More than just a Ham radio blog.
is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Echolink via the iPhone

Don't you just hate it when you get pipped to the post? Yesterday's winner was Tim G4VXE who posted yesterday evening about an Echolink App for the iPhone.

Yes! There I was looking for something interesting to write about and I find that an Echolink application for the iPhone had been released. "My mate Dave 2W0PWR will like that because he has an iPhone" I think and rush back to the blog to do a posting, but there in my blog list I see "echolink-on-iphone" at G4VXE.com Nice one Tim.

Julian G4ILO says in a comment on Tim's item "Use a phone to access a repeater to call someone on the radio who probably has a phone you could just call direct. Okay, I'm sure if I think long enough about this I'll eventually see the point of it." Well I see the point already and it makes sense if you have free VOIP on your phone as it does not cost anything. I cannot take my radios into work, but the mobile phone is a different matter.

As I see it services like Echolink are an interesting addition to amateur radio and not the thin end of the wedge. I look back to an interesting conversation I had on antennas with a station on 40m, we never needed it in the end but it got so fascinating that we made plans to QSY to Echolink if we lost each other.

If I owned an iPhone the application would be useful on a long journey that was through areas of low amateur activity and with BlueTooth in my car it could keep me amused safely. This application is not a great leap forward but is a step on a journey and who knows where it will lead, however if it survives one must wonder if the amateur radio of tomorrow will bear much resemblance to the amateur radio of today.

The app is available here. There are some screen shots over a RadioGeek's blog.


  1. To me the medium has always been more important than the message, and if you aren't using amateur radio to make the contact you might as well drop the pretence and just use Skype. Actually you could use Skype to link to your radio, and a remote control app to tune it, and then you could make real radio contacts whilst you are out. I shall probably look at trying to do this myself over the next few months, as it might be a way to catch Sporadic-E openings or WOTA activations I'd otherwise miss.

  2. Using Skype assumes the person I want to talk to is known to me and on Skype. The fact that I can connect to a real world repeater and talk to people with real radios makes it different. It could also mean that I could leave home and drive 300 miles and still be talking on the same net as when I left home. It is probably a cheaper and more reliable solution to what could be possible on D-Star if there were enough repeaters (and there never will be) and the gear was not so expensive. Using Skype to connect to your radio could cause problems as you have no idea who might call you. I have had some pretty weird calls which I had to reject. I had a nice conversation with a ham in Argentina on Skype once who found me by random.

  3. @ G4ILO.

    You said that using the phone with echolink to link to a repeater isn't amateur radio, yet what you suggest doing with Skype is EXACTLY what happens when you use Echolink!

    Just think of it as a cellular mike cable! :P