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Winlink Express Question


Daniel Acker
(@n1ztt)
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Does anyone use Winlink Express? I have been trying to setup my IC-9700 with SignaLink USB and VARA FM. No luck so far. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?


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Jed Baer
(@kd0ymg)
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I'm not yet a Winlink user, but I hope to be. My research so far has led me to believe that there aren't any VARA nodes around here. So, my only suggestion is to first try to use one of the Net-105 nodes around here. The DRC website used to have better information about that, but their redesign has either removed it or made it difficult to find. Possibly, AC0VC or W6OAV, via the Denver Radio Club, would be a way to get help. Or - hmm, the 9700 is VHF/UHF? Then X.25 packet on the DRC's 145.050 would be where I'd start out.

Other than that, posting more about your configuration, and what you've tried so far, will give people a place to start with helping you out.


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Daniel Acker
(@n1ztt)
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@kd0ymg Thanks for the response. Since Winlink Express seems to be used primarily by EMCOMMS like ARES (I think) I am going to forgo using it for the time being. No point tying up possible emergency communications while I'm just playing around. 

73,

N1ZTT


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Jed Baer
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@n1ztt - While it's true that ARES makes use of Winlink, as does the amateur radio traffic system, a lot of hams just like to use it as another thing in the hobby. I know one guy who uses it to e-mail his wife when he's off on a camping trip. I'm interested in it partly just as something to learn, but also as an alternative message path. Unless there's an emergency response in progress, or other ARES event, you won't be interfering with them.


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Brian
(@fbrian)
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Hi Daniel, just got around to reading the posts.  I do not know about the 9700 setup.  I will try to look around.  It is true the ARES and other EMCOMM organizations rely on Winlink Express,  However, I would encourage you to keep working with it.  It is a valuable communication mode when the normal ones are not available, especially for communicating with nonhams like family members.

As for using VARA FM, a handful of nodes exist in the area, W0ARP-10 is a very good one, he has a Winlink Gateway on both VHF and UHF.  The challenge with VARA FM is a Signalink will not work with VARA FM, A software modem is better and the best option is the DRA-50.  VARA FM is fantastic, but it takes more effort to get working than standard packet FM.

Brian
K0FBS


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Jed Baer
(@kd0ymg)
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Posted by: @fbrian

As for using VARA FM, a handful of nodes exist in the area, W0ARP-10 is a very good one, he has a Winlink Gateway on both VHF and UHF.  The challenge with VARA FM is a Signalink will not work with VARA FM, A software modem is better and the best option is the DRA-50.  VARA FM is fantastic, but it takes more effort to get working than standard packet FM.

Hey, cool - another alternative to the Signalink. I've been thinking about the Digirig. For the sake of completeness, I'll mention the Mobilink too. I don't know a lot about either, but there are videos on YouTube where people are using them - maybe even doing Winlink from Android.

Once I feel like I can spring for the Digirig + cabling, my plan is to use a Raspberry Pi, unless there's a compelling reason not to. Last I knew, Vara isn't available for Linux, but that doesn't bother me all that much. If you care about buying local, the Digirig company is in Grand Junction. They also sell quite a few types of cables. My working assumption is the Anytone 878 will work fine for 2M Winlink.


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Daniel Acker
(@n1ztt)
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Joined: 10 months ago
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Topic starter  

@fbrian Okay, I'll give it another shot and maybe even try the DRA-50 you mentioned.

Thanks,

Dan


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tomkhaz
(@tomkhaz)
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Guys,

I've been using the MobilinkD with both my HT and my mobile radio (Alinco) through its TNC input. I use APRSDroid and WoaD for Winlink. Both work well but like anything in radio, things can get spotty in the mountains. I do the email to my wife, and send her SMS messages via APRS just for fun when I'm hiking or camping. She's used to getting more random messages from me. 😉

The Digirig Mobile is a great little sound card digital interface as well. I have one from my G90 and do all of my digital HF with it. I got it 'cause it's cheap and small.

Lastly, Jed, you mention Pi and Vara. I believe KM4ACK has a video and something in his Pi builds that now lets you run Vara on a Pi. I haven't had a chance to look at it  yet, but I plan to try it. That's the weak link for me and my Pi400 portable. Winlink via Ardop on the Pi is terrible.

 

73

Tom - KF0AER


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Jed Baer
(@kd0ymg)
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Posted by: @tomkhaz

Lastly, Jed, you mention Pi and Vara. I believe KM4ACK has a video and something in his Pi builds that now lets you run Vara on a Pi. I haven't had a chance to look at it  yet, but I plan to try it. That's the weak link for me and my Pi400 portable. Winlink via Ardop on the Pi is terrible.

Good to know. I've tried to watch some of his vids, but I find him difficult to listen to. Just my ears, I guess. OH8STN used to do Winlink with ARDOP on a Pi, but that was a while ago, and he's switched to a Surface Pro. Seeing the direction Micro$oft is going with Windoze, I don't feel like I want to us it. I'm a Linux guy. I do have an older Windows laptop that I bought because some things just need it. But I rarely use it, other than for running the Anytone CPS.


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