An EchoLink Perspective

Ralph KB8ZOY emailed me:

My EchoLink alarm went off. The connection was from [a high school student] in Camp Hill, PA. She said she got her ticket as a project in her Physics class at Trinity High School. Part of the assignment was to contact 10 hams. Looks like she is making all the contacts over the internet.

I think it’s very cool that she was able to get her license as part of her high school physics class. I also applaud her ingenuity in thinking of using EchoLink to fulfill the ten-contact requirement. I hope, though, that she’ll continue on and make some on-the-air contacts as well. I’m not one of those guys who doesn’t think EchoLink is ham radio, but it shouldn’t be all there is to one’s experience of ham radio.

Comments

  1. Dan,

    I agree!

    We use Echolink here to keep in touch with old VHF friends from our former QTH 200 miles from here. We use the same VHF/UHF repeater as we did in the past, using the same VHF HT. The difference: VoIP makes the 200 mile trek possible. I have a VHF Echolink node on this end; the repeater group has the same thing on their end. Almost everyone is using radios and RF, but we are using the Echolink link to join our radio links. Sometimes, if my HT cannot make it back to the house to reach the 30 foot vertical, I use my mobile 2m/440 cross band radio to provide an assist. When my neighbor Doug is in that situation, he does the same. Yesterday we were both mobile and kept in touch with out HTs via 2 cross band radios, also connected to our Echolink node so we could talk with our distant friends simultaneously. Our radio/computer interface, by the way, is homebrew. To us, it’s the ultimate marriage of radio and computer technology in true ham radio experimental fashion!

  2. sue KD5LKG says:

    I agree that Echolink is a good way for her to get her contacts. I have just begun to use it myself – I work a usually long and boring graveyard shift on weekends, and I have set up a laptop for Echolink so I can at least have a QSO or 2 to keep me occupied once my other work is done.

    I also feel that for new hams with limited frequencies to use with Tech licenses, Echolink may prove to be a method of keeping them interested in the hobby long enough to catch the upgrade bug and eventually get into HF with “regular” rigs. Meeting people from all over the world tends to be habit forming, and for young people, it makes a good “brag” to be able to do something that none of their friends can do. I was lucky, and had a ham locally who kept me interested, and who got me involved with a nearby ham club whose members also kept me going until I could finally upgrade and get some decent equipment, and get to talk with more folks than those on the local repeater -I live in the middle of nowhere, so hams on 2 meters were scarce!

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