IRLP Stories
If you would like to add a story or testimonial
to this list, please email it to me.
David Cameron VE7LTD
IRLP System Designer

IRLP - Keeping the Radio in Amateur Radio

In February 2001, I decided to ask some of the owners and users of the IRLP to submit testimonials and stories about their experiences with IRLP. I have put a few of them here for all of us to read.

From: "Gerald Sherman"
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2011 03:29:48 -0000

I would like to thank you and all of your crew for making IRLP what it is today. I got my ticket in 1970 as VE4KS. Early work was with a homebrew 10-18 meter transmitter, parts of which had lived in a previous life as an ARC-5, a broadcast receiver, a TV set, and even a car's air filter (the perforated metal cover for the 1625 tube compartment). I got a 2 meter rig in about 1975, and didn't do a lot of HF operating after that (I had about 6 log book entries between 1975 & 1981). Along the way, I acquired an ICOM 22S in the spring of 1977, and the call got changed to VE3KDS (note the new prefix). In 1998, I came back to VE4 land, and got my present call VE4GKS (I wanted this call back in 1977, but couldn't get a 3-letter call as they weren't being issued then,) I was almost totally inactive from about 1983 until I retired in January 2 years ago. When I attempted to use the 22S, it had expired (the final transistor and the T/R diode were both blown, and they were now discontinued & unavailable). The replacement station was an ICOM 2200H for 2, and a an ICOM 7200/HT4 combo to replace an obsolete set of Heath SB series equipment that I had no room for, and had never really used (it wasn't new when I got it). I won't comment too much on a bad case of time & technology shock!

CTCSS was something new. The 22S didn't have it. And what the heck is IRLP? The local repeater boys got me straightened out on how to use the tones, & I wound up on node 1066 on the Friday night net that runs on the Great Lakes reflector in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I needn't say what it was like to hear a VK5 on the net (I don't recall the rest of Allan's call), along with a station in Stockholm and a few other places (like Tokyo and New Zealand!). It took a few sessions to get the hang of IRLP operating. Usually node 1066 has more operators on than any other node on that net. I have since acquired an ICOM 746 (not new), a Kenwood TH215A HT and a Wouxun KG-UVD1P. I still don't have a decent HF antenna up, as somebody has to do the ladder work for me (I can't climb, for medical reasons), and the Wouxun is doing about 95% of the station's work (with its rubber duck). Imagine using a cigarette-pack sized HT & talking to the world, in some cases while wandering around my apartment in conditions that would be indecent in public! I may be allowed to put up a decent HF skyhook (but not a tribander & tower) when the ARES work with the Red River is over in a few weeks.

Again, keep up the good work!


Gerry Sherman, VE4GKS

Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 07:53:24 -0500
From: Brian Dresser KBOIXM
To: David Cameron VE7LTD
Subject: Here's an IRLP story for consideration

Hi Dave,
Brian (KBOIXM) Node 4549 here in Fargo. Here's a small piece that if you want to add to the stories go ahead and feel free. I didn't see any new info on the IRLP Stories for a while now so thought you may want some new stories to update it a bit.

Since having the node (Node 4549) on the air now for about 6 years it's been working flawlessly. My work requires me to travel several times a year. When I do I always check my travel destination to see if there's an IRLP node in the area and contact the node owner in that area to make sure it's ok to use their node to call back home. Every node owners been more than happy to allow me to use their nodes to call back home.
So far my travels have taken me to Toronto, Washington DC, St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis to name a few and each time I've been able to take along a handheld and call back to my node at home from my hotel room. Yes I know we all have cell phones but that wouldn't be any fun. Since the nodes been on the air we've also had it operational for the Boy Scouts Jamboree on the air and introduced ham radio in that mode to many young scouts. All in all it's been a marvelous addition to the hobby and lots of fun. I've made many new friends through IRLP and it's been a great addition to the hobby here for many hams in the Fargo Moorhead area.

NODE 4549
Fargo, North Dakota


Date: Sat, 26 May 2007 09:58:51 -0500
Subject: Another story

I wanted to say, first, THANKS for all the hard work getting this running.

We had a goal some time ago, get people on the air to meet other people and experience other cultures. With IRLP our club has:

1. Set up classroom sessions at the local middle schools to talk (with prearranged skeds) to countries they are studying

2. Enabled local elderly hams to remain active in the hobby, as they cannot have an HF station in their senior apartments but a 2m station or HT is not out of the question, and therefore remain active mentally

3. Introduce teens to this hobby and see how cool it is to 'work DX' without having to invest a few thousand dollars in to an HF station. Admittedly this is a certain level of nerd, but they are fascinated with this.
4. And of course, kept in contact with ham friends far, far away

Between the four of these items, we have had a riot, and from the beautiful Chain O' Lakes Region of northwest Illinois, this is N9IFG, node 4239, and WeLCARS, KC9LEP, thanking you for enabling us to do what our club charter was all about, saying Hello to the World via Amateur Radio.


73, Joe, N9IFG
Advisor, Venture Crew 743
IRLP Node 4239

NOTE: The following story is from Erik VA3OAT a 15 year old High School student from Elora Ontario.  He downloaded the IRLP FEDORA ISO then installed it and the IRLP software with no assistance.

