The Texas Connection

A network of Internet linked 2-way ham radio repeaters

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The purpose of The Texas Connection is to:

  1. Promote Amateur Radio in the Community.
  2. Provide Emergency Communications for the Community.
  3. Provide Public Service to the Community.
  4. Promote fellowship between local and NON-local Amateur Radio Operators.
  5. Build, maintain and expand a network of freely accessable ham radio 2-way radio repeaters that have global reach.

Come join in the fun!

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Open to all ham operators on the AllStarLink and EchoLink networks.  We welcome you to connect up and join the conversation. 

Map of recent repeater connections to the system

 

Please connect to our HUB on AllStarLink 29503 or Echolink W0FCM-R

Click on the image below to see a real time map of the repeaters currently online with The Texas Connection.

Map of repeaters in real time 

Click here to see the system in operation - when people key up, you will see the different nodes light up in different colors.

Click here to see whats up and whats DOWN on our system - a real time network monitor - Login: User-guest PW-none

^^^^  Listen to the N5MBM nodes with a 20 second delay  ^^^^

Regularly serving the following communities:

Sealy, TX.    W0FCM    442.025+    PL123.0    Node:29695

    Houston, TX    KK5TC    441.950    PL123.0    Node:41509

Horn Lake, MS    KC5RDP    146.685    Node:43766

Chappel Hill, TX    N5MBM    145.150-    PL103.5    Node:42414

Chappel Hill, TX    N5MBM    441.625+    PL103.5    Node:42466

Dallas, TX    KB5RIR    HUB    Node:43773

Brenham, TX    N5MBM    441.925+    PL123.0    Node:45443

Alvin, TX    KA9JLM    442.775+    Node:44261

Kenney, TX    W5TZ    441.800+     PL127.3    Node:45441

Industry, TX    KF5KXL    441.675-     PL103.5    Node:45442

Farmersville, TX    W5GDC    146.810    Node:29961

Independence, TX    N5MBM    441.850    PL123.0    Node:45643

Conroe, TX    KF5RDE    441.300    Node:40503

Bellville, TX    WA5OSA    441.325    PL 127.3    Node:46177

LaGrange, TX    N5FRT    441.325    PL 127.3    Node:43965

Other Texas Repeaters and Networks     LoneStarLinkSystem.org    SouthTexasLinkSystem.com     SaltGrass   

The Texas Connection started as the brainchild of W0FCM and KB5RIR to just give us a place to connect up to a hub on a fast Internet connection, it has grown and we welcomed others to join the network.  Connect up to the network and come say howdy and sit a spell and hang out with some Texas folk, swap a few tall tales and discuss technical topics.  We welcome everyone as long as they play nice...  Thanks to the Internet and the KB5RIR World Wide Data Center, we have world wide connectivity and often have stations from all over the place connected to our network.  From Alaska, to New Zealand, to Bulgaria, to England, you just never know who may be connected today.  Come join in the conversation!

The Texas Connection is not a "club".  There are no dues.  But if you have some spare lottery winnings you want to share, we could put it to good use!  There are no membership lists kept.  Well, except for this one.  There are no club meetings.  Except for bumping into each other on the air.  There is no political structure to our organization. But there are a couple of decision makers.  It is more along the lines of a loose-knit collaboration of technically experienced volunteer minded individuals (With FM VHF/UHF repeaters and simplex nodes) with common goals - and we like it that way!  We are just a bunch of guys that like talking on our radios, with FM clarity, across the globe or across the state to our friends we find there on the air, via nodes we spread around.  The Internet binds us together more reliably than the fickle whims of the ionosphere. It makes global communication from a handy talkie very possible.  Come join in the conversation!

We do have a few rules and guidlines for using the system.  Please look them over by clicking here.

Many thanks to W0FCM for his tireless efforts, technical expertise and patience with all of us trying to catch up!  Without him, none of this would have been possible...

Many thanks to KB5RIR for his tireless efforts and providing a little bit of server space on the KB5RIR World Wide Data Center

Data Center 

Thanks for the server space!!

