Winlink VHF P2P Messages Uploaded by WinLink Express

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KC3BLF, Apr 27, 2021.

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  1. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I love it when you all get all revved up over WinLink. How exactly should "WinLink" be punished? Should it be sent to bed early with no dinner? You do realize it isn't a person with a license, right?
    Meanwhile APRS also has no real security, pretty much anyone can send anything all over the world with no license. Cheap cell based trackers have pretty much made it pointless now, but non-hams used to be seen on there every now and again tracking something. Should APRS be punished? Exactly how would one do that? What about taxi cab dispatchers illegally using 10 meters? Should the 10 meter band be punished? Obviously 10 meters is not doing enough to control itself.

    Do try and get the FCC going on punishing "WinLink" for something they allegedly USED to do. They'll be all over that :rolleyes: You know all they have to do is change their name to HamLink or SausageLink or something and escape justice, right?
    I suggest a rule that covers all possible future iterations: Just ban any and all interconnections of any kind between ham radio and the internet. That would do it for sure ;)
    W0PV and (deleted member) like this.
  2. N1FM

    N1FM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I could upvote this 1,000 times, I would. This is the funniest thing I've seen all week.

    In all seriousness though, I think the usefulness of WL in an emergency is about nil these days, as other, better, more reliable and more widely used methods have eclipsed it.

    On the other hand, it's still the best email system around for boaters without a ham license!
  3. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually SailMail is, same tech but no restrictions on content or annoying busybodies. If anyone thinks sailors are about to take over the ham bands, that day is long past. Satcoms are getting better and cheaper by the day, you are as likely to see someone removing an HF radio as adding one.
    K8XG and (deleted member) like this.
  4. N1FM

    N1FM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree. Last time I checked, SailMail was $275 a year (per vessel) for a subscription, so maybe WL is the preferred method for really CHEAP unlicensed boaters.

    SailMail email can be transferred via any form of internet access e.g. Iridium, Inmarsat, VSAT, Globalstar, Thuraya, terrestrial WiFi, terrestrial cellular networks, or via SailMail’s own world-wide network of SSB-Pactor radio stations.

    See Icom’s new M803 Marine SSB Radio as used with SailMail.

    The SailMail Association maintains its own world-wide network of SSB-Pactor private coast stations in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service. The use of this network is available at no extra charge to SailMail members, but of course requires the member to have a SSB and Pactor modem.

    SailMail is now a certified application for the Iridium GO! Mobile Hotspot. The Iridium GO! is a portable satellite terminal that provides Iridium voice and data access via Wifi connections to smart-phones, tablets and computers at more attractive rates than charged for similar data over Iridium phones.

    The SailMail system implements an efficient email transfer protocol that provides compression and message format conversion to minimize data charges, and works efficiently over communications systems that have high latency, such as satellite based communications systems. The SailMail email system’s custom protocol implements compression, virus filtering, spam filtering, and attachment filtering.

    See the DR7800 Pactor modem as used with SailMail.

    Many SailMail members use SailMail’s world-wide network of SSB-Pactor radio stations to avoid data charges, but also carry Iridium or other satellite communications in addition as a backup and for urgent communications in times of difficult HF propagation.

    And let's not forget UrgentLink.

    UrgentLink® disaster communications network
    One-touch disaster zone communication for public safety, public health and critical industries
  5. N1EN

    N1EN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    An interesting thought experiment: how much of the decline in relevance of amateur radio to real-world disaster communications is the result of needs/expectations of professionals having evolved faster than amateur radio?

    I do think it is good that we have invested in professional communications infrastructure to improve its reliability, mind you. But even though the Winlink team have made mistakes in interfacing with amateur radio at large, a few of the complaints raised against it seem more to be manifestations of defense of the status quo, increasing the gap between the professional and hobbyist sides of the art of wireless communications.
    W0PV likes this.
  6. N1FM

    N1FM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Professionals have definitely outpaced amateurs. That much is certain. And many of the complaints do seem to arise in defense of the status quo, "When all else fails..." There was one notable emergency, featuring amateurs, that had an enormous effect on "emcomm" as we know it...

