The First 10 Nodes

This page quickly outlines the "stories" of the node installations. It was requested by a few node owners to let the stories be known of how this system is being pieced together...Dave VE7LTD

I R LP - Keeping the Radio in Amateur Radio

Location - Gage Towers, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Vancouver and Vernon nodes were tested for a few weeks before being installed. The Vancouver IRLP node was first installed on November 12th, 1998. On that day, Micheal Illingby, VE7TFD and I, David Cameron, VE7LTD were on top of Gage Towers fighting with our wireless LAN cards for close to 4 hours trying to get a reliable connection.

Once the connection was established, we return home to test it from there. Things were working great, minus the audio which was unbearably loud.

Once the Vernon node was placed online a few days later, I trekked back to Gage Towers and adjusted the audio. The first IRLP connection had been made.

Since that point, there have been no problems with the Vancouver node, except for the one time I firewalled myself out of it!

Location - Residence of VE7TFD, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

The machine was built in Vancouver during original testing of the system. The computer was causing problems at first, but we finally got it to respond on the net. These are reasons why I hate DHCP.

The first tests were done using simplex on 446.000. The audio was very overbearing and seemed to have a small amount of AGC to it. We adjusted some levels, and before we knew it, we had a perfect sounding link between Vancouver and Vernon.

The only problems we have ever had with the Vernon node occurred when the wiring was attacked by something and was shorting out. This gave us intermittent connections, and was solved shortly after.

This machine will be moved and hosted by the Internet Junction in Vernon BC.


Location - Rhoderick Dhu Mountain, Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada

This machine is located at the repeater site on Rhoderick Dhu, and gets its internet connection via wireless LAN from the valley below. The original install was in the valley floor, and the node ran for close to three weeks without severe problems. Due to some minor issues, the node had to be removed.

The node was re-installed in early September on the mountaintop. The RGF system links into the UHF hub on Granite Mountain in Trail, which gives access into the West Kootenays, and eventually into the East Kootenays.

The internet connection for this node is being donated and supplied by Sunshine Communications.

Location - Residence of Dave Junker VE6DJJ, Calgary AB, Canada

I vividly remember the numerous phone calls made between Dave VE6DJJ, Dale VE6CPK, Walter VE6ANI, Wilfried VE7OHM and myself trying to get the Calgary computer to respond on the internet. The problem ended up being a blown 3Com Network card... Once replaced, we were back in buisiness! The software install has a few problems, but once all that was solved we were on the air and the initial testing was done.

Since the original install, the node radio has been changed over to a HTX 242. I made a trip to Calgary to help the folks there "tweak" up the node a little bit, and before we knew it... The node was operating perfectly... I will never forget driving through snow in July.

Location - Residence of Randy Roberts VE7AMS, Prince George BC, Canada

Randy VE7AMS and Andy VE7EQU are responsible for the setup of this node. Some hours were spent on the phone working on the COS input line, but the final result was the same... a perfectly working node (as always).

This node was originally set up on simplex, and took the award for the best sounding node on the system. The node was then moved to the VE7RES linking system which allowed continuous coverage of most of the northern interior of British Columbia. The node was removed from VE7RES after an executive decision was made that the node was creating too much traffic on an already busy system. The node was relocated to the VE7FFF autopatch repeater just outside of Prince George.

Location - Brunswick Square, Saint John NB, Canada

The first of the eastern Canadian nodes was easy to set up. Don Trynor and I had had a previous link going between Vancouver and Saint John back in the Iphone days. I phoned him up to tell him all about the new IRLP system, and he could hardly wait to give it a try. I met up with Don in Vancouver for the first time in the summer of 1999 while he was here in Vancouver for a stopover.

The node runs into a small UHF link system that links Saint John to Fredericton. The node was down for a long period of time while Don was moving to a new residence at the base of his favourite Mt. Champlain.

Location - University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK, Canada

The Saskatoon node was a fun one to install. I will let the rantings of Chris Morgan VE5BAR explain it best: The following are emails that Chris sent during my trip to Saskatoon.

Email #1

Dave arrived safely in Saskatoon last night and was greeted by the famous or was that infamous welcoming committee Chris VE5BAR and Derek VE5SD.

Dave's first words were " I' m hungry " We took Dave to Earls and began the interrogation. While trying to wash down a burger with a beer he filled us in on the fascinating world of irlp and put our fears to rest. He also told us how airport security took a second look at the link interface boards. It seems circuit boards with a few components and wires hanging out of them make one suspicious. Dave did some fast talking and explained he wasn't a member of any terrorist origination, so they let him on the plane.