Click here to Track/Locate KB5RIR and the rollin' base station.

Portions of our network are carried on AT&T and other data network carriers

Phone Carrier 

From all over the world...

 Arab Engineering

 

"I find it rather cool to be able to talk to the world with a small handy talkie while sitting on the porch at our home out in the country and enjoying a sunset with a glass of 46 year old bourbon...  It sure beats city life any day." - N5MBM

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The power of Pi...

Raspberry Pi 3b, DMK URI and power supply 

 

Would like to learn more about networking repeaters with AllStarLink?  Would you like to build your own node?  Would you like to join the network with a setup of your very own?  Then checkout hamvoip.org and see the latest news, image downloads and information regarding using the powerful Raspberry RPi3b computer to connect you to the world.

Talk to us on the repeaters and we will gladly pass along our experiences, our troubles and our successes.  If you're really nice, we might just hold your hand and help you get started!

Raspberry Pi single board computers are the heart of the AllStarLink system that most of the repeaters connected to our network run on.  It's a small computer about the size of a pack of cigarettes with no moving parts.  The best part is it runs on Linux and is VERY reliable and stable.  They will happily run for months or even years at a time without having to be rebooted or power-cycled.

We highly recommend the "Raspberry Pi" RPi3b for any future purchases. Future code will support both the RPi2 and RPi3b. Note that the RPi2 does not have on-board wifi or bluetooth support and the RPi3b has better performance specs.  Given the low cost of these boards, ($35-38 or less for the RPi3b) the extremely low power requirements, no moving parts, low heat, and many other advantages it makes little sense anymore to use a PC to run Allstar. The RPi3 can run a non-radio hub or a dual radio node easily. Think of it, you could save enough in a year retiring a power guzzling PC to buy several RPi2's and have some leftover cash.

We are often asked why Allstar with all of the new RF digital repeaters and their VOIP connection schemes out there. The best answer is open source, quality audio, and freedom to do what you want. Dstar, Fusion, DMR, etc are all at least partially if not completely proprietary systems. In most cases the VOIP connection system that makes them somewhat like Allstar is proprietary. Code plugs, Rooms, etc. all make for a confusing and hard to maintain system. It also makes a system which is managed much like IRLP. The individual users has little control other than to connect somewhere. Then there is the lousy audio that goes along with the current Amateur Radio digital RF schemes.

Allstar connects RF systems with full duplex quality audio. It also gives the user a choice in how and where they connect. Private or public group or individual connections can be setup quite easily. If you are in a restricted living environment like a retirement home or HOA that does not allow antennas Allstar gives you the radio feel without an obtrusive antenna or big expense. You could setup a simplex node in your apartment or dwelling and have local coverage with in a few blocks to several miles between your handheld and you own personal node. Couple that with the ability to setup connections to all your buddies that also have nodes and you have your own talk group with everyone using real radios to access. You also have the ability to access via computer, phone, Echolink, and many other methods.

The advent of the inexpensive small board computers and very easy scripted setup make getting on Allstar easier than ever. A savvy user who has the ability to make some modifications and build some simple circuity could get on Allstar for well under $75. A totally plug and play system minus the node radio would be no more than $150.

For repeater operators Allstar is a complete repeater controller that probably has more flexibility and capability than any repeater controller on the market. It is certainly cheaper. Because it runs in Linux and is open source the user has full flexibility to use scripts, timers, multiple ports, etc. to do just about anything they would want.

So if you like to call your own shots come join the friendly world of Allstar. You will be surprised how easy it is to get started and a world of adventure awaits you.

Commercially made "USB to Radio Interfaces" (commonly referred to as URI's) are available from DMK Engineering, Repeater Builder and arsrepeaters.com.  Raspberry Pi 3b's are available at all sorts of places like your local computer shop, Radio Shack and even AmazoneBay is a great source for surplus Motorola radios and it is quite common to find vendors who will program the radio for you before they deliver it to you.  Just be sure and have them program pin 8 on the external interface to go LOW when CSQ or PL opens the squelch.

Some of our members are associated with ARES

           

 

Updated 06/24/2017

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