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.

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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.

About ARDOP

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

Radio Settings

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).

ARDOP Winlink Feature Image

See video below.

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:

Video

Notes (see the video)

  1. No need for CW/ID at the end of transmission.
  2. Change busy detector to 0 if you have trouble with false busy indications or try 0-5.
  3. Filters and radio settings as in digital modes, bandwidth can be set to 3.6k or narrower if needed.
  4. TNC setup – Session BW 2000, Drive 70-90.
  5. In Contacts the Mail Server = None

Thank You

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.

Thank you for subscribing to this website. You can also follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

73,

Rich,K0PIR

Sources:

Winlink Express Website

WL Download Page

ARDOP Overview

MacOS Installation


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

 

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K0PIR

I'm an Amateur Radio enthusiast. I love the hobby and experimenting with radios, antennas and software. On my YouTube channel I upload videos on the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 along with Ham radio software programs. I hope to inspire people to try new things in Amateur Radio.

12 Responses

  1. bud says:

    I played with ARDOP for a short while a year ago, and did not do much with it.. So I’m not familiar with it.

    I have my 7300 running Winmore Winlink just fine. There was a problem with it early on.

    The RX/TX latency was outta the ball park! Few connects – even fewer complete session.

    Solution: Have MONITOR OFF on the 7300!

    I have no idea why that was a problem with MONITOR ON, and don’t know if it might affect ARDOP.

    If you learn something let me know.

    Meanwhile, I’ll get back in the Winlink game and check ARDOP out when I find some time.

    73,

    bud N0IA

    Lakewood, CO

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi Bud,

      Nice to hear from you and thank you. I appreciate the input and information. I will hold onto it.

      So far I haven’t had a problem with latency, but I did read thread about it.

      Be safe and best 73!

  2. Ken K6KEC says:

    Thanks, Rich – Although I’ve been using ARDOP in WinLink Express for awhile, I learned something new watching your video (Drive Level adjustment within TNC Setup) and really appreciate it. Tweaking the ALC using the TNC Setup within ARDOP settings is certainly easier than bouncing back out to make the adjustment on the radio (mine is an IC-7300). Much appreciated. 73

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi Ken,

      Nice to hear from you and thank you for the comment here. That’s just what I was thinking and instead of messing up everything for my other digital modes, adjusting the drive level in Winlink worked.

      Thank you so much, be safe and best 73!

  3. Preston says:

    Greetings Rich,

    I always make time to view your videos. They are informative and helpful. I decided to give VARA HF a try and now on to Ardop. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    73, Preston – W3PLS

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi Preston,

      Nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting. I am going to experiment with VARA a little bit more and maybe purchase it just to see how fast it really is.

      Thank you again, be safe and best 73!

  4. George says:

    I keep hearing about downloading a Silicon Labs driver for com7 and com8 ports. Is this necessary using ARDOP Winlink?

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi George, if you have the ICOM 7610 or the 7300 then yes you will need to download the ICOMUSB driver and install it preferably before you connect a cable to the radio. I’m assuming you have the 7610 and that will give you two virtual serial comports. There’s a video on it here: https://youtu.be/PeIkasYQelI
      It’s easy to do and works great. Stay safe and best 73!

  5. Is it possible to use this mode keyboard to keyboard? I’m not interested in sending e-mail over HF. What is the throughput speed in terms of words per minute? I used to operate on AMTOR ARQ decades ago. AMTOR died out many years ago. Pactor is an expensive mode with the SCS units and very few people use Pactor. A sound card digital mode that has ARQ and isn’t too slow in data throughput would be great!

    Dave KY0L

  6. K0PIR says:

    Hi Dave nice to hear from you and great question. It is possible for chat. See this support forum, I have just joined it so I’ll be adding more later. I hope all is well with you and yours, be safe, beat 73!

  7. Bill N7RI says:

    Hi Rich. Your recent article on Winlink with the IC7300 was great. The timing was perfect as I have been thinking of adding it to my shack. I set the Winlink with Ardop the same with the same settings I use with HRD. The problem I am having is when I try the test nothing happens with the rig. I even tried sending a test message but whatever channel I tried, even though there was nothing on the waterfall I get a channel busy message. Can you direct me to some resouces to figure this our please?

  8. K0PIR says:

    Hi Bill,
    Yes the busy indicator will come on easy when the band is not busy. There is a setting to turn it off and I covered it in the video. I can’t pinpoint it now because I have limited Internet access. #2 in the article.

    If you are not getting PTT with Winlink review the video. There is a place for rig control in the software. It should be similar to DM780.

    Stay safe, best 73 from Fort Pierre Grassland.

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