    Reprinted from Richmond, Virginia, and the Titanic by Walter S. Griggs Jr. courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    The limited scope of early radio technology was further complicated by its popularity with novice operators, who neglected to keep airwaves clear for official messages, and often maliciously interfered with transmissions. Professional radio operators had struggled for years with amateur operators (derisively called “hams” for their “ham-fisted,” poor Morse code skills) interfering with messages. Many of these amateur operators were younger than twenty years of age, and considered it good fun to play practical jokes on the navy by delivering false messages. They also tended to clog the large bandwidth of spark transmitters, making it difficult for others to send crucial messages.

    The government failed to remedy the complaints made about amateur operators, who were completely unregulated at the time of the Titanic’s sinking in 1912. This led to several complications concerning the disaster, particularly with information relayed in the aftermath. It had been initially reported on land that a radio transmission claiming that “all Titanic passengers safe; towing to Halifax” had been delivered to a Marconi station, which was quickly printed within major newspapers to assuage the fears of passengers’ relatives. The falsity of this transmission was quickly discovered, as the truth began to spread late on the 15th, nearly a day after the crash. Many were incensed at such misinformation, and blame quickly fell onto ham operators. It was suggested by Captain Herbert Haddock of the Titanic’s sister ship RMS Olympic that novice radio operators had interfered by stitching together two separate telegrams (one asking “are all Titanic passenger safe,” and another stating “towing oil tank to Halifax”) to create the misleading message.

    The accusations directed at amateur radio practitioners did not stop there: It was also claimed that ham operators had been “gumming up” the available bandwidth, making it difficult for the Titanic to send messages, or be heard by nearby ships. In the weeks following the Titanic’s sinking, both the UK and US launched investigations into the catastrophe, concluding that several factors had contributed to the large-scale of the disaster, including failures in radio and “amateur interference,” as Marconi officials blamed “unrecognized stations” making communication difficult. As a result, a grand majority of the blame of the sinking was placed on faulty radio operation, particularly by amateur users, along with a lack of sufficient lifeboats and poor leadership from the vessel’s captain.

    Reprinted from Richmond, Virginia, and the Titanic by Walter S. Griggs Jr. courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    The Titanic sinking had some inevitably large effects on radio and broadcasting, given all of the confusion and fury over the sinking. Only four months after RMS Titanic was lost, the American government passed the Radio Act of 1912 – the law was the first action taken by the US government to gain control of the airwaves, and required all operators to hold a valid federal license to use radio equipment. In addition, it restricted amateur users to bands less than 200 meters – wavelengths far below where official maritime communications would be conducted, reducing the chances of interference with transmissions. These requirements carried hefty consequences if ignored: Someone found in violation could be subjected to a fine of up to $2500 USD (approximately $63,000 USD today) and up to five years in prison.

    Amateur radio soon found itself with far less operators, forever changed by the events onboard the Titanic, though it was impossible to blame only one factor in the sinking.

    Unfortunately, the combination of poor leadership, a lack of emergency preparedness, and both professional and novice radio errors was simply too much for the Titanic to bear – creating one of the greatest maritime disasters in history, and leaving an indelible legacy on those industries surrounding it.

    Wow... an indelible legacy!
    Last edited: May 3, 2021 at 8:58 PM
  7. K0IDT

    K0IDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I thought I already pointed out the fact that Winlink, organization and system, don't fall under the purview of the FCC, so nothing can be done to the internet side of things. I, and many others, continue to get "revved up" over the Winlink on-air antics by RMS operators and clients that don't give a flying fig about the service or the intentional QRM they cause.

    What can be done, what may be done, and what should be done, falls on the FCC since the ham community, our national organization, and the Winlink organization can't seem to get anything accomplished in the way of cooperation.


    1. The FCC throws everything out or does nothing.

    2. The FCC bans all 3rd party messages over amateur radio except during actual declared emergencies. In many countries this is the law.

