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VoIP Echolink Contacts

Dec 28th 2012, 17:09

N6INMGLENN

Joined: Dec 27th 2012, 15:58
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Hi All,

Question does Echolink contacts or ILRP count for any ARRL Awards if you get a QSL card or wish to exchange cards though that mode? Is there a VoIP DXCC award of any type?

Some HAMs have argued Echolink or VoIP is not Ham Radio and will not recognize it as a mode of communications? What is ARRL's and other licensees thoughts with respect to this issue?

73's Glenn N6INM/9 Mundelein, IL
Dec 29th 2012, 18:35

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Hi Glenn. I very much doubt that Echolink or Voip contacts would be allowed to qualified for awards. My opinion is that contacts that don't go over the air at some point are not radio. I do not use Echolink or Voip, but I do not object to others using them. It is up to the ARRL to determin the requirements for awards, including what type of contacts may be used.

I think what some Hams object to is that IRLP and Echolink can be used to make contacts from one computer to another computer via the internet with no radio involved.
Dec 30th 2012, 12:58

N6INMGLENN

Joined: Dec 27th 2012, 15:58
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Total Posts: 0
Hi....yes totally understand about not go over the air but the ARRL and hams that are adamant about the airway issue is the fact that the bands are not improving and experts have claimed we won't see the high sunspot numbers probably again in 20 plus years or more. Maybe ARRL needs to drop the third letter R for Relay in their name because they are focused for awards over the air only. Echolink and ILRP does not get the credit it deserves and should be given some kind of award for such. Not only is this not keeping the pace of technology, it is a narrow focus with innovation and new "modes" to communicate in the 21st Century. HF is only one mode and not entirely reliable especially for the small operator who can not put up large antennas etc and can't compete with the bigger stations. Nothing more frustrating when a rare DX station calls and the little guy gets stomped on my someone with a 1KW Linear and a Mono Bander and drowns out the small operator. Also when you put things in perspective, the ionosphere is a relay or a natural repeater made by "mother nature" you might say that refracts your signal to the destination station so in actuality your transmission is being assisted by the ionosphere and when band conditions change or diminish, there is a communication loss. The internet carries a VoIP signal as well.not like the ionosphere but is is a transportation mechanism like the various layers of the ionosphere using the Networking OSI model.. The ARRL should not be the sole source to say what is and what isn't when it comes to Echolink and VoIP. and the internet. It must be a recognize source of communication as many more are using it today as opposed to HF. And it is....but its the old timers out there who refuse to step into the 21st Century and are the road block to allow the same recognition for Echo link and VoIP gets. If not then ARRL needs to change its name from ARRL (American Radio Relay League) to American Amateur Radio League and leave the "Relay" out of the name since Relaying or remoting is not recognized for awards or the recognition it deserves. We are in the internet age of technology and we all must step into the 21st century to enhance innovation and the art of Amateur Communications 73's
Dec 31st 2012, 00:40

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Yes, the "Relay" aspect of ARRL is largely obsolete for most of us. (But note there still is a National Traffic System, which is definitely a Relay operation.) We use Relay in our name because that's an important part of our history, from 1914 onward.

I can't speak for the ARRL awards program, but it seems obvious to me that a DXCC award (for example) that included EchoLink or IRLP QSOs would be very different from the traditional (mostly HF) award. The awards are supposed to reflect a high degree of operating skill, persistence, etc. You could have a DXCC based on phone calls (or texts or e-mails!) to hams around the world, but would you want that? Internet tunneled QSOs are "easy" in the sense that propagation and skill are not so much part of the process. If there were an award for Internet QSO activity, it ought to have the same level of difficulty as WAS or DXCC and it should not be a shortcut to the traditional awards.

I agree that the world is changing. New modes are coming along rapidly, and hams have a lot more operating choices. The old modes are still very lively, however, even when sunspots are at minimum. If you think ham radio has outgrown radio, you might have a point technically, but I don't think most hams would agree.

