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Older information about my past experiences with EchoLink

2004 Tsunami

After the tsunami in December 2004, some local hams put together an EchoLink station as a kit and sent it to a group of hams in Sri Lanka. This is some correspondence that was relayed before, during, and after the delivery of the equipment:

Thank-you from Sri Lanka

Douglas B. McKay
Tue Jan 18 21:59:29 MST 2005

This should be directed to all of the Utah County Amateur Radio Emergency
Service (UCARES) people who helped in the effort and not just to me (I was
only the conduit). I have forwarded your message to them and we hope to
have Adam come speak to us at our next meeting in February to hear his
stories. I look forward to talking with you again when full approval is
granted to keep the link running as much as you want. We are honored to
have helped in furthering Amateur Radio in Sri Lanka.

...Doug KD7LRJ

-----Original Message-----
From: G.Victor A .Goonetilleke [mailto:victorg at]
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 10:41 AM
To: kd7lrj at
Subject: RE: Contact Details fo Adam

Dear Doug,
Let me thank you again and again as the President of the RSSL, on behalf of
the Radio Amateur Community in Sri Lanka for the eqipment you donated to
make the Echo Link a reality. We are running it as a test for two hours a
day and soon hoppe to run it regularly. I know you have already ben on it
and I am happy before Adam left he was able to see it in action and even
speak on.

I am sure Adam will tel you many stories from his visit here.

Lets stay in touch and thanks again for being thoughtful

Best regards

>I believe I can speak for most of the people I've talked with about what
>Adam and Brian are doing and about the ham radio equipment they took. We
>wish we could do more! We wish we could be there doing what they are
>We feel somewhat selfish in the desire to hear his stories (your peoples'
>stories!) now via EchoLink rather than have to wait until he comes home,
>we will be patient. We hope things continue to improve for you and that we
>can share in your sorrows and your triumphs even if we are so far away.
>Service truly brings people together and we are glad to be able to provide
>what little we have.
> ...Doug
>-----Original Message-----
>From: G.Victor A .Goonetilleke [mailto:victorg at]
>Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2005 10:14 AM
>To: kd7lrj at
>Subject: RE: Contact Details fo Adam
>Dear Doug,
>This evening Kusal and I visited Adam and his friend. I was truly struck by
>what they are doing. I just am awestruck that young people in far away
>America would come all the way down here to an unknown land, moved by this
>tragedy to do something for fellow human beings. I think I saw the face of
>God in these young men.
>And then you think of sending us an Echo Link pagage, all complete.Why
> Doug I am not moved by some hundreds of $ someone spends, but that
>people care.
>Thank you. Kusal and we will try hard to get it goinbg if possible this
>week. The only delay is the officialdom.
>God Bless. Take care and thank you.
>>Adam is staying at a hotel (I didn't get the name), but the phone number
>>94 112733557. He is in room 305. Today would be a good day to contact
>>there because they are not going to be out and about as much.
>>His wife said that he tried to contact you and Victor, but was
>>I do not have an e-mail address for him there.
>> ...Doug KD7LRJ
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Kusal Epa [mailto:kusalepa at]
>>Sent: Saturday, January 08, 2005 9:51 AM
>>To: kd7lrj at
>>Subject: Contact Details fo Adam
>>Hi Doug,
>>Do you have the contact email address or current phone no of Adam in Sri
>>He called us two days ago, but could not reach him today as the mobile
>>phone he used to contact us then is not with him it appears.
>>Kusal - 4S7KE
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: G. Victor A. Goonetilleke [mailto:victorg at]
>>Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2005 10:45 AM
>>To: kd7lrj at; kusal at; kd7lrj at
>>Cc: gopalmadhavan at; 4s7ea at
>>Subject: RE: Amateur equipment for Sri Lanka
>>Dear Dopug,
>>Thanks fpor everything. I just spoke to Adam on a mobile phone, number is
>>He is ok and we should hear from him tomorrow night for a possible meeting
>>on Saturday
>>Best regards
>G.Victor A. Goonetilleke. 4S7VK
>"Shangri-la", 298 Madapatha Road,
>Kolamunne, Piliyandala. Sri Lanka.
>E-mail: victorg at
>Tel: +94 11 2614098
>Mobile 072 3333 209

G.Victor A. Goonetilleke. 4S7VK
"Shangri-la", 298 Madapatha Road,
Kolamunne, Piliyandala. Sri Lanka.

E-mail: victorg at
Tel: +94 11 2614098
Mobile 072 3333 209

Disaster recovery effort in Sri Lanka/ In need of radio equipment

Douglas B. McKay
Thu Dec 30 16:20:43 MST 2004

A recently licensed friend of mine will be traveling to Sri Lanka on Monday afternoon to assist with organized relief efforts. He has volunteered to carry with him as much water filtration equipment or amateur radio equipment
as the airline will let him take. I've started him out with a backpacking water filter, an extra battery for his VX-5R and some various antennas and cables to keep it running.

