Linking the Internet to Ham radio





Ian Abel G3ZHI,

52 Hollytree Ave Maltby Rotherham Yorkshire S66 8DY


Tel: (01709) 799911 Packet: g3zhi@gb7wrg email: [email protected]




November 1999





1999 presents a timely opportunity to move amateur radio forward by a leap.

A change to the regulations would allow amateur radio to present a high tech face.

This facility will be especially useful for novices.

By allowing linking to the Internet in the UK, for ham radio traffic, for voice and data (packet), opens up world-wide communication for both. Data is already connected to the Internet for packet radio, so hams world-wide can sit in their shacks and chat to other hams on the keys.

The Internet is now a part of all our lives and that impact is growing, no more so than in the amateur radio community. It is vital therefore, that hams should be able to exploit the Internet to the full.

The dti Communications and Information Industries Directorate have said such operation is covered by existing regulations on the telecommunications side.

No direct connection is made between the radio equipment and the telephone line. The link is made via the ‘type approved’ modem in the computer.

How it works

There are two basic methods of using the Internet for ham radio links.

Keyboard chat

Keyboard chat using ‘telnet’ and ‘gateways’ for packet radio, which are connected to the telnet ham radio chat link serves. This gives hams the opportunity to chat to other hams around the world who are connected to the chat link by either RF, using conventional packet radio, or if they are on the Internet via amprnet gateways. A list of these gateways can be found at .

To join telnet chat open up ‘telnet’, which is the root directory of windows. From the drop down menu chose ‘connect’, at the ‘join’ prompt type in e.g. ‘’ (this amprnet gatway is in Athens Greece) login using your callsign and a password (your name).At the prompt type ‘conv’ and you are connected to the world wide chat server. If you type ‘/who’ it will list all stations around the world that are connected. ‘/help’ gives you the helpfile.

Instead of typing ‘conv’ at the prompt if you type ‘t’ you telnet into the BBC amprnet gateway in London. Once connected type ‘n’ and it will give you a list of world-wide and UK nodes that it can reach. Some UK Universities also offer amprnet links.



Voice chat using Iphone - Internet phone

An example of a voice repeater link could be a UHF repeater in Worksop GB3DS

linked up with the UHF KH6HKL repeater in Hawaii. A ham walking in Worksop and using a handheld putting out a CQ call on GB3DS would also be heard calling CQ in Hawaii on KH6HKL any ham in Hawaii using KH6HKL putting out a CQ call would be heard on GB3DS.

Before making such links you would first have to obtain the approval of both repeater keepers and the link would be made available as and when agreed and appropriate.

The repeater link need not necessarily be with a repeater overseas, the link could be made between any two repeaters in the UK.

The link could also be used on a local VHF/UHF simplex frequency. This could mean a ham who was connected to the Internet, could have a local ham call him, on a 2m simplex frequency and via the Internet link patch him through to another ham on Iphone or patch him to a repeater that was on Iphone.

The Internet link is all about facilitating communication around the world, for hams to be able to talk to each other and to explore new technology.

Iphone can be downloaded to try free from Version 4.5. (5mb) is best and easier to use than version 5.

After installing the program join the ‘ham radio’ room (you can remove the default ‘general’ chat) a list appears of all the ham stations around the world that are in the room at that time. Ham stations come and go staying as long as they wish, although some repeater stations in the room stay connected for long periods.

To make a contact click on the ham callsign you want to talk to.

If you talk ‘ham to ham’ you are not going out ‘on the air’, you are just talking on the Internet. However, if the ham you are talking to put you ‘on the air’ at his end you could talk to another ham over the air. You could also do the same at your end and allow the ham you are talking to chat to another ham at your end. Some USA hams offer 2m or 70cm ‘gateways’ so local hams in their area can talk to hams via the Internet.

If you connect to a repeater then you are transmitting on 2m or 70cm depending what frequency repeater is on. You connect to the repeater and put out a call and announce that you were listening for any calls. As the TX/RX PTT works on VOX, when you stop talking the repeater changes from TX to RX, so if anyone answers you hear them reply.





It is very important from the start that controls are in place that address the issue of possible abuse.

1. The gateway link for Iphone would only be available on a repeater after first obtaining the permission of the repeater keeper.

