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Winlink 2000. Email via HF Radio Anywhere in the World. Winlink 2000 (WL2K). HF/PACTOR-based messaging system Available to any licensed amateur Mainly used for exchanging email Email attachments supported Position reporting Free email client software (AirMail) Internet gateways.

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Winlink 2000

Email via HF Radio

Anywhere in the World


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Winlink 2000 (WL2K)

  • HF/PACTOR-based messaging system

  • Available to any licensed amateur

  • Mainly used for exchanging email

  • Email attachments supported

  • Position reporting

  • Free email client software (AirMail)

  • Internet gateways


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BTW, N6MZ did have hair, once


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WL2K Experience

  • XR0X San Felix Island DXpedition (2002)

  • Used WL2K to contact KM9D at sea to ask about WL2K (and San Felix/San Ambrosio)

  • Plan was to use WL2K for team email and for uploading expedition logs to search engine

  • Hardware: old Sony laptop, PTC2e modem, expedition IC-756PRO2, expedition antennas


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WL2K on XR0X

  • Very difficult propagation during expedition “down time” (ZF1GC was about it!)

  • Required shutting down a CW station

  • Only one Winklink account (N6MZ) which was a pain to administer

  • When it worked, it was great

  • But it was so frustrating, we gave up


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WL2K Experience

  • FT5XO Kerguelen DXpedition (and So. Indian Ocean crossing) (2005)

  • Plan was to use WL2K on board Braveheart for team email only (no log uploads)

  • Receive southern ocean wave/weather data via gif email attachments

  • Hardware: same old Sony laptop, PTC2e, dedicated IC-706, Hustler 4BTV vertical


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  • Fantastic! Email all the way to Kerguelen!

  • Couldn’t do laundry and email simultaneously

  • At Kerg, even ¼ mile away (and running QRP), severe QRM to DXpedition

  • Sysop disease cut us off halfway through our trip


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  • After ZS5S went nuts, we couldn’t reliably connect to any WL2K node until we were only 2 days out of Fremantle

  • Approximately 2 weeks of little/no email

  • Still had to choose between clean clothes and email

  • TGFB!!!!! (thank God for broadband)


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WL2K +

  • “Free” (sort of free)

  • AirMail client is an excellent Win app (very well behaved, nice UI)

  • When it works, it’s great

  • Using HF is lots of fun (for us OFs)

  • Position reporting is fantastic for friends/family peace-of-mind


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WL2K -

  • Single-user, non-multiplexed

  • Relatively slow (but great for HF w/P3)

  • You’re at the mercy of the ionosphere

  • May cause QRM to other devices on board (e.g., HF weather FAX)

  • Setup is not for the faint-hearted (or non-techie)



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WL2K Alternatives

  • INMARSAT “Industry standard” high-seas comm Requires expensive hardware Service is expensive (by the minute)

  • Iridium Lower cost than INMARSAT Still, expensive hardware, pay by the minute Will they survive?

  • SailMail, Globe Wireless, PinOak, etc. HF/satellite, pay by the minute


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AirMail Setup (part 1)

  • Go to

  • Nav to downloads|Airmail Web Page

  • Download installer "Airmail 3.2 Ham Client complete install"

  • Run installer, accept all defaults


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AirMail Setup (part 2)

  • Download HFWIN32 from

  • Run installer, accept all defaults, ESPECIALLY installation directory


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AirMail Setup (part 3)

  • Go to

  • Click “Winlink-2000 Pactor MBO's WW (Accepting EMails)” link

  • Select all, paste into notepad, save as text

  • This “bulletin file” is your latest-and-greatest list of WL2K stations


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AirMail Setup (part 4)

  • Start AirMail

  • Step through the setup wizard

  • Drag the bulletin file you downloaded/saved from ZS5S into the AirMail message window

  • This should create a new message from ZS5S

  • Select this message, then choose Tools|Make Frequency List

  • Update the list and then save it

  • You're ready to go! (whew)