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 17:27:06 -0500
Erik Somfay <>
Subject: Here's an IRLP story for consideration

Many months ago, I had the intent of setting up a packet BBS. At the shop where I was going to buy the radio was Paul,VE3SY, and before I exited, he suggested to me that IRLP could be used with the same radio. I was still intent on making a packet BBS, but after completing it, there was little use, and I began to doubt whether the BBS was providing a useful service.

At a GARC (Guelph Amateur Radio Club) meeting, Paul was the guest speaker, talking with us about IRLP, from the basics all the way to the more technical stuff. IRLP began to grow in my mind. A few weeks later, I decided to go ahead with IRLP.

The day Paul could come over to help finally came, and we ran into a few obstacles, the radio had to be reprogrammed to add CTCSS and the used IRLP board was having difficulties. Paul returned with a friend, Terry, VE3NSV. There were several other obstacles, but they too, were overcome, and the node was on the air!

There is still a slight problem with the greeting message audio, but everything else works wonderfully, and the soundcard problem will be easy to fix. It's been a great experience and I'd recommend it to anyone willing to dedicate a few hours to the setup process. The node could not have been set up here in Elora without the generous help of Paul and Terry.

Best regards,
From Erik
node N? 2404

Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 08:19:18 -0600
From: Matt Pfeifer
Subject: Here's an IRLP story for consideration


I am 11 years old and I got my technician license about one year ago. Since then I have been racking up local contacts. Then I heard about IRLP nodes and reflectors. IRLP is the most awesome thing ever. For example, last night with out even trying I dialed up the crossroads reflector and talked to someone from Southern Florida and someone from Alaska (I am from Minnesota)!!! I just want to thank you for creating the coolest service ever!


Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 10:06:01 -0500
From: "Brady, Chris"

Subject: Here's an IRLP story for consideration

Had this posted on the ARRL/EPA section site or their web page. Hope to see you in the summer when we travel to BC. Maybe I'll see you again in Dayton...trying to plan a run over there this spring. Chris N3CB

(October 13, 2004) Ham Radio In The Classroom
Students at the Epiphany of Our Lord School in Plymouth Meeting were all eyes and ears as Chris Brady, N3CB brought the world to the classroom. Brady said, "The demonstration was AWESOME! I didn't see one spaced-out face in four classes!" Brady spoke for about 20 minutes, then went to the mobile rig for some pre-arranged contacts via IRLP. "I had Australians lined up for the first two classes," said Brady, "then we moved on to Chuck Kimball, N0NHJ, at Palmer Station, Antarctica, for the remaining two. We also spoke to stations on the Outer Banks and British Columbia."

"I think the kids saw some benefit in being able to communicate with each other between homes or while on vacation," said Brady. "Obviously, the few DX contacts were an eye-opener!"

"I set up my dual band mobile rig, using a mag-mount to reach the IRLP node at my home. I had the FT-920 HF rig connected to a 40m hamstick on my car in the parking lot and passed around a VX-5R HT."

Brady said one of his bullet-points was that if there was sufficient interest, he would be happy to instruct a technician-level class in the near future. Their science teacher, Kristen Albone, offered all of her science classes that day for the ham radio demonstration. If there is continued interest, Kristen will also attempt to pass her technician license so that she can act as a moderator for a potential club station. There is obvious benefit to adding amateur radio to their curriculum, if even as a recess/lunch-time hobby.(See picture at the bottom.)

Also check out Dennis Silage's, K3DS, article in the November 04 issue of QST on the use of ham radio at Temple University with an Earth Bound MARS Rover

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 18:21:26 -0400
From: mitch (at) w2msk....
Subject: Here's an IRLP story for consideration


I thought I pass on another testimonial to IRLP. The following "real-life" situation was sent to me thanking me for the use of my IRLP node (4676). Your system is more than just a few amateurs passing the time as this incident details.



From: Joe Sammartino
To: flarc (at)
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 12:14 AM
Subject: [flarc] IRLP supports Clifton HAZ-MAT Incident of 4/21

Joe Sammartino, Deputy Coordinator Office of Emergency Management, Clifton, NJ and FLARC member - N2QOJ:


I wanted to share this experience with you to demonstrate the practical side of IRLP beyond the fun of Voice over Internet contacts with vhf/uhf HT's and mobile radios.

At about 1:30 AM Wednesday morning, while on business in Huntsville Alabama (12:30 AM local time), I received a call from our Clifton OEM Coordinator, Captain Kenneth Snagusky. As I do before every business trip, I had provided him with my travel plans and a plan of action in case the OEM communication Team needed to be activated. His call was to inform me of a serious HAZMAT incident unfolding in Clifton at the Route 46 / Route 3 junction and that he would activate my team.

I also lead the OEM Communications Team which supports any OEM activation. Basically, they needed a response by the Team to activate our OEM Communications Vehicle, bring it to the scene, and stage as directed by the incident commander - in this case, a Deputy Chief of the Clifton FD. The truck is equipped with all City communications and mutual aid radio systems.

This is standard practice for an incident in Clifton that may require a prolonged presence and safe environment to direct ground resources and act a remote dispatch as well. We have two repeaterized Police frequencies, two repeaterized FD frequencies, and two simplex ground FD frequencies in Clifton. At an incident such as this HAZ-MAT scene, usually the secondary fire and police repeater frequencies will be the working frequencies for the units and apparatus involved.

