K8JTK Hub: Digital VoIP Mutimode Interlink System

The K8JTK Hub is a Ham Radio Digital Voice over IP Multimode Interlinked System (DVMIS).  It was created in the spirit of ham radio experimentation by supporting Open Sourced projects and interlinking ham radio VoIP modes for interoperability: AllStar Link, EchoLink, DMR, D-STAR, M17, NXDN, P25, and Yaesu System Fusion.

This can be used for an EmComm exercise or a rag-chew meetup where users are utilizing different Ham Radio Internet linking technologies.  While convenient in some situations to use non-RF connections, please use RF connections whenever possible to utilize the spectrum we’re given.

Utilizing AllStar Link (built on Asterisk) at its core provides linking flexibility.  Transcoding between digital and analog via DVSwitch, digital linking through MMDVM Bridge.

This system is available to use but should be considered in a testing phase for network conditions and audio levels.

Rules

  • Follow all rules of your regulatory authority
  • Keep it classy
  • English only
  • Identify your station by voice. Digital stations are used to quick-keying to break-in or check-in, this will not work. IDs in data streams are lost due to analog and cross-linked connections. Users on non-radio VoIP solutions tend to forget they’re on a radio system.  Proper ID is required and accepted method is by voice.
  • Press PTT and pause for 2 seconds before speaking. This gives time for all links to become operational otherwise, the first couple words of the transmission will be lost.
  • Pause a minimum 3-5 seconds between transmissions. Stations cannot break-in when stations quickly key-up (or “tailgate”) after the previous. System timeouts are caused when links are not given proper time to reset.

System usage rules

  • Common sense and common courtesy.  If you don’t know what they are or where to find them, find somewhere else.
  • Analog nodes, in particular, need to eliminate all courtesy tones, hang times, squelch tails, IDs, etc. sent over Internet links.  This could cause a ping-ponging effect.  Set the repeater to use TX PL and link radio to use RX PL COS to transmit audio only when the repeater is active.

Accessing the Hub

Allmon2 dashboard shows Asterisk connections: AllStar Link, EchoLink, HamShack Hotline, IAX.  Dashboard links show connections to those modes.

My callsign will be seen alot using digital modes.  This is because a callsign is needed for the digital modes but one cannot be provided inter-mode, therefore K8JTK is used.

AllStar Link

DMR – HBLink

DMR – Brandmeister

DMR – TGIF

  • TGIF Talkgroup 31983 (group call)
  • Dashboard

D-STAR

  • XLX983A
  • Dashboard
  • Only the “A” module is used for the Hub
  • In the event of connection problems (unable to connect, frequent disconnects) use:
    • DCS983A (Pi-STAR)
    • XLX983A (OpenSpot)
  • Any of these D-STAR protocols are available if supported by the gateway:
    • REF983A (DPlus)
    • DCS983A (DCS)
    • XLX983A (DCS)
    • XRF983A (DExtra)
  • XLX crossmode support is not available

EchoLink

  • K8JTK-R 233196
  • *DVMIS* conference 600008

Hamshack Hotline

  • 94026
    • Greeting: D-V-M-I-S CONNECTED
  • *99 to transmit (PTT)
    • Remember to unmute!
  • # to stop transmitting (release PTT)

NOTE: some stations have reported disconnects after ~30 seconds.  This behavior is seen on other HH “Radio Service” links.  Opened a ticket with HH, it was punted as a particular model phone issue – which is not the case because more than one model and more than one server experience these symptoms.  Open a ticket with HH.  They’ll want to know that phone’s extension, model, provisioned server, and RS links tried.

M17

  • M17-983A
  • Dashboard
  • Only the “A” module is used for the Hub

NXDN

  • TG 31983
  • Dashboard
  • DMR2NXDN via DMRGateway: TG 7031983
  • Available on NXCore

P25

YSF

  • K8JTK-Hub 31983
  • Mode: DN or narrow.  Transmissions in VW or wide mode will pass on the reflector, but not to the Hub.
  • Dashboard
  • YSF DTMF & DMR2YSF: 31983
  • DMR2YSF via DMRGateway: TG 7031983

Wires-X

  • K8JTK-ROOM 40680
  • Available on request

IAX2 Clients

Use of IAX clients is discouraged because they do not use ham spectrum.  E-mail me with your call and verifiable email address (listed on QRZ, for example).

Skeds (scheduled contacts)

The term “gateway” is all encompassing to describe a device that can establish a connection via network to the system.  A gateway could be any or all of a repeater node, simplex node, hotspot, or application.  In the same way, “node” describes talkgroups, extensions. nodes, links, reflectors, rooms, and conferences.

W1AW on AllStar wants to chat with K8JTK on D-STAR.  Each station must connect their gateway the appropriate node as listed above. W1AW must connect an AllStar Link capable node to 50394 and K8JTK must connect a D-STAR capable node to XLX983A.  More information on gateway options is available below.

W1AW cannot instruct or direct the system to establish a connection to another node where K8JTK is already connected or vice-versa.  All connections MUST be incoming from remote users into the DVMIS system.  There are no outgoing connections from the system except for approved nets.

