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Getting Started with Winlink2000 A Tutorial. Equipment Needed for Winlink2000. (1) a Windows-operating system computer, (2) a VHF/UHF or HF transceiver., and (3) a terminal node controller (TNC or radio modem) or a sound card interface. Computer Hardware Requirements.

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equipment needed for winlink2000
Equipment Needed for Winlink2000

(1) a Windows-operating system computer,

(2) a VHF/UHF or HF transceiver., and

(3) a terminal node controller (TNC or radio modem) or a sound card interface.

computer hardware requirements
Computer Hardware Requirements

Operating System – Win95, 98SE, ME, 2K, or XP

Computer speed: Win95:75MHz CPU + 32K RAM

Win98SE, ME: 100MHz CPU + 64K RAM

NT4.0, Win2K: Pentium 133MHz CPU+128K RAM

WinXP: Pentium 233MHz CPU+256K RAM

Hard disk and RAM: more is better

Win 95 – can only use Airmail

Win98SE and above allow use of AGWPE, Winpack, PaclinkAGW, Paclink Post Office, and Telpac suite

what is airmail
What is AirMail?

AirMail is a complete stand-alone package for e-mail over Ham Radio for either HF PacTOR or VHF-UHF Packet.

AirMail is a 1) radio messaging system,

2) a radio terminal program for keyboard-to-keyboard, and keyboard-to-bulletin board system communication, and

3) a standalone email program

Presently, AirMail does not support soundcard operation.

A TNC is necessary.

terminal node controllers tnc
Terminal Node Controllers (TNC)

The TNC must support the HOST mode and may need a firmware upgrade.

Compatible TNCs are:

Kantronics KPC3, KPC3+, KAM98, KAM+, KPC9612

AEA/Timewave PK-88, PK-232, PK900, DSP232, PK-96

MFJ-1278 – ROM version 3.7 needed

Not all TNCs will work with Airmail

the ultimate a winlink2000 telpac
The Ultimate – A Winlink2000 Telpac

Winlink 2000 Telpac stands for TELnet PACket gateway.

To operate a Telpac station or via soundcard mode, you will need to use Windows 98SE and have all 98SE Service Packs installed on your computer.

Windows 2000 and WinXP also require the use of Microsoft’s Net Framework 1.1, not 2.0. Service packs are necessary also for Win2000 and WinXP.

choosing radios and tncs
Choosing Radios and TNCs

The best choice in a radio for use on VHF/UHF packet

is one with a data port . It is nice to have the receive

and transmit audio within the same connector.

A TNC or soundcard is needed for VHF packet.

AGW Packet Engine (AGWPE) is needed beyond

AirMail. AGWPE is a software engine that controls

many different types of TNCs. AGWPE supports

SOUNDCARD operation at 1200 baud.

Airmail works works only with TNCs listed in its

setup menu.

legacy tncs
Legacy TNCs

Older TNCs may need a $50 to $75 firmware upgrade. All older TNCs will run 1200 baud packet. Some newer ones might operate at 9600 baud.

BE CAREFUL! Some VHF/UHF FM radios meant for voice operation only may not operate at 9600 baud.  

Beware of a transceiver with a built-in TASCO TNC. The TASCO TNC will not work with Winlink2000

e-mail. It is designed for APRS (automatic position reporting system) use only - an external TNC is needed to operate Winlink2000.

software download
Software Download

The free software is found at these URLs:

FREE version of AGW Packet Engine:



Win2000 and WinXP users will need the following

available from Microsoft:

Microsoft .NET Framework Version 1.1 Redistributable


Paclink AGW, Paclink Post Office and Telpac:

install and configure winpack
Install and Configure Winpack

WinPack provides a full-featured Windows interface

to use with a Terminal Node Controller (TNC) or with

a computer sound card with other software. It will

work well initially for basic testing we need to do later

with a TNC and other parts of the Winlink2000 system.

The configuration will be for use with a TNC in cmd:

(native) mode, and later for use with Paclink AGW

operating on computers using the Win2000 or XP

operating system.

winpack w win2k and winxp
WinPack w/Win2K and WinXP

If you are using Win2000Pro or XP, Winpack is AGWPE compliant and is needed to run each of the component parts of the Winlink2000 system, including Paclink AGW, Paclink Post Office, and, eventually later, Telpac.


Open and unzip it to a folder C:\AGWPE

Create a shortcut on the Desktop for AGWPE.exe

winlink2000 w win98se and newer os
Winlink2000 w/Win98SE and newer OS

The first software to be installed is Microsoft Net Framework 1.1. If Net Framework 2.0 is installed on your computer, do not remove it. Net Framework 1.1 will co-exist with version 2.0.

install agwpe
Install AGWPE

Click the Desktop icon for AGWPE – then click I Agree

The Radio Port Selection window will open. Click on New Port

agwpe port setup
AGWPE Port Setup

The default screen for adding a new port. Select your Comm port and baud rate of the serial port. Use the drop down arrow to select your TNC model. The proper settings will be loaded for your TNC model. Add a descriptionfor the TNC port.

paclink agw what is it
Paclink AGW-What is It?

Paclink AGW adds AX25 packet radio and Telnet channels for WL2K connectivity to Outlook Express and other POP3/SMTP email clients. Paclink AGW is intended for use with the Winlink 2000 system including the B2F protocol that supports attachments, mixed addresses and tactical addresses.

paclink post office a bridge to email
Paclink Post Office-A Bridge to Email

Paclink Postoffice is the companion program for all Paclink clients and implements the POP3/SMTP mail server functions.

Paclink Post Office is the “bridge” between the radio and the computer email program.

paclink agw
Paclink AGW

Click Paclink AGW. It will self-extract to a temporary folder. Click on setup.exe to install the program.

paclink agw setup wizard
Paclink AGW Setup Wizard

Click Next and then check Everyone and then Next again


Click Next. Paclink AGW will install. When the Installation Complete screen appears, you may click Close

install paclink post office
Install Paclink Post Office

Open Paclink Post office. Click setup.exe

Choose Next for the first step

and choose Next again on the screen pictured below.

paclink post office install confirmation
Paclink Post Office Install Confirmation

The title bar of the real Paclink Post Office screens will say Paclink Post Office.

Click Next on the screen above and Close on the on screen to the right.


Paclink Post Office




paclink post office configuration
Paclink Post Office Configuration

When Paclink Postoffice is started for the first time, the popup menu below will appear:

Click OK - the Paclink Post Office Properties menu will appear as below:

Enter your call sign, and choose a password. You can also select to allow other LAN clients access to the Post Office. Click Update

paclink post office configuration1
Paclink Post Office Configuration

When you click Update on the Properties menu, you should get

a confirmation similar to the following indicating the Paclink

Postoffice Outlook Express configuration wizard has set up a

corresponding account on your Outlook Express email client.

When you start Outlook Express and request it Send/Receive

mail you will be prompted to enter the account password.

Once this is done Outlook Express should remember the


outlook express configuration
Outlook Express Configuration

Start Outlook Express.


Your callsign should appear as one of the Outlook Express e-mail accounts. Highlight the new account name and click Properties from the menu on the right side of this screen.

Click "Apply"


Tactical Accounts

Paclink can use Tactical accounts, just enter the

account name in the appropriate block, as seen

in the figure below.


This completes the installation and configuration of

Winlink 2000 using the AGW suite of programs and


Telpac installation will be covered as a separate subject.