A three year program to fund Winlink gateways was completed this week with the installation of XE1CRG.
Mexico is a diverse country where HF communications plays a role in disaster recoveries and during emergencies. While Mexico's infrastructure is complete and modern, there are areas where Internet connectivity does not exists. And so Mexican amateurs who provide support to local Protection Civil offices and other agencies have had a history of using HF voice.
We conducted a demonstration for officials In 2011 of various HF data modes. Mr. Pinilla XE1VP, from the University of Mexico was impressed with the portable Winlink HF station and easy delivery to internet-based email recipients. This started a planning and funding process to install 4 complete Winlink gateways.
To date four systems at a cost of $20,000.00 have been established at reliable sites with local area support.
Each system is configured with the Icom 7200 with an SCS Dragon Pactor modem. The sites are secure with local battery back-up. All gateways run Pactor and WINMOR 1600. The sites also have packet radio ports for training and local use.
Since Mexico is allowed auto-forwarding and Pactor 4 operation, all the gateways participate in the Winlink Hybrid Network, offering radio-only message transport in the event of internet failure, and MPS (Message Pickup Station) delivery. One site near the Guatemalan border, XE2EOS, looses internet connectivity from time-to-time but with HF auto-forwarding email continues to reliably flow.
This commitment by Mexico's small amateur community is also supported by F.M.R.E., (Mexico's ARRL), http://www.fmre.org.mx. Technical and financial support has come from many local amateurs: XE2SI XE2GF XE1RZ XE2EOS XE1BRX.
Winlink has proven reliable and robust for the remote email and peer messaging needs in Mexico. These systems are open to the worldwide amateur community and are actively exercised by US amateurs and many foreign visiting boaters and voyagers on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The comfort level for officials for emergencies provided by these gateways is a testament to the dedication and hard work of
many, to include the Winlink Development Team.
--Mike Burton, XE2/N6KZB