Ham radio operators like myself who own Macs learn very quickly that most applications and utilities that cater to this hobby are designed to run on Windows PCs. However, because Mac users can easily run Windows using virtualization software such as Parallels, VMware, or VirtualBox, the limitations are not insurmountable. In some instances, like the following case study involving EchoLink, implementation of a basic networking procedure is all that’s needed.
What is EchoLink®?
EchoLink is a software program distributed free of charge that allows licensed amateur radio operators to communicate with other hams using Voice over IP technology. The software allows worldwide connections to be made between stations, or from computer or cell phone (Android or iPhone) to station. There are over 200,000 validated users worldwide in 151 of the world’s 193 nations — with about 6,000 online at any given time.
Above: Parallels’ Hardware Configuration Menu
Configuring EchoLink for use in Windows requires port forwarding on the router. As noted on a help page posted on the Parallels web site, Bridged Ethernet mode (in contrast to the Shared Networking option), allows users to specify port forwarding rules for virtual machines running on your Mac, which can be useful when running HTTP, FTP, or other types of servers in virtual machines.
Your router or firewall must allow inbound and outbound UDP communication on ports 5198 and 5199 in order for EchoLink to work properly. While EchoLink states that outbound TCP must also be set to use port 5200, I found that I didn’t have to include this entry in my router (your situation may be different). If you are using a home network router, you will also need to configure the router to forward UDP ports 5198 and 5199 to the PC on which EchoLink is running.
IP Addresses That You Need To Know
Identification of different electronic devices that require Internet connectivity is managed using a standardized addressing scheme known as an Internet Protocol (IP). While Internet Protocol Version 4 has been around for many years and is familiar to a wide audience, the proliferation of electronic devices worldwide has caused this system to run out of available IP addresses. As a result, a more advanced system known as Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) has been introduced that will eventually replace IPv4. However, when configuring EchoLink for use over the Internet, you need to obtain two sets of IPv4 addresses.
IPv4 address of your network router as seen on the Mac.
IPv4 address of the virtual machine as seen in Windows.
There are various methods for obtaining this information. To obtain the router’s IPv4 address using your Mac, open System Preferences and click on the Network pane.
To obtain the IPv4 address that your Windows virtual machine is using, select the Run dialog box from the Start menu and type cmd [then press RETURN] to bring up a Command Line window. Next to the command prompt, type ipconfig [RETURN key]. Write down the IPv4 address shown in the command window. Afterward, type exit [RETURN] to close the command window.
Make sure your virtual machine is configured for Bridged Networking first before determining your Windows IPv4 address using the instructions shown above. Otherwise, you’ll obtain an IP address that won’t work with EchoLink.
By following the above instructions, you now have the IPv4 addresses of your router and Windows virtual machine. Both IP addresses will be entered into your router on the port forwarding configuration page. In fact, each IP will appear twice: once as the Source IP and the second time as the Destination IP.
Allow UDP destination ports 5198 and 5199 between your router and PC in both directions
Allow TCP (source port any, destination port 5200) from PC to router; this setting may be unnecessary
Instructions for setting up port forwarding varies from router to router. In many cases, configuration menus can be accessed by typing the IP address of the router into a browser window and authenticating using an admin name and password. If you’re using an AirPort base station, you can make the necessary changes by opening the AirPort Utility application that can be found in the Utilities folder. You may need to reboot your router in order for the changes to take effect.
Final Step: Test EchoLink
In Windows, install EchoLink and enter your ham radio credentials as prompted by the program. Once your account has been verified, select Tools, then choose Firewall/Router Tester from the dropdown menu. If you’ve configured everything correctly, you’ll receive a PASS message in the popup window.