2 The link would be used mainly on repeaters that are little used

3 The link would not be a permanent 24 hour connection. The link would be made available by local hams as and when they happen to be on the Internet and if they wished to put the link on. The link would be available for a few hours. Any ham could provide the gateway if they wished. This could be policed by having to apply for an nov. The link could be made to any other ham repeater anywhere in the world that was on the internet at that time or to another individual ham who was on the Internet.

4 The link would have to be monitored all the time it was available by the person providing it and it would have to be severed instantly if there was any abuse.




The aim of the project is to exploit the latest technology. It is cutting edge. It allows hams to talk to each other who otherwise would not be able to do so. A ham contact is not always about just getting through using by radio. For example you could use the link to make a sked for a cw contact, on a certain band and if you failed to get through, use the link to chat about trying another frequency or band or time, as the Internet link is not affected by propagation.


It would be misguided to playoff one skill against the other i.e. radio v computers.

The future lies in hams having skills in both. For those who wish to stick to the traditional skills of amateur radio, e.g. low power cw, Internet linking does not stop them pursing that and there is every opportunity for them to do so. However, as always, it is often the new and new technology that drives hams and our rules need changing so today’s hams are able to do that.

By permitting new technology it makes it easier to sell the hobby to the next generation of hams who will be tomorrow’s Electronic, Computer and Communications Engineers as it nicely brings together two skills, amateur radio and computers, both of which are required to make it all work.

Linking presents opportunities for home built control circuits and software challenges.

If you require any further information or have any questions please contact me.





Example of Internet telnet gateway : n7vmr

KA9Q NOS - KO4KS-TNOS/Unix v2.30/ELF (


Please use your amateur radio call sign to log in,

and your name for a password.

login: g3zhi

Password: ian


Welcome g3zhi, to the TCP/IP BBS (KO4KS-TNOS/Unix v2.30/ELF)

This copy of TNOS is unregistered

Last on the BBS: Sat May 22 02:44:07 1999

You are the only user currently on the BBS

You have unread messages, in the following message areas:

allus aprs ares arrl dx info misc navnet packet pnw radio

sale space trade want world yaesu yl

Quote of the Day:

Welcome to the N7VMR-1 Gateway in Billings, MT.

For help, type '?'

MTBLGW:N7VMR-1 Area: 'g3zhi' Current msg# 0 of 0.



*** TNOS Conference @ Montana Type /HELP for help.

*** There are 155 users online

*** There are 60 groups available

*** g3zhi signed on at 02:54.

*** Now on Channel 0 (19 users).

Welcome to N7VMR Converse Server.








If you are using packet radio first connect to your local node type ‘n’ for nodes and look for the word conv (e.g.dbconv) in the node list, connecting to that node connects you to the same chat system the Internet is connected to.

Example of packet radio node in Worksop

Welcome to Node WKSOP:G0WTK-3 located in Worksop, North Notts., IO93kh.

Type I for information, or ? for a list of available commands.

The BBS command connects you to GB7NND.

The DX command connects you to GB7YDX.

WKSOP:G0WTK-3} Nodes:









c dbconv

WKSOP:G0WTK-3} Connected to DBCONV:M1ATV-8


Telnet help file


/? Prints a short summary of the available commands

/Accept Accept an invitation or page

/ACTion text Write 'text' action to channel

/BEep ON|Off Turn sounds (bell characters) on or off

/BELL ON|OFf Turn sounds (bell characters) on or off

/Bye Terminate the convers session

/CAll callsign Displays callbook information for 'callsign'

/Channel n Switch to channel n

/COlor [on|off] Turns ANSI color graphics on or off (or displays setting)

/CQ [text] Send a CQ to all users

/CStat Conference status - links and destinations display

/CUt Simulates the cutting of a card deck/displays selection

/Destinations List reachable hosts

/EXClude user text Send 'text' to all on channel except 'user'

/Exit Terminate the convers session

/Groups List all available groups and nets

/Help Prints this help information

/HOsts List reachable hosts

/IMsg user text Send 'text' to all on channel except 'user'

/Invite user [msg] Invite a user to join your channel (and send message)

/IWrite user text Send 'text' to all on channel except 'user'

/Join groupname Join (or create) a group named 'groupname'

/Links [LONG] List all connections to other hosts

/LISt List all channels and topics

/ME text Write 'text' action to channel

/Msg user text... Send a private message to user

/Net subcommand Net functions (type "/help net" for a subcommand listing)

