WINLINK Information

If you have your old packet equipment stashed away, dust it off, it may just be good enough to use with WINLINK.
Just what is WINLINK

WINLINK in the VHF/UHF spectrum is a communications method allowing users to send email messages including attachments over amateur radio to cover the "last mile." Home and portable stations generally communicate with local PMBO which in turn insert the email into the internet backbone. WINLINK also uses HF to provide world wide coverage. This requires a more unique and expensive TNC.

To use the WINLINK system you need to sign up for a WINLINK account. The "Getting Started" page will get you aboard.

 Help/How To files;

Typical Home VHF/UHF WINLINK Station

A home station can be configured using Airmail or Paclink programs. Airmail based station uses a modern TNC that provides normal TNC functionality. Airmail is basically an all inclusive program for WINLINK communications. Paclink based stations make use of TNC operating in the KISS mode. This allows some of the KISS only TNC's to be used which are generally less expensive. It also interfaces to most common email programs. Paclink on the other hand is a little more involved in set up on the software side.
If you have a "RF" APRS set-up, you have everything hardware wise to implement a WINLINK station. For emergency communications use, a portable station is generally of more benifit than fixed home station.

Typical home setup

Typical Portable VHF/UHF WINLINK Station

A portable station can be configured the same as a home station by using a laptop computer in place of the home "mega" sized box computer and monitor. A number of amateurs now have portable APRS set-ups using a laptop. With the appropriate WINLINK software the same equipment becomes WINLINK capable.

Typical HF setup

Typical HF WINLINK Station

A typical HF Winlink station requires a sizeable outlay of dollars. If you already have an HF station at home then the cost is reduced quite a bit although the Pactor Modem used in HF Winlink set-ups is still quite expensive. In spite of the cost some Public Service minded amateurs will still set up a Winlink station in support of EmCom needs. With the large costal exposure here in Texas, HF Winlink has become quite important in relaying costal information to the State EOC in Austin. The Paclink software is also HF Winlink capable. For more information use the included links.

Typical HF setup

A RMS Express Station (uses WINMOR sound card modem)

With the development of the DSP software WINMOR amateurs now have an economical way to acheive HF digital speeds at or near that of Pactor II modems. The RMS Express software provides other functions (even VHF packet) in additon to running the WINMORE software.

Typical RMS Express setup for HF Packet

RMS Express may also be used for VHF communication. It supports a number of TNC's including the TNC-X. Below is a diagram of a typical RMS Express set-up with a "KISS" TNC.

Typical RMS Express setup for VHF/UHF Packet



Links referenced by this page are not exhaustive of the WINLINK subject. A search engine will enhance your learning experience.

Updated Content - 10/2/2006 - 08/2010
Links Updated - 08/2010

We hope you find this information useful with your public service events, EmCom and RACES/ARES© operations.

N5TIM's Public Service Informaton