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Reviews Categories | Ham Repeater Controllers | ICS LINKER IIa REPEATER CONTROLLER Help

ICS LINKER IIa REPEATER CONTROLLER Reviews: 6 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $139.95
Description: Very easy to set up and operate
Values entered in Volts, Seconds, WPM (Even Fractional Values) Uses More, Good, Bad, indications when programming in values and parameters All Programmable Data stored in onboard EEPROM Over 75 Commands available DTMF Control
DTMF control on both the Repeater , Link and Control RX ports 25 DTMF Programmable Code / Command Memories
Each DTMF code can be from 1 to 5 digits
Has DTMF Muting on both ports (Can be disabled)
Electronic Control System High Quality JFET opamps - Top audio quality, High output High Quality JFET Transistors in the audio circuit Low rolloff Separate Plug for a third party Encode / Decode module (ComSpec TS 64)Microprocessor control of Encode and Decode Encode has programmable Encode timer for after receiver becomes inactive
Encode is mixed in with the transmitter's audio if enabled
Discriminator or Straight through audio for repeater port
By adding a resistor audio can go from the control RX to the repeater TX Good for battery operation, only uses about 29ma (Measured) Seven High quality Pots (Bourns) for level adjustments Nine LED's for system status indication
Built in Watchdog timer CTCSS and COS inputs Separate Control receiver inputs - Has Priority
Voltage and Polarity settable COS input for the Control receiver Voltage and Polarity settable COS and CTCSS inputs for the repeater Port Voltage and Polarity settable COS and CTCSS inputs for the Link Port Special dedicated 10 pin plug for Repeater port CTCSS Repeater port (Port 1) has a programmable Encode hang timer Remote Base / Link functions Remote base memories are controlled by the Linker IIa controller Selection of a remote base memory is done just by selecting with DTMF The Remote base control system remembers the Remote base memory The Linker IIa will return the Remote base to the Home memory
Product is in production.
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K7DAA Rating: 5/5 Sep 2, 2011 14:18 Send this review to a friend
Great Remote Base Control  Time owned: more than 12 months
In February of this year, we moved the repeater to a much higher location, and I added a Kenwood TM-V7A transceiver to the link port on the Linker IIa to give us a remote base. I had to bring an additional line out of the TM-V7A, since it does not handle audio muting and COS suppression properly on any channel that uses CTCSS. Not the Linker IIa's fault, and many hams that have pressed the TM-V7A into remote base service have had to do this.

In short, I'm extremely pleased with how easy it is to make a remote base with this controller. I hooked up one of the outputs from the Linker IIa to the mike "UP" button line on the TM-V7A mike jack, and have it set up to step through 20 different 440 MHz channels. The method for doing this is described in the manual for the Linker IIa, and is very well-integrated into the control system. Simply send the remote base "ON" command, and then enter a channel number. The firmware takes care of stepping to the correct channel. In my system, some channels are for Bay Area repeaters, and some are for simplex.

My users are delighted with the easy remote base commands, and enjoy the extra functionality this gives us. Four months ago, I also put an IRLP node on our system, selectable via the 440 remote base, and that has again made our repeater even more interesting to use.

Stop by and visit us on IRLP node # 7662 or Echolink node 9537 to get a demo of the good-sounding audio.


Dave - K7DAA
K7DAA Rating: 5/5 Aug 2, 2010 17:23 Send this review to a friend
Very Solid Controller!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had one in continuous operation for a year now, with no trips to the repeater required. No resets, no hiccups, no memory loss.

Very solid controller, and it sounds great! I am using HamTronics 2 meter radios, a TS-64 CTCSS encoder/decoder, and a 440 receiver for remote control. The Linker 11a handles this setup easily. It didn't take much time to get them working together, although I did make a simple relay control board (1.5 by 1.5 inches) to handle PTT for the repeater's transmitter.

The DTMF programming is very easy, and allowed me to set up a limited number of simple-to-remember functions that repeater users have access to without compromising security for all of the "serious" DTMF commands reserved for control operators.

What more can I say? It really fits my needs perfectly, and I'm only using less than half of the Linker IIa's capabilities. I look forward to adding another co-located 440 repeater and a remote base when I have a chance, and will NOT have to upgrade the controller to do this!

Dave - K7DAA
VE3GIV Rating: 5/5 Apr 13, 2008 00:36 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I surfed the internet for a few months looking for a no nonsense repeater controller without the chatty cathy speech that never shuts up. If I want to know what the weather is I can look outside. The time; I wear a wrist watch.

I read every review I could find (TNX and touched base with a few repeater controller manufacturing companies. I needed a simple DTMF remote programmable controller with a priority control receiver input and a remote base interface; more on that later. The ICS Linker IIa gives me all of that in a very small well designed package.

I contacted Integrated Control Systems – ICS – via e-mail and received an immediate reply from Brian, WA9PMM. I had many questions and subsequently many e-mails were exchanged. Brian always came through with the answers I required and in addition several suggestions. I don’t think he ever sleeps, or takes a day off, as some of my e-mails were sent late in the evening and on weekends and the answers came in minutes. I give Brian TOP marks for customer relations. This is what put it over the top and why I finally decided on an ICS product.