    3. The FCC bans HF ACDS stations of any type. WSPR is in violation of the beacon rules if the station runs unattended -- just one example of many.

    4. The FCC applies my suggestion to limit Winlink useage to emergency "break the glass" emergencies, short practice and test sessions.

    5. The FCC denies RM-11708 / 16-239 and the much desired Pactor 4 is still not legal. RM-11708/16-239 was nothing more than RM-11306 lite and both were done at the request of the Winlink organization since Winlink really can't
    petition the FCC as it isn't amateur radio and unregulated by Part 97. In the RM-11306 case Winlink wanted entire bands opened up to ACDS operations, too much resistance in the comments forced withdrawal. In the second
    attempt, RM-11708, the petition only wanted the entire RTTY/Data sub bands for ACDS.

    6. The FCC bans any internet-ham interconnects.

    The FCC tends to take the route that produces the least amount of work on their part and as the ARRL learned they like round numbers -- 75m phone expansion that forced relocation of the ACDS operations and squeezed everyone else
    on the 80m RTTY/Data sub band. I wonder what it's going to look like after the FCC takes a big hammer solution to the current mess? If HF ACDS gets banned put the blame squarely on the ARRL and the Winlink organization where
    it would rightfully belong -- be careful what you wish for applies.

    I'm also fairly certain the FCC is growing weary of granting emergency STA's for Pactor 4 with no documented use or need after the fact. You got it, didn't use or need it, why are you wasting the Commission's time? Yup, hammer time.
  8. N1FM

    N1FM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ron, I'd guess the ARRL are, and were, in full support of the petitions you mentioned?

    Many (if not most) hams may not be aware of this, but for better or worse, the idea of becoming a "partner" with the government, in emcomm as well as mass surveillance, is in the DNA of the ARRL, and it would be difficult if not impossible to extract. The FCC shows no signs of forward momentum in the former, vis-à-vis, the WinLink affair, and the VM program concretizes the League's interest in the latter. If DNA sounds like a foreign construct under the circumstances, consider this:

    In 1878, Hiram Stevens Maxim (HP's dad) abandoned his family, including young Hiram Percy, and engaged in a secret marriage with 15-year-old Helen Leighton. They had one daughter. Their relationship ended when Helen learned Maxim was still married to his first wife Louisa, mother of Hiram Percy Maxim. Shortly after that, in 1881, HS Maxim moved to Britain with Sarah Hayes, his secretary and mistress. He married her in May 1888, although he may not have been divorced from his wife (or wives) at the time.

    Hiram Stevens Maxim and his brother Hudson were inventors of arms and armaments, and military contractors, as well as extremely bitter rivals. “I was in Vienna, where I met an American whom I had known in the States,” Hiram Stevens Maxim told the Times of London. “He said: ‘Hang your chemistry and electricity! If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each other’s throats with greater facility.’ ” Over the course of the next three years, Maxim toiled in his London workshop and, lo, the Maxim machine gun was born.

    Hiram Stevens Maxim invented the Maxim machine gun and Hiram Percy's uncle Hudson invented smokeless powder and a torpedo powder 50% more powerful than dynamite. Hudson also peddled healing elixirs (snake oil). The brothers’ feud got out of control. They used the press to vilify each other and went to extreme lengths to get the other imprisoned.

    Hiram hired a detective agency to get evidence against his brother, who in turn instigated Hiram’s arrest and prosecution in 1898 on a bigamy charge brought by Helen Leighton, Hiram Stevens Maxim's first wife. Hiram Stevens Maxim was also investigated and the subject of hearings in Washington, DC because his Maxim machine gun design somehow ended up in the hands of opposing forces, as well as in the hands of the British, who bought them as fast as they could get them.

    Young Hiram Percy Maxim was also an inventor, in the auto industry, and elsewhere, and he also attempted to become an arms contractor with his silencer invention, which earned him the moniker "Dr. Shush!" Around 1909, the silencer idea morphed into a muffler outfit that quieted small engines -- although he did manufacture a number of silencers for the military, they were just not very widely used.