Nets

Mondays @ 8 PM ET (0000 UTC DST/0100 UTC Std on Tue) – West Chester Amateur Radio Association WC8VOA.  This net includes a broadcast of the Amateur Radio Newsline.

Tuesdays @ 9 PM ET/6 PM PT (0100 UTC DST/0200 UTC Std on Wed) – AmateurLogic Sound Check Net.

I get to host these goofballs…

Amateur Logic.TV Segment

A segment aired on episode 149 about this hub.  You can find the presentation here and video below.

VoIP Systems

Notes and information for accessing the Hub using available systems.  Though many have made the argument ‘all of this is digital,’ my distinction is modulation type.  Analog modulations are typically associated with AllStar Link, EchoLink, Hamshack Hotline, IAX.  Digital typically DMR, D-STAR, NXDN, P25, YSF.

Analog

AllStar Link: a ham radio linking system based on Asterisk.  This analog system can be used on anything from repeaters to portable nodes.  Implementations: AllStar Link and HamVoIP.  See my write-up on AllStar.  Accessible via any AllStar Link node using an analog ham radio.

AllStar is built on Asterisk.  Asterisk serves up IAX connections.  This serves as last resort (ie: EchoLink client, hotspot, other apps) for those who are RF limited.  Clients known to work: iaxrpt, DVSwtich (non-Google), Zopier.

EchoLink: widely utilized Internet linking program.  Windows desktop application for users or nodes is dated and not actively maintained but still seems to work on later versions.  Linux users install QTel through the package manager.  Smartphone applications for Android and iOS.  Nodes or repeaters can be built using the Windows app, SVX Link, or chan_echolink on AllStar/HamVoIP.  Accessible via any of the apps or any EchoLink node using an analog ham radio.

Hamshack Hotline: an IP PBX telecom system for amateur radio.  All HH servers are trunked and accessible from any of the supported regions and platforms.  A supported SIP phone or phone adapter is required.  Follow the “getting on board” instructions on the HH homepage.  See my write-up on Hamshack Hotline.  Accessible via any Hamshack Hotline configured hard/softphone.

Digital

Digital requires a radio to generate modulation and a gateway device for connecting to digital networks.  Networks listed are available on gateways (repeaters or personal hotspots) through MultiMode Digital Voice Modem (MMDVM), Wires-X is the exception.  MMDVM is available on devices such as OpenSpot or hardware supported by Pi-Star.

Many hotspots can translate digital RF of one modulation to a network of a different type.  Examples of translated radio to network: DMR <-> YSF (Fusion), DMR <-> NXDN, Fusion <-> DMR,  Fusion <-> NXDN, Fusion <-> P25.  OpenSpot3 is currently the only device that can transcode D-STAR to other network types (except P25).

HBLink (DMR): repeaters or hotspots capable of using the HomeBrew repeater protocol through MMDVM (Pi-STAR) or DMRplus (OpenSpot).  This option is an alternative to Brandmeister and TGIF, which have issues from time-to-time.

Brandmeister (DMR): repeaters or hotspots linked to Brandmeister – direct or MMDVM.

TGIF (DMR): repeaters or hotspots linked to TGIF via MMDVM.

DMR capable radios are available from TYT, Bridgecom, Alinco, or any DMR Tier-2 capable commercial radio.

D-STAR: repeaters or hotspots with access to DCS/XLX reflectors or MMDVM capability.  D-STAR capable radios are available from ICOM or Kenwood.

M17: M17 capable devices are limited at this time, visit the project site for updates.

NXDN/NXDNReflector: see digital modes above.  NXDN capable radios are available through ICOM and Kenwood – commercial radio divisions.

P25/P25Reflector: see digital modes above.  P25 capable radios are available through Motorola, Tait, Kenwood, ICOM, Harris, EFJohnson… to name a few – commercial radio divisions.

YSF/YSFReflector: see digital modes above.  C4FM/Fusion capable radios are only available through Yaesu.
Note about Yaesu Wires-X: Wires-X is a proprietary format to Yaesu System Fusion radios and repeaters.  Only way to add Wires-X support is through an RF link – which is available at times or can be made available by request.

Behind the Scenes

AllStar has the concept of private nodes which cannot be linked to publicly.  They are used to manage links and systems such as individual repeaters, nodes, links, etc – they can be anything defined by the sysop.  They are four-digit numbers beginning with a 1, ie 1XXX.  My defined numbering scheme on The Hub:

100X = rooms or channels (1000-1003)

1000 = main room where K8JTK Hub nodes connect by default

1001-1003 = available for linking two or more nodes/modes upon request.

12XX = analog connections

1202 = Echolink

1203 = Hamshack Hotline

1204 = IAX clients (DVSwitch, Zopier, iaxrpt, etc.)

50394 = Allstar Link (publicly accessible)

13XX = digital connections

1311 = HBLink DMR

1312 = Brandmeister DMR

1313 = TGIF DMR

1321 = D-STAR XLX reflector

1331 = NXDNReflector

1341 = P25Reflector

1351 = YSFReflector

1361 = M17Reflector

Ham radio and tech.