Yavapai County ARES/RACES and the Winlink System 

Yavapai County ARES/RACES has chosen to implement the Winlink System (see www.winlink.org) on 2 Meter packet as a digital communications system to support our served agencies, in particular, the Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management.  We are deploying Winlink packet (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_radio or https://www.tapr.org/packetradio.html ) gateways throughout the county, and packet nodes, repeaters and gateways on mountain top locations.  Our long term goal is to have Internet email access from most locations in the county, whether or not the Internet is actually available in the county.  Although we coordinate closely with Coconino and Maricopa County ARES (1 gateway is located in Flagstaff, 1 on Bill Williams Mt. and 2 in Phoenix), no adjacent counties have chosen to implement a VHF packet Winlink System.

The recommended user software is Winlink Express, which is maintained by the Winlink Development Team (WDT) and therefore works seamlessly with the Winlink System.  It is a free download at http://www.winlink.org/WinlinkExpress.  It will automatically update itself when new versions are released and it supports most terminal node controllers (TNCs – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_node_controller) that are available today.  It includes an email program that will be recognized by any email user.  It can also be used in a peer-to-peer mode to send email directly from one station to another, bypassing the Internet.

Our gateways are using RMS Packet and RMS Relay software, both of which are maintained by the WDT.  Some gateways are maintained at their homes by local amateur radio operators, in order to provide maximum flexibility during an emergency.  Our long term plan is to move the gateways to “hardened” sites, where power and the Internet should be available except in the most dire emergencies.  We will continue to deploy additional mountain top repeaters and gateways as facilities become available in order to improve digital communications coverage in the county.

Other software can be used to access the Winlink system – in particular, AIRMAIL will also work.  We do not recommend AIRMAIL, since it is not maintained by the WDT.  Most of the gateways may also be used as packet repeaters, if that is necessary or helpful.

Yavapai County ARES/RACES also recommends its members become proficient with the use of Winlink on HF.  The primary mode should be WINMOR, which is supported within Winlink Express.  The simplest implementation requires an external sound card interface (e.g. Signalink, Rigblaster or several MFJ products) between your computer and HF radio.  HF, within the Winlink System, will provide email Internet access across the country and around the world, if the Internet is not available in northern Arizona.

Soundcard Packet

VHF packet can be generated in 2 ways.  Traditionally we have used a TNC between the radio and the computer.  An alternate method uses a sound card – typically an external device as mentioned above.  A sound card device is a good choice if your radio supports both HF and VHF and has 1 data port (e.g. FT897, FT857, or others).  Follow the soundcard device level setup instructions on HF (e.g. for Winmor), then don’t change them for VHF.  Here is a link to the detailed instructions – UZ7HO SoundModem Installation.  These instructions assume that you are starting from the default settings when the software is downloaded. If you had a working version and it suddenly doesn’t work, Windows may have changed some settings for you. We recommend removing the old version, downloading a new version and then following the instructions.

Packet Resources in Northern Arizona

The following packet stations on 2 Meters are accessible from locations in Northern Arizona. As we learn the most reliable paths and additional facilities become available, the number of stations and the frequencies will change to improve reliability. Check this page occasionally to keep up to date with our progress.

 

Winlink Gateways

Here is a map showing our approximate gateway and digipeater locations.

Callsign       Frequency             Location
K7YCA-8 145.710 MHz Mt. Union
K7YCA-9 145.030 MHz Bill Williams Mt.
K7YCA-10 145.010 MHz Mingus Tanks (Prescott)
K7YCA-11 145.050 MHz West of Prescott at N7CW
K7YCA-12 145.030 MHz Prescott Valley Police Department

W7LUX-10 145.010 MHz South of Flagstaff at W7LUX
N0DAJ-10 145.710 MHz Wickenburg at N0DAJ
KE7UUV-10 441.300 MHz Wickenburg at KE7UUV
KE7EJF-10 145.710 MHz Central Phoenix at KE7EJF
KG7ARL-10 145.710 MHz North Phoenix at KG7ARL
NL7FQ-10 145.030 MHz Cornville at NL7FQ

Nodes/Packet Repeaters
Callsign        Frequency                Location
K7YCA-5 145.010 MHz Mt. Union node
K7YCA-8 145.710 MHz Mt. Union gateway with digipeater function
K7YCA-9 145.030 MHz Bill Williams Mt. gateway with digipeater function

K7YCA-10 145.010 MHz Mingus Tanks gateway with digipeater function
NL7FQ-12 145.030 MHz Squaw Peak digipeater
W7MOT-6 145.710 MHz White Tanks node west of Phoenix
W7MOT-8 145.010 MHz Mt. Elden node

Gateway Connection Suggestions

All the gateways can be connected to directly.
K7YCA-8 can be accessed through W7MOT-6 on the White Tanks.
K7YCA-9 can be accessed through NL7FQ-12 on Squaw Peak.
K7YCA-10 can be accessed through K7YCA-5 on Mt. Union. It can also be accessed through W7MOT-8 on Mt. Elden. Examples of 2-step connections are:
K7YCA-5 first, then through W7MOT-8.
W7MOT-8 first, then through K7YCA-5.
K7YCA-12 can be accessed through the K7YCA-9 on Bill Williams Mt. It can also be accessed through NL7FQ-12 on Squaw Peak. Examples of 2-step connections are:
K7YCA-9 first, then through NL7FQ-12.
NL7FQ-12 first, then through K7YCA-9.
N0DAJ-10 can be accessed through W7MOT-6 on the White Tanks or K7YCA-8 on Mt. Union.
W7LUX-10 can be accessed through the W7MOT-8 node on Mt. Elden. Examples of 2-step connections are:
K7YCA-5 first, then through W7MOT-8.
K7YCA-10 first, then through W7MOT-8.
KE7EJF-10 can be accessed through W7MOT-6 on the White Tanks. A 2-step connection can be used through K7YCA-8 on Mt. Union first, then connect to W7MOT-6.

KG7ARL-10 can be accessed through W7MOT-6 on the White Tanks. A 2-step connection can be used through K7YCA-8 on Mt. Union first, then connect to W7MOT-6.

NL7FQ-10 can be accessed through K7YCA-9 on Bill Williams Mt. or through NL7FQ-12 on Squaw Peak. Examples of 2-step connections are:

K7YCA-9 first, then through NL7FQ-12.
NL7FQ-12 first, then through K7YCA-9.