/NEWs Prints out the current Conference Bridge 'news'

/NIckname name Set the name you will be identified by

/NONickname Reset nickname to your username

/NOPassword Clear out your current password

/NOTe info Allows you to specify some personal info about yourself

/Page user [msg] Page a user to join your channel (and send message)

/PASsword pwd Set your current password

/PErsonal info Allows you to specify some personal info about yourself

/Quit Termin/ate the convers session

/QUOte Sends host's Quote-of-the-day to the current channel

/Realname [user] List nicknames and realnames of users

/ROll Simulates the rolling of two dice/dlisplays selection

/Send user text... Send a private message to user

/SMiley Displays a random 'smiley' and the meaning of that smiley

/SOunds ON|OFf Turn sounds (bell characters) on or off


Ysinfo [host] Requests information about a specific host site

/Time Sends host's current time to all on the current channel

/Uptime How long has this Conference Bridge been up ?

/USers [NORMAL] List all users and their channel numbers

/Version Show version information

/Who [NORMAL] List all users and their channel numbers

/WHOIs [user] Gives complete information about a user

/WRite user text... Send a private message to user

















Example of telnet channels list 1.11.99 from Athens telnet server

Channel Users

0 vk4laj vk3tjs rv3dhc g3zhi vk7zoa iz4brc dl2jf ta2fd dg9mfq

dl2vfl dd8sp oe4vfb g0wfs ik8vrn da1rs vk3aqu af4id dg2yic


1 da1rs

11 Caterham Radio Group Chat Channel




36 da1rs

50 ****** 50 Mhz DX CHANNEL ******

on1dib ea7kw

68 Were all going to Friedrichshafen to buy things ..


73 LATEST-IS-2.3.2

vk3ave pa3ewk pa3ewk

75 [C*] ANTRAK - Ankara Radio Amateurs'Club - TURKIYE [C*]


88 *** DL6FDG / Mysteriously missing :(


90 I.N.Y.A. - International Net of Young Amateurs -I.N.Y.A.


99 ***((( bem vindo ao canal luso portugues em toronto )))***


107 >>> DXTelnet Chat Channel <<<

dd0vf vk2np dl5ct dl3dxx g4tvr hb9bsg ik4vyx dl3sdp dx-robot


108 pd0dfq

129 Bring Back the Toading Stick (tm)

g6phf g0ylm g6crv g7pun

130 vk3ave

131 What .. No topic!!!

ve3jlk g6kmq g4tvr

136 vk3yb vk3jbh vk3ave

137 --=*> Dutch Speaking People All Over The World <*=--

pa3gcu wp2b-1 wp2b-2 pd0mdk

139 Linux-hams OH - either about Linux, or in finnish. No CQing ple

vk3ave oh1mma oh7lzb-w oh2bns oh2njr oh2kku

140 Default Växjö login channel

sm7gvf oh1mma sm7tzf

154 >>>>>>>>>> GREEK CAFE and SOUVLAKI NET <<<<<<<<<<

sv1enm sv1hr sv1aaw

165 =====> POLISH WORLD CHANNEL <=====

sq6gsz vk4mao




174 [<0>] Brazilian Channel ** Canal Brasileiro [<0>]

pp5blu pp5cg

252 *** CERTA CITO ***

g0wfs g4sgd g3rkn vk2pp

500 vk3ave

888 da1rs

900 REPEATER SSTV 2134 dj0im@casablanca

911 Cape Cod Login channel - POPins' happen here ! ...


912 Cape Cod - Land of Sun, Sand, Surf Fishing, and soon Bikinis ..



g0vqm nl7ww 9a4ag

1270 Chicagoland Channel






4424 Western Washington TCP/IP users; net: 44.24.x.x


4791 on1dib





9000 DXCluster SysOps/Users Channel

sm7gvf vk3ave pa3ezl pe1nmb wu3v g0vgs dk8lv pp5blu pe0mar

9001 dxc->cvs gw (All Spots)

ok2bql ik4vyx dxc

9002 dxc->cvs dxc

9003 dxc->cvs gw (Spots from Asia)


9004 dxc->cvs gw (Spots from North America)


9005 dxc->cvs gw (Spots from South America))












A small sample of some Telnet gateways



# non AMPRNet device

= currently offline/offair

* non-telnet accessible TheNet/NETROM network node

WW:Work All States


AP APRS-to-Internet

CL Callbook

CO Convers

DA Individual amateur station operating as a DXCluster server

DB Database

DC DXCluster

EQ Earthquake


GA Games including Multi-User-Dungeons (MUD)

TD Time of day

WW World Wide Web telnet access

WX Weather

INTERNET ADDRESS: DOMAIN NAME: WW:SERVICE AREA: XX:ST:CO: 3600 Athens CO GR Athens GR 9000 Athens DC GR Athens GR Athens GR linux. Athens GR Rhodes GR Rhodes GR Rhodes GR Rhodes GR Dublin IE Pecs HU Zalaegerszeg HU Santiago CL Kuils-river WP ZA Kuils-river WP ZA Kuils-river WP ZA

November 1999

Tampa Bay Amateur Television Society

Internet Repeater Links


The HUB repeater contains a special audio interface to a computer that has full time access to the Internet. We are capable of linking the system to other repeaters and repeater users via the Internet using either WebPhone or the combination of Internet Phone and RptrLink. WebPhone and Internet Phone are software programs that allow computer users to converse with each other in real-time and in full-duplex just like the telephone. RptrLink works with Internet Phone and provides a secure "firewall" for unattended operations by communicating with the remote repeater user before the Internet Phone call is accepted and the user is connected to the repeater. The repeater user must provide an amateur callsign that is validated using either the database of users that have downloaded the software or one of the popular internet callsign servers like UALR, QRZ, or Buckmaster. For an updated list of validated RptrLink users, click here.

WebPhone is a stand-alone product that does not work with any other software. Access by licensed amateurs requires that they be pre-approved and added to a directory of authorized callers, whereas RptrLink will approve licensed amateurs immediately when they call. Licensed amateurs may request access to the system by completing a brief on-line form. The user's information will be verified and added to the authorized caller directory, usually within 24 hours. Before access is granted, the user must install and activate their WebPhone software so that the trustee can locate the user on the Netspeak servers. Be sure to enter "Ham Radio" as your organization.

To connect to our repeater system in Tampa Bay using WebPhone, perform an Information Search of on-line users by entering "ham" in the organization field and clicking "Search". If we are on-line, you will see an entry like "K4LK / R (Call IP". To connect, enter the IP address shown in our on-line entry into the call address. For version 3.1, there is a ">" in the window. For version 4.02, there is a call box. Hit "ENTER" to connect. Until Netspeak gets there act together with proxy servers and firewalls, this is the only way to connect, since my WebPhone is reporting an incorrect IP address to the Netspeak connection server.

For the latest fun in Internet Phone, visit the following web pages that contain links to amateur-radio-related Internet Phone conference rooms: W7KPW, KP9PZA, and KA4TAR.

There is an article in the September 1996 issue of Radio and Communications by Thomas Sundstrom, W2XQ and an article in the December 1996 issue of QST written by Jim Millner, WB2REM that describes how it all works and describes interfaces for the PC and transceiver.

We provide dual internet repeater links that are online continuously (barring computer crashes, power failures, dumps from our Internet Service Provider and other evil acts). When a remote user connects to the system, they appear on the voice repeaters just like any other user. All remote bases are available to the Internet repeater user and remote control capability will be added which will allow the Internet user to also control the repeater.

The interface between the internet link computers and the HUB repeater is a direct audio connection. A courtesy tone is generated to alert local repeater users of the internet connection. This courtesy tone may or may not be enabled at the time a user connects. It is disabled when linking to other repeaters. Therefore, when the remote user connects to the system, there is no repeater squelch tail generated as on other systems.

The repeater system is equipped with a 10-meter repeater and an HF remote base. If a band opening occurs on the lower bands, that activity takes priority over the internet link due to the brevity of most band openings and the fact that an internet user can connect at any time. If the link is disconnected, then please connect again later. Most amateurs on 10-meters do not understand the longer delays between exchanges. Thanks for your understanding.

The internet link is disconnected from the repeaters during playback of special services. See our SPECIAL SERVICES page for more information.

Configuring the Software

Refer to the WebPhone, Internet Phone and RptrLink pages to obtain the software.

