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About AllStar Link Network
The AllStar Link network consists of a number of large (and small) individuals and
groups who wish to provide efficient large-area communications to the Amateur
Radio public in their respective local areas. This is done by providing a local
VHF or UHF repeater system controlled by a Linux-based computer system running the open-source Asterisk PBX telephone switch platform along with the app_rpt repeater/remote base controller/linking software module (which is included in
the distribution of Asterisk) connected to a high
speed (broadband, such as Cable Modem or DSL) Internet connection.
The computer system running Linux/Asterisk PBX coupled with the
app_rpt module makes a powerful repeater/remote base controller capable of
controlling many (like up to hundreds, theoretically) repeaters and/or remote
bases per computer system. It provides linking of these repeater and remote base
"nodes", with "nodes" on other systems of similar construction anywhere in the
world, over the Internet via its IAX2 Voice Over IP protocol. It also, of
course, provides for an Autopatch (public switched telephone network access over
the radio) on each node (Asterisk is a phone switch after all J), if desired. For detailed
information on system requirements and configurations see the app_rpt documentation.
AllStar Link is an organization devoted to the
proliferation of this technology, and to organize its public use. Certainly,
anyone can have a "private" system using this technology, and they would have no
need for AllStar Link affiliation, but there needs to be a single, central point
of organization for public use of this technology, and that's what AllStar Link
To qualify for AllStar Link affiliation, your repeater
system must be either open (meaning that any licensed Amateur Radio station is
welcome to fully use all of its functionality at any time), or at least
semi-open (meaning that for permanent use, the owner of the system may require
membership for use of all or part of its functionality, but non-members,
particularly those visiting the area may use it on a temporary, short-term basis
only). Some functions may be limited or un-available, but functions that allow
for linking over the AllStar Link must be available to non-members at any time,
and the system must be able to accept linking from any AllStar Link node. The
DTMF control codes used for controlling linking and other AllStar Link-wide
functions will be consistent among all nodes. Systems are welcome and encouraged
to have other parts (such as other private nodes or remote bases, etc) of their
radio systems not affiliated with AllStar Link. Our node numbering scheme (use
the "List All Nodes" button above) was designed specifically with this in mind.
Our technology has the unique characteristic that repeaters and remote base nodes
are completely separate from each other, unlike any other repeater/remote-base
controllers. That means that just because a remote-base is at the same site or
even on the same computer system as a repeater, they are not tied together in
any way. They are implemented as completely separate nodes, usable separately.
Unlike other Radio-centric VOIP technologies, such as Echolink or IRLP, etc, Allstar and the app_rpt/Asterisk
technology have been specifically designed to be part of, and to link together
parts of the very infrastructure of the radio systems that it implements, as opposed
to be an end-to-end protocol like others.
All systems (nodes) are either repeater controllers or remote-base controllers.
They connect directly with the radio hardware (thus replacing/outdating)
current controllers on a system that is already up and operating. Just simply
as a repeater controller, the amount of functionality and flexibility is very
impressive, and when you also consider its remote base, linking (full-duplex) and VOIP (for autopatch, remote control, etc) capabilities, its amazing.
Allstar Link is an attempt to take this technology and make it available and
applicable to as many Amateur Radio operators as possible, via their local
repeater systems. For the most part we try to keep administration and policy
making up to local systems. We only require strict technical standards (we dont
want a bad sounding or un-usable system), and minimum operational requirements,
most of which have to do with making the systems available to all, and making
sure that everyone gets along, and treats everyone with proper respect and dignity.
Once again, this technology is not intended to be implemented by the end-user
or those light at heart. It takes serious committment and resources (that which is required to put a radio system on the air to begin with, and to maintain it) by either
a group, club, or maybe even a single, dedicated, talented (not to mention
monied) individual. The assumption made with Allstar Link is that the purpose of this
work and level of dedication is to share the goodness and great benefits with others, and to promote continuation of doing so.
Purpose Of This Portal
The purpose of this Portal is to provide both users and System operators/Providers of the AllStar Link Network, a method to access, connect to, use,
and interact with
all participating AllStar Link Nodes via the Web Browser running on their desktop computer, or by the telephone (see the Support page
for information on the Telephone Portal), and in addition, be
able to provide a simple, clear and concise methodology by which a System operator may specify and enter the desired configuration of
their system(s), and be able to apply these configurations to their systems, using a Graphical User Interface also from their Web Browser.
When you sign up for a node, you will have the option of checking some check boxes which identify the type of node you are putting up. Note: It is very important to supply a working email address where you can be reached! I have had to cancel several node number requests because of non-working email addresses!!
We will be changing the software to automatically validate email addresses on node number requests in the future.
This is a full duplex node which is able to be controlled with DTMF commands.
Repeater nodes may or may not have emergency power or extended coverage.
Offset (+/-) and CTCSS tone should be supplied during the signup process.
Latitude and Longitude in degrees/minutes/seconds format should be supplied.
This is a half-duplex node which is able to be controlled with DTMF commands.
Simplex nodes may or may not have emergency power or extended coverage.
A CTCSS tone should be supplied during the signup process if one is required.
Latitude and Longitude in degrees/minutes/seconds format is optional.
Remote Base Node (currently not configurable directly by this Portal)
This is a half-duplex node which is for initating outbound radio connections only.
A remote base node will not decode DTMF and act on any commands from the RF side.
This type of node should only have the remote base, and perhaps the frequency-agile checkbox(es) checked; none of the other boxes make much sense.
This node type is typically used to implement a frequency-agile VHF/UHF/HF remote base.
This is a node which has no Radio hardware associated with it whatsoever.
This node type is typically used in a location where there is a large amount of Internet Bandwith
available in addition to a computer system with a good amount of CPU power, and is used as a "central connecting point".