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Email via RF

December 06, 2011 By: M0MCX Category: Fun

I never stop to be amazed with this hobby. Tonight I managed to send and receive emails via the WinLink 2000 Global Radio Email system (http://www.winlink.org/). The WinLink website states that “Winlink 2000 (WL2K) is a worldwide system of volunteer resources supporting e-mail by radio, with non-commercial links to internet e-mail”. I have been fascinated by the possibililty of sending and receiving email whilst out in the sticks for some time and wondered how complex it might be. Luckily, I already have a soundcard interface between my PC and my radio and also a software controlled PTT switch, so I found installing and configuring the software was fairly easy – although there was some trial and error. I positively love hardware user guides but I have a deep loathing of them for software which can get me into trouble, but not this time :)

Firstly, I created an email to myself with the supplied RMS Express email client and clicked the Open Session button, selecting “WinMore Wl2K” from the drop down menu. Once the WinLink 2000 Session started, I went to the Setup menu and followed the setup routines for my radio, these boiled down to 1) the radio you have in mind – and there was a large selection of radios including my target, an FT1000MP 2) the COM port to control the radio and baud speed  (Com 4 for me at 4800 bps), 3) the PTT switch Com port (number 6 in my case) and finally 4) the audio selection for Audio In and Audio Out. I have a number of sound cards installed on my XP machine and it took some trial and error to get it to work using the TEST routine, supplied on one of the menus (Setup > Transmit Level test)

I was prompted to select an appropriate station to connect to and after some deliberation, I ended up listening to a blank frequency of apparently HB9QX-5 on my dial frequency 3.597.50, USB. Nothing but static.

Eventually, I plucked up the courage to hit the START button and away she went! My PC clicked and the FT1000MP sprang into life and sent an automated burst of data via RF out across the 80m band. I was amazed when I heard HB9QX-5 responding and off the two stations went, dancing around bytes, handshaking, Rcv Frames, Error correction and more. I was astonished as my data finally left my station and literally before the two stations agreed to terminate their session (it is fully automatic), an email had arrived in my inbox!

So there’s more to life than PSK31. Give WinLink a go and have a bit of fun with a practical slant! Good luck,

Callum, M0MCX.


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