Our OEM Coordinator called my stand-in, Ken Nieglos - WX2KEN, to start the activation. Within 15 minutes of that call, our OEM truck and 5 members of our Team were on the scene, staged, and standing by. Paul, N2SDB - also a FLARC member - , Pat - KC2EWA, Gordon - N2HQE, Frank - K3GDX, and Ken - WX2KEN manned that scene for 5 and 1/2 hours.

What's this got to do with IRLP? While on his way to meet the Team and Truck, Ken called me by cell phone to give me a status of the Team response and an update on the actual HAZ-MAT situation. That's when I got the idea to use IRLP to keep in touch with the Team for regular status and incident updates. I called Paul - N2SDB, who was with the OEM Truck, reminded him of Mitch's (W2MSK) 220 Simplex IRLP link, and asked him to stand by at that link frequency - 223.600. I would find an IRLP capable link close to me in Huntsville, bring up Mitch's node (4676) and call him.

Within the next few minutes, that's exactly what happened. We established the IRLP link using two simplex IRLP nodes - a 2 meter link in Huntsville and Mitch's 220 link in Bergenfield. While HT usage in Clifton was spotty at times, Ken's 220 Alinco Mobile provided clear, reliable, and continuous contact with Mitch's link which in turn kept in contact with me via the Internet and the local IRLP node in Huntsville Alabama. I was using a Kenwood TH-F6A from my 3rd floor hotel room.

I've used IRLP many times before, but this experience was absolutely amazing. While the OEM Team is fully capable without me, I was pleased to be connected with their experience and IRLP made that happen! Sure there are cell phones but this link allowed Paul, Pat, Ken, and Frank to speak with me as they wished. Needless to say, we will investigate creating our own IRLP link to further explore the uses of it with Emergency operations.

Thanks again to Mitch, W2MSK, for providing his link to the public. It worked very well and was much appreciated.


Joe - N2QOJ

Joe Sammartino, N2QOJ - WPWI554 Deputy Coordinator - OEM, Clifton, NJ Clifton OEM Communications Team Leader




Mitch Kosofsky, W2MSK mitch @
IRLP Node #4676

Try an IRLP Contact - You'll like it!!
Submitted by Gary Smith, N7IHZ

There are many things one can do in amateur radio. The round-to-it list a person can build and one step at a time do the things in your round-to-it list could take years and years it seems.

I have had the opportunity over the last few years to remove a few of the things from my round-to-it list due to having achieved them but I believe the list gets longer with each passing day.

My round-to-it list involves family, friends, camping and fishing just to name a few. Oh jeesh! I almost forgot ham radio!

How could I forget ham radio of all things?

Well, one of the things I removed from my round-to-it list a couple of months ago was IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project). Now mind you, I did not remove it from the list because I have totally achieved and learned all there is to know about it. But I have been able to get on and make some pretty darn neat contacts. I still get on the HF rig as well and other modes, but my interest of late has been IRLP.

Now to the neat part of my article.

A few weeks ago while taking a lunch break at work and being in the truck, I made a few contacts in to different nodes and reflectors all over the world. This was on a Tuesday from twelve noon to about one o’clock Utah time.

I told our warehouseman and delivery driver about a contact in to Germany while on IRLP and explained to him how IRLP works.

Mind you I have been after him to get his ham ticket for a long time, but am kind of having my doubts as to his ever doing it. Just not his bag of tea, you know.

So I told him that if we had the time on Wednesday that I would show him how it worked and see whom we may be able to contact. Well

all that was okay with him.

Wednesday rolled around; we had lunch and then went to the rig in the truck.

Great so far. All is going well. The rig works still!

I connect to several nodes and reflectors in the US and some on the other side of the world. You know the part of the earth that is on the other half of the globe.

I make the connects, listen for a minute to see if the node or reflector connected to is busy or not, put out my call sign and a CQ and patiently listen for someone to answer.

Nothing! Wow, is my radio repeating what I am telling it to? Hmm, something must be wrong to have absolute silence after connecting to a half dozen nodes and reflectors.

Jon, K7CO, whose node I was using, was listening to this during the whole time. Jon and I went to the 04 repeater for a bit to discuss this. Well, he ran a check on the system and found all okay. Meanwhile he had brought up the Indiana reflector.

Now what you have to keep in mind here is that my friend who is a non-ham was sitting and listening to all of this as well, I had told him about this neat contact in to Germany Tuesday on IRLP, right? Well now he is sitting beside me in the truck and saying “Gary, are you sure you made that Germany contact yesterday?” I am starting to feel about a foot tall you know what I mean?

I switched back to Jon’s node, listened for a bit, put my call out on the system and immediately got a response!

KL3RH from Anchorage, Alaska, came on. We chatted for a couple of minutes. I found out that his name was Riley. At this time I started to see some excitement coming from my friend Dan. The conversation continues with finding out that Riley used to live in Salt

Lake City worked for Packard Bell and had moved to Anchorage about seven years ago.

Now my friend Dan is really getting excited and I am having a heck of a time figuring out why he is sitting and saying, “Oh my heck” so I start asking him why all the excitement?

Well it so happened that Dan used to work for a catering company that catered food to Packard Bell. Dan made sandwiches and various things for Riley and had not seen or heard from him in seven years since Riley had moved. Wow!

