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If you can reach an FM repeater or simplex station equipped that has been set up with EchoLink, you can use DTMF commands from your radio to access the EchoLink network. If you are a licensed amateur with an Internet-connected PC, you can access EchoLink stations directly from your PC.
EchoLink is very much the same as other existing VoIP applications except that it permits a direct link to an amateur radio station's transceiver. Prospective users must have valid callsigns to be use EchoLink.
Felt by many to be a watering-down of ham radio because one may make contacts worldwide without a radio ever being involved, EchoLink is still a savior for many licensed hams who, due to their circumstances, could not otherwise make contacts with any other amateur radio operators at all.
An example of how this works:
I fired up the software on my computer and EchoLink signed on for me, presenting me with a long list of active users. This list is broken down into Links, Repeaters and individual users. I noticed a repeater in the Great Falls, Montana area and accessed it just to see if anyone was there. I quickly made contact with another ham who was driving around in Great Falls, and we enjoyed a nice QSO for about 15 minutes. This gentleman could just as easily have been at his computer, as I was, rather than on a mobile two meter rig.
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