Having an EchoIRLP node here at home allows me the option of communicating with the XYL (who holds a Tech license) when I am on the road. I found this very useful when I was stationed in Korea. With the time difference, the end of my day was the beginning of hers. I could check APRS to see when she started her morning commute and then connect to my home node. This allowed me to check in with her as well as saying “Hi” to the kids.
With the Summer Trip, the XYL will not be with us the whole time. Therefore, IRLP may well offer a solution.
Time change will not be a significant factor – which means the best times to schedule IRLP QSOs with the XYL would be during the commute times. That should work fairly well because I do not plan to be on the road either too early in the morning or much past the late afternoon.
What is the availability of IRLP nodes along the route I am taking and will they be near our overnight stops? Enter the ARRL’s Repeater Directory. I remember my dad almost always having the shirt-pocket version of this directory by his easy chair along with his HT and a mechanical pencil that he used to make notes. I have consistently followed his lead, although I usually keep a copy in my truck as I am not too much of an HT guy. Another difference is my excitement about the Desktop Edition of the Repeater Directory. I find the shirt pocket edition way too tiny and difficult to use. The Desktop Edition is the Business Class of directories…. spacious, roomy, and comfortable.
I took advantage of ARRL’s birthday coupon to purchase the 2015-2016 directory and am using that to start my IRLP node research. Without digging up my maps and looking too much at the surrounding areas, here is what I found:
Sioux Falls, SD, IRLP Node #7346, 444.2, 82.5
Gillette, WY, IRLP Node #3307, 449.75, 123
Cody, WY, IRLP Node #7194, 146.85, 103.5
Great Falls, MT, IRLP #7908, 147.3
Great Falls, MT, IRLP #5670, 147.36, 100
Bozeman, MT, IRLP #3692, 448.35, 100
Billings, MT, IRLP #3398, 449.75, 100
What I will probably do is use my home node to connect to these nodes to see if they are in operation and get an idea as to what their coverage areas are.