, K5GLH received an email from a user saying they experienced the same thing while connected to an IRLP node. At first we thought it was a fluke but now it is clear there is a cold solder joint or possibly a pot that has some connectivity issues on the power amplifier.
We have not had a chance to check it out yet but we just wanted to let everyone know that we are aware of the problem. We do have backup repeaters to use when we get a few minutes to swap them out. Keep in mind, the backup repeaters have different courtesy tones set on them so you’ll know when the backup is being used. You can still use the repeater but just be aware that if the other person doesn’t come back to you or you stop hearing courtesy tones, that you are experiencing this issue.
We have family here so we are not able to get to it immediately. We appreciate your patience and we’ll get to it as soon as we have some time.