Join the Gateway Sysop Team (Sysop Guidelines)

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 DHS SHARES, and is a last-resort communication tool for national, regional and local governments, NGOs and agencies. Our sysops often remark that their work as a Winlink RMS gateway station 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

Operating Policy

Before you inquire to run an RMS gateway station, you must first be an active user of radio email. This is a firm pre-requisite to be sure you have the required knowledge and familiarity with the Winlink system. All gateway software requires a Winlink account password. To get one you must maintain an active radio email account for each callsign/license you use as a gateway. You must also request authorization for your station to connect with CMS servers as a network gateway. This is explained below under 'Authorizations'.

The strength, reliability and reputation of the Winlink system 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 and meet normal user expectations. Within the bounds of the licensing regulations, we authorize RMS gateway operation to sysops who agree and commit to the following guidelines:

  • to reasonably maintain their stations both online and on-the-air 24x7x365
  • to provide dedicated gateway equipment, preferably with automatic emergency power
  • to keep their gateway software current
  • to report sysop/licensee contact information, station, service code, software version, and frequency information to WL2K servers through proper configuration of gateway software and local network routers
  • if operating as a gateway with third-party gateway software, to configure it so that the log-in protocol, mandatory busy-channel blocking/transmit inhibit, message addressing, the user interface and gateway connection conventions conform to those used in Winlink Express and it's interaction with RMS gateway software developed by the Winlink Development Team,
  • to monitor Winlink e-mail for the gateway account daily, and to respond promptly to both Winlink users and members of the Winlink Development Team.

Sysops are responsible for the lawful operation of their stations. RMS gateways that remain off-line or do not report to WL2K Servers for extended periods, fail to operate with current software, or operate in violation of their licenses 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, their accounts are automatically purged.

Your request for authorization and operation of an RMS gateway station constitutes your implied agreement to these guidelines as published here. Administrators may refuse network connections without warning from stations that do not observe these guidelines. Winlink Administrators reserve the right to alter these guidelines at any time.

Authorization requests

All sysops must obtain an authorization for gateway connections to the network. If you previously operated a gateway or if your station has been online reasonably 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. State your agreement and commitment to operate within these guidelines.
  4. A reference to confirm your affiliation with an established 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 sign 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.

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.
Faunt posted this message to a ham RTTY group about two weeks after the rescue.
UPDATE: The Winlink messages leading to the rescue have been made available for viewing by the public, along with the final USCG report, on the USCG web site.
The dramatic Coast Guard rescue of 14 crew from liferafts can be seen in the video below.


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