Needless to say Dan was very impressed and so was I in regards to the fact that Dan being a non-ham, had not talked to Riley nor heard from him in seven years, had basically had forgotten him, and Riley just happened to be the one that came on from the Indiana reflector!

Coincidence or what?

Come to find out after the fact, Jon, K7CO, Linda Reeder, N7HVF, and some others know Riley as well.

I wanted to share this with all of you and say, “What a small world after all."

I thank all those that have made IRLP what it is and the great opportunity we hams have to use our HT’s to be able to talk all over the world on the Internet Radio Linking Project.

Gary Smith (N7IHZ)

Kaysville, Utah

Submitted by Michael Taddeo VA6MJT) Node # 1622
October  6, 2003

Good afternoon David.

I would like to take the opportunity to let you know that you have done a wonderful job on putting together the install process of the IRLP. I know you as with everyone have gone through many aches and pains but I can honestly say it was a pleasure to put this together. My kit came in late Thursday night last week. I got home at 4:00pm Friday whence I started the build of my server because it sat there naked unplugged while I debated doing this. Friday at 2pm I went to purchase a new radio for this project. Starting at 4pm I plugged the floppy in and started to boot.

At that point I have never touched IRLP or looked or thought much about it. I am an HF guy mainly CW and will still use HF but needed a change. As a totally newbie to this I started plugging away. I will admit I have computer experience since that is what I do for a living.

Following your user guide to a new install, including building my own cables, I was on my first Reflector 9520 by 9:30pm. I was not able to transmit due to the authentication however I was up and running. I am still playing with audio until I get what I think sounds right. I was told it's fine but I have a couple "usual old things" tweaks to play with. My goal was to get this up as quickly as possible and see how long it took. I was up and running within 6 hours. Your install guide was on time, on target and easy to follow.

Something I wish I did see was in fact the note about authentication via the PGP. I knew about the PGP and worked with Phil years ago when he first started writing the software as I was one of the original founders of the First Public Internet Gateway in Northern Ontario. I could not wait to be authenticated and finally at 1:30pm I had to hit the sack but to no dismay, I was up at 5:15am back on the computer / radio checking to see progress. Dave, it was excellent watching myself get updated along the way. I think I hit about 120 nodes checking to see where I was. I think that was the most fun I have had... yeah call me a geek! I am not sure what my interests will be with IRLP but I think it was fun to setup and look forward to the experiences. I did not want to make this too long winded as I usually do but, GREAT JOB on the install. Your team and yourself have made it as straight forward as possible. I am glad to be part of the project and only hope I get to make contact with yourself at some point. Good work it is a pleasure and very professionally done. Marked a 100% in my books. Got to meet Randy and get the proper cables. Hell of a nice guy and very very helpful. I hope I am able to offer something in return to the project !


Mike (VA6MJT) Node 1622


Submitted by: Gopal Madhavan, VU2GMN - Madras India
November 19, 2002


I was exposed to IRLP in Brisbane Australia where I had gone with the XYL Prasanna (VU2PXN). I obtained reciprocal license within hours of reaching there-VK4DKV and was monitoring the 2-meter nets when I heard DX stations working. I broke in and asked how this was happening and was brought up to date on IRLP.

We were leaving for Melbourne and so was introduced to Tony Langdon, VK3JED, who very kindly arranged to collect me from my hosts and took me to his home for dinner and a treatise on IRLP. I was so impressed that I decided to set up a node here in Madras, India.

Tony again helped me get the hardware from Peter Illmayer .VK2YX -and both of them helped me- a total neophyte with Linux- to set up the system.

I initially worked with a cable connection and just as it started working, the ISP went belly up and I was left in the lurch and all the money spent on a static IP went up in smoke.

The DSL connection which I also had did not support Linux-at least the USB modem that I had and would have involved an upgrade to a Te4 modem which is horrible expensive here.

With no other alternative, I am now using a WIN_XP box to access the internet via the USB modem, and the Linux box is connected via a twisted cable. The only hassle is that I need to keep two systems running to operate IRLP.

The experience has been great and I have been talking to many hams all over the world, some of them rock climbing, cycling or mobile in various forms, on this new exciting mode. Connecting to a reflector and being able to speak with stations from great distances via VHF is simply great!

I am hoping to propagate the mode to other cities in India as soon as possible.

Gopal Madhavan VU2GMN, Madras India


Submitted by: Steve Stearns, AB0KB - IRLP Node 539
September 19, 2002

The following happened in the summer of '02 after I had decided I wanted to bring up a node for local public access in Boulder Colorado but before node 539 was operational. I transcribed it after the fact and apologize in advance for my recollection of the quoted conversation is certainly less than perfect. I was working in my lab listening to an IRLP reflector via the internet. There was not a lot of traffic on the reflector but there was some conversation that all appeared local to either the Raleigh or Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. After a short pause, a new voice comes on calling one of the gentlemen that was recently active. After his call was acknowledged, the new voice, in a thick strong rural Alabama accent says "You boys sound like you are up in North Carolina, is this one of them IRLP repeaters I been hearing about?". After it was explained to him that, indeed, he was on an IRLP repeater that was currently connected to a reflector, our Alabama friend says, "This is amazing.... Here I am in (wherever) Alabama talking all the way to North Carolina on my handy talky. I've got to tell my wife". The excitement in his voice was infectious and, at this point I had stopped working and was just listening with a big smile on my face.

