"Evolution cannot be stopped!"

a prokariota (bacteria?) in the year b.c. 3 500 000 000th

"If amateur VoIP offends your radio sensibilities, avoid it. If not, a new operating experience awaits.."

Steve Ford, WB8IMY, February, 2003.

NMARK QSO PARTY - World-wide QSO Party for Hungarian speaking ham radio operators

December 25, 2004. - January 25, 2005 Information: on HA0KA's homepage.
Viktor, HA2QE recommends Stan's article to the kind attention of English speaking users of HG2RVD-R and HG2RUB-R

Surfin': Repeaters, Echolink and DX

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU

January 16, 2004

This week, Pete Kemp, KZ1Z, pays a visit to give us some tips for using Echolink when contacting DX stations.

Jonathan Taylor, K1RFD, is the creator of Echolink, which is software that allows Amateur Radio stations to communicate with each other over the Internet using voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology. For example, a ham in Podunk may use an Echolinked 450-Mhz repeater to converse with a ham in Framistan who is using an Echolinked 2-meter repeater. The Internet fills the gap between the two repeaters.

My old friend Pete Kemp, KZ1Z, is a big Echolink fan and has written the following set of tips for getting the most out of Echolink when "working DX."

What it is, and isn't...

Echolink is fast becoming an enjoyable mode for many via linked repeaters. Having a conversation with someone in a foreign country always brings with it a certain fascination. To understand the process a bit better one should understand that these conversations are a blend of the Internet and Amateur Radio. Contacts (QSOs) don't count for anything except fun. You don't QSL a DX contact on a repeater for what is, in essence, an enhanced telephone call with a computer. Imagine the day when certificates are given for Working All Area Codes via telephone modems? Some amateurs may send you an e-mail or QSL to confirm a particularly friendly exchange, but they are off the books for awards.

With the growth of our hobby, there is a large number of licensed amateurs who have never operated on HF frequencies; the procedures on shortwave are a bit different than a local ragchew on the repeater. This can be confusing to some. To assist with this process, here are some helpful hints that may make your conversations go a little more smoothly.

Know Your DX Prefixes: Have a DXCC or ITU call sign assignment list readily available if you are unfamiliar with prefixes. This will help you zero in a bit to start off your conversation. Remember that on Echolink, you're likely to hear prefixes that you would never hear on HF. This is because some countries have a license class equivalent to our Technician (VHF privileges only.) The licensing authority often assigns special prefixes to these operators. For example, many Brazilian stations have a ZZ prefix.

Know the international or standard phonetic alphabet. Cute words are most confusing to others. Saying your name is "Pete, Pizza Every Thursday Evening" will destroy the flow on a conversation, as you have confused, instead of clarified, a response to the other operator. There are other lesser-known alphabets used mostly for domestic contacts. Pete could be Portugal Espana Tango Espana, if conversing with a Spanish speaking station, but in general, it is best to "stick to the standard."

The Echolink web site is the home of K1RFD's software that has added a new dimension to Amateur Radio.

Have a metric conversation chart handy. This helps when describing your QTH as being 60 kilometers northeast of New York City or giving the temperature in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. This always seems so much colder to us.

Time Zones apply to the Internet. Remember that UTC/GMT is the international standard. If you want to meet again, you have to have base to start from. If one operator were to say "I'll work you again at 5" you are in big trouble. Five in the morning or five in the afternoon? His local time or yours? Don't forget the International Dateline, as it is possible to talk to tomorrow.

Speak slowly. While English is taught in the schools of most nations, and is one of the most common languages on HF, it is a second language for most DX stations. This does not mean you speak s-o s-l-o-w-l-y as if you are talking to a 3-year-old. The proper procedure would be to take your time, speaking in an unrushed fashion, clearly pronouncing each word. As an example, The Voice of America (VOA) was well known for their use of "special" English for newscasts. This was done specifically to assist foreign listeners in learning English. To test this theory, have a native English speaker turn on Telemundo or Univision on TV to watch the news. You can pick out a word here and there, but everything seems so fast.

Identify in English. As long as you identify your station's call sign in English, in accordance with the rules, you may try to converse in the other operator's languages. In the true ham spirit of enhancing international good will, try using some phrases in a foreign language. DXers have long known that a friendly "Hello" works wonders. DX operators are always glad to help you out with pronunciation and phrasing. Learning is a life-long process.

Follow the Amateur's Code. As with all Amateur Radio conversations, they should be friendly, informative and enlightening. Stay away from politics and other hot button issues, as they do little to build bridges.

Amateur Radio is a fun hobby/public service because there are so many avenues to pursue. Echolink has proven to be a fun road to travel, offering a fine adjunct to our hobby. Go to the Echolink web site to learn more about the software and download a copy for you.

Until next time, keep on surfin'

Note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, is glad that Mac users can use the Echolink system, too, by means of the Mac OS X application called EchoMac. Visit the EchoMac web site for more information regarding EchoMac. Just don't send e-mails to Stan at to complain about the lack of Echolink software for the Commodore 64.

*** The prefix assigned to the Hungarian Technician (locally called Class "VHF A" with VHF privileges only) licence holders is HG ***
What Features Of Our Hobby Do You Enjoy?

Richard Klotsche (NJ6F) on March 11, 2004


* Echolink - yes it is ham radio. Where else can you work all countries at the SAME TIME? Having a chat with a mobile in the UK and chatting with a VK down under and 2 or 3 guys from the US? now that's how to communicate. Worked all states and worked all countries has a different meaning when you add the words ?at the same time, not just when the propagation is occasionally in. Ham radio can be both, about talking with people direct, via a link, or via a repeater, or it can be via 100% radio, it's about meeting people.