What is Winlink?
Winlink is a
worldwide system for sending and receiving e-mail via radio. Winlink
provides e-mail from almost anywhere in the world, using a well-tested
and full featured system. Its been adopted for contingency
communication by many federal, state and county government agencies,
including the National Guard, and infrastructure-critical NGO's such as
International and American Red Cross, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief,
DHS Tiered, AT&T Disaster Response and Recovery, FedEx,
Emergency Response Team, and many more.
Winlink Networks include:
Radio - Over 10,000 Amateur Radio users are registered.
- Winlink is used by most off-shore sailors, operating within the
international amateur radio frequency space.
- Federal system providing HF radio contingency communication for
federal agencies. SHARES operates on NTIS federal frequencies that are
not part of the amateur radio frequency space.
- The Military Auxilliary Radio Service provides contingency
communication for the United States Military, operating within NTIS
MARS radio frequency space.
What Winlink offers
- Reliability, Accuracy and
- High reliability (99.99%
availability for 15 years)
- 100% accurate message
- Radio connection bridge to
- Radio-only store and forward
- Geographical dispersion and
redundancy for reliability
- Peer-to-peer connections
between radio end-users
- Various levels of security
including message encryption
- Interoperability: Connect
different types of systems
- Bridge different radio
- Bridge protocols: Pactor,
Winmor, Ardop, VARA, Packet.
- Standard e-mail format with
- Binary file attachments
(pictures, pdf, spreadsheets)
- Automatic message
- Encrypted attachments using
the encryption program you choose.
- Time independence and
- Not limited by
Client system – Radio, computer with Winlink Express
software, TNC (or sound card) and you, the end-user!
Radio Message Server (RMS) – Radio gateway between the
client (end-user) and the Winlink system backbone.
Common Message Servers (CMS) – Winlink backbone.
- Multiple CMS locations.
- Redundant, fault-tolerant
- Located on 3 continents
- One CMS is sufficient for
normal system operation.
Winlink Connection Modes
Pactor – Fast but expensive - $1,500.
WINMOR – Much slower, but reliable (Sound card mode)
and VARA – Faster alternatives to WINMOR (Currently
available in BETA update of Winlink Express)
Packet – 9600 baud, $400. 1200, $100.
– Non-radio connection through the Internet.
GO! – Satellite phone connection.
network to Winlink “Post Office” (RMS Relay).
peer-to-peer between to Winlink Express users.
Capture of Ardop Virtual TNC with active waterfall
Get a Winlink Account:
and configure Winlink Express (or other client
with the system (send a message) to create your account. Your radio
email address is YOURCALL@winlink.org.
the form (lower right) to have a password sent to your new address.
Retrieve it using your client program.
your callsign as your username, and password to log in here.
accounts stay alive only with radio use. Accounts off-air for 400 days
are automatically purged. Use it or loose it!
Winlink Express Email Client
Express (formerly RMS Express) is the preferred Winlink radio
email client because it supports all new system features, including the
Winlink Hybrid Network and Secure Login to help prevent unauthorized
access to your account.
Setup your station
Winlink Express is designed to be easily used by single users with a
single call sign but it may also be used to simultaneously send and
receive mail with one or two tactical addresses or alternate Winlink
accounts. It supports a wide selection of transceivers, TNCs and
multimode controllers, the sound card modes WINMOR, Ardop, and VARA
using virtual TNCs, HF Pactor, SCS Robust Packet, VHF/UHF AX.25 packet
radio, and direct telnet to CMS servers or RMS Relay (for amateur radio
High Speed Multimedia [HSMM], Broadband HamNet, D-Star DD mode,
internet, and other TCP/IP networks).
most common setup for ham radio operators is to use a PC or laptop,
with the Winlink Express client installed, and a sound card
interface such as a Signalink USB or Rigblaster, connected to your HF
transceiver. This is familiar to anyone who uses narrow band or
low-power digital modes with programs such as FLDigi or WSJT-X. See the
station setup for HF, using a Signalink USB sound card interface and
Winlink Express with WINMOR
will be some additional setups required to get the program working
correctly with your particular transceiver, interface, or TNC. To help
you with these, visit Winlink.org, where you'll find
links to various help blogs and discussion groups.
An excellent document about Winlink equipment configurations, including diagrams, can be found here - The document, by N5TIM, is recommended by the ARRL NTX SEC.
Click on the links below to learn more about Winlink, and
how to get started: