WINLINK is a worldwide radio messaging system that mixes internet technology and appropriate amateur radio frequency (RF) technologies. The system provides radio interconnection services including: email with attachments, position reporting, graphic and text weather bulletins, emergency/disaster relief communications, and message relay.
A few months ago when a Simulated Emergency Test (SET) was conducted, one element of that training event was to send and receive WINLINK Peer to Peer messages among three members of the local Ellis County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). Although the required WINLINK messages were eventually exchanged successfully, it took a while and important lessons were learned along the way.
Because WINLINK has the potential for passing text messages among local, national and international ARES stations during an emergency, it was felt that monthly WINLINK practice sessions would be helpful to develop and maintain those skills.
To bring this about implementation monthly WINLINK Practice Nets are held immediately following the monthly ARES Training Net which is conducted the first Thursday of each month, usually around 8:00. All licensed hams are invited to participate in this WINLINK Practice Net.
More information about WINLINK can be found at www.winlink.org and at the March ECARC club meeting. If you already have an operational two meter transceiver and PC all that you need additionally to implement WINLINK at your site are RMS Express software (free at www.winlink.org) and a Terminal Node Controller that supports the KISS functionality such as the TNC-X (approximately $100 in kit form), or software emulating a TNC. The TNC-X TNC is felt to be the preferred solution.