Monday, June 20, 2022

Winlink Email Using VARA HF


Below is my documentation on how to configure Vara HF for the Yaesu FT-891 and the Icom IC-7300.

UPDATE:  On 10/20/2022 I tried to use Winlink over VARA HF on my 891.  I could not get rig control to work, even though I implemented the same config.  However, I plugged into the IC-7300 and had it working in minutes.  Arrrrg.  All that work on the 891 and now it will be a long debug session.  Although I started with the FT-991, I've documented the 7300 config below (easy)

I wanted to run a Winlink Express app (email application) and use HF radio to send and receive email messages.  The Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) team that I’m on uses Winlink along with its built in standard FEMA forms.  It helps ARES accomplish their mission to support local hospitals, clinics and associated agencies during an emergency.  Using HF setup for sending email during an emergency is appropriate if the affected area is large (no internet for 100 miles).  This is because you can move messages into and out of the affected area using relay stations that have internet service that are 100s or over 1,000 miles away.  For instance, if there was an earthquake in my area, I’m better off trying to get a message to a hub station that is outside of the affected area which could be all of Southern California.  Because of it’s range, HF is perfect for this scenario.  Station to station transmission could be achieved using the lower HF bands as well, or using VHF modes like VARA FM or packet.  I’ve been successful using packet radio from my 5w FT-817 but packet stations are slowly disappearing. 
(click on images for larger)