What is the IRN Server?
By Gareth Jackson, M6IGJ
A little while ago I moved house to a very rural location. A result of which meant that I couldn't "play radio" as I had done on the 2/70 bands as there were no repeaters near to where I lived that I could get into.
To get around this, I set up a personal connection between my home and my mobile phone using Teamspeak 3 (TS3) so that I could connect to Echolink, thus being able to play radio whilst out and about (I actually use a HT known as a F25 which acts just like a radio. There are some pictures of it on in the gallery section).
In short, I'm not the only ham that has issues getting into repeaters and connecting to the World and after speaking with others, it became apparent that others might enjoy using this set up...
In September 2016 the IRN server was created and access was given to other licensed hams so that they could use it.
Since then, it's grown... the original Echolink connection is no longer active, and Allstar has been the mode of choice with the system, connecting up to a mix of repeaters, hubs and nodes around the globe.
The IRN server allows full TX and RX so you can use it like a radio. There are also channels that are just live RX feeds from other systems like D-Star and Echolink.
The system can also cater for non licensed users and those that are looking to do their exams and join us hams and experience what certain modes are like. The way the IRN Server works means that we can assign voice rights to certain channels thus ensuring that non-licenced users are not able to transmit, but they are able to listen.
More recently, the IRN System has created a partnership with TheGuild (World Wide Amateur Radio Guild Inc). TheGuild also has additional channels that allow non licensed users to enjoy full TX/RX and mix with radio hams that aren't crosslinked into any RF based systems but do crosslink into their Zello Crosslink.
The IRN server also allows for additional crosslinks to be added as we go, with several more in the making including a DMR and Fusion based crosslinks and more Allstar nodes. It also has a part time FRN crosslink and the ability to work with Zello. Additionally, if you are a repeater keeper or sysop on a system, then linking into your current set up usually won't cost a dime and we'd be more than happy to help you get that up and running.
We appreciate that RoIP systems like this aren't going to be for everyone, and we're not trying to take people away from "real radio". Not everyone has the option on what they can use due to location or their personal circumstances. This system gives them to ability to talk to users all around the World on several different systems, and all for free!
Update: 2017-12-14 IRN is now a wholly owned subsidiary of World Wide Amateur Radio Guild Inc.