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Winlink 2000. E-Mail via VHF Radio. 40 Years of Experience…. Winlink 2000. Originally designed for HF/PACTOR-based messaging Message passing format will actually work over any error-correcting protocol Think SMTP over TCP Routes e-mail and supports attachments Supports position reporting

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Winlink 2000

E-Mail via VHF Radio


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Winlink 2000

  • Originally designed for HF/PACTOR-based messaging

    • Message passing format will actually work over any error-correcting protocol

    • Think SMTP over TCP

  • Routes e-mail and supports attachments

  • Supports position reporting

    • Suggested that TelPac nodes beacon APRS

  • All traffic ends up at same PMBO’s as HF traffic


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Interesting things about Winlink

  • In order to receive e-mail, you must send at least one message via the system

  • To control / keep SPAM out, PMBO’s will only deliver Internet traffic if addressed station has previously sent e-mail to the sending address

  • Recv’d e-mail is actually routed to all previously PMBO’s that you have connected to….


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WL2K Experience

  • Discovered VHF support ~1 year ago

    • Comm Academy had session about it

  • Really easy to setup

    • After about 20 minutes of playing, was sending/receiving e-mail

    • Most difficult part was finding local Telpac node

  • One of primary purposes is to pass message traffic during emergency

    • Decided to try out during FD2005 for NTS traffic

    • Worked out arrangement with Mt. Baker Club


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  • What is a Telpac node?

    • RF interface between VHF/UHF packet stations and the internet

    • Accepts connections from WL2K clients

    • Transfers e-mail to PMBO’s via Internet connection

  • Couple solutions for Telpac nodes

    • Airlink 2000 Software Suite includes basic Telpac Node

    • Requires AGW Packet Engine

  • N0FPF-3 main Telpac node in area

    • Located on radio towers in Capital Hill

    • Freq: 147.60


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Paclink Post Office

  • What is a Paclink node?

    • Supports multiple hosts on LAN with SMTP host

    • Bridges traffic to RF via VHF/UHF packet link to Telpac node

  • Allows multiple e-mail clients on LAN to send/receive e-mail with standard e-mail clients (Outlook, Outlook Express, etc)


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What about Airmail?

  • So exactly how do I play with all this cool stuff?

    • Basic requires are Windows PC, 1200 baud packet TNC and 2m Radio

  • Download Airmail from

  • Airmail is actually a suite of software all rolled into one package

    • Provides basic e-mail for HF or VHF

    • Includes SMTP host to “bridge” normal e-mail programs to Winlink system

    • Includes modules for many other options (like APRS client)


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Airmail Configure – Step 1

Select the “Settings” tab.

Enter your Callsign.

Click after ….. Offer FBB Binary Level 2(“B2F”).

Keyboard Mode defaults work fine.

Enter your Latitude and Longitude in decimal format, or enter your grid square and it will calculate it for you!

Click after “Send QTH”.

  • The Messages section defaults work fine also.

  • Check “Show Local Time Zone” if you wish to use local time. Otherwise it will display UTC time.

  • Click “Apply” and then click on the “Connection” tab.


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Airmail Configuration – Step 2

  • These settings are for HF

  • Select your modem type from the list.

    • Select local loop if you are not going to use hf.

  • Select the com port and baud rate


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Airmail Configuration – Step 3

Restart Airmail and select “Tools” and then “Options” again.

We will briefly look at some of the less glamorous screens.

Click on the “Folders” tab.


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Airmail Configuration – Step 4

  • Now the fun part!

  • Select the “Modules” tab.

  • Click on “VHF Packet Client” and select the “Setup” button

  • The following steps require a working VHF/UHF packet modem be connected to the system….


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Airmail Configuration - Step 5

Select your TNC from the drop down menus and fill in the com port and baud rate.

Remember that this is the baud rate that the computer and TNC communicate.

The defaults under “Port Settings” are usually OK. The “TX Audio Level” will be grayed out if your TNC does not support software adjustment.

Select the “OK” button, click on “Apply”, and then click “OK”.

This will return you to the main screen again.


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Airmail Configuration – Step 6

From the menu bar on the main program screen, select “Modules”, and then select “Packet Client”. Your TNC must be in command mode for the packet client to work (NOT Kiss). If you have any doubts, do a soft or hard restart to start fresh.


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Airmail Configuration – Step 7

  • If everything worked, you’ll see “Packet initialized OK” message

  • Insert your Callsign in the “Connect As” box (AD5CA)

  • Insert the station (Telpac node) in the “Connect To” box (ad5ca-3)

  • Make sure the “handshake” button is selected

  • Then click the “Green button” to initiate the connection to the TelPac node

    • You should see similar type interaction as the example


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Other interesting things..

  • Airmail also supports sending e-mail via the Internet

    • To enable, install “Telnet Client” via the modules setup

    • Suggested settings

      • Remote Callsign: K4CJX

      • Remote Host:

      • Port: 12001

      • Timeout: 30

      • Local Callsign: KU7M (You call goes here)

      • Passwd: wl2ktelnetclient

      • Protocol: B2

    • Send e-mail just like packet, but pull up “Telnet Module” instead

    • You e-mail address on the system will be [email protected]


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  • Useful links

    • Main Winlink site:

    • Method to find Telpac nodes:

    • Real time status of Telpac nodes:

    • AGW Packet Engine:


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Special Thanks….

  • WA7NWP for answer all my questions when I got started

  • AD5CA who was nice enough to post his WL2K presentation that I heavily “borrowed” from….