They finished their short conversation and, after a short pause another new voice came on calling for the gentleman in Alabama. He replied with "This is (call sign) Did someone just call ME? The replying voice said yes, and explained that he had just overheard the previous conversation and that he personally wanted to welcome him to IRLP. He then went on to state that he was also using a handheld and that he was in South Africa. Our friend in Alabama replied (in full accent) "I don't Baaalieeeeve thiiiuus! I just GOT to go get my wife......" You could easily tell by his voice that the person in Alabama was becoming totally overwhelmed with excitement (and I was enjoying it so much I had laugh tears in my eyes). Frankly, that short IRLP exchange kept me smiling all day and the smile comes back every time I think about it. I only wish I could fully capture his Alabama accent in the story ...

Submitted by: John, KI4RO - IRLP Node 400
November 20th, 2001

I am one of the fortunate individuals that has access to email while at the office. On Tuesday, 20 Nov 2001 I, like many others, received this note from Chris:

Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 10:34
Subject: [Dx] On the Air - Antarctica KC4/N3SIG

  > I will be on the air this evening starting at
  > 2330-0015 Eastern time.
  > I will have special ham guest Dr. Chris Martin, AD6BZ of
  > the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Look
  > for us on 14.243 USB
  > Thanks
  > Chris Post
  > KC4/N3SIG
  > =====
  > Christopher M. Post Firefighter / EMT
  > United States Antarctic Program McMurdo Station Antarctica

Well I thought it might be interesting to see if I could work Chris from my mobile on the way home. I heard them on 20 meters as I thought I would and gave them a couple of calls from the mobile (a TS-50 and a Valor Pro Am Hamstick on a triple mag mount on a Chevy Cavalier) and Chris answered me. We exchanged reports and then I asked him if I could call him on the IRLP. It took him a couple of minutes to find a 2 meter rig but he finally did and I brought up node 888 via the IRLP on our system( and once again Chris and I exchanged signal reports. It was very exciting for both of us...I know I was thrilled and could tell by Chris's reaction that he thought it was quite a thrill also.

I've been a ham since 1965 and it is really nice to have the excitement of a novice making his first QSO brought back to me from time to time...this definitely was one of those times!

John - KI4RO
NERA System Node #400 in Washington DC

Submitted by: Steve, N2CKH - IRLP Node 404
November 5th, 2001

When I finally decided to take on the creation of open FM repeater based system to server Ocean and Monmouth counties in New Jersey to provide the latest and some unique features that would both be fun for all daily and provide a reliable local/statewide emergency communications link I began researching into linking methods and gave thought to using the internet for linking.

I was pleased to discover IRLP back in March of this year as a viable system that looked to be almost plug and play. The Linux OS was not my daily cup of tea, having used various flavors of Unix both on the job front and at home (anyone remember Mark Williams Coherant ?) and having a copy of Red Hat Linux 4.1 on the shelf it was not ignorant just not up to date nor as comfortable with Linux as I do not work with it all day long on the job. So I hesitated and continued to look at other options.

After a look of research and listening to IRLP via the internet and on another system here in NJ and seeing the number of nodes climb higher and higher I decided IRLP was the best choice for wide area linking over the internet.

I was also pleased to find the IRLP/Linux installation CD-ROM to make the setup of the server (an IBM PC server 325 here) simple and the IRLP board into my repeater system relatively easy as well. I would like to recommend that both PTT and COS on the IRLP both be user jumper switched for low and high active as many repeater controllers need a positive DC level for PTT.

The IRLP connectivity on the system opens many new capabilities to for users to communicate world wide and in the near future will allow other nodes within New Jersey to link one-on-one and to a reflector for county, multi-county or state wide and beyond emergencies. I am totally committed to IRLP for my linking needs and even a reflector here in New Jersey.

Submitted by Peter - VK2YX
April 2nd, 2001

Greetings from Sydney Australia.

My IRLP node was almost 8 months in the making, with so many setbacks along the way, I never thought it would happen. The original plan was to have it in place for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and only yesterday did it become reality. Our local repeater was being linked via "another solution" which caused a very mixed reaction from the users. Our main driver was that we just didnt have the bandwidth to run IRLP. We had lots of false keying and lockups, at the last club meeting I was asked to remove "the other solution" from Service.

Australia is in the process of rolling out Broadband and hence, very limited. Bandwidth is very expensive and where I live, you just cant get broadband. So I bit the bullet and had 128K ISDN installed, sure its not cheap but when it comes to IRLP, I just had to get it. The Redhat IRLP box is sitting behind a Debian Unix box connected to the ISDN, all in a 19 inch rack located in my Study. The XYL is not overly thrilled BUT she does agree that what we're doing in interesting.

Dave VE7LTD had an interesting time installing the IRLP software on my temperamental Redhat box but after 8 hours of me building this box, we had it working. The Link Radio to the local repeater still has some odd problems but we hope to sort that our very shortly.

Just this morning, Dave VE7LTD remotely connected us to REF2 and our local repeater was flat out keeping up with the conversation. Many of the users critical of the "Other Solution" were enjoying the vastly better audio and actually enjoying their QSO's.

I'm committed to IRLP, what a great way to link up repeaters !!!

Lookout for the VK2YX IRLP node on the VK2RBM repeater in Sydney Australia.

Peter Illmayer VK2YX

Submitted by Garry - VE6PNQ
February 22nd, 2001

Hi folks,

Interested in a possible first? IRLP was used for an ARES operation during the Red Deer Train Derailment Evacuation. For more info connect to and read the report about the evacuation. The map will soon be updated with key locations overlaid and yes the IRLP node was inside the mandatory evacuation zone.

If you would like more info contact Red Deer Node operator VE6ONE or myself VE6PNQ.

Garry McCallum VE6PNQ
Central Alberta Radio League.


Submitted by Terry - VE7UP
February 14th, 2001

Greetings from Vanderhoof, B.C.

Hi, my name is Terry Paton VE7UP and I look after the Vanderhoof node VA7RDX of the IRLP system. Our node has been online for about 1 year now (Feb 2001). I first heard of the project from friends in Prince George who had installed their own node. After talking with Dave VE7LTD I decided that this was a project I wanted to take on. Working as a computer tech by day it was not long before I had a Linux box ready to go. With the help from Don Fraser VE7PGR in Prince George who helped with supplying an antenna and radio we were up an running in no time. Aside from a sound card dying the system has run flawlessly. One of the most interesting aspects of the system is it got me thinking about other applications and after talking with Dave we agreed to hire him to work with me in building a voice paging (2 tone Sequential) over IP system. It took us about 4 months but we now have a reliable paging network that covers over 40,000 sq. km. Several professional people have been in the area and have commented on the quality of the system.

Needless to say, having the ability to enter 4 tones on my handheld to speak to other amateurs throughout the world has helped re-ignite the flame of interest in the hobby. I encourage all to get involved with this and other projects to promote amateur radio.

Terry Paton - VE7UP
President - Nechako Radio Club

Submitted by Gene - WA4UKX
February 13th, 2001

We have had a lot of fun with the linking system that is possible via the IRLP network. The local connection is the N4GLB node on 440 and 2 meters in Simpsonville, South Carolina. We have made many new friends via the IRLP. We talk daily with Randy, AH6GR in Maui. During a recent live football game broadcast from Maui we had the link up between AH6GR and N4GLB. As the cameras panned around the game Randy would describe what we were seeing.. his house his office, etc. IRLP has been a lot of fun for all in the upstate SC area. My 12 year old son, KG4LEX, has his first ham contacts via the IRLP network with KB8JXX Alaska, and AH6GR and WH6KO in Maui. My 16 year old son KG4HPW has made similar contacts on a daily basis.

73 Gene WA4UKX

Submitted by John - KI4RO
February 9th, 2001

About two months ago I was making my daily trek into work at about 1500 local time here in Virginia and monitoring the Network Engineers Repeater Association (NERA) system here in the Washington DC metropolitan area when I heard Karen, VE3XCK access our IRLP node. As it turns out Karen teaches second grade and she and her class were working on geography that day. I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with a couple of the young students and answering a few questions about my location and what kind of car I was driving, etc. The real thrill for me though was when Karen indicated that they had to wrap things up and get ready for the bus and she had the entire class bid me 73 in unison.

John - KI4RO

Submitted by Klaus - VE3KR
February 9th, 2001

A friend emailed the irlp web site to me in early November 2000 and said I should take a look at this new internet linking system.

I read all there was on the web page, emailed Dave Cameron on a few questions and put in my order. I also sent off the irlp web address to my friend in the Island of Domincia J73CI, and suggested he may want to give this link a try. I envisioned having a link between his repeater system and mine up here in Toronto Canada. Sounded impossible but ended up to be true.

I had never touched Linux and was a bit leery once I found out that it required a linux computer to operate the software. Anyway I prodded along following Dave Camerons 17 page install manual. Other than having a small setback for a few days trying to figure out a disk partitioning problem, the install went in in about 3/4 of a hour.

I wired the link radio to the irlp interface and it was ready.

On Jan 4th I carried the pc and radio over to my friends place that was to host the pc since he had the high speed internet cable connection. We entered the ip address and did a few other adjustments in the network card and contacted Dave Cameron via email that we were ready for the software install.

As my friend Dave, VE3VSM and I sat on the floor in front of the pc talking, all of a sudden I noticed the harddrive light flashing. Hey, there is something going on in there excitedly I said!

We could not believe it, Dave was already connected and downloading the rest of the software. It took another 15 minutes or so and all of a sudden we heard Dave's voice coming out the the pc speaker saying, CAN YOU HEAR ME!

Wow , it worked.

We were extatic and talked back to Dave on the radio. We were on the air.

Man that was an easy install.

Yes, the "Nature Isle, Dominica" also has their node running as of Jan. 24th and I communicate daily with my friends in the sunny Isle while I am here in Toronto under snow and slush.

IRLP is a great new system that is taking Hams to the forefront of technology and we cannot and should not ignore it's presence.

Klaus Rung VE3KR
Happy owner of two IRLP Nodes.

