[App_rpt-users] Technically possible?

Bryan D. Boyle bdboyle at bdboyle.com
Sat May 12 12:19:38 EDT 2012

On 5/11/2012 9:04 PM, Alan Adamson wrote:
> I have searched high and low and yet haven't found much good information for
> what I'm about to ask.  I hope this mail list might help with that.
> I'm about to dive into AllStar and all its associated parts.  BUT, I'd like
> to know if what I'm thinking makes sense, and that there isn't a more
> preferred way of doing it?
> I have a wide area coverage (for Atlanta anyway) 440 ham repeater, it's
> currently a Master II converted.  I'm about to replace it with an NXDN Icom
> 440 repeater (digital, but it will continue to run in mixed mode as well).
> I'd like to be able to connect it to AllStar, or other VOIP services (yes,
> like IRLP, maybe Echo, and who knows maybe someday D-Star).

Forget about IRLP if you have systems linked; Dave Cameron had Jim take
the code out of app_rpt to cross-link over 18 months ago because *he*
decides how you will use his software.  Echolink works fine, and there's
some work that's been done with interfacing the Icom D* borg.

> Now don't get all excited, I'm not about to think that I can do that
> *digitally*.  All audio will be analog either decoded or about to be
> encoded. 
> Secondly, I'd like to *remote* all the services to my house and host them
> from there, instead of at the repeater site.  It does have internet, but
> it's remote, not readily accessible, etc.

Use a solid state disk-enabled computer.  You can get into it over the
net, and, if you put in an IP-enabled power strip and do some script
coding, you can do almost anything remotely that you can do standing in
front of the machine.  Yeah, you have to be there to install it, but,
there are ways to make it almost not necessary to actually have to touch
the thing.

(For instance, I can control the power, hard reset my computer, turn on
fans, change linking, and all that via the net, through an IAX-enabled
smartphone app or over the air...)

> So, is the following feasible, desired, are the better ways to do what I'm
> thinking?
> a) take the analog audio input/output at the repeater and put it into either
> a URI with a fanless PC install of AllStar, or a PicoNode with Pickle and
> LOX.

Fanless PC with solid state disk.

> b) put the other services (ala, IRLP, Echo, etc) at my house with a
> dedicated PC setup with URI's and another install of AllStar (ok, Asterisk
> and it's associated radio parts)

You can do that.  Build a hub node into both remote and home site, and
link the two hubs together.  Remote radios link to the local (remote)
hub, and then link back to your home-located hub where you have the
other services.  That way, if you loose connectivity, your remote site
will still work, (you'll loose the echolink, but, to be honest, I don't
worry about echo; it's there, but even in the NY/PHL area, it's more of
a nuisance than not.)

> NOTE: I didn't say anything about any form of *external controller*, other
> than the Unix boxes and their AllStar installs.  I'm hoping I won't need one
> and will just use the NXDN repeater and its internal controller for what is
> needed at the repeater.

as long as the controller has a second port that can be enabled as a
repeat port, that would get hooked to a URI (or, if you are handy and
have the patience to modify a CM108 sound card; personally, I just buy
the darn think from DMK and be done with it.  My eyes aren't good enough
anymore to fiddle with SMT components); the allstar computer would be
seen as just another radio, and the controller would be seen by allstar
as just another radio.  Don't get too detailed, it's really not that

> If I did the above, what issues will occur when you link the repeater to oh
> say IRLP via an IP connection between two AllStar nodes?  Will there be any
> issues with DTMF, tail crashes, courtesy tones, etc.  Either not being there
> or being there when they shouldn't be?

Well...see above, you won't be using IRLP.  Remember, the system, at
it's core, is an IP PBX.  If you approach it from that standpoint,
you'll soon figure out the easiest way.  Just loose the thought of using
IRLP.  Asterisk, in and of itself, handles node-to-node and node-to-hub
communications (with a LOT better audio quality than IRLP) itself.

DTMF is not normally propagated across the network for obvious reasons,
but there are command sequences that you can use to perform functions
across the network.  It's really not an issue (for instance, remotely
connecting one node to another, disconnecting a node remotely, etc.).

As for tail crashes, courtesy tones, etc., the former are a function of
how you configure the radio interfaces, etc., most of us use two
courtesy tones: one for local origination, a second for networked system
origination (ie depends on where the keying signal comes from...either
the local radio on the controller or a radio somewhere in the network
determines what courtesy tone is sent...).

> Lastly is it possible to add a simplex radio to the home node such that it
> will connect me to the repeater, or other services (again over and IP link)?

Possible.  Just set up a node as a simplex node, link it into the home
hub, and away you go.

Suggestion: don't overthink it.  Start with the basics, get them
working, then extend it as you gain experience.  If you do something
that doesn't seem to work the way you want, back it out to where it did
work, then re-examine what you're doing.

Bryan WB0YLE

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