    Even though HP Maxim penned anonymous screeds in QST about his hatred for LIDS, as 'The Old Man' -- above all, HP Maxim wanted to be known as reliable, and he was also very interested in celebrity, and making money, of course, but he was not interested in the kind of negative personal celebrity that shadowed his father and uncle.

    "In the early years of the ARRL, co-founder and first President Hiram Percy Maxim occasionally penned editorials in QST magazine using the pseudonym "The Old Man." These "rants" became legendary."

    Yes, HP shared his uncle and father's hubris and pomposity, and the need to vilify "evil-doers," and yes, he emulated their insatiable need for fame, but in failing to acquire a large commercial success, he wanted to accomplish his goals by volunteering his club members for public service, while waving the flag, if at all possible. Judging by the eighty percent of hams who actively resist joining ARRL, it seems the majority of hams want nothing to do with emcomm, yellow vests, government partnership, or mass surveillance, but for over 100 years, the tail has been wagging the dog. Full disclosure: I'm a member of the ARRL and an Army brat, and a retired police Detective, who has worked with the FCC, and I thoroughly enjoy reading QST while in the smallest room in the house.

    QST - December 1915.

    Our Services Offered to the Government (page 3).

    The great possibilities of the American Radio Relay League, with its organization of over six hundred relay stations in nearly every state of the Union are bound to attract prominent attention. The directors of the League have anticipated this, as will be noted on another page. Of equal importance is the matter of RELIABILITY and CELEBRITY, as far as the transmission of messages by the League is concerned....

    When it became evident that our government intended to seriously take up the question of improving our national defense, the following letter was prepared and sent to the Secretary of the Navy:-

    ln connection with your plans for national defense, it may be that the organization of the AMERICAN RADIO RELAY LEAGUE, INC. will be of service. We respectfully present the following information concerning this League.

    It has been in operation one year. Its membership consists of over six hundred amateur radio stations in thirty-eight states of the Union. Except for gaps in the southern tier of states, we are able to communicate to all important points at the present time. A list of our official relay stations is given in the enclosed "LIST OF STATIONS." There are over two hundred additional stations which have been appointed and which are awaiting publication of the third edition of our List. The development of this League of amateur wireless telegraph stations has been carried on under the full knowledge of the Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce. Frequent conferences are held between our Chairman and the Commissioner of Navigation, and his assisting District Radio Inspectors. The League is managed strictly in accordance with a spirit of co-operation with Government authority. Our influence in correcting small technical infractions of the radio laws has already been successfully exercised in several instances...

    The membership consists of middle-aged men, young men, and boys. There are many men of wealth in the membership, and who make wireless telegraphy a form of recreation. Many of our stations have had no expense spared upon them, and are equipped better than most commercial stations. The management of the League is in the hands of business men. The membership consists of middle-aged men, young men, and boys. There are many men of wealth in the membership, and who make wireless telegraphy a form of recreation. Many of our stations have had no expense spared upon them, · and are equipped better than most commercial stations. The management of the League is in the hands of business men. The writer is the founder and chairman.

    Some of our stations have already been of public service in establishing communications when floods have prostrated the regular telegraph and telephone lines. Our organization can unquestionably be of value in the event of .similar disasters or invasion. A fire which happened to destroy the telephone and telegraph central stations in a city would stall communication. Our organization could fill this interval while repairs were made. Most of our membership is along the Atlantic and the Pacific Coasts, It is not impossible that we might be of value to our fleet standing off our coast in time of war....

    We respectfully offer the services of our organization, and its facilities.



    Many more interesting letters (and the rest of the too-long, self-congratulatory letter above) were fired off by Hiram in that edition of QST and they're well worth reading.

