Winlink is a worldwide radio messaging system that uses amateur-band radio frequencies to provide interconnection services that include email, position reporting, weather bulletins, emergency and relief communications, and message relay. Today it is mostly used to relay emails over radio.
In Norway Winlink is part of our emergency communication systems. There exists several RMS stations throughout the country, and they are all supervised by NRRL.
To start with Winlink you will need a computer with Winlink 2000 (wl2k) compatible software, A sound modem TNC or hardware modem, and a radio. You will need to create a Winlink account, which is easiest to do using Winlink Express. There are many getting started guides and videos out there. This is one made by W4PHS, Phil Sherrod, Getting Started with Winlink 2000.
Winlink over VHF
LA3T provides a Winlink node for Winlink over VHF frequency 144.925 kHz. By using the LA3T-5 node you can connect the LA6M RMS station from Tromsø. Winlink over VHF/UHF uses the AX.25 Packet protocol at 1200 baud, and can be utilized using any soundcard with audio in and out. We recommend using a Signalink external soundcard as it is easy to integrate into most radios as well as providing proper PTT and signal level handling.
To use our Winlink node, configure your software to use target LA6M-10 via LA3T-5 and via LD9BA-5, use 1200 baud AX.25 Packet and tune your radio to 144.925 kHz. To reach the LA6M RMS you need to go through two nodes, LA3T-5 and the Andsfjell Winlink node LD9AB-5.
In Winlink Express we recommend using a script to connect LA6M. Select Connection type “Script” and add the script below.
Winlink over HF
LA6M provides a RMS station for HF (LD9AB), but any reachable station can be used. It is usually used with an expensive Pactor modem, but also here any soundcard with audio in and out can be used. Pactor modems will use the Pactor protocol and for soundcards you can choose between ARDOP, VARA and the old Winmor. Modern SDR radios usually have built-in soundcards that can be utilized for this purpose.
Sambandstjenesten at LA3T has an operational Winlink station with a Pactor modem for HF operations and a VHF/UHF radio with modem for VHF operations.
Winlink over Telnet
Telnet is as old as internet itself, and provides a bidirectional interactive connection between two endpoints. Winlink supports the use of telnet as a high speed connection directly over internet, without the use of any radio. This can be used for the initial setup of your winlink account, as well as downloading the huge list of RMS stations.
Winlink Express has built-in support for telnet. For other software configure them to use
CMSTelnet@cms.winlink.org:8772 as connection details.
For Windows users the Winlink Express is the most widely used software. It supports all features and have built-in support for most protocols. This is by far the easiest way to operate on Winlink.
For Linux users Pat is the most widely used software. It supports most features and protocols, such as Pactor, ARDOP, Winmor and AX.25. It do require installation of several tools and libraries and will in turn provide a webpage frontend to the email system. Either use rigcontrol to interface your radio or use an external soundcard with PTT such as Signalink. It will run perfectly even on a Raspberry Pi with an external soundcard such as the Signalink.
LA5NTA has a wiki with all the details about running Pat on Linux.