Submitted by Ralph - N4NEQ
February 9th, 2001

We joined IRLP and haven't looked back. We routinely are connected to other repeaters in the USA and the World. I am in Seattle and Vancouver right now and have used it many times daily to keep in touch with the folks back home in Georgia. Many of our users use it to keep up with transplanted users in other areas, and the nets we have are unbelievable. Much clearer and more responsive than the so called "linked repeater nets" using numerous remote bases, no IDers and hang timers constantly squawking from other repeaters, Just plain QSOs. This past Sunday and Saturday, in honor of several folks being out of their respective normal locations we had an ad-hoc "reflector party". The system was set up in a conference mode and over 7 machines in 3 Countries were tied together all weekend. Many new users were introduced to the system. There is a net every other Sunday night that has 15-25 systems up most times.

The system is so powerful, allowing simple DTMF controlled access to so many systems (50 nodes now- over 75 repeaters) that it is sometimes hard to figure out what time zone the other users are in or that they are even not local. This causes some interesting QSOs- like GA talking at supper time to users driving to breakfast in Hawaii. I can't count the number of local users who have been surprised to hear all the activity and joined in- to find that the person they are talking to is in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, California, Washington DC or even in Europe. For me, it has brought the fun back to Ham Radio!!!

I am always happy to discuss the IRLP or our system with anyone. The URL below will tell you more about our projects.

Ralph Fowler
N4NEQ IRLP Atlanta Node Owner
Big Shanty Repeater Group


Submitted by Paul - V01HC
February 9th, 2001

My most memorable IRLP contact was during January 2001 when I was doing the dad's taxi thing. It was around 5:00 PM local time and I had earlier set my radio to listen to the local IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project) node.

It wasn't long before I heard a station identify on the system, but I didn't quite catch the callsign. Being curious, I put out my call and got a response from a mobile unit in VE7 land and learned that my fellow Amateur was not too far from the coast of British Columbia. It was supper time in Newfoundland and lunch time on the West Coast. Here we were, mobile to mobile, talking from probably the most extreme distance that two Amateurs could talk across Canada, and on VHF at that (of course with more than a little help from the IRLP system).

I have talked further distances on HF but with a LOT more in the way of expensive equipment, large antenna systems, and less than ideal audio many times. The IRLP contact mobile to mobile from coast to coast across Canada via VHF beat this hands down (don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing HF and I would be the last one to say that HF should be done away with in favour of the IRLP system).

As one of the Central Net Controllers on the IRLP system wide net that takes place every other Sunday night, I have talked further distances on the IRLP system, with, I think, Maui being the furthest contact that I have made. I missed the German connection over the Christmas season, but, hey you can't be on all the time.

It's projects like the IRLP that make Amateur Radio what it is, a great hobby. I'm not sure just how many people are involved with our node here, but I know of at least three fellow hams (besides myself) who are directly involved in the operation of the node. My contribution is donating my time every other Sunday night to be Regional Net Controller for our node and once every couple of months being the Central Net Controller.

To Dave Cameron and ALL of his team that have made IRLP a reality, a great big THANKS!

73 de Paul VO1HC


Submitted by Tom - VE7TAJ
February 8th, 2001


Now that is a word that I have used a lot in the last two weeks. I planned a trip to Hawaii last fall and on January 22, 2001, it became a reality when I landed there for the first time in my life. There were many things I wished to see and do and I got around to accomplishing many of those goals.

One of my main reasons for choosing Hawaii as a winter getaway was because there are four IRLP nodes located in the state. I had been actively involved with the Okanagan Radio Emergency Organization (OREO) in helping to make the VE7REE node in Penticton a reality but I really hadn't given the system a really good test up until now. This was my chance as I would be able to use IRLP to contact my friends back home from "overseas". I talked to about 15 Hams back at home in the Okanagan area. We had some very good conversations as I learned about the wintery weather conditions back home as I sunned myself in the 80 degree Fahrenheit climate of Honolulu and the island of Maui.

People might wonder why in the world I would go on vacation to sit and talk an the radio when I could have fun doing other things. I felt that half the fun of the trip was being able to contact my friends while away! To think that I could pick up a handheld radio, putting out 1/2 watt, into a "rubber-duckie" antenna and, with the press of four numbers on the keypad, I could talk to folks thousands of miles away, with the audio sounding as if we were only a short distance apart! Yes, it is certainly possible to do this via HF but it would require more expensive gear, not to mention that it would be harder to pack in a suitcase!

I did have some troubles getting into the Honolulu node in that I could not bring up the system from that end. However, the guys in Penticton and area could connect up to talk to me. The Hams in Maui were very nice to me and encouraged me to use their system. I had some great contacts via IRLP as well as in person with the local Maui Hams.

So there are my views on IRLP. I was very impressed with the system and how it worked for me. Once you see this system used like this, you begin to realize it's potential. It will be very interesting to see it grow as time goes on.

Tom Jacques

Submitted by Randy - AH6GR
February 8th, 2001

I was one of those guys who was into ham radio HF/CW/PACKET etc etc. Had UHF & VHF repeater on the air for years. I got into the computers in the 80s and later the internet when it was not so popular. I remember speaking at one of the local club meetings about the internet and computers saying that the "internet is going to make ham radio die". " All the techie types were going to be attracted to the internet & computers... not ham radio. Ham radio is going to die."

