Now I can send to the channel, but even though several people are listed on the right as being logged into the channel, there is not the usual 'chatter' going on as I am used to seeing in IRC. Also, when I type "Hello?", nothing happens.
There seems to be a very limited amount of people using the IRC. It is normally pretty quiet although it appears lots of people are there.
Many people stay permanently logged in but are often not actually there too.
If you want general chat, people are often also on the #sparkfun IRC which is popular and also ##electronics.