I dipped my toe into amateur voice over IP this weekend using EchoLink to contact a small group of QRPers. Since the system is so new to me the experience was pretty fun. My first contact was in the QRP Conference that meets every Sunday at 0200 UTC. It was just like a conference call. Looking at EchoLink from that limited angle makes it not seem that amazing. Instead of just talking from computer to computer, EchoLink lets you make contacts through repeaters, yes the radio kind, from your computer. The repeaters can be anywhere in the world making it possible to make 2 meter contacts thousands of miles away. The combinations are computer to computer, computer to repeater, and radio to repeater that connects to EchoLink. I only poked around a little but there wasn’t much CW going on there. The EchoLink system is for hams only and if you have set up a Logbook of the World account, getting permission to use the system only takes a few hours to validate your electronic LotW certificate. It was fun and I’m going to check into the QRP conference as frequently as I can.
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