What is Winlink 2000?
Winlink 2000 (abbreviated WL2K) is a worldwide network of participating amateur stations bound together through the use of the Internet. By linking with any one of these stations on HF (PACTOR, or Winmore) or VHF/UHF packet, you can exchange messages with other hams via their Winlink 2000 addresses, or with anyone with an Internet e-mail address. While Winlink 2000 interchanges messages with the existing amateur global VHF/UHF packet networks, it provides new services the packet system doesn’t support. Winlink 2000 messages can have any number of addressees and can include small attachments just like Internet e-mail. Messages are forwarded within the Winlink 2000 network using the Internet, assuring prompt delivery whether to another radio user or to an Internet e-mail address. Unlike the packet network, no “home” BBS is required. You may send and receive your messages from any of the participating Winlink 2000 stations.
For more information on Winlink 2000, checkout these documents and links:
- Winlink 2000 for the “Digitally Challenged” course
- Winlink 2000 nodes statuses
- Winlink 2000 node map (VHF/UHF)
- Winlink 2000 node map (HF – both Pactor and Winmore)
- Winlink 2000 Node Channel Download
- How to send Winlink messages through the APRS network
- Standards for Wisconsin ARES/RACES nodes
- Winlink 2000 Client Software
Winlink 2000 Official website
This is the official Winlink 2000 website.
WINLINK 2000 RADIO-EMAIL OVERVIEW
The Winlink 2000 global radio network messaging system gives Amateur Radio operators the ability to send email by radio. This capabilities can be used to augment the operations of our own emergency communications responders as well as those we support. Email messaging is the common denominator which ensures interoperability between our operators and all those agencies we serve. This attribute is very well suited to modern incident command strategies.
Amateurs and officials alike are familiar with creating and sending emails. The Winlink 2000 system uses email applications for the user interface and the process of sending and receiving mail is similar to using any internet service provider. Not only can radio email now be sent when the telephone system and internet are down in an affected area, but officials may send such mail from their own computers at their own desks or in the field with amateur radio operator supervision. This is what our served agencies need.
The Winlink 2000 system operates as a global “email server” for all user clients which can access the system over radio links. It can handle email between all connecting clients with call sign or “tactical” addresses and exchange email with addressees on the public internet through a filtered and secure interface. The system also provides valuable weather, location information and system bulletins for all users.
Radio-email on Winlink 2000 may contain multiple addressees and multiple copies, and may contain binary attachments of a limited size which allows the transmission of small documents or photos. Winlink 2000 radio-email generally moves quickly around the world with delivery times to the addressee’s mailbox or ISP within a few minutes or less once the message is received by a Winlink node station with internet connectivity.
RMS Express is the preferred Winlink 2000 (WL2K) radio email client. It is in active development by the Winlink Development Team and is well-supported. RMS Express is designed to be most easily used by single users with a single call sign but it may be used to access one or two preset tactical addresses or alternate callsigns. RMS Express supports a wide selection of TNCs and multimode controllers, the new sound card mode WINMOR, as well as support for HF Pactor, SCS Robust Packet, VHF/UHF packet and direct telnet to WL2K CMS servers (for amateur radio High Speed Multimedia [HSMM], D-Star DD mode, or internet).
RMS Express is built for use with the Winlink 2000 system and leverages its features with simplicity as the prime design objective. It uses the B2F protocol that supports attachments, multiple addresses and tactical addresses. With the WINMOR mode RMS Express may be used peer-to-peer (connecting directly via RF to other RMS Express clients). RMS Express also contains manual and automated GPS position reporting abilities, support for the Winlink catalog of downloadable weather, information and help bulletins, Saildocs and Globalmarinenet for obtaining GRIB files, and a propagation prediction program to determine which of the participating Winlink RMS gateway stations you can connect with from anywhere on earth.
RMS Express may be used as a user client for emergency communications. However, before adopting RMS Express as your program for EmComm, please check with your local EmComm group for transition plans. This may be your ARES, RACES, MARS etc. organization that will be responsible for providing training and support.
Paclink is a streamlined radio e-mail client with a built-in POP/SMTP server that allows you to use most popular e-mail client programs, like Microsoft Live Mail, Outlook Express and Mozilla Thunderbird. It is a single- or multi-user client. It is exceptionally easy to install and use. Paclink supports telnet (for amateur radio High Speed Multimedia [HSMM], D-Star DD mode, or internet), VHF/UHF packet radio, and HF Pactor radio connections to WL2K servers and the user interface is through any common e-mail client program. Currently, Paclink does not support the WINMOR sound card mode. Paclink is intended for use with the Winlink 2000 system and uses the B2F message transfer protocol that supports attachments, multiple addresses and tactical addresses.
Use of the Paclink server and radio connections is transparent to the email user, because of this it is appropriate for Winlink deployment at EOC’s and shelters, especially when used in conjunction with a Winlink Webmail deployment.
Airmail is independently developed, distributed, and supported by Jim Corenman, KE6RK. It is the oldest program for sending and receiving messages using the WL2K system. Airmail may be used for HF Pactor, VHF/UHF Packet, and for telnet connections over any TCP/IP medium including the internet and high-speed radio media like D-Star DD mode and HSMM. Once connected to a WL2K station, message transfer is completely automatic. On the ham bands, Airmail can transfer messages automatically with any station supporting the BBS or F6FBB protocols — Winlink 2000 RMS gateways, F6FBB, MSYS, BPQ32, and peer-to-peer to other Airmail stations. When used with WL2K gateways, Airmail also contains position reporting capabilities, support for downloadable weather, information and help bulletins, and a propagation prediction program to determine which of the participating Winlink RMS stations will work from anywhere on earth.
For more information on Airmail, including the system requiremnts, installation and operating instructions, and to download the program, go to the Airmail WEB page.
ROUTING: A powerful feature of Winlink 2000 is that the routing of all mail is automatic and dynamic. A client can connect to any of the system ports, also known as nodes and exchange mail with any other client in the system. Client stations may move about and connect via any link path to an available node and mail will be automatically forwarded.