AllStar, EchoLink & IRLP:AllStar is very well explained here and here.
If you are not familiar with the worldwide IRLP network, the irlp.net website is an excellent resource.
EchoLink has the advantage that it can be run on many devices such as: Smart phones, Computers and Tablets making access and testing easier.
We started out using exclusively IRLP, but when switching to the low-power computers Raspberry Pi's (Rpi) and interface (DMK), we converted to EchoLink. Thanks to Roy's (K6MF) expertise. The security is not quite as tight as IRLP, but we have not yet experienced any problems.
We (K6DVD & WB6DAO) then, in the summer of 2017, switched to AllStar due to its versatility and relaxed port restrictions (ie: run as many nodes as you wish on one IP address).
You can connect to us via EchoLink at: K6DVD-L or WB6DAO-R. Note: we must add you to the "allowed" list first before you will be successful connecting. This is to eliminate the random un-welcome connects that occur at times.
If you are an already a UHF operator from California, you are aware that most UHF repeaters here are operated as closed.
This is not an attempt to exclude any qualified operator from using them, just an effort to make sure that all users have similar operating standards and understand the proper control and operation of the repeater.
There are also plenty of open repeaters available in the Southern California area. For a current list, see this link: Open Repeaters, many have linking capabilities.
A good analogy for a closed repeater is:
A repeater is like your house, you paid for it, you maintain it, all at great expense. You don't just open the door for just anyone walking by that sees your address. You qualify those for whom you open the door and invite in. A repeater operating in the closed mode is much the same, people are invited to operate, much as you would invite friends into you home.
If you live or work in the following California areas: Santa Barbara, San Jose or San Gabriel Valley, we are always looking for new compatible members. Please listen to us and if it seems like something you would like to join, please e-mail for details. You will find out that most of us have some technical background and a good percentage have some connection to Santa Barbara, CA. Even if you don't live in one of the coverage areas, reliable access is available via a smartphone or computer into EchoLink or in some cases AllStar.
Please use the qrz.com email address for WB6DAO or any other of the owners.