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.

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

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

K7RHT-8         145.710 MHz               Surprise at K7RHT

Nodes/Packet Repeaters

Callsign         Frequency          Location

K7YCA-5         145.010 MHz      Mt. Union (node)

K7YCA-8         145.710 MHz      Gateway with digipeater function

K7YCA-9         145.030 MHz      Gateway with digipeater function

K7YCA-10       145.010 MHz      Gateway with digipeater function

W7MOT-6       145.710 MHz      White Tanks west of Phoenix (node)

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 the W7MOT-6 node on the White Tanks.

K7YCA-10 can be accessed through the K7YCA-5 node on Mt. Union on 145.01 MHz.  It can also be accessed through W7MOT-8 on 145.01 MHz on Mt. Elden.   Examples of 2-step connections are:

     K7YCA-5 on 145.01 MHz first, then connect to W7MOT-8

     W7MOT-8 on 145.01 MHz first, then connect to K7YCA-5

K7YCA-12 can be accessed through the K7YCA-9 packet repeater on Bill Williams Mt. on 145.03 MHz.

N0DAJ-10 can be accessed through W7MOT-6 or K7YCA-8 on 145.71 

W7LUX-10 can be accessed through the W7MOT-8 node on Mt. Elden on 145.01 MHz. Examples of 2-step connections are:

     K7YCA-5 on 145.01 MHz first, then connect to W7MOT-8.

     K7YCA-10 on 145.01 MHz first, then connect to W7MOT-8.

KE7EJF-10 can be accessed through W7MOT-6.  A 2-step connection can be used through K7YCA-8 on 145.71 MHz first, then connect to W7MOT-6.

KG7ARL-10 can be accessed through W7MOT-6.  A 2-step connection can be used through K7YCA-8 on 145.71 MHz first, then connect to W7MOT-6.

K7RHT-8 can be accessed through W7MOT-6.  A 2-step connection can be used through K7YCA-8 on 145.71 MHz first, then connect to W7MOT-6.

The Common Message Servers (CMS) stations used by Winlink are shown below.   The sites are geographically distributed worldwide, are synchronized, and any single site is capable of handling all traffic for the entire network.

Brentwood – Tennessee U.S.A.

Halifax – Nova Scotia Canada

Perth – Perth Australia

San Diego – San Diego California

Wein – Austria