Dave, you have joined the old with the new! When I first was looking into IRLP, I knew this was going to be great and it has been exactly that, GREAT! This is gave our hamming a shot in the arm...bridged the old with the new. (It also MADE me start learning Linux.) HIHI

73 Randy


Submitted by Chris - VE5BAR
February 8th, 2001

After obtaining my license in 1982 my interest in the hobby began to dwindled. In 1997 with the decline of packet radio in our area I didn't see much new on the horizon. I always enjoyed the idea of mixing my interest in Radio with my other hobby, computers.

I was approached in 1999 by Derek VE5SD about helping with a new project called IRLP. It sounded interesting and Derek told me I would just have to help get things started and then I could back out. I agreed as I already had a Linux background and work in Unix for the phone company. I began to correspond with Dave Cameron via Email and prepared a computer for the eventual install. I think we were about the fifth node on line and we were very fortunate to have Dave himself fly in and help get our node running. We had a great time and our first night on line we had a Club barbecue. We had the node on line most of the evening and talked with nodes in B.C. and to Tino in Calgary. Thank goodness Tino had a sense of humor as our excitement to be on system was matched only by the good food and refreshments enjoyed by all. I think we must have called his node four or five times that evening. I must admit, IRLP has drawn me back to the hobby and I am now active on the air once again.

I would like to end with the memories of my walk Christmas evening in Saskatoon taking in all the nicely decorated houses. My wife and I had just left home and I had my handheld on the IRLP link frequency. Bon Germany was coming in just like a local station. It was very late there, and he wanted to sign off and get some sleep. I couldn't resist, I gave him a quick call to pass along Holiday Greetings from Saskatchewan. After a quick exchange I bid him a good morning, and at this moment I realized the real potential of IRLP.

I understand the technology and realize this is a blend of a commercial entity called the internet and our hobby Amateur Radio. The same ethical questions came up when I place an Packet Internet Gateway on the air in 1995. It will never take away the thrill of a H.F contact and figuring out propagation and solar flux readings. I do think it adds a new dimension to our hobby in which our basic goal is to communicate. I look on this as just anther way we can expand our horizons and take our hobby into the 21 Century.

Chris Morgan


Submitted by Tino - VE6SZR
February 7th, 2001

The most recent profound event would have to be my contact with Joachim in Bonn, Germany...I was driving home in the evening during the recent holiday season, and as such, many of the nodes were connected to the reflector so that HAMS could pass along their holiday greetings to others across the continent. As I was mobile, I heard someone announce themselves as a "DL" station and carried on with the German QSO while being astounded with the audio quality....while it was not a bona fide certainly demonstrated the effectiveness of the system to be able to be able to have such a long range contact with virtually no delay, or dropouts of any kind...

The second event which "still puts a grin on my face, even to this day" is when the packet reflector concept became a reality. For the first time, we had (then) six nodes connected all together and it was an absolute "miracle".... the date was August 7, 1999....I remember it vividly because a number of us hams including Dave were in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada..... we were about to launch the Vernon Balloon eXperiment 3 project (VBX-3)...which was a high altitude helium balloon package, loaded with x-band repeater, slow scan transmitter and APRS geo-locating package. It was truly a technology showcase weekend....we used Dave's fledgling reflector network and broadcasted the event live across Canada as if it were a media event. It felt as though we were putting ABC, NBC, and CBS all to shame. :)

Tino - VE6SZR
Calgary, Alberta


Submitted by LLoyd - VE7DLH
February 7th, 2001

Seeing it done!

Your first 'net' was with Regina few years ago when only two 'hams participated, from that beginning the word spread....

Your dream was not unlike Doug Lockhart's taking X25 protocol 20 or so years ago and convincing the world packet radio was a new medium for 'ham radio.

Getting it done!

Submitted by Richard - VY1RW
February 7th, 2001

Whitehorse was the ninth node to join IRLP, and after learning of the IRLP, and several unsuccessful attempts to get IPARN's interest in putting a site in the Yukon, I leapt at the idea, and we had a node up and running within two weeks of first contact... Definitely one of the easiest radio projects I've ever taken part in!! After the node was installed, we were part of the world... It was great! Since the installation, the IRLP node has been adapted to provide a "time signal" and a temperature reading for our repeater network on a "dial on demand" basis, and also on an hourly basis, since none of hour repeaters have the ability to announce anything by themselves. The IRLP node itself has just sat quietly in my addition since it was installed, and other than kernel upgrades, and power outages has run pretty much flawlessly...

My most memorable QSO on IRLP has to be when I was partaking in one of the major sporting events up here... The Klondike International Road Relay. It is a running race that takes place from Skagway Alaska to Whitehorse Yukon in 10 stages. The local amateur radio organization here is responsible for providing both voice and data communications. Anyhow, it's an annual event, and I do radio comms for a number of checkpoints... Last September, I was doing just that... It was about 10AM in the morning, I'd been up for over 24 hours, and was in my camper, and a Hawaii station brought up the Yukon node... So here I was sitting in my camper on the roadside, it was about -3C outside, and I was chatting with a fellow in Hawaii that was driving to work where it was some 20+C... The QSO was as clear as if he'd been standing not 20 feet away on simplex... I tell ya that was soooome hop!!


If you would like to add a story or testimonial to this list, please email it to me.

David Cameron VE7LTD
IRLP System Designer

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