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Allstar versus IRLP

We have recently converted our 443.300 MHz repeater from IRLP to Allstar Link.  We turned off IRLP node 3013.  We have started building a new Allstar Link node for our 146.700 MHz repeater as well.  I am looking at ways to see if we can salvage one of the IRLP nodes and have both connected to the repeater where we can choose which system to use.  There is a reason that we changed from IRLP to Allstar Link and it wasn’t because we didn’t want IRLP but rather our Internet Service Provider (ISP).

IRLP, like most linking systems use certain ports to communicate, whether it be audio or control signals.  Like systems, require the same ports.  If you are going to be able to run a node effectively on a local area network, you need to be able to change the node to a static IP address and then forward the necessary ports to that computer.  If you are going to have two IRLP nodes at the same location, you have to have two external (WAN) IP addresses.  This is because if packets arrive over the Internet and reach your router, you need to be able to forward it to the correct computer.  Unfortunately when you have two nodes, they both use the same port. The router cannot forward the same port to more than one computer at the same time.

For years, we have been paying for an extra IP address for this purpose.  Recently we received a letter from our ISP saying they would no longer supply a second IP address for residential accounts. If we needed a second IP address, we would have to subscribe to a business account.  A business account is more than double the price.

We were left with a decision to either shut one of the nodes down or try other options.  Allstar Link allows many nodes on the same computer, so it allows you to assign specific ports to each node. You can have each node using a separate port, eliminating the need for two external IP addresses.  We have one node working very well and a second node  under development.  I know we only needed to change one node but our trustee, W5QO likes it so much, he wanted to do both repeaters.

Many of the IRLP reflectors are also connected to Allstar Link. We have already verified that the WIN System (IRLP node 9100) is also on Allstar Link (node 2560).  The East Coast reflector (IRLP node 9050) is Allstar (node 27339).  The Alaska reflector (IRLP node 9070) is Allstar (node 27597).

Currently we don’t have a way to connect our old IRLP node in parallel with the Allstar Link node but if we can figure out how to do that, we’ll certainly do that.  Our 443.300 MHz repeater is now Allstar Link node 28941 and soon the 146.700 MHz repeater will be Allstar Link node 46810.

This will require a new user manual to be created so that people know how to use it.  I have started this project but not yet complete.  Once this is complete, then we’ll have to make some significant changes to our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.  We’ll let you know when the new node is on the air.

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Our First Allstar Link Node

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.

Thank you!

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Hurricane Irma Net

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.

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Field Day 2017

Today is Field Day 2017. While our club doesn’t have any events for this, we like to encourage people to participate in the activities of other Oklahoma City area clubs and groups. There are many fine clubs in the area and we hope that you’ll go to one of these to see what ham radio is about. If you are already a ham radio operator, make a few contacts and a few friends. The source of this information is the ARRL Field Day Locator.
K5EOK
Edmond Amateur Radio Society
5300 E Covell Rd
Edmond, OK
GOTA: YES
Talk-in: 147.135 No Tone
Contact: BRIAN TETERS
4056061446
ae5mt@aim.com
ae5mt@aim.com
W5MWC
Mid-Del Amateur Radio Club
Midwest City, OK
GOTA: YES
Talk-in: 444.000 MHz + 151.4 Hz Tone
Contact: Donald Ohse
4059714816
donald.ohse@gmail.com
donald.ohse@gmail.com
W5MEL
Oklahoma City Autopatch Association
Lake Stanley Draper, Point 10 Area 2
Oklahoma City, OK
GOTA: YES
Talk-in: 147.21MHz (+) / PL 141.3Hz
Contact: Thomas Webb
4057376716
wa9afm@arrl.net
W5PAA
Aeronautical Center Amateur Radio Club
1201 N Mustang Rd, Mustang, OK 73064
Mustang, OK
GOTA: YES
Talk-in: 145.470- PL 141.3
Contact: Robert Duncan
4057603217
kf5gtx@arrl.net
w5nor
South Canadian Amateur Radio Society (SCARS)
2501 Jenkins Ave
Norman, OK
GOTA: YES
Talk-in: 147.06 +offset 141.3Hz – DMR TG 314016 (SCARS)
Contact: Mark Kleine
405-579-6756
n5hzr@arrl.net
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Stormy Weather

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.

Paul, K5GLH

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Repeater During Storms

NWS

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.

Thank you!

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Node 4122 on 443.3 MHz

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.