Using the IRLP System

The SCHEART Linked Amateur Repeater System is open to all licensed amateur radio operators during normal operation.  A few times in the week,   repeaters across the state are linked in support of statewide nets.   However most of the time, repeaters operate in stand-alone local mode.   During these times, operators may link individual repeaters by using the DTMF keys on the front of your handheld radio or microphone.  This allows the repeater you are using to extend its range into another city.

For example, if you are using the Rock Hill VHF repeater (147.030 MHz) and want to talk to a station in Lexington, you would link to the Columbia VHF repeater (146.715 MHz).  This is the sequence you would follow:

  • Check the Rock Hill repeater frequency for activity by other stations.  (If the repeater is being used by others, but you really must contact your station, politely ask if you can use the repeater and make a quick linked call.  If the users agree continue with the next step)
  • If the frequency is clear, key the repeater with your Push To Talk (PTT) key and state: “This is <your call sign> linking to Columbia VHF repeater”
  • Release your PTT key and then Press your PTT and hold while touching  the *32 keys.  Now release your PTT key.  The *32 tells the system to connect the repeater you are using to node 32 which is the Columbia VHF repeater.  Node numbers for each repeater are listed on the SCHEART website under Analog > Repeater Frequencies, PL and Node.
  • The repeater will reply: “Columbia VHF linked”
  • If the repeater does not reply, try the sequence again. Remember you need a good signal into the repeater. If you have a high noise level on your transmitter signal, the DTMF decoder in the system will fail to make the connection.
  • After you receive a positive response on your connect command,  PTT and call your distant station or say: “This is <your call sign> Rock Hill listening on Columbia”
  • When you are finished with your connection, press and hold the PTT and press 73 on the DTMF keys, then release PTT.  Notice to disconnect a link you do  not have to use * before the DTMF keys.   The system will acknowledge the command and break the connection.  It is good operating practice to drop any link that you’ve established at the end of your last transmission.   It is also a good practice to announce “This is <your call sign> dropping the link to <target repeater>.”   However, the system will automatically drop any user link after 10 minutes of no PTT activity on either repeater.  In this example, that means if you connect to Columbia and do not get a response but start a conversation with another station in Rock Hill, the Columbia repeater will drop after 10 minutes unless a station in Columbia joins your conversation.
  • Don’t worry you can not break the system. Have fun, and check into the nets on the system.
  • A complete list of all Analog Repeaters with their  Frequencies, Tones and Node Numbers is located under the Analog Menu Tab

W3KH has written 8 articles

December 18, 1946 - October 12, 2016, SK