March 2022 Update: Alabama Friends, UARC Nets

Effective March 16, the Alabama Friends and UARC Thursday Night nets will move to IRLP experimental reflector 0091, Echolink KV4S-R (37209) and AllStar 523800 (backup 47923). Stations joining the net via RF-connected nodes should continue to be able to do so as usual.

We appreciate Fred W5MGM for generous.y providing connectivity to Echolink, IRLP and AllStar for the last few years. Many thanks also to Russell KV4S for allowing us to use his system to continue having such connectivity.

IRLP node owners must allow experimental reflector connections, which are disabled by default. See Using IRLP Experimental Reflectors to learn more.

Using IRLP Experimental Reflectors​

IRLP experimental reflectors are single-channel reflectors that operate independently of the IRLP network yet still compatible with IRLP nodes. They may provide cross-linking to other VoIP networks, other special services, or any private or public function implemented by its owner. Their four-digit reflector numbers begin with 0.

Since they are not part of the IRLP network, experimental reflectors are not subject to IRLP guidelines. Unlike conventional nodes and reflectors, connections are not authenticated unless authentication is deployed externally by the owner. Accordingly, experimental reflector connections are disabled by drfault. Node owners may allow connections by adding the following line to the $CUSTOM/environment file:


them running:


as root to reload the IRLP software with the change.

To connect, dial the reflector number as for a conventional reflector. From the command line, connect by running:

experimental_call expNNNN

where NNNN is the reflector number.

Experimental reflectors are private resources and may be closed to general use. The IRLP Experimental Reflector Page lists operational reflectors that are open to the public.

Lorne Greene on Ham Radio

Today I ran across a radio public service announcement from ARRL featuring Canadian actor Lorne Greene. I believe this aircheck is from 1979.

In the PSA, Greene explains that, although we may be experts, we are amateurs because we are unpaid volunteers in public service communications operations. Technological innovation by radio amateurs, nets, and amateur satellites are also mentioned. Greene finally tells interested listeners to write to Newington, Connecticut for more information, though the ARRL is never explicitly mentioned in the spot.

IRLP Returns to Tuscaloosa

University ARC IRLP node 4719 is back in service on the club’s 145.210 W4UAL repeater in Tuscaloosa.

Along with the return of IRLP connectivity comes the club’s return to its own Thursday Night Net, which has continued without the club during its extended absence.

A hardware failure brought down the IRLP node last November. Additional hardware failures, access restrictions during construction and a number of other setbacks and difficulties kept the node out of service for approximately 10 months.

The W4UAL 145.210/144.610 repeater, located on the University of Alabama campus, requires a 103.5 Hz PL tone for access. The University ARC Thursday Night Net meets weekly at 8 p.m. Central time on the club’s repeater, on various other connected repeaters and simplex frequencies around Alabama and beyond, and on IRLP, EchoLink and AllStar. A list of participating RF and online nodes is on the UARC Net page.

“Airchecks” from WKRP in Cincinnati

When Shout Factory released the complete series of WKRP in Cincinnati several years ago, I was super excited to see so much of my favorite television show for the first time! The complete series had never been released on DVD; what had been released previously had the original music replaced by generic music to save the cost and headaches of licensing the original music. In syndication, as many as several minutes of the show was also cut to make room for more …

SSTV from the International Space Station


I received this image from RS3ISS, the Russian amateur radio station aboard the International Space Station around 3:30 CDT on April 13, 2018. My receiver was a Uniden BCT15X and the antenna a Comet GP-9. I recorded the transmission digitally and decided it with MMSSTV.

Alabama Students Make Amateur Radio Contact with International Space Station

At 1:02 p.m. on April 10, 2018, a group of Pinson Valley High School students gathered in the school’s auditorium to become the first Alabama high school students to contact the International Space Station via amateur radio. The students, operating as PVHS Amateur Radio Club station KN4BBD, had about 10 minutes to interview ISS crew member Richard “Ricky” Arnold II, KE5DAU, operating as ISS Amateur Radio Club station NA1SS. The contact was Commander Arnold’s first ARISS (Amateur Radio on the …