73 & Happy New Year
Martin AA6E
Jan 1st 2013, 02:46

N6INMGLENN

Joined: Dec 27th 2012, 15:58
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Hi Martin...Although the "Relay" aspect of ARRL is largely obsolete for most of us. but yes the National Traffic System, which is definitely a Relay operation is one entity that does not justify the continuing use of Relay in my opinion when the fact remains the internet is taking over how we communicate today as a society .) Although Relay is in our name because that's an important part of our history, from 1914 history needs to be aligned with today's technology.

If the awards are supposed to reflect a high degree of operating skill, persistence, etc.really what skill is needed when you have stacked mono banders with a 1KW linear and being able to work anyone you want to when the little guy gets stomped on because some operators never allow the small guy to work a rare station then add antenna restrictions and politics you have the operator with a dipole in their attic at a disadvantage. What kind of skill is it when the big stations drown you out in a pile up? Lets face it propagation will never be what it was when one could work the world on a "coat hanger" with 10 watts or less.. Internet tunneled QSOs are "easy" but I have to disagree that there is real skill involved when we are at the mercy of propagation..propagation is based on the sunspot number, A-index and K-index...It has nothing to do with skill. Propagation is good when there is a high SFI and a Low A index and K index anyone can work the world practically anywhere knowing that 20 meters is a night band in the summer and 15 and 10 are good for the winter like 40 meters at night for the winter. It doesn't take a lot of skill to know that and skill are not so much part of the process when you are at the mercy of the sunspot cycle.

Yes the world is changing. And as you said new modes are coming along rapidly, and hams have a lot more operating choices. The old modes are still very lively, however, even when sunspots are at minimum only the big operators with the biggest antennas and power get through which frustrates many hams..I have met many I think HF is one mode of Ham comms and still has its place but there is innovation and new challenges that bring out the smartest and brightest technical experts to enhance our reach back capability that does not necessarily compete with the traditions but complement one another...HF and HF Remoting as an example..The hams that won't agree are those who refuse to step into the 21st Century.and not wish to take the time to understand technology as it would not necessarily take away the spirit of HF Comms because most of us enjoy HF. But take that and think of ways to extend the HF reachback capability to enhance its coverage (through HF remoting as an example) when we are facing a low sunspot cycle that will never be what it was in the past..Good Points made Martin and hopefully we will see some change here..73's and Happy New Year to you too
Jan 2nd 2013, 15:03

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0

I used to think that working DX was mostly luck as a kid, but maybe there is a lot of skill to it as well. My wife wanted a display of the American Flag, so I put up a 20 ft flagpole in front of my house--it is arguably what many hams can now put up, courtesy of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2006. It specifically addresses HOAs and Condominiums.

I've been able to work all continents with 5 watts on both CW, and, more recently, with the JT65 digital mode. As you point out, sure, I do get stomped on by bigger stations, but part of the skill is knowing when you won't get stomped on and making the contact. I do find it much easier to work rare DX on CW than JT65.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer
Jan 2nd 2013, 15:47

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Thought for the day: The Internet, being a packet-switched collection of local networks, is much more of a "Relay" operation than ham radio ever was.

Yes, you can "buy" your DXCC with high power equipment and big antennas. Life is like that. No one may ever know if you get the award with moderate power, in a noisy location, with small antennas, or at solar minimum. We do some of these things for personal satisfaction.

If you want strokes, you could try what I did recently. I announced to my Facebook friends that I just worked a new country. They oohed and aahed, amazed that anyone does that sort of thing. :-)

73 Martin AA6E
Feb 28th 2013, 15:36

KD8OSD

Joined: Aug 19th 2011, 00:38
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Total Posts: 0
How much "skill" is involved with dialing up a contact on the internet like a phone call?
I have a very modest station here, run 100 watts into either an inverted vee or a homebrew vertical.
Just recently received my WAS basic and WAS Digital awards, earned but not applied for yet my DXCC Basic and Phone awards.

I too have trouble busting pileups, but I still do it! Even with 100 watts or less. Even broke a mild pileup with 5 watts into Belgium....the skill is knowing when to call.

Echolink and IRLP have their places, I use Echolink from time to time as well but in no way do I think it or IRLP should be considered for awards. Just absolutely no skill involved in making contacts.

My 2 cents.

KD8OSD

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