EchoLink is a computer-based Amateur Radio system distributed free of charge that allows radio amateurs to communicate with other amateur radio operators using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology on the Internet for at least part of the path between them. It was designed by Jonathan Taylor, a radio amateur with call sign K1RFD.
The system allows reliable worldwide connections to be made between radio amateurs, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio's communications capabilities. In essence it is the same as other VoIP applications (such as Skype), but with the unique addition of the ability to link to an amateur radio station's transceiver. Thus any low-power handheld amateur radio transceiver which can contact a local EchoLink node (a node is an active EchoLink station with a transceiver attached) can then use the Internet connection of that station to send its transmission via VoIP to any other active EchoLink node, worldwide. No special hardware or software is required to relay a transmission via an EchoLink node.
Before using the system, it is necessary for a prospective user's callsign to be validated. The EchoLink system requires that each new user provide positive proof of license and identity before his or her callsign is added to the list of validated users. There is no cost for this service, and it ensures that this system is used only by licensed amateur radio operators.