Mexican Amateurs Support Winlink for Emergency Communications

XE2/N6KZB tests XE2BNC Gateway.

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.

XE2BNC Tijuana
XE1VP Toluca
XE2EOS Chiapas
XE1CRG Guanajuato

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

International Health Service Needs You!

IHS dugout transports half a team up the Kruta River in Honduras.
Daily clinic work by IHS.

You Are Needed! IHS needs Hams for their upcoming February clinical/surgery mission to help the poor of Honduras. John Kirckof, KB0UUP, IHS Communications Director, writes that medical and dental professionals have committed to go so at least 11-12 multi-talented teams will deploy across Honduras February 13-27, 2015. They are still short of non-medical team members, interpreters, ham radio operators, and general helpers. Winlink radio email, HF and VHF phone have been used for mission communications since the early 2000's. Most returning hams describe the IHS experience as the real deal: For the radio experience, you'll never find a disaster drill or exercise to equal the large-scale deployment like an IHS mission. But there is so much more; Lives are saved and good work done every trip.

When: Applications for the February mission are due mid-September! But they need help, so lateness is not a real problem.

What International Health Services Does: The organization has been doing medical clinics and surgical work in Honduras for over 32 years. So, they know where to go, who to go to and what supplies to send to make a big difference in the Honduras people’s lives. Many IHS veterans go year after year so new volunteers work along side many experienced people.

Go to the IHS web site at http://www.IHSMN.org. Call John Kirckof, at 320-634-4386 for details, photos, etc.
**They say the hardest part of going is deciding to fill out the application**

PI8HLM in the DARES Network

Stan, PA4S, offers this video about the DARES (Dutch Amateur Radio Emergency Service) gateway station PI8HLM. Nice installation, guys!

--The Winlink Team

Introducing the Winlink Hybrid Network

Hybrid

With the release of RMS Relay version 3.0.0.0 on November 4, 2013, the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation introduced the Winlink Hybrid Radio Email Network. This new network design marks a major milestone in Winlink's evolution with higher reliability, performance and utility for emergency communications. The new generation Winlink system now conforms to US Department of Defense Instruction (DODI 4650.02) for radio-only message transfer without the use of the internet.

A Thank-you Note from Mid-Pacific

Thank-you graphic

Message ID: 1883_KD7JST
Date: 2014/07/11 23:43
From: KD7JST
To: VE7AXY; K7DAV; VE6GPS; KL7EDK; KB6YNO; KA7HRC; N7YRT; W7BO; K6IXA; KE7XO; W6IM; K4XV
Source: KD7JST
Subject: Thank You!

I wanted to drop each of you a sincere note of thanks and gratitude for volunteering the use of your amateur radio equipment on the Winlink system.

Join the Gateway Sysop Team

Running a Radio Mail Server (RMS) gateway station is rewarding. Actually saving a life or a boat in distress, helping medical missions in far off jungles, and participating on local public service and emergency communications teams are some of the ways sysops use their radio assets for the public good. Almost weekly one of the Winlink sysops will receive direct, heartfelt thanks from an incident victim or their loved ones. Sysops often assist with the evacuation of a sick yachtsman for emergency treatment, locate an overdue yacht for a worried family, or help arrange medical supplies for a remote medical clinic. Many sysops support their communities as part of a local emergency network. EmComm organizations train and drill member sysops and radio email operators for emergency field deployments. Off the amateur bands, Winlink is a mainstay in MARS, SHARES, and is a last-resort communication tool for national, regional and local governments, NGOs and agencies. Our sysops often remark that their work with WL2K is the most deeply rewarding thing they do in amateur radio.

We invite you to set up an RMS gateway station and join us.

SYSOP GUIDELINES and RMS Station Authorization

Before you inquire to run an RMS gateway station, we prefer you first be an active user of radio email. All gateway software requires a WL2K password. To get one you must maintain an active account. In addition, you must also request authorization for your station to connect with the network as explained below under 'Authorizations'.

The strength, reliability and reputation of the network is based upon the quality of service provided by knowledgeable and attentive volunteers. We maintain a high standard in order to provide good user experiences. Within the bounds of local licensing regulations, we authorize RMS gateways to sysops who agree to the following guidelines:

  • to maintain their stations both online and on-the-air 24x7x365,
  • to provide dedicated gateway equipment, preferably with emergency power,
  • to keep their gateway software current,
  • to report sysop, station, service code, software version and frequency information to WL2K servers through proper configuration of gateway software and local network routers, and
  • TO SUBSCRIBE TO AND STAY CURRENT WITH THE WL2K E-MAIL REFLECTORS FOR SYSOPS.

Sysops are always responsible for the lawful operation of their stations. RMS gateways that remain off-line or do not report to WL2K Servers for extended periods, or fail to operate with current software are automatically removed from the network first, then issues are worked out. Portable or temporary stations should be tested on a regular basis to maintain their readiness. If they do not, they are also automatically purged.

For network-wide alert messages and support, all sysops should join the "Winlink_Programs_Group" at yahoogroups.com, and they must monitor their Winlink e-mail daily.

Your operation of an RMS Gateway station constitutes your implied agreement to these guidelines as published here. Network administrators may refuse network connections from stations that do not observe these guidelines.

Authorization requests

Since January 25, 2013, all sysops must obtain an authorization for gateway connections to the network. If you previously operated a gateway and your station has been online less than 24/7/365 at any time in the past, you need to ask for an authorization. To request one, contact by email Steve Waterman, K4CJX. Provide in your request:

  1. Your name and call sign.
  2. The base call sign of the gateway station. This callsign must be under your direct control as licensee or trustee.
  3. Your agreement to operate within these guidelines.
  4. A reference to confirm your affiliation with an EmComm organization, if you intend to operate the station as a temporary or portable asset.

If your request is for a club station or a call that you do not control, have the trustee or the legal licensee make the request. As is only proper, we issue station authorizations to the person who is legally licensed. Only they may provide operational rights to other individuals. For any other special or temporary use outside normal 24/7 operations, whether individual or by a recognized emergency communications organization, please contact Steve Waterman, K4CJX, the Winlink 2000 administrator.

73,
The Winlink Development Team

HMS Bounty's Captain Sends Winlink Message -- Saves 14 Crew

HMS Bounty sinks.

Read the complete ARRL story.

On Monday morning, October 29, the tall ship HMS Bounty was in the embrace of Hurricane Sandy 90 miles off Hatteras, NC and taking on water. Doug Faunt, N6TQS, survivor and ship's electrician, told the ARRL that the Bounty crew tried various methods to call for help, including a satellite phone, “... we got nothing when tried calling out on HF. We tried calling the Maritime Mobile Net, but nothing was out there. We had Winlink on the ship that we used for e-mail and accessing the Internet to post to blogs and to Facebook, and we finally found an e-mail address for the Coast Guard. As a last-ditch effort, we used Winlink to e-mail the Coast Guard for help. Within an hour, we heard a C-130 plane, and later, a helicopter overhead.” According to Faunt, it was Captain Robin Walbridge, KD4OHZ, as master of the ship, who sent out the distress messages.

The US Coast Guard has suspended its search for Robin Walbridge, 63, the missing captain of the replica tall ship.

The messages have been removed from the Winlink system and turned over to US Coast Guard authorities for their investigation.

The dramatic Coast Guard rescue of 14 crew from liferafts can be seen in the video below.

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