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IRLP Node 8144 Operating Guidelines

This page describes the operating guidelines that are specific to the ZS1JEN node. They are in addition to and override the IRLP Operating Guidelines Page published by IRLP. Some of the text here has been copied directly from that site as well as  from KC6HUR’s site and modified to suit our operation.

Please periodically check these pages for updates.

Operating Hours

The ZS1JEN node 8144 is generally available 24/7

You may occasionally find the node disabled or inaccessible. This may be due to a time-out (see Timers), node down for system maintenance, an Internet connection problem or I just decided to shut it down for a while.


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 the node is disabled until a Control Operator (namely me) can restart the node.

  • 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 our node rules! It is also discouraged by the IRLP.

    There are certain situations where it is necessary to be on-link for an extended period of time (e.g. during a NET). The Control Operator has the capability of overriding the activity time-out time so that the link will remain active until it is manually reset. Only Control Operator are allowed to override this timer.


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

    • Direct - Is just like it sounds, 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."


    • Reflector/Conference - 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:

    • Pause
    • Pause
    • 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 ...

    • allows users on other nodes a chance to check in
    • 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/EchoLink connection when having a local QSO.

    • Making Connections
    • All commands accepted by the ZS1JEN  node, will cause some sort of audible signal to be returned to the user. This may be in the form of beeps and boops or spoken words.



      DTMF Code



      Connect to randomly selected IRLP Node


      Request the current local time


      Disconnect IRLP or EchoLink Connection


      Pre-fix for connecting to Echolink nodes





      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.

    Always identify before using any control codes.


      1."This is <callsign>", then send DTMF
      2. Wait for link up message then
      3. Listen, listen, listen then announce yourself.

      It's a good idea to announce your location as in "<callsign> Cape Town, South Africa"

      When traveling to other parts it should be noted that many nodes require different commands than those found on the ZS1JEN node. Many people decry this as closing a system which should be open, when in fact, it is just a necessary evil to make the node coexist within the command structure of the repeater to which it is connected. This could be compared using CTCSS, not all repeaters that use CTCSS are closed, nor do they all use the same tones. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you contact the owner of the node you wish to use prior to your travels to obtain codes and/or procedures for their systems.

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.

  • "bee-boop 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.).

© Copyright 2010 - 2012 ZS1JEN.  All rights reserved.