IRLP Node 2651 and 2304

Node Operating Guide

This webpage describes the operating guidelines that are specific to the VA3PMO and VE3RSD IRLP nodes. They are either copied directly from the IRLP Operating Guidelines Page published by IRLP, or have been modified to suit the customized configuration of my node.

Operating Hours

The VA3PMO node (2304) is generally available 24/7.


There are several timers involved in this system, they are:

Time-out Timer

This timer is set to 4 minutes. The IRLP Time-out Timer is similar to a Repeater Time-out Timer. It is the maximum amount of key-down time for a single transmission. If you exceed the time allowed by the Time-out Timer, the link is terminated and will need to be re-established.

Local Activity Timer

The value of this timer is dependent upon the type of link connection. When in a direct (one-to-one) link, the timer is set to 5 minutes. When in a reflector (one-to-many) link, the timer is set to 20 minutes. Therefore, when connecting to another node or reflector you may monitor an active QSO already in progress or wait for a station to come up on the air; however, this timer starts counting the time since the last key up on the local node and will drop the link at the end of the time-out period. Activity from the remote station does not reset this timer. If the distant node has a shorter inactivity timer they may close the connection first. This means that you cannot link and just monitor without taking part in the QSO. Do not kerchunk the node to keep the link up, this would be a violation of the node operating rules! It is also discouraged by the IRLP.


Common Modes

There are two types of connections, direct (one-to-one) and reflector/conference (one-to-many).


As the name suggests, this is where node "A" connects directly to node "B". With this type of link the two nodes are interconnected and no other IRLP connections are possible. While nodes "A" and "B" are connected, anyone attempting to connect with either node will be told by a recording that - "The node you are calling is currently connected to callsign."


While Direct link is preferred for a person-to-person chat, the most common type of connection in use today is via a reflector or conference. A reflector/Conference node is a special node sitting on a high bandwidth Internet connection that takes whatever audio streams it receives and resends them out to all of the other nodes that are connected to the reflector, thereby allowing all of the nodes involved in the connection to communicate with each other. At any given time there may be 6 to 10 nodes around the world interconnected via a reflector or conference.

Node Use

The first thing we must all remember is to leave a gap between transmissions. Having said that, this is a good time to list the three main rules when connected to a node or reflector:

1. Pause
2. Pause
3. Pause

All this waiting is necessary because many of the nodes participating in Internet linking are parts of large multi-linked repeater systems where there can be significant key-up delays as all of the repeaters in the system come up. Therefore, it could take 1 to 2 seconds before last repeater in the link comes on-line, thus chopping the first several syllables off of your transmission. Please adjust your operating habits accordingly.

Also, leaving a pause between transmissions ...

o allows users on other nodes a chance to check in.
o allows other nodes time to send DTMF commands to drop their node.

The most important thing to remember is to pause after pressing the PTT button as well as pausing between transmissions.

Local QSOs

It is not necessary to bore the world with your shopping list requests or complaints about the plumber; therefore, Please drop the IRLP connection when having a local QSO.

Making Connections

To connect to an IRLP node, after you have followed the three basic rules above (i.e., Pause, Pause, and Pause), announce your callsign and state who you are calling - i.e., either by node number or by node callsign.  For example:

VA3UV/M connecting to node number 5364; or

VA3UV/M connecting to GB3NH.

Just as you would listen before transmitting on any repeater, you must listen for at least 10-15 seconds for link activity before making any transmissions as there may already be an active connection or local QSO in progress.

After the 10-15 second pause, please announce yourself, it is considered good practice to announce your call and location - e.g., "This is VA3UV/M near Toronto, Canada calling and listening via GB3NH."

When you have completed your QSO, please identify and then press '73' to disconnect.  Please note that it is not only courteous to identify, but in some countries, it is also a regulatory requirement to identify before transmitting.

IRLP Error Messages

From time-to-time you may receive error messages when attempting to connect with a node or reflector. The most common ones are:

"The node you are calling is not responding, please try again later"
This is caused by a loss of Internet connectivity to one end of the call attempt.

"Beep Error - The call attempt has timed out, the connection has been lost"
This error occurs when a node is OFF-LINE. Some nodes such as in the UK use dial-up connections and then, only for short periods. Also there may be temporary net or node problems.

"The connection has been lost"
If the Internet connection drops, this error message will be heard.

"The node you are calling is currently connected to callsign."
If the node you a calling is already connected to another node or reflector, you will hear this message.

"The node you are calling is being used locally."
If the node you are calling has local activity on the repeater or frequency, you will hear this message. Try calling again in a minute or so.

"<busy signal>"
The node you are calling is not connected to another node or reflector; however, the repeater or frequency is in use locally or the IRLP node hardware is being used for some other function (e.g. Voice-mail, playing Newsline, etc.).

Do's and Don'ts

In summary there are a few do's and don'ts:

DO pause between transmissions to let others in or to enter DTMF command.

DO identify before sending DTMF command tones.

DO hold your microphone PTT for about 1-2 seconds before talking to allow all systems time to rise.

DO pause and listen for 10 seconds or more when connecting before talking.

DO NOT ragchew on your local repeater while connected to another node or reflector.

DO NOT start or plan a Net on a reflector without pre-authorization from the reflector owner


IRLP Operating Guidelines - David Cameron (VE7LTD) and Paul Cassel (VE3SY)

Klaus Rung - VE3KR

KC6HUR Operating Guidelines - Randy Hammock, KC6HUR