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Yavapai County ARES/RACES and the Winlink System 

Yavapai County ARES/RACES has chosen to implement the Winlink System (see 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 or ) gateways throughout the county and packet nodes and repeaters on mountain top locations to facilitate connections to the gateways.  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 County ARES (1 gateway is located in Flagstaff and 1 packet repeater is located on Bill Williams Mt.), no adjacent counties have chosen to implement a VHF packet Winlink System.

The recommended user software is RMS Express, which is maintained by the Winlink Development Team (WDT) and therefore works seamlessly with the Winlink System.  It is a free download at  It will automatically update itself when new versions are released and it supports most terminal node controllers (TNCs - see 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 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 RMS 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.

Click Here for Current Locations of area gateways and nodes


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Last modified: 09/19/2014