Thursday, April 4, 2019

Teamspeak 3, Zello and Internet Radio

Internet Radio

Setting up a cellular data  to access live Amateur RF gateways or repeaters across the world can be easily done. A PTT enabled phone will make it even more like radio operation. It should be borne in mind that this is not Amateur Radio "as we know it" but is an alternative that allows those who don't have the space to set up antennas, or live in heavily restricted areas, to access amateur radio Repeaters or Gateway systems via the internet. It is communication at the end of the day. This is a little like operating a "Flex Radio System" from an Android tablet or mobile phone.

Internet Radios can be operated from the WiFi system in the house or via data from the Cellular Network provided a SIM card is installed.

Setting up The International Radio Network (IRN)

Download “Team Speak 3”. It’s available for Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.

Add the IRN Server. Details are as follows:

Label:           IRN CrossLink Server 
Address:       irn.ts.io (all lower case)
Password:    leave it empty
Nickname:    CALL SIGN – Your Name e.g. EI#XYZ –Fred

After connection to the IRN Server you will be directed to the Welcome Channel. It will not be possible to operate any other channel until you become registered. 

KB1UPZ - Bob is the administrator so call him and introduce yourself with Name and Call sign. Provided that you are listed on QRZ.com as a licensed operator Bob will register you immediately. 

There are a wealth of channels available and these may be accessed by hovering over the channel on screen and touching the screen to enter. Some may be locked and require a password but the majority are not.


The Internet Radio above has an Android Operating System. It is possible to add Echolink and Peanut options to this radio and also Zello. Of course it is possible to use Teamspeak 3 on the Android tablet and Windows systems thereby giving a wide access to many communications systems. The set up is exactly the same.

Below is a screenshot from Windows showing the variety of Talk Groups available. The Galway VHF Group has a permanent Talk Group on this system. It is generally accessible but occasionally Password Protected if there is a specific discussion or operation taking place.


Zello

Zello is another system which is not as secure as Teamspeak and anyone can set up a channel for private use. In fact, with the reduction of Solar conditions, many CB groups have set up Zello Channels where they can hook up and hold QSOs. Internet Radio is widely used by Truckers for exactly this reason. 


Setting Up Zello is simple

1) Go to https://zello.com/ and create a Zello account making sure to remember the password and it is best to use the call sign as the user name

2) The best version of Zello for Internet Radio is Zello V3.53 which is easily found by an Internet search

3) Log into Zello once it is loaded with User name and Password. It is possible to add contacts or Channels – the latter being specific Groups etc and Contacts are individuals

The Southern Ireland Repeater Group have  a channel on Zello and it is necessary to contact them to gain access to the channel. There will be no problem provided that you give them your call sign. This will give access to a large network of linked repeaters. Of late, the Zello access has become very popular and a fair amount of activity on the system is from android based equipment.


The Zello system can be operated from any android based system such as tablet or phone and internet radio. Zello is also available for use on Windows Operating Systems.

EchoLink

Echo link for Android may be downloaded to any Android system such as Tablet, Phone or Internet Radio. It is necessary to register with EchoLink to allow the program to work. This is a simple process of giving your details and uploading the front page of the Amateur License. 

Run the Echolink program on the Android device and fill in your Call sign and Password. and EchoLink will run giving all the options available. EchoLink also runs on Windows based operating systems. 

Peanut

This system provides access to the D-Star Network and has been described a previous posting on the VHF Group Blog.  

Current Galway VHF Group TM-7 Users

Steve EI5DD    Joe EI3IX    Tom EI2GP    Andrew EI3FEB    John MI0AAZ    

In Conclusion

Whilst Internet Radio is often branded as "Not Real Radio" by the "old and bald" and in fact, the "neo bald", it provides a means of communication to those with limited resources for antenna installation and who are dogged by QRM complaints. Irrespective of where in the world one wishes to operate, provided there is a cellular network there is access. Operating mobile does not require any external antennas making life simple. If one is away on the holidays it is possible to keep in touch with the hobby through the Internet radio system. If you have no license at all use Zello to set up a personal channel to keep in touch with family and friends. 

Whilst the only communications modes have been mentioned here, there are other Amateur Radio programmes available for Amateur Radio use such as APRS Droid, and it is further possible to add a RTL dongle and set up a SDR receiver system.