According to the information from the news and from the attached e-mail, they are in need of additional equipment. If anyone has anything that could be carried on a plane that they would like to contribute to the effort with
no real expectation of getting it back, please get in touch with me and I will find a way to get it to him before he leaves.  He indicated that his flight was late in the afternoon, so I can probably collect things up until about 1-2pm Monday.

Here is an interesting article about a DXpedition team's exploits:

Contact me in whatever fashion suits you:

   Doug McKay
   959 East 110 South, Lindon
   785-2234 (home)
   787-8782 (cell)
   kd7lrj at (home)
   dmckay at (work)
   Explorer Post Repeater 145.47- pl 100.0

   ...Doug  KD7LRJ


From: KC4QLP at [mailto:KC4QLP at]
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 12:01 PM
To: Echolink-Open-List at
Subject: [Echolink-Open-List] Disaster recovery effort in Sri Lanka/ In need of radio equipment

30 Dec 2004 2:05:57
VU2GMN had been called by the amateur radio community to volunteer his services to go help with emergency communications handling in Sri Lanka asthere are still quite a few ham radio operators there despite what has happened to his own people in India.

There are quite a few Sri Lankan radioamateurs willing to help with communications but unfortunately, their equipment have mostly been all washed away.

Indian contact, Gopal VU2GMN is asking the international community to be generous enough to supply VHF (144 to 146 MHz) portable radios powered with dry cells along with temporary repeaters that could be deployed so the Sri Lankans could regain control of their internal communications.

In addition, he was also hoping to maybe a few portable HF/VHF/UHF radios (IC-706, FT-897, etc...) for communication with powerful Indian or adjacent  country's stations so they can start relaying traffic back to us here in North  America or even to the temporary government posts established there.

Portable antennas and batteries would also be needed. If this kind of equipment could be shipped to Sri Lanka directly via CF planes, please contact Gopal VU2GMN at email address: gopalmadhavan at or if can't get any response, VE1HE at and they shall relay the message on your behalf.

Radioamateur operators are totally benevolent in cases of crises and have proven over and over that they can make a difference in their community so this investment would not go to waste and would actually be reutilized in case the need might arise again.

Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

See the .pdf file in the files section of the group labeled : "2004123000350100.pdf  Disaster recovery effort in Sri Lanka/ In need of radio equipment" for more information.   
Bob Carter - KC4QLP
Echolink RF node 56703 , 56704 / eQSO [RX] crosslink
145.250 VHF repeater,440.850 UHF link,29.630 repeater
   Owner and moderator of: Echolink-Open-List at
   AMStereo at,Freebayhams at  
   KC4QLP_Repeater_System at

Sysop - CANADA node #123799

Information about the EchoLink connection to the N7BSA repeater from 2002

N7BSA-R (Node #46049) 12-2002

is located in Lindon, Utah (N40 20.13' W111 41.51')
And is RF linked to the N7BSA repeater (145.47 pl 100.0)
which is located in Orem, Utah (N40 16.57' W111 42.26')
The repeater and link are both online 24/7/365.25

The N7BSA repeater covers the Utah Valley (Provo/Orem metro area) fairly well and while used mostly by the local Explorer Post members, it has been around for quite a while and some ARES members also use it at times. The repeater has been reconfigured recently to work better with EchoLink. With EchoLink, we do not want anything not transmitted by a user going out over the link (squelch tail, fancy beeps, CWID's, messages, etc.). Since the repeater is not capable of sending a PL tone (it has a decoder only), several compromises were needed for optimal EchoLink operation. The squelch tail has been shortened as much as possible, there is no courtesy beep, the CWID has been sped up to the maximum allowed rate and it only sends the repeater's callsign (N7BSA in CW is fairly short :). While it would be ideal if the repeater could send a PL tone (it's possible with some work - volunteers talk to Keith, KB7M), these few changes will keep EchoLink working well with the minor exception of a CWID possibly going out over the link once in a while. Although the EchoLink control codes shouldn't interfere with the autopatch on the repeater, the current location of the repeater does not have access to a phone line and we will need to test for any possible interactions if we ever move the repeater and bring up the patch again.

The link radio is a Radio Shack HTX-202. It has a 386 CPU heat sink with a 12v fan mounted to the back (with a little thermal grease to help with the curvature of the case). Since the hop to the repeater is fairly short (5 miles), it runs at low power (1 watt) and draws less than 1 amp on transmit. The radio is frequency agile and could easily be moved to any other 2 meter frequency to provide wide area coverage of both Utah and Salt Lake Counties (or even a good portion of the state if we linked it to the Snowbird or Sinbad systems). In an emergency it could also be switched over to more powerful radios and/or antennas for direct (instead of repeater) coverage.

