Echolink: Connecting Ham Radios via the Internet

Echolink is a revolutionary system that combines traditional ham radio communication with the power of the internet. It allows licensed amateur radio operators to communicate with each other using their radios, computers, or smartphones, regardless of geographical location. This guide explores the features of Echolink, its benefits, and how to get started with this innovative platform.

What is Echolink?

Echolink is a software application that enables licensed amateur radio operators to connect with other operators around the world via the internet. It integrates Voice over IP (VoIP) technology with amateur radio, allowing seamless communication between radio stations and internet-connected devices.

How It Works

Echolink nodes (stations) can be linked to repeaters, simplex nodes, or individual computers and smartphones. When a transmission is made, the audio is converted to digital data, sent over the internet to the remote node, and then converted back to audio for transmission over the air or playback on the receiving device.

Benefits of Echolink

Global Communication

  • Worldwide Reach: Communicate with other hams globally without the limitations of propagation conditions.
  • Extended Repeater Coverage: Link repeaters from different regions, extending their range significantly.


  • Multiple Platforms: Use Echolink on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
  • Ease of Use: Simple setup and operation make it accessible to both beginners and experienced operators.

Emergency Communication

  • Reliable Backup: Provides an alternative communication method during emergencies when traditional radio propagation may be unreliable.
  • Integration with Repeaters: Easily integrate with local repeaters for enhanced emergency communication capabilities.

Getting Started with Echolink


  • License Verification: Only licensed amateur radio operators can use Echolink. Verification of your license is required.
  • Computer or Mobile Device: Echolink software is available for various devices.
  • Internet Connection: A stable internet connection is necessary for seamless communication.

Setting Up Echolink on a Computer

  1. Download the Software: Visit the Echolink website and download the software for your operating system.
  2. Install the Software: Follow the installation instructions provided.
  3. License Verification: Submit a copy of your amateur radio license for verification. This can usually be done via email or online form.
  4. Configure Audio Settings: Set up your microphone and speakers or headset for optimal audio quality.
  5. Connect: Use the software to connect to Echolink nodes, repeaters, or individual stations.

Setting Up Echolink on a Mobile Device

  1. Download the App: Find and download the Echolink app from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).
  2. Install the App: Follow the installation instructions.
  3. License Verification: Complete the verification process if you haven’t done so already.
  4. Configure Audio Settings: Adjust audio settings for clear communication.
  5. Connect: Use the app to connect to Echolink nodes, repeaters, or individual stations.

Using Echolink

Finding Nodes and Repeaters

  • Node Directory: Use the Echolink software or app to browse the directory of available nodes and repeaters.
  • Search: Enter the call sign, node number, or location to find specific nodes.
  • Favorites: Save frequently used nodes and repeaters for easy access.

Making a Contact

  1. Connect to a Node: Select a node or repeater from the directory and connect.
  2. Listen First: Listen for ongoing conversations to avoid interrupting.
  3. Call CQ: If the frequency is clear, call CQ or respond to an ongoing conversation.
    • Example: “CQ, CQ, CQ, this is [Your Call Sign] calling CQ and standing by.”
  4. Exchange Information: Engage in a QSO, exchanging call signs, signal reports, and other relevant information.

Using Echolink Features

  • Text Chat: Use the built-in text chat feature to send messages to other operators.
  • Conference Mode: Join or create conferences to communicate with multiple stations simultaneously.
  • Recording: Some nodes support recording of QSOs for later playback.

Advanced Echolink Features

Linking Repeaters

  • Sysop Mode: Operators with repeaters can set up Echolink nodes to link their repeaters to the Echolink network.
  • Remote Control: Use DTMF tones to control repeater linking and unlinking.

Integration with Digital Modes

  • Digital Voice: Some Echolink nodes support digital voice modes, providing enhanced audio quality.
  • Remote Base: Control remote base stations via Echolink for extended operating capabilities.

Security and Etiquette

Security Measures

  • License Verification: Ensures only licensed operators can access the system.
  • Access Control: Node operators can set access controls to manage who can connect to their nodes.

Operating Etiquette

  • Listen First: Always listen before transmitting to ensure the frequency is clear.
  • Identify Yourself: Regularly identify your station according to your licensing authority’s regulations.
  • Respect Others: Be courteous and respectful to other operators.

Echolink is a powerful tool that bridges the gap between traditional ham radio and modern internet technology. By enabling global communication, enhancing emergency preparedness, and providing easy accessibility, Echolink significantly expands the capabilities of amateur radio operators. Whether you’re using a computer, smartphone, or traditional radio setup, Echolink offers a versatile and exciting way to connect with the global ham radio community.

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