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Reviews Categories | Ham Software - Other than logging | Echotime Help


Reviews Summary for Echotime
Reviews: 4 Average rating: 3.5/5 MSRP: $38.50
Description: Echotime runs in conjunction with Echolink voip software. Utilising Windows tts ( text to speech) utilities it offers a host of messaging announcements, weather forecasts, time clock, together with auto connecting to nodes. All making Echolink and Echotime a very useful combo. There are two versions, the standard TTS version is free, whereas the Plus version is shareware and chargeable, both offer great facilities though.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.kh2d.net/software/echotime
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W3TUA Rating: 4/5 Apr 26, 2007 05:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Add On  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This program is very useful. I used the earlier free version and liked its functionality. Paying for such a fine program was easy for me to do later.

It took me about 30 minutes to get the basic setup running and I spent an additional hour or two expanding upon it. I now have rotating announcements concerning Field Day operations, club meetings, and node information that play every 15 minutes. Too cool.

I can't see why anyone would complain about the set up procedures. The well-written help files and website clearly state and give step-by-step instructions on what is required. If you don't want to spend the time to do it, then don't buy it and don't complain. The program works FB with WeatherExchange software and I have a really cool weather condition display to boot.

Also, how can anyone possibly complain about not being able to connect to other nodes during a "quiet time" which they, the sysop, set up? Ludicrous.

I gave it a '4' because I do agree with the reviewer who described the auto-connect with an offline node problem. I'm sure something could be done to fix that in future releases.
 
N5RNY Rating: 2/5 Apr 17, 2007 21:31 Send this review to a friend
has quirks  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
One of the reasons I purchased Echotime TTS was because of the automation functions, those that allow the node to switch on and off, and connect to other nodes, automatically according to a schedule.

Unfortunately, these functions don't work all that well. And since the user must also download and/or install Text to Speech, Weather exchange, and of course Echolink, You will have invested not only the money for the program, but also a huge chunk of your time getting it all to work.

The promise of a timed node, one that you can program to turn off at night is a good idea, but the implementation in Echotime is poor. You have to set the time as 'quiet hours', say from midnite to 6 am, but the node will obnoxiously broadcast at 11:59pm, that it is going to sleep in one minute. Then it will announce in the morning that it is awake. There is no provison for turning these announcements off.

The feature that allows you to set timed autoconnects seems like a good idea, until you actually try to use the feature. Say you want your node to connect to your friends node at 10 am, then disconnect at 6 pm. Seems easy enough. But if for some reason your friends node is offline, then Echotime will attempt to connect once every minute for that entire time, eight hours, and announce every minute that the node is busy, or not found, or whatever. That is very anoying, and again, no way to shut those announcements off, or set a maximum retry number. Also, if you or a user want to manually connect to that node, by using their DTMF pad, and its ouside the time limits of 10am to 6 pm, Echotime will disconnect it soon after you try to connect, since its not 'supposed' to be connected at that time. In other words, echotime forces the autoconnect to comply with the programmed schedule, and there is no way to disable that, except to turn off autoconnects completely.

The support for the program is limited and slow, and is not what I would call user friendly.

If you really just HAVE to have weather and speech on your echolink node, go for it. It amazes me that Echolink is free, but the addons from other authors are what cost money.

Overall, I'd rate Echotime TTS, just barely functional.


Brian N5RNY
 
W5IB Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2005 12:59 Send this review to a friend
A very good add-on to Echolink  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have run the purchased version of EchoTime now for two weeks, and have found the added features it gives to my repeater to be very valuable. Being able to call up weather info on demand brings a new dimension to the users and listeners of my repeater. I can't wait to see what new features will be added to EchoTime in the future.
 
K3JIM Rating: 3/5 Oct 29, 2004 15:43 Send this review to a friend
Hangs up with ULI Board  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This software provides Voice synthesis for the ECHOLINK program adding Voice IDs, help files, time, auto connect and Weather on demand for echolink users.

The writers of any free software should not be faulted for the inevitable problems associated with making it work in many possible configurations of software, Operating system and hardware. There does seem to be a problem with the ULI board and ECHOTIME in that it occsionaly looses the serial connection (the green light goes out on the ULI box). Since I SYSOP a 24/7 Node (W3HZU-R) it did knock us off a few times until I realized what the problem was. This seems to occur when a node disconnects and someone tries to reconnect too quickly. I took the ECHOTIME off line and will wait to see if an update comes out that solves the problem. As far as the concept it is very ingenious and ranks somewhere between way-cool and annoying.
There seems to be many features that can be invoked, should the target audience want them, but turn too many on and it becomes down-right annoying to listen to. All and all it does a good job doing what it does. For the price (free) I don't complain.
 


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