The antenna is a small discone mounted at about 25' on a mast with two other antennas above it. It is connected via approximately 40' of RG8 coax. It is located at 4900' on the eastern bench of Lindon. It is approximately 400' above the valley floor. The location has a good view of nearly all of the northern and southwest portions of Utah County. To the southeast the signal is somewhat shadowed by terrain and the mountain valleys generally cannot be covered well directly. It has a great view of many local repeaters and can work most in Utah County, many in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, and sporadically, others to the east and south.

The radio is powered by a small 15Ah SLA battery which is float charged by a home-built 5Ah charger. This battery should provide power for well over 24 hours to the EchoLink and the APRS node which is also attached.

The computer is a Dell Latitude 266MHz notebook running Windows 2000 and EchoLink. The computer is powered by its 2 internal batteries and a power supply. The batteries would power the system for about 4-8 hours (if the screen is off). The computer is mostly dedicated to EchoLink, but could be used for mobile APRS or Packet operations if those modes become more important in an emergency (software is already installed and has been tested in these modes). Spare CPU cycles are used by a drug interaction processing program (

The radio is connected to the computer via a BuxCommCo ( RASCAL interface. While this interface limits the radios which can be connected to the link to ones with the same interface as the HTX-202 (ICOM HT's, Yaesu's with the right adapter, etc.), other interfaces should be created to provide maximum flexibility. This project has not yet begun.

The computer is connected to the internet like this: PC Card NIC -> Linksys Etherlink Switch -> Netgear Router -> Linksys 802.11b bridge -> remote 802.11b Access Point -> (other bridges and 802.11b links) -> T1 landlines at WISP offices -> Internet. Obviously this connection isn't very disaster safe (I have enough backup power, but I doubt the other sites do) and the internet link would be among the first things to go in a local disaster. However, since the coverage area is so large, it's more likely that a disaster in the not-so-immediate area could be well served by the link. Because of the above path (with 3 other locations that are between me and the wired internet), I have NOT placed all of this equipment on UPS power. In an outage, power is available within 5-10 minutes at my location, but I do not know the situations at the other locations (nor do I even know where they all are).

Doug McKay KD7LRJ
Lindon, Utah

Ham Radio Explorer Post 1973

N7BSA Repeater [145.47- pl 100.0]
Orem, Utah [N40°14.49’ W111°42.86’]
EchoLink Node #46049 

Control Codes

Basic User Commands

DTMF tone
Local node info *
Local node status report B

Connect to …
Node C [node#]
Random Link B1
Random Conference B2
Random User B3
Random Node [any type] B4
Reconnect previous node B9
Disconnect #9

List of stations currently online:

Advanced Operator Commands

Query Remote node info B6 [node#]
Query node by callsign B7 [callsign] #
Connect by callsign B8 [callsign] #
Link Enable B789
Link Disable B987
Talk / Listen mode B10
Listen only mode B11
Explanation of Controls


The default for the Connect command is to simply press ‘C’, then enter the 4, 5, or 6-digit node number to which you wish to connect.

Entering Node Numbers

To enter a node number (for the Connect or Query by Node commands), enter the 4, 5, or 6-digit node number. If the specified node is not among the stations currently logged on, EchoLink will say "NOT FOUND". Check the list of stations online if you’re near a computer for currently active nodes.

Entering Callsigns

To enter a callsign (for the Conenct by Call or Query by Callsign commands), press two digits for each letter and number in the callsign. The first digit is the key on which the letter appears (using 1 for Q and Z), and the second digit is 1, 2, or 3, to indicate which letter is being entered. To enter a digit, press the digit followed by 0. When finished, end with the pound key (#).

For example, the letter "K" is entered as "52", the letter "Q" is entered as "11", and the digit "7" is entered as "70".

Callsigns need not be entered in full. If a partial callsign is entered, EchoLink will find the first match among the stations currently logged on. If no match is found among the stations currently logged on, EchoLink will say "NOT FOUND".

To connect to node number 4118:
Enter: C 4 1 1 8

EchoLink responds with:

followed by

because 4118 is the node number of conference server "CQ_DX".

To get the status of K1RFD:
Enter: B 7 5 2 1 0 7 2 3 3 3 1 #

EchoLink responds with:
"K-1-R-F-D 1-3-6-4-4 BUSY"

because 13644 is the node number of station K1RFD, and K1RFD is currently busy.

To connect to a random link or repeater:
Enter: B 1

EchoLink responds with:

followed by

because K1OF-R was selected at random.

EchoLink Resources

Home Page:

Currently active nodes:

EchoLink message board:

Yahoo EchoLink Group:

Map of nodes in USA: