Ham Radio 360: Winlink, Winmor & RMS Express (an introduction)

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K4CDN, Apr 18, 2017.

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  1. K4CDN

    K4CDN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Happy Int'l Amateur Radio Day!

    It usually begins like this “Cale, when are you going to do a show on….?” This time, it was Wayne (K4SPA) and he was again, asking me about doing a show on Winlink.

    Listen Link Here


    Show Notes, Links and Mentions

    I’ve too been wanting to learn more about Winlink since first trying my hand in it back in the Fall. While I’ve had limited (NVIS) success, I’m far from a ‘user’ or even half-way proficient in the mode. So I did what I do best; I found someone to help me further understand it, and I bring you along to learn with me!

    Brett Smith (KE0EWY) is a Friend, Listener and Long-time Supporter of HR360. He’s also quite fond of Winlink and someone I consider an Elmer for me in that field. I invited Brett to visit with us here to help you and I both learn more about Winlink, Winmor and RMS Express.

    Thanks for listening!

    73, K4CDN

    This isn’t a deep-dive into all things Winlink, but more of an Introduction to give us an idea of what it is, and what is necessary to get started with this really cool mode of communicating with our radios and computers.
  2. KD2AFE

    KD2AFE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like the concept and the idea behind Winlink. I think it has a lot of potential practical applications especially with regards to emergency situations. I especially like the fact that with Winmor you do not have to sell your kidneys to get a Pactor-capable system. Unfortunately there is not much Winmor support globally at the moment. Being based in Japan, I was never able to connect to a Winmor station (there is one in Korea in theory). I will keep an eye on the progress though, I'll probably try again down the road.
    KF5RHI and K4CDN like this.
  3. NA4IT

    NA4IT Ham Member QRZ Page

    And the Pactor stations are dropping like flies...
    AD0JA and K4CDN like this.
  4. KD2AFE

    KD2AFE Ham Member QRZ Page

    After reading this post and reading the Winlink article, I decided to give it another go.
    It has been touch-and-go given that there are no nearby Winmor stations for Japan, but today for the first time ever I managed to send a test email to a friend via Winlink Express and Winmor.
    My email was sent via VK2JN in Australia using the 15 m band (which is not supposed in great shape). It looks like the slight uptick in the SFI above 80 did the trick.

    I am very happy about this result. I had almost given-up after trying for such a long time. There was a lot of QRM but it still worked thanks to the FEC.
    Japan is such a disaster-prone country it is HUGE to have the ability to send an email in case of emergency when there is no electricity (I have a solar back-up) nor internet.
    Having gone through the large 2011 earthquake, I am stoked that I now have this as one of the redundancy systems I can rely on to communicate with the outside world.
    So many thanks to the Winlink team and the benevolent OMs supporting the system with their Winmor (and other) stations.

    On my Xmas wish list: A Winmor station closer to Japan please! :)

    K4CDN likes this.
  5. K4CDN

    K4CDN Ham Member QRZ Page

    congratulations! We can never have too many back-ups!
    KD2AFE likes this.
  6. N6KZB

    N6KZB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The number of Winlink gateways supporting Winmor are numerous. This sound card protocol has been around for years . As a method of sending email out of an affected area it does work, albeit slower than Pactor and needs a more solid HF signal, but it does provide a free entry into the World Wide Winlink network.

    For Emergency communications message delivery when there is no local internet it does provide a solution for many.

    Here is a link to a gateway map and the various protocol each gateway has: http://www.winlink.org/RMSChannels

    As a side note Winmor is going to be replaced eventually with ARDOP, a more robust and faster sound card application that is showing the capability to
    work in weaker HF band conditions than Winmor, and with a good connect, speeds near Pactor 2. https://winlink.org/tags/ardop

    Adios and stay safe: http://www.winlink.org/
    KD2AFE and K4CDN like this.
  7. W4LLZ

    W4LLZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My personal experience with Winmor and Pactor III modes, I have not had any problem connecting on HF particularly on 40 and 80 meters. Looking at the Pactor and Winmor RMS channels in N America there appears to be about 150 stations (almost equally shared between the 2 modes). I'll add as well, that many of the 150 stations run both pactor and winmor and also are receiving in more than one HF band. Winmor 500 is slightly faster than Pactor 1, Wimor 1600 is slightly faster than Pactor 2 - based upon this faq sheet (page 8): http://winlink.org/sites/default/files/wl2k_faq_20150314.pdf

    Time for a 4K message based upon different modes:
    Pactor 1: 15 min
    Winmor 500: 10 min
    Pactor 2: 4 min
    Winmor 1600: 3 min
    Pactor 3: 30 sec

    My experience using Winmor mostly, is I get an email sent in about 2 - 3 min, depending on length.
    K4CDN and KD2AFE like this.
  8. KD2AFE

    KD2AFE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for the information, I did not know about ARDOP, looking forward to it.
    I had used the map to check for the various gateways nearby. There are tons of them in NA and Europe but Asia is a bit on the thin side.
    I agree that it is awesome for em comms with all the redundancies built into it.
    Given how prone to natural disasters Japan is, I am surprised there is not a single gateway there. Maybe I could suggest something to my club here.
    We were lucky in 2011 that we still had electricity and the internet was still working in Tokyo when the big one hit.
    If the electricity and internet had gone down, it would have been a whole new ball game...
    We were "lucky". If such a situation had happened, something like Winlink would have proved invaluable.
    K4CDN likes this.
  9. KD2AFE

    KD2AFE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very interesting stats.
    I connected via Winmor 1600 and my email took 6.8 minutes but..... there was a ton of QRM and propagation on 15 m was very bad.
    So with the FEC, there was a lot of re-sending of data involved I am guessing once the checksums did not match.
    With good propagation and overall band conditions the 3 min for Winmor 1600 seems reasonable (for an average sized email).
    K4CDN likes this.
  10. KD2AFE

    KD2AFE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is the implementation of ARDOP pending the FCC's decision on the 300 baud SSB rule? It seems that is not the case but just checking.
    When is that decision expected?
    K4CDN likes this.

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