There are two types of connections, direct (one-to-one) and reflector/conference (one-to-many).
As the name suggests, this is where node "A" connects directly to node "B". With this type of link the two nodes are interconnected and no other IRLP connections are possible. While nodes "A" and "B" are connected, anyone attempting to connect with either node will be told by a recording that - "The node you are calling is currently connected to
While Direct link is preferred for a person-to-person chat, the most common type of connection in use today is via a reflector or conference. A reflector/Conference node is a special node sitting on a high bandwidth Internet connection that takes whatever audio streams it receives and resends them out to all of the other nodes that are connected to the reflector, thereby allowing all of the nodes involved in the connection to communicate with each other. At any given time there may be 6 to 10 nodes around the world interconnected via a reflector or conference.
The first thing we must all remember is to leave a gap between transmissions. Having said that, this is a good time to list the three main rules when connected to a node or reflector:
All this waiting is necessary because many of the nodes participating in Internet linking are parts of large multi-linked repeater systems where there can be significant key-up delays as all of the repeaters in the system come up. Therefore, it could take 1 to 2 seconds before last repeater in the link comes on-line, thus chopping the first several syllables off of your transmission. Please adjust your operating habits accordingly.
Also, leaving a pause between transmissions ...
o allows users on other nodes a chance to check in.
o allows other nodes time to send DTMF commands to drop their node.
The most important thing to remember is to pause after pressing the PTT button as well as pausing between transmissions.
It is not necessary to bore the world with your shopping list requests or complaints about the plumber; therefore, Please drop the IRLP connection when having a local
To connect to an IRLP node, after you have followed the three basic rules
above (i.e., Pause, Pause, and Pause), announce your callsign and state who
you are calling - i.e., either by node number or by node callsign. For
VA3UV/M connecting to node number 5364; or
VA3UV/M connecting to GB3NH.
Just as you would listen before transmitting on any repeater, you must listen for at least 10-15 seconds for link activity before making any transmissions as there may already be an active connection or local QSO in progress.
After the 10-15 second pause, please announce yourself, it is considered
good practice to announce your call and location - e.g., "This is
VA3UV/M near Toronto, Canada calling and listening via GB3NH."
When you have completed your QSO, please identify and then press '73' to
disconnect. Please note that it is not only courteous to identify,
but in some countries, it is also a regulatory requirement to identify
IRLP Error Messages
From time-to-time you may receive error messages when attempting to connect with a node or reflector. The most common ones are:
"The node you are calling is not responding, please try again later"
This is caused by a loss of Internet connectivity to one end of the call attempt.
"Beep Error - The call attempt has timed out, the connection has been lost"
This error occurs when a node is OFF-LINE. Some nodes such as in the UK use dial-up connections and then, only for short periods. Also there may be temporary net or node problems.
"The connection has been lost"
If the Internet connection drops, this error message will be heard.
"The node you are calling is currently connected to callsign."
If the node you a calling is already connected to another node or reflector, you will hear this message.
"The node you are calling is being used locally."
If the node you are calling has local activity on the repeater or frequency, you will hear this message. Try calling again in a minute or so.
The node you are calling is not connected to another node or reflector; however, the repeater or frequency is in use locally or the IRLP node hardware is being used for some other function (e.g. Voice-mail, playing Newsline, etc.).
Do's and Don'ts
In summary there are a few do's and don'ts:
DO pause between transmissions to let others in or to enter DTMF command.
DO identify before sending DTMF command tones.
DO hold your microphone PTT for about 1-2 seconds before talking to allow all systems time to rise.
DO pause and listen for 10 seconds or more when connecting before talking.
DO NOT ragchew on your local repeater while connected to another
node or reflector.
DO NOT start or plan a Net on a reflector without pre-authorization from the reflector owner