We then headed over to the temporary location of the irlp computer and went straight to work. Dave connected the interface board and began some preliminary tests and all appeared to be working. The sound program complained about the io address of our sound card, so we moved it up to 240 and this corrected the problem. Then we used a speaker, Dave's handheld and the keyboard to key a far end link and actually used one of the linked repeaters somewhere in B.C. and managed to raise someone !!! Chris and Derek were extremely excited by all this, Dave looked pleased. By this time it was well after midnight. We called it a day and will begin interfacing the link radio this afternoon (Saturday).

Email #2

Tonight we will be having a BBQ in Dave's honour ( we were having one anyway so we pretty well had to invite Dave ).

As some of you may know we did get the Saskatchewan node on line around four o'clock central Standard time yesterday afternoon and yes I know we don't believe in day light savings time!

The node install was not without some complications. Most of our trouble came trying to interface a Yaesu FT 727 handheld into the IRLP link repeater board. Dave VE7LTD and Derek VE5SD were hard at work when Dave realized he had placed twelve volts on the line to the printer port designed for five volts. This resulted in blowing one of the printer ports leads needed for COS. Cool heads prevailed and a quick phone call was made to Chris's wife Linda VE5LND. Linda is a computer support person for a large high tech. firm here in Saskatoon, so she is quite familiar with IO boards. She went to the parts bin and found three of them. I had her bring all three to the repeater site fearing the worst. We installed the new board and things were starting to look a little brighter.

All was just about complete but one problem remained, the COS line from the handheld sent a pulse to the controller board which caused the radio to go in and out of transmit. Derek and Dave redesigned the link board on the fly and by adding a diode in the COS line and managed to overcome the problem. If you need more information on how this was done, contact Dave VE7LTD.

After all of this we wanted to make sure that Dave VE7LTD would be around 24 hours a day, seven days a week support, so the Saskatoon Meewasin Amateur Radio club gave Dave an honorary life time support membership to our club. This was given in the form of a framed certificate. Hopefully this will make it hard for Dave to ignore our pleas for help in the future. What ever you do, please don't tell Dave this IRLP and Amateur radio is just a hobby.

I look forward to hearing many of you on tonight's Inter provincial net. I think the time of the net is 6 o'clock Pacific time it is, so stay tuned to your local IRLP link repeaters this evening (Sunday).

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those that helped make this possible along with those of you who have helped with signal and audio reports. We still have a lot of work left to do as the link is not installed in its final resting place. In fact I am going to a lot of explaining to do Monday morning when my boss comes into my office and finds a computer, link radio power supply and a antenna stuck to the wall of my office. Sorry you won't be there to hear that conversation, I hope the words, " look boss it's only temporary" will be sufficient, wish me luck.

Email #3

Hello, all
Here is my final update for awhile, I am sure after singing this updateyou will be glad for that.
Sing the following to the tune of "Leaving on a Jet plane"

Dave's bags are packed, he's ready to go, he' standing there out side the door
Already we are so lonesome we could cry.

Our node is working. Link is on, Internet's flooded and Dave is gone !
Saskatoon will never be the same...

Dave's leaving on a jet plane, don't know when he'll be back again.
All these link codes don't mean a thing ...

We had a blast, Dave's gone at last If our link goes down, will Dave be around ?
Our club will never be the same....

Dave's leaving on a jet plane, don't know when he'll be back again.
All these link codes don't me a thing ...

Thanks for your help Dave !

73 from the Meewasin Amateur Radio Club - Saskatoon, SK

As you can all see... A fun bunch of guys!

Location - Residence of Randy VE6RMB, Fort McMurray AB, Canada

This node took a while to set up. The problem was that we could not find a suitable place in the radio (an ICOM IC28A) to pull the COS from. This was eventually solved, and all was working. After a new power supply and a few other things, the first test went very successfully.

The node was moved from Sean, VE6SAR's house to Randy's house. This node continues to run on simplex.

NODE # 9 - VY1RW
Location - Residence of Richard VY1RW, Whitehorse YK, Canada

This node was easy to set up. Richard, like myself, is a little bit of a LINUX guru, and happens to run several LINUX machines from his house. Although the system requirements mention RedHat LINUX, he seemed to think that Slackware would not be a problem.... well.... We won't go on about the LINUX flavour debate.

Richard and I did a few preliminary tests on the connectivity by having him connect from his PC (on a microphone and speaker) directly to the VE7RHS node in Vancouver. I then dazzled him with the audio quality and functionality of the system. I had him sold :)

The total time elapsed between me emailing Richard and the node operating was two weeks... Definitely a record.

Following the node in Whitehorse, the advent of a set of software scripts for installation, the new interface boards, and the detailed instruction manual, the node stories were not quite as interesting. If you wish to write a "node story" for your node, please email it to me and I will be very willing to add it to the list!

Dave Cameron

Enjoy IRLP and please "Pass the Word"
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last updated February 14, 2007
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