VoIP station operating requirements and etiquette
David McAnally WD5M
This is a list of good operating requirements for any linked radio system, not just IRLP or EchoLink. Failure to follow these requirements could result in your station being blocked from accessing this system or other stations.
- Only transmit to the network while receiving a valid local transmission, preferably only when a valid CTCSS code is received. Noise, squelch tails and other undesired transmissions should be prevented to the extent possible, just like you would do for a repeater or RF/wire line linked system design. CTCSS (PL/DPL) squelch is one method to help do this. VOX and noise only squelch is discouraged.
- Do not transmit repeater Drop-out Delay (hang time) over the network. In a simplex network, everyone on the network must wait for the other station to unkey before others can transmit. Although some stations could support full duplex connections, few VoIP ham stations are configured to support full duplex operation. So, when your local station receiver stops receiving or squelches, your station should immediately stop sending to the network too.
- Do not send pulse transmissions back to the network after a network station stops transmitting. This is called "pulse-back" on IRLP, and IRLP nodes have a test for this. Two or more stations can send pulse transmissions back and forth, and block others on the network. This is often the result of a station with hang time enabled, or a poor squelch or PTT control.
- Do not transmit your automatic repeater ID to the network. Exceptions are allowed when the ID is transmitted simultaneously with a received voice transmission. There is no requirement to send your transmitter ID over the Internet, or over any other linked network.
- Do not transmit courtesy "over" beep tones to the network. Nothing wrong with having them on your repeater transmitter, just don't send them to other systems on the network. This is another condition where two systems with courtesy tones sent back to the network will bounce back and forth with each other, and block access to the link network.
- Do not connect with conferencing enabled on your station. EchoLink stations have a conference option to allow multiple station connections, including other conference enabled stations. This can defeat access control, and sometimes results in unwanted transmissions and other problems from remote stations in the chain of connected stations.
- Please, set your audio levels correctly. Test them regularly on the EchoLink test conference or IRLP echo test conference. DO NOT assume you sound OK because someone told you so. How do you know the remote system has their levels adjusted properly? You should not adjust radios by asking someone if it sounds OK, so don't do it with link audio level adjustments either. When properly adjusted, it should be difficult to detect any difference between a link transmission and a local repeater or radio transmission.
- This is a network of amateur radio stations, so amateur radio rules, regulations and etiquette will apply.
- Pause several seconds between transmissions. Add a second or two, to allow for the slight additional delay that VoIP systems may add to the PTT/COS exchange. Give others a chance to transmit or break in.
- Pause a second, after pressing PTT, before speaking to avoid dropping the first syllable or word over linked systems. This sometimes happens on local transmissions or repeaters too, but may be more pronounced over linked systems.
- Don't beat up on anyone just because they are not meeting these or anyone elses requirements or rules. Kindly explain what is desired and why. We all learn something new everyday, and it is up to us to pass on our knowledge to others in the best manner possible.