    So there you have it. Emcomm and government partnership, along with a large dollop of propaganda and BS have always been in the DNA of the ARRL, and HP came by it naturally, because he inherited it. Will ARRL still be around to make proposals we'll argue over in 20 years? Certainly one million dollars in free taxpayer money will help them survive, but I think the future of clubs in general is up in the air. I hope they survive. My bathroom would be nearly empty of reading material without all the back issues of QST.
  9. K0IDT

    K0IDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tom, the short answer is yes, both were ARRL initiatives. The background of how they came to be is interesting for anyone wanting to dig a little. The key is the players involved and the ARRL will deny any outside influence, wink, wink.

    Thanks for the history, old QST's do have a wealth of information on the early days and how we got to where we are. The K9YA Telegraph has a great article in this month's issue, “100,000 New Amateurs Wanted” The 5-Meter Plan.
    Conflicts with the ARRL and hams are nothing new :) The K9YA Telegraph is a free sub and always entertaining.

    I wonder if the two recent warnings from the FCC about illegal use of the ham bands have anything to do with the attempt to use private firms to conduct surveillance on US citizens? Certain prepper and militia groups are known to use amateur radio and not just the cheap BF's. Maybe get the VM's involved or setup a separate secret operation. I'm not too worried about it, my fingerprints are on file with the Feds and I know I'm on more lists than is healthy for a citizen. They know where to find me.
    1 person likes this.
  10. N1FM

    N1FM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good morning Ron; yes, my fingerprints have also been on file for years, and I can still CC in any state in the Union, without a permit, courtesty of LEOSA, so I think I'm okay... at least for now... LoL.

    The VM program is just like the OO program except that 'advisories' must be sent according to the provisions of the MoU, as follows, and from what I've seen, ARRL is out of compliance, which could lead to a very serious lawsuit.

    The Chief of the EB is responsible for supervising the program but I think it's likely she hasn't seen an advisory and isn't watching too closely. Outsourcing warrantless surveillance is a slippery slope and no good can come of it, but I suppose they're just following orders.

    (d) to train Volunteer Monitors to issue advisory notices, under the general direction of EB, to Amateur Radio Service operators who apparently have violated any provision of the Communications Act or the FCC Amateur Rules, provided that such advisory notices (1) shall only be issued in a standard format, the form of which has been pre-approved by EB; (2) shall not include any representation that the Volunteer Monitor is acting for or on behalf of EB or the FCC; and (3) shall exclusively identify the issuing Volunteer Monitor by a unique, anonymous identifier assigned to the Volunteer Monitor by ARRL.

    From a link in the article you posted: "Gathering information on US citizens -- no matter how abhorrent their beliefs -- raises instant constitutional and legal challenges. Civil liberties advocates and privacy hawks have long criticized any efforts to collect even publicly available information on Americans as a violation of Americans' First and Fourth Amendment rights." The article continues; "It's perceived by some as just a resource suck that doesn't add tremendous value," said one former senior intelligence official."

    As for the endless WL matter, and all the petitions, the FCC is still on mandatory Covid-19 lockdown and "working from home" and wearing 3 masks each, from what I hear, so it's anyone's guess when they might act on the petitions. If ever. How long has it been now anyway? Months, years, decades?

    Speaking of Hiram Percy Maxim and his pipe and/or stimulant induced rants, here's another funny excerpt, as penned by 'The (Crazy) Old Man.'

    "Lucky that I am of a tender and forgiving nature. I would be up for murder otherwise. Tolerance! Tolerate anything. That’s me all over, Mabel. Dear little boys, go on and bang-whack the ether with tour miserable squeak coils on any old evening, any old decrement, any old power, and any old business that will make a scratchy sound at any old time at night. We, with the relay traffic waiting, just love to listen to your sweet little childish prattle. When you knock the sense of hearing out of one ear, we always remember the Sunday school lesson and offer the other. We never allow ourselves to think of black jacks, rat poison, lead billies nor sand bags. No indeed, we shun all such thoughts like a duck shuns water..... Here goes, and tolerance be dashed. Me for blood, gurry, crime, and confusion to the police, and brass knucks, rat poison and any old thing else that will clear up this rotten air and give a decent man a chance."
    K0IDT likes this.

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