SPOTTER reporting with Radio over Internet Protocol (RoIP) Links

The Ft. Worth NWS SKYWARN Team operate multiple amateur radio systems, including RoIP systems such as EchoLink IRLP and Allstar. Our RoIP systems are normally dedicated to direct connections with remote SKYWARN spotter radio stations in affected areas during weather events.

Radio Over Internet Protocols

Periodically EchoLink or IRLP stations find they cannot connect to the Ft. Worth NWS SKYWARN stations. This memo describes our use of RoIP systems, and sets forth some criteria and instructions for requesting access to connect to our stations.

  • We have an EchoLink conference for weather events.
    • EchoLink conference *WX5FWD* (372418) - Any EchoLink or IRLP station may connect to this conference. Be sure to also review our conference use GUIDELINES here. There is an EchoLink chat message capability. View the Conference Status here. Spotter EchoLink "user" nodes should use the EchoLink conference, *WX5FWD*.

      IRLP nodes connect to the conference using IRLP node number 0010. The IRLP node owner must enable an optional setting to their /home/irlp/custom/environment file.


    • EchoLink Proxy Service: We provide both public and private EchoLink proxy addresses for spotters. The public proxy addresses are listed on the EchoLink proxy list with the callsign WX5FWD. If you need a static private EchoLink proxy address, on a repeater for example, you may send us a request via the contact page.
  • We periodically utilize these EchoLink, IRLP, and Allstar stations. Spotter nodes that block connections may want to add these nodes to their allow list.
    • KJ5RM-L (46873) and IRLP 7347
    • KB5GLV-L (571622) and IRLP 7958
    • WX5FWD-R (119094) and IRLP 3799
    • WX5FWD-L (70938) and IRLP 3786
    • K5MOT-R (119161) and IRLP 3747
    • K5MOT-L (119160) and IRLP 0027
    • Allstar: Our primary cross-linked Allstar conference hub is 516220. However, we often utilize several Allstar nodes to work separately with specific spotter repeaters. If your Allstar node implements an "allow list", please contact us for a list of our node numbers.

Note for Allstar / IRLP / EchoLink node operators

Due to the size of our county warning area (CWA) and the number of spotter groups and radio systems our radio desk operators often monitor multiple systems simultaneously. Our RoIP nodes may be connected to multiple spotter systems at the same time. We use "monitor" (listen-only) and "mute" settings in our RoIP software to minimize cross talk transmissions between connected spotter systems.

RoIP station operating requirements and etiquette

This is a list of good operating requirements for any linked radio system, not just IRLP or EchoLink. Failure to follow these requirements could result in your station being blocked from accessing our stations.

  • Only transmit to the network while receiving a valid local transmission, preferably only when a valid CTCSS code is received. Noise, squelch tails and other undesired transmissions should be prevented to the extent possible, just like you would do for a repeater or RF/wire line linked system design. CTCSS (PL/DPL) squelch is one method to help do this. VOX and noise only squelch is discouraged.
  • Do not transmit repeater Drop-out Delay (hang time) over the network. In a simplex network, everyone on the network must wait for the other station to unkey before others can transmit. Although some stations could support full duplex connections, few RoIP ham stations are configured to support full duplex operation.
  • Do not send pulse transmissions back to the network after a network station stops transmitting. This is called "pulse-back" on IRLP, and IRLP nodes have a test for this. Two or more stations can send pulse transmissions back and forth, and block others on the network.
  • Do not transmit the automatic repeater ID to the network. Exceptions are allowed when the ID is transmitted simultaneously with a received voice transmission.
  • Do not transmit courtesy "over" beep tones to the network. Nothing wrong with having them on your repeater transmitter, just don't send them to other repeaters/transmitters on the network.
  • Do not connect with conferencing enabled on your station. EchoLink stations have a conference option to allow multiple station connections, including other conference enabled stations. This can defeat access control, and sometimes results in unwanted transmissions and other problems from remote stations in the chain of connected stations.
  • Please, set your audio levels correctly. Test them regularly on the EchoLink test conference or IRLP echo test conference. DO NOT assume you sound OK because someone told you so. How do you know the remote system has their levels adjusted properly? You should not adjust radios by asking someone if it sounds OK, so don't do it with link audio level adjustments either. When properly adjusted, it should be difficult to detect any difference between a link transmission and a local repeater or radio transmission.
  • This is a network of amateur radio stations, so amateur radio rules, regulations and etiquette will apply.
  • Pause several seconds between transmissions. Add a second or two, to allow for the slight additional delay that RoIP systems may add to the PTT/COS exchange. Give others a chance to transmit or break in.
  • Pause a second, after pressing PTT, before speaking to avoid dropping first syllable or word over linked systems. This sometimes happens on local transmissions or repeaters too, but may be more pronounced over linked systems.