You'll see from this page that I've been working in EchoLink since I got back into amateur radio in 2015. In fact, it was EchoLink that got me back in in a lot of ways...my son's Cub Scout leader noticed my ham plates and asked me if I was a ham radio operator. I told him that I was, but that I hadn't been operating and he was disappointed since JOTA was coming up. He told me that JOTA was a yearly ham gathering that Scouts had, and asked if there wasn't any way that I could get up and running by then. I told him I'd look into it, since I knew de-mothballing an HF system in two short weeks wasn't going to be an easy or promising enterprise, and then discovered EchoLink. Got validated on the system, and we got the kids over and had a wonderful day talking to hams and kids on both sides of the continent. That definitely got me re-hooked, and I still remember the excitement in my son's eyes talking to all the different kids.
Fast-forward a couple of years...and my son and I started working with YACHT, a very cool group of kids and adults all joined together working in amateur radio. Over the Christmas break I was working on some system updates, and realized that the YACHT group could maybe benefit from a conference server. Threw it out there, and well..I'm now hosting the *YACHT* EchoLink conference node on one of my Intel boxes. At some point I might move it over to a Raspberry Pi (running Gentoo, of course), but I'm not there yet.
Unfortunately there are issues with the conference software and modern compilers...currently thebridge can crash for unexpected reasons, so I've been running the following keepalive script to keep the conference node up and running:
#!/usr/bin/env python import time import os from subprocess import Popen,PIPE,STDOUT,call #print output proc=Popen('pidof tbd', shell=True, stdout=PIPE, ) output=proc.communicate() print "tbd PID = " + output while True: proc=Popen('pidof tbd', shell=True, stdout=PIPE, ) output=proc.communicate() if output: time.sleep(1) else: print "Process is dead " + time.ctime() os.system('/usr/local/bin/tbd') proc=Popen('pidof tbd', shell=True, stdout=PIPE, ) output=proc.communicate() print "New tbd PID = " + output time.sleep(5)
I've thought about making this HA with a port check -- so if the port is off for 5 seconds, firing up the software on a secondary server. we'll see...the software has been built on a Raspberry Pi (one of my Gentoo Pis,
Also, the promised documentation for running the conference software will be posted soon! I promise! And here it is!
To save a trip to download it from sourceforge, here is the software
The *YACHT* EchoLink Conference is up 24/7, node # 954283. We are there all day, and definitely look forward to you dropping in.
Another resource that I very highly recommend is this list of EchoLink nets from John L. DeRycke, W2JLD.
And, some thoughts/feedback on -R/-L stations....I run EchoLink proxies on all my public facing IP addresses (I have a /28), and starting out, I didn't understand why proxy runners would ban -L and -R stations. Having done this now for two years, I see why. Given their constant use of the proxies, it can be problematic when you need to kill the proxy for maintenance purposes, or worse, when that IP address needs to go away. It seems to me that ultimately if you're going to put the resources into running a -L or -R link, you should work to get your own public IP, or work with proxy runners to allow them maintenance.