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I heard that it is illegal to put IRLP linking onto a repeater on 2 meters in the USA. I was wondering if this was actually the case.

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The ARRL has addressed this in detail:

Is It Legal?

By Brennan Price, N4QX and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD

What Part 97 regulations govern VoIP-assisted Amateur Radio?

All of them or none of them, depending on whether you're asking about the "VoIP-assisted" or the "Amateur Radio" part of VoIP-assisted Amateur Radio. Follow this link for a PowerPoint presentation on VoIP by Mike Goldberg, K1LJN.

Many callers to the ARRL's Regulatory Information Branch over the last few years have focused on the novelty of the Internet when asking questions about the legal uses of certain systems. Such focus is misdirected. Part 97 does not regulate systems; it regulates stations. The Commission doesn't care what a ham has feeding his or her station; it cares that the station--not the Internet, but the station--is properly operated. And all the rules that apply to any Amateur Radio station apply to one that retransmits audio fed to it by VoIP.

The gist of it is this: it's not illegal. All the FCC cares about is your station, and what you transmit. If your transmissions come from the internet instead of a microphone, more power to you. Just be sure those transmissions comply with the regulations like everything else.

It does not matter if the protocol you use on the internet is encrypted or not. Part 97 regulates the RF emissions from your station, not what you do on the internet.

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While Part 97 regulates the station and what you transmit, there is still the "no encryption or other privacy techniques may be used" provision (HOW you transmit). As such, VoIP utilizing any encrypted data protocol would probably not be legal.

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  • $\begingroup$ This would mean that IRLP itself is not legal, which is certainly not the case! $\endgroup$ – W8AWT Jan 5 '15 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ Protocols such as TCP/IP or HTTP are not by default encrypted, they are merely encoded information, such as Morse code is (at a much higher data rate, of course). Monitored/captured/intercepted packets would still be readable by anyone, which satisfies the requirements of amateur radio transmissions being open to monitoring. There are discussions about the subject; some favor the ability to encrypt, some fear it would expose amateur radio to accusations of supporting extremist activities. kb6nu.com/im-jumping-on-the-anti-encryption-bandwagon $\endgroup$ – user238853 Jan 5 '15 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ IRLP doesn't transmit anything encrypted, just plain clear voice in English. I think encryption won't be the deciding factor. $\endgroup$ – tomnexus Jan 5 '15 at 3:08
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    $\begingroup$ The part going over the internet is irrelevant, encrypted or not. The part you can't encrypt is what goes on the air. $\endgroup$ – KD8EVL Jan 6 '15 at 16:18

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