The Linker IIa was very easy to interface and is supplied with a well documented manual, although there are a couple of errors as noted in other reports. Setting up and programming was easy but unless you have a photographic memory you will require the manual for reference. The remote base control is rather unique and simple to use. You just have to remember which memory to call up with respect to the frequencies your remote base is programmed too. The controller is not frequency agile. The control receiver input is perfect and has priority. The letter of the law is maintained should you ever need to disable the repeater in a hurry and do not have capture on the repeater’s input. Full and absolute control, very nice!

As I am using a Motorola VHF GM300 as my remote base it does not provide for microphone up/down control of the memory channels that the Linker IIa was designed to interface with; hence a problem. All was not lost after a bit of research. The 16 channel GM300 can be software programmed to bring 5 channel select lines out to the 16 pin accessory connector on the rear of the radio, along with COS, RX and TX audio. Taking each channel select line to ground individually and separately gives you the option to select 5 of the programmed channels; channels 1, 2, 4, 8 or 16 to be exact. Using a diode matrix to select and ground the 5 lines in various combinations results in a 1 of 16 choice. While I was figuring this channel selection scheme out (with the help of Kurt Meltzer – WB9KNX), and how I was going to control it, a brand new old stock Connect Systems CS1688 decoder appeared on e-bay. It can be set to switch 1 of 16 output lines to ground through open collectors. Voila, a match made in heaven. I bid and won the auction. I tapped the required audio for the decoder from a DADM port (tnx Brian for the tip) on the Linker IIa and with a simple 2 digit DTMF command (all 16 keys on a full touch tone pad are used) plus an optional DTMF password command and the remote base channel is selected. Of course the Linker provides a command structure that permits the remote base to be enabled in RX only mode or both RX and TX. Absolute perfection at a minimal cost.

All in all the ICS Linker IIa is a fantastic product. Workmanship and quality is top notch. Brian is a great person to deal with. If you are looking for a no nonsense very functional repeater controller, the Linker IIa is the smart choice. I would highly recommend Integrated Control Systems products, and the price is right too! It rates a solid 5.

Bob – VE3GIV

KB7RGT Rating: 5/5 Dec 25, 2006 20:55 Send this review to a friend
Quality, Features, & Price  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this controller for a couple of years in a hilltop cross-band repeat setup. I have two GE Phoenix radios (VHF & UHF) connected to this controller. I had a couple of hickups during the first couple of months - never discovered what happened, but customer service was EXCELLENT. The unit has been working flawlessly since then in a moderate to heavy use environment. I intend to buy another in short order for a 6 meter repeater.
FORMER_K6KDK Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2004 16:48 Send this review to a friend
A bargin at the price !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had previously purchased one of the ICS Basic Model Controllers and was very impressed. with it. On the strength of that controller I decided to purchase one of their Linker IIa controllers. Please see my review of the Basic Controller, as many of my comments about that controller also apply to the Linker IIa.

As I mentioned about the Basic, I also feel that the Linker represents a great bargain in a quality controller. What it lacks in bells and whistles, it more than makes up for in solid reliable performance, and I really appreciate the logical and easy to program Function system for controlling operation of the repeater and remote base. Also the “control only” input point ads impressive security and legal compliance to the system. With the ICS products you must decide if they fit your application and operational style. For me they are perfect, as I do not like other chatty “announcement machines’ that I find on the air. I want a solid system that has a sort of “commercial feel” to it. Anyway, even if you do want true human voice announcement capability you don’t have to buy a $700 controller to do that. All you need to do is run your system with an ICS Linker IIa then invest $19 on a license for J. Taylors EchoStation software and point an in-band radio to your repeater using any old hand-held or other junk box radio you have lying around and you will have “bells and whistles ‘till the cows come home”, and all for a fraction of the cost of a ‘super controller”.

There is a great deal of functionality packed into the Linker IIA and it can be configured in many ways. The use of the remote base memory is a clever way to implement a frequency agile system, although you will have to pre-program the remote base radio before it is out of site and out of reach at your hilltop. If you have pre-programmed a lot of memory locations in your radio (I used 156 of my 180 available slots in a Kenwood TMGH707) it can take more than a few seconds for the Linker to increment to a desired memory position. But this is a minor issue.

The bottom line is, like my opinion of the Basic Controller, this is a high quality product that is solid, reliable and well debugged. The only knock I can find is, again like the basic, the operation manual could stand a little re-working. I have emailed the factory about that issue and they state that they have that as a top priority, and that new manuals ‘are in the works”. In a way the manual issue is less important for the Linker IIa than it was for the basic. The reason is two-fold: One is that the Linker IIa manual is not nearly as deficient or error-ridden as the Basic, and the other reason is that most persons that are tackling the job of installing a linked remote base system are likely to have a pretty firm grasp of the technical problems involved and are not really in need of a “user manual tutorial” to step them through every little piece of the project. So the LinkerIIa gets a #5 rating from me, and I recommend it highly.

-Dan K6KDK
W5GNB Rating: 4/5 Apr 17, 2004 00:09 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice controller  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This unit is especially suited for Remote Base operations as well as for a repeater controller. The only thing that I think it should have that it does not is a BEACON mode for the callsign to be presented at intervals during times of non-use. Thier tech department tells me that this feature is to be added on the next software upgrade and will be available simply by installing a new chip. Programming is very simple and reliability is very good. I am using one for a 450 repeater/remote base and it has worked just fine with no complaints at all....

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