Using the iPhone 'RepeaterPhone' Application
A brief introduction to using iPhone and the "RadioLess" application RepeaterPhone to access AllstarLinks and EchoLink nodes relation to Ham Radio
A brief overview of a Ham Radio iPhone User.
Applications that Amateur radio users utilise can vary depending on the hardware platforms they have and the specific area of interest. Applications do not always go across all operating systems; therefore you might not find the same applications available on a different mobile platform.
The objective of this article/(blog entry) is to cover some of the applications that are available for IOS (iPhone). Future articles may cover other operating systems.
There are basic apps available which most users will be familiar with such as QRZ, RepeaterBook, Zello, EchoLink etc.
One of the less discussed is the "RepeaterPhone" application. This also includes ability to work with EchoLink connections as well as AllStarLink. It works very well and is supported regularly. The bad news is that it is not Free, in that it will cost to purchase it from the IOS App store, but the cost may well be worth it to get n app which seems to work very well.
NOTE: The advantage is that it can be used across iPad and iPhone so if you use multiple devices you only pay once. (Requires iOS 15.0 or later) Also works with Apple Watch 6.0 or later.
So lets first go through this RepeaterPhone App to see what it can do and how to use it.
RepeaterPhone IOS iPhone/iPad App Store
From the IOS App store on the iPhone do a search and it should be shown similar to the images shown here, with the exception that the first time you need to purchase the app. (Check that the icon is as shown)
As you can see from the screenshot it is a mature app and still well supported/updated
You can setup how you want to use/operate the app in relation to the screen PushToTalk Button as well as Transmit Timeout etc.
The app does allow connections to third party physical "Buttons" which can be configured to operate as remote PTT switches (as described below)
You can configure you preferred CallSign lookup inside the app to use for example QRZ to provide details of the user etc.
Settings and Accounts
The middle 'Star' Icon at the bottom of the App is for using and managing you Favorite connection/call numbers.
You can assign either AllStarLinks or EchoLink connections as a favorite making connection easy based on you preference, by pressing the Star icon on the connect screen
The Main Operation Talk Screen
Once you have chosen the node you wish to connect to the app will make the connection and then if successful show this screen shown, which lists who is also connected to the node as well as the control interface which includes PTT button and audio controls below.
The Green PTT button when transmitting with show emulation of audio etc.
The audio level can be adjusted using the icon on the top left; and the top right icon provides the ability to change where iPhone audio is being sent etc.
To close the connection to the node just click on the RED Hangup button.
The timer in the bottom middle tells you how long you have been connected to the node.
Finding Nodes to connect
By using the Directory search option shown bottom left it is possible to either search AllStarLinks or EchoLinks for the node you are looking to connect to.
Just select which one you want to Search and then start typing in the details of the node etc.
You can only search directories that you have defined an account for.
So to get get AllStarLink and EchoLink you need both accounts added as above.
Using an External PTT (Bluetooth) device.
Using an 'External' PTT button has some advantages in that you do not need to hold or touch the screen during a QSO. For example to iPhone could remain in pocket or holder say in a car and then the car audio would work together with the external PTT to provide operation without touching the phone.
With recent updates the application now supports 'Flic' Buttons. Setup for these shown below
The developer has tested some external PTT devices and the Amazon US links can be found from here.
These Flic buttons are small (1 Inch dia) with sticky padand have a watch style battery with a long usage time and are just bluetooth control devices(switches).
They can be configured to do many things using the app that is available or just be used as Bluetooth Buttons:
To utilise button when using RepeaterPhone, just goto the 'Setting' part of the app... then 'External PTT' and it should start looking for Bluetooth devices.
Press and hold the Flic button until it appears in the list and then select it as the preferred PTT external button control for the app.
The button will then work as external PTT