Introducing VKLink, the VK repeater linking project

For a couple of years now, VK3VS, VK7DB and VK7HH have been working on a project to link the countries repeaters without the problems associated with poor audio, limited connections, and "drive by" operators from other countries that connect, listen, hear nothing and then disconnect again.

Australia has so many un-used repeaters that could benefit from cheap IP based linking.

The idea behind it was to use something cheap, readily available and open source software to connect repeaters via the internet, and make it work. 2 Years in the making, it is finally at a stage that can be released to the Amateur population.

Have a look around the site, read the manual, join the forum and join the fun. You dont need a repeater to use the system, it just helps.

All you need is a raspberry pi, a radio and a CM108/CM119 sound card to start. A riser board is coming to make an "out of the box" solution.

Any questions, join the forum and ask. Look at the current nodes in operation, see status.vklink.com.au

The version of VKlink for the Raspberry Pi 3B+ has now been released

How the system is being used so far:

  • VK7 have a permanent north-south link, from Hobart to Launcestion.
  • The north of VK7 has several repeaters linked to form a cluster across the top end
  • NW Victoria has a cluster of 5 (almost 6) repeaters, 3 linked via RF, the other two linked permanently into the other 3 by VKLink
  • NE Victoria has 1 repeater with a node on it, with 3 simplex nodes ip linked to fill the dead spots; and
  • A VK/ZL technet links all the "clusters" together on a Monday night to run a technical net.

Voting and Simulcasting

VKLink also comes with the chan_voter channel driver. This interfaces with the VOTER (Voice Observing Time Extension for Radio) board or RTCM (Radio Thin Client Module). This was developed by Jim Dixon (SK), WB6NIL in 2011 and is available as a user-assembleable (VOTER) or commercially built module (RTCM).

The VK7RTC system on node 1727 is built on this. More information on the system can be read here

Allstar (Hamvoip) users

As there appears to be a number of AllstarLink nodes in VK, We have developed a series of "helper" scripts for those who do not want to upset their AllstarLink configuration, but also want to join into the VKLink network.

These scripts, while will make any Allstarlink node work with the VKLink system, are aimed at the VK AllstarLink users, and our ZL cousins.

A user manual, and the scripts are available here.