IRLP is a system that connects ‘local’ repeaters via the internet, but is accessed via radio as you would access any normal repeater. This means that you can, if you’re close enough to an IRLP-enabled repeater, use your handheld to talk to operators around the world.
Users are able to dial into nodes around the world through their local repeater using a DTMF-equipped radio. Even some radios without numeric keypads may be able to send DTMF codes, you will need to check the manual for your individual radio.
Many Scouting sites use IRLP to connect various JOTA sites across the country and overseas.
You will find the global directory of IRLP nodes available online. This also shows whether or not the node is online too!
You will need a radio capable of sending DTMP tones, and to know the four digit node number you wish to connect to.
For example, I wish to connect to VK3RAJ in Upwey, Victoria, which is node 6372. If I were in Horsham, accessing VK3RBP (Node 6073), I would do the following:
Connect to VK3RBP using its frequency, offset, and CTCSS tone.
Before making a call, make an announcement that I am going to connect to the IRLP node. e.g., “This is VK3SAA accessing IRLP on Node 6372”.
Wait to see if someone objects. You never know, someone might have been waiting out for someone to come back.
To make a call, you hold down your PTT and press the 4 digits of the node you want to connect to (in this example, 6372) and release the PTT.
You are now talking on VK3RBP in Horsham and VK3RAJ in Upwey.
To end a call, you hold the PTT and dial “73”.
You will usually hear a message play back when you connect to a node (IRLP Node 6372 connected) and when you disconnect (6372 disconnected). Some node owners have set personalised messages.