To setup Internet Phone, version 4.0 or later: Select "Options" from the "View" menu, click "General", then "Bandwidth", and make sure "Use Lowest Bandwidth Possible" is unchecked. Click "Apply". Next, click "User", then enter all your personal information in the boxes provided. Most amateurs are entering their callsigns in the "Nickname" box. Click "OK". Under the "Audio" menu, uncheck "Full Duplex" since we're all used to communicating half duplex. If you're setting up a simplex or repeater link, under the "Phone" menu, turn OFF "Auto Answer". This is very important because RptrLink answers the internet call once it is satisfied that a licensed amateur is calling.

To setup RptrLink, enter your callsign, replacing the "UNKNOWN". In versions 4.38 or earlier, click the "Configure" tab, then the "CallSign" tab, and enter your callsign in the "Local CallSign" box. In RptrLink 5.x.x, select the "Callsign" item under the "Configure" menu, enter your callsign in the dialog box replacing "UNKNOWN", then click "OK". Remember, enter your callsign ONLY in the dialog without any suffixes. After connecting to the IPhone server and joining the "Ham Radio RptrLink" chat room, connect to either of the nicknames "K4LK-R" or "KD4KSI-R". Incidentally, RptrLink will join the proper chat room (or topic) once it is running.

To setup WebPhone, first install the software, then activate it. Enter "Ham Radio" in the Organization field of your personal information so we can find you on the server. Most hams are putting their callsign in the "Alias" field. Don't forget to request access to the system by completing a brief on-line form. The user's information will be verified and added to the authorized caller directory, usually within 24 hours.

Hardware Interfacing

For amateurs that wish to try their own internet links to a simple frequency or a repeater, you'll need a IBM compatible computer running Windoze 3.1 or newer and a transceiver on the frequency band desired. There are four versions of Internet Phone and one WebPhone available. For a list of features and computer hardware requirements, click here (Iphone 3.2 for Windoze 3.1.x), or here (Iphone 4.0 for Windoze 95), or here (Iphone 4.5 with Video for Windoze 95), or here (Iphone 5.0 with Video for Windoze 95), or here (WebPhone 3.1). To interface the PC and transceiver, connect the received audio from the transceiver to the PC sound input and connect the PC sound output to the transceiver transmit audio input. A circuit is needed that will detect audio activity on the PC sound output and key the transceiver. It will need some hang time before it unkeys to avoid dropouts between spoken syllables. We have designed a VOX detect circuit for use in one of our repeaters and have adapted it for use with repeater linking. Refer to the schematic diagram for circuit details.

Packet TNC Instructions to the Internet User

An AEA PK-232MBX data controller is connected to an FM transceiver tuned to 145.63 MHz simplex. A 1200 baud ROSE switch and packet to internet gateway are available on this frequency and have been provided by Jim, KD4KSI and Steve, K4KSA. The PK-232MBX's MYCALL is changed to the callsign of the remote user upon initial connection. The user has complete control of the PK-232MBX. Enter standard TAPR TNC commands into RptrLink. In versions 4.38 or earlier, click the "SEND TO" tab, click the "TNC" and "Remote" buttons, click in the box and enter commands followed by the Enter key. In RptrLink Light, click the "TNC" tab, click in the box and enter command strings followed by the Enter key. In RptrLink 32, click the "TEXT" tab, uncheck the "Local" checkbox (if you have one), click in the box and enter command strings followed by the Enter key. Check the "Local" checkbox if you wish to control your own TNC.

Enter the following strings to access the listed resources:

C CHAT to access the worldwide keyboarder chat area

C KD4KSI-9 to access the ROSE stack

C HEARD V KD4KSI-9,813595 to view the ROSE switch "heard" list

C W4DPH V KD4KSI-9,813008 to access the W4DPH packet BBS

C KO4KS V KD4KSI-9,813007 to access the KO4KS packet BBS

The FM transceiver is occasionally tuned to 145.79 MHz, the national APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) frequency.

The packet TNC is available on an intermittent basis due to it's limited usefullness.

Last update: 1 February 1999[Back]


RptrLink - Repeater Link

RptrLink - Radio and Communications Article

By Thomas Sundstrom, W2XQ












If you have comments or suggestions, email us at

RptrLink (Mark,N9YNQ) [email protected]

RepeaterLink, RptrLink, RptrLk32, RptrLt32, RptrLink98 are Copyright © 1996, 1997 Mark E. Brown, N9YNQ. All rights reserved. All other products mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.

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Last modified: Wednesday January 21, 1998.