Winlink Express ARDOP E-Mail Over HF
Hey guys, I’ve been experimenting with sending email over HF and found a good protocol that is reliable and fast in my opinion. I have used it with my ICOM 7610, ICOM 7300 and my little QRP Transceiver, the Elecraft KX2. In my shack it has only been tested on the Windows platform, but I hear it can be installed on a Mac. So, in case of a disaster or Internet outage in your area, using Winlink Express, you will be able to send email over HF. Not to mention VHF and UHF if you have that capability in your shack.
I am anxious to try it out while operating mobile and portable. That’s for another time though.
Winlink Express Protocols
I am exploring two Winlink protocols, Winmor and ARDOP.
WinLink has been around for a long time. Most hams are familar with Winmor Winlink.
ARDOP is my favorite so far. It is like Winmor in that it is included in Winlink Express and it is free. It’s robust and faster than Winmor.
There is another protocol called VEGA Winlink, more on that in another post. It’s fast and cool looking, hi hi.
Audio bandwidth options: The initial ARDOP protocol is intended to operate in one of four audio bandwidths, 200 Hz, 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, and 2000 Hz. The bandwidth can be forced by server, forced by client or negotiated by the server and client.
Channel adaptability: The protocol is intended to be able to operate over a wide range of data rate and robustness levels by automatically adapting to propagation and channel conditions, seeking the best modulation and bandwidth to maximize net error-free throughput. – Winlink Website
In the video below I am using the Icom 7610, but this will apply to the Icom 7300 as well as other radios. I use the same settings as I use with other modes like PSK31 and FT8. Have a look at my 7300 and 7610 screen captures page if you need to see the menu settings.
Noise blanker, noise reduction is off. AN and notch is off. Receive filter bandwidth is set to 3.6k, but I have found narrowing it to 2k or even 600Hz may be helpful. AGC set to fast.
Mode USB-D1, 10-100 watts power output and ALC when transmitting no more than 1/3 of the ALC scale (red bar on ALC scale).
Winlink Express Setup
Once you have it installed the set up can be a little tricky, because there is a lot to it. Stick with it though. You may need it someday.
I started out using Winmor to send e-mail and after a while I registered Winlink. There’s no need to because it will work fine without regitration.
For the ICOM 7300 it’s straightforward because they have the ICOM 7300 in the drop-down list. For the ICOM 7610 I used the ICOM 7600 as the radio model and changed the CIV address in the set up window to 98. See the important screenshots below, click the picture to enlarge:
Notes (see the video)
- No need for CW/ID at the end of transmission.
- Change busy detector to 0 if you have trouble with false busy indications or try 0-5.
- Filters and radio settings as in digital modes, bandwidth can be set to 3.6k or narrower if needed.
- TNC setup – Session BW 2000, Drive 70-90.
- In Contacts the Mail Server = None
If you have any questions, comments or solutions, please comment below. I prefer the comment section here or in YouTube over e-mail because your comments and questions will help others as well.
Here is some good information from a subscriber:
“Beyond person-to-person e-mail (and ARES/Emcomm/FEMA reporting), WL2K is also being adopted by some endurance running and equestrian events as a means of sending runner / horse progress reports from remote aid stations. Using the template features within WinLink > Message > Template > Standard Template > Race Tracker.txt, check point information is being sent via WinLink thereby clearing the voice channels at these events of non-critical traffic. At the event I’m most familiar with ( https://,www.wser.org/ ) multiplying 370 runners times the number of reporting aid stations meant that nearly 4,000 pieces of data that were being reported via voice are now reported via WinLink. This also greatly improves accuracy of the reported data as the data isn’t touched once it leaves the aid station / no transposition errors and is reported to the public via social media much more quickly.” – Ken K6KEC