Echolink on Linux

I have not used EchoLink in almost 5 years. I had it setup briefly at my last QTH for short period of time just to see if I could get it work. Since I am rebuilding my XP laptop as a Linux Ubuntu based machine I am looking at my list of software to install and configure.

I decided to revisit EchoLink in hopes that I could get it working with Linux and that maybe I could find some other link minded people that want to talk about RF design and construction. (I like to think of myself as a builder.)

As I searched around on the internet it really seemed like EchoLink is focused on Windows based machines and the Linux and Mac community was left with what ever they could figure out on their own. I noticed that there are a couple of groups that are trying to come up OpenSource answers to EchoLink for Linux and Mac based users. I did see one brief mention of someone using WINE to host an EchoLink session. I decided to give EchoLink+WINE a try as I am having reasonably good success getting Windows based applications to work with WINE for the applications that I can replace with a native Linux solution.

The install was very straight forward. I spent more time getting the callsign validation completed and configuring my firewall for the proper port forwarding than installing the software. (I have two ISPs running into a router with dual WAN interfaces. I had to configure the EchoLink firewall rules to favor one ISP so the bits would land at the right spot behind the NAT.  Not overly hard to configure... just a bit of testing & tweaking.)

I ran a couple of tests within EchoLink to tweak my software based upon the system performance. I then connected to Node 9999 which is the EchoTest conference. I ran some tests until I got my microphone audio dialed-in reasonably well. (I should keep my eyes out for a better microphone at some point in the future.)

While I would rather talk with another Amateur Radio operator via a more traditional RF to RF method this might be a good way to talk with builders (even folks outside of my geographical region.)

--Time for me to head to the workbench and focus on building something

73 de NG0R

PS... Some follow-up notes:
  • I spent about 90 minutes on the QRP conference last night. That was a lot of fun while doing other things in the shack. On my main machine the performance was pretty solid & the audio quality was decent.
  • I decided to install EchoLink on my ASUS EEE netbook so that I can take it to work bench with me in the evening. It installed and connected fine but I had a problem getting the computer to acknowledge the MIC jack for an external microphone. I eventually found a quick mod to the sound card configuration that solved my problem. Notes below.
In order to get the microphone to work when using Ubuntu 9.10 for the ASUS EEE 900HA you only need to patch the ALSA configuration file as described above:

Patching of the ALSA configuration file (/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf)

1. Open a terminal window
2. Enter 'sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf'
3. Search in the file whether a line including 'snd-hda-intel' exists,
if so please delete that line
4. Add the following two lines to the configuration file:

===start here===
# eeePC 900a patch
options snd-hda-intel index=0 model=quanta
===end here===