Friday, February 23, 2024

Getting Started

Getting Started with Winlink (and other digital modes)

Requirements:

  • Computer
  • Ham Radio
  • Radio Interface
  • Software

Computer
Windows based computers are preferred for most EmComm operations.

Ham Radio
While virtually any transceiver can be made to work, some may require extra cabling or adapters. Many modern ham radios have a data port which simply needs a USB cable connected to the computer.
The radio can be any band that will communicate with the desired peer radio. For example, if you are trying connect with a local 2 meter packet gateway, you of course would need a 2 meter transceiver.

Radio Interface
The digital interface can be built using basic electronics. W7GRA recently did a group project to build interfaces which used only 10 components plus a plastic case for about $15 plus custom built cables.
Basic Digital Interface Circuit Diagram
A wide range of commercial digital radio interfaces are also available if you prefer to purchase.
SignaLink
RIGblaster

Software
The primary software for EmComm use is Winlink Express which can be downloaded for free from https://downloads.winlink.org.
You will be required to create your very own callsign@winlink.org email account to use the software.
More information…

Non-Windows based Winlink software can can be explored at https://winlink.org/ClientSoftware

While not currently a focus of this group, Fldigi is another free software commonly used for EmComm preparedness and can be downloaded from http://www.w1hkj.com/

Alternative Training
Winlink Express also includes and Internet-based mode for training & familiarization. If your radio is not yet set up for digital, we encourage you to use the Internet (Telnet) mode to join our exercises.

Check out the Winlink network…