WINMOR is No More

There are rumors that “Winlink is going away”. Well, no, not really — but some of the modes that we were accustomed to using as hams are being replaced by new modes. This article is an attempt to clear up some of the confusing Winlink terminology perhaps get hams back into Winlink e-mail if they have been recently “shut out”.

Those of us using Winlink to send messages via RMS Express may have recently noticed responses back from the RMS Gateway that WINMOR will no longer being supported, and users should switch to ARDOP or VARA mode.

Huh?

First, some background on terminology:
1. Winlink is a system of message distribution. The Winlink system is still here to stay. The Winlink system allows messages to be sent via multiple modes:

  • WINMOR mode on HF
  • PACTOR mode on HF
  • Packet mode on VHF
  • Telnet mode via an Internet connection
  • Post Office mode via a LAN network (hard-wired or wireless mesh)

2. This discussion will address only the first mode, WINMOR and its replacements, ARDOP and VARA. WINMOR was the “go to” mode for HF message exchange in the software package RMS Express, which many of us hams used. RMS Express software has now been replaced by Winlink Express.

3. In July 2020, the WINMOR mode has been “deprecated“. That means the Radio Message Server (RMS) Gateways in the Winlink system will start to refuse message transfer via the WINMOR mode. WINMOR mode is being replaced by the modes of:

  • ARDOP (Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol), or
  • VARA HF (and I can’t seem to find what VARA stands for)

In response to this decision, the latest versions of Winlink Express now include ARDOP Winlink and Vara HF Winlink as options to open a session.

4. WINMOR mode formerly offered speeds up to 1,300 bps and is still included in Winlink Express software (at least, in version 1.15.31.0) — but is being “deprecated”.

5. ARDOP Mode offers speeds up to 4,000 bps and is also included in Winlink Express software. (My experience with ARDOP mode on a Yaesu FT-991 is that ARDOP is difficult to get set up and running.)

6. VARA HF offer speeds up to 7,000 bps but requires an external add-on software package which interfaces to Winlink Express. (This external software package requires a $69 user license, but VARA HF can be tested without registration at a restricted speed.) My experience with VARA HF on the Yaesu FT-991 is that is runs right out of the download with no problems .

So if you are being shut out of the Winlink message system because your software is out of date, go to the Winlink site at www.winlink.org, where you will find links to update your software to the new configurations. If you are successful, send me an e-mail at W4BZM@winlink.org!

Mike – W4BZM

SEPTEMBER Tech Night 2020: Satellite Operations

The SEPTEMBER Tech Night was presented by club member, past President and current Vice-President Ron Mahn, KI5FR.  His topic is Satellite Operations: How do I get started?

Ron is one of the most active hams in the Panhandle using this mode.  He has presented this topic numerous times to the club, and sets up a station at Field Day operations. 

In this presentation learn about the various uplinks, downlinks, Cubesats other “birds”, and software to make the tracking easier on you.  As many of you know, the International Space Station has amateurs on it also.

Download PDf here.
Download Powerpoint here.

Thursday, September 24, 2020, 7:00 pm was at the Live Oak Baptist Church Fellowship Hall and on Zoom. This presentation was rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Loaner Pool ?

I recently accepted a donation of a Kenwood TH-7D7A handi-talkie for use in the NOARC “loaner pool”.  (We currently have three Baofengs which can be checked out by new hams to get on the air quickly while they are deciding what hardware to buy.)  This is an older HT, but still very capable — dual 2m/0.7m FM with built-in APRS capability and the long-life battery.

Unfortunately, it was donated without a charger or reprogramming cable.  Both are available on eBay, but before I spend $50 for a charger and $25 for a cable, I’d like to know if the radio in fact still works.  I have no idea how long it has been since it was operational, since it came from the estate of a silent key. 

Does anyone have a Kenwood BC-19 or BC-17 charger, or a PG-4W programming cable, which I could borrow to test out this new-to-us HT?

Mike W4BZM
W4BZM@arrl.net