Network Radio is a relatively new aspect of radio which uses VOIP (voice over internet protocol) either through WiFi or the cellular phone system. There are various systems in operation and I have highlighted two of them below Zello and Free Radio Network. There are others and a quick internet search for Network Radio will get much more information. You can install the Zello app on your mobile phone and use it that way, there are also new 'radios' now on sale which look just like CB or Amateur Radios with PTT microphone. These usually come with Zello and other apps pre installed and ready to go and operate on WiFi and over the cellular phone system. Using this system enables you to talk worldwide from your mobile or homebase. Check out ebay or Amazon for network Radios for more details.
Free Radio Network (FRN)
So what is Free Radio Network ?
FRN is a Voice Over Internet Protocol client similar to Skype, eQSO and others. The difference between skype and FRN is that you can connect many different types of radio systems to FRN.
So what do I have to do to get onto FRN ?
First of all make sure you have a microphone and speakers or a headset connected to your computer,
now download the Free Radio Software by clicking on the link HERE
You can download the FRN user manual by clicking on the link HERE
Full instructions on how to proceed with the installation and setting up your new FRN client are included on the
page. On running the FRN software for the first time a registration box will open where you enter your details
such as Username, Callsign, email address, Country, City and Part of city. Once you have entered all the
required information click on 'Get Password' and your FRN client password will be emailed to the email
address you entered. Once you recieve your password enter it in the password box at the bottom of the ID box.
Now run the software again and click on the magnifying icon to bring up the server list.
Now click on the server you want to connect to.......
After a few seconds you will be connected to the 'test room', in here everything you say will be repeated back to you so you can hear what you sound like to others. Just press and hold the PTT (Push to talk) button to speak and let it go to listen. When you are happy with the way your audio sounds press the small down arrow button next to your CONNECT/DISCONNECT button and select the room you want from the drop down list of rooms, now click connect.
It's best just to listen for a while to get the jist of the conversation before joining in. Those already talking will no doubt see you appear on their screen and invite you into the conversation.
In the event of the server you are on going offline the system will automatically transfer you to the backup server. When this happens your screen will go blank for a few seconds then you will notice that the server name has changed, you will also notice a small yellow triangle flashing on your FRN client, this is to let you know that you are on the backup server.
When the main server comes back online everyone will automatically be transferred back on to it. (CAUTION), do not connect directly to the backup server, if you do you will not transfer back onto the main server with everyone else. The proper procedure is to try and connect to the main server even if it appears offline, if it is you will be transferred as described above.
How do I send pictures over FRN using the text I.M facility ?
1. Click on the little envelope icon on your FRN client, this will open a text box.
2. Click on the 'Image' button, (the button will stay selected) then type in or paste the internet URL where the picture is located and then click on the 'Image button again (this deselects it). Now press 'Send Message', your picture should appear in the text box. TIP - use your web browser to open the picture then copy the URL from it's address bar. You can then paste it into the FRN text box. The text line should look like this example ....
3. You can send a picture to everyone in the room by just doing as above or you can send a picture to one person by 'right clicking' on their icon on the FRN screen and selecting 'Send text message'.
This facility is slightly limited as all pictures are reduced in size by FRN to thumbnails. So you may have to also paste the URL as a normal text for users to click on to see the full size image.