Communications at Sea

General overview article on communications that work for blue water cruisers. By Winlink users Birgit Hackl and Christian Feldbauer, OE6CHF, cruising on S/V Pitufa. Courtesy of the publisher of All At Sea Caribbean Magazine. Republished with permission.


Here is a short status report on the development of ARDOP, a new, flexible protocol for messaging.

Read about ARDOP (Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol).
The Yahoo ARDOP forum site (which has beta downloads and documentation) is at
The ARDOP Developers forum (installs, docs and sources) is at

At the end of 2016, we are near the end of beta testing for the ARDOP_Win TNC (protocol optimization). John Wiseman has also written a version of ARDOP that works with BPQ32 (Server or Client) and can connect to the Winlink system. We are working on integration into Winlink Express and RMS Trimode which will provide client and portals into the Winlink system. Eventually, ARDOP is planned to replace WINMOR (more robust, more bandwidth options, faster) but that won't happen until we have really wrung out the above implementations and optimized the protocol. The conversion from WINMOR will be a simple software change and resetting the setup parameters.

Also, a future (now in testing) hardware implementation (in C operating under Linux on a Teensie quad core processor) will be announced next year. It will permit seamless (no additional sound card or external hardware) and easy integration with other protocols like Pactor and Packet.

Watch this space for more news. 2017 will be the year Winlink moves to ARDOP.

Rick KN6KB
Winlink Development Team

FCC Proposes Rule Changes in Response to ARRL's "Symbol Rate" Petition

The FCC has proposed to revise the Amateur Service Part 97 rules in response to the ARRL's so-called "Symbol Rate" Petition for Rule Making (RM-11708), filed in late 2013, and it has invited comments on its recommended changes. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in WT Docket 16-239, released on July 28, had been making the rounds at the FCC since May. ARRL had asked the FCC to change the Part 97 rules to delete the symbol rate limit in §97.307(f) and replace it with a maximum bandwidth for data emissions of 2.8 kHz on amateur frequencies below 29.7 MHz.

"We believe that the public interest may be served by revising the Amateur Service rules to eliminate the current baud rate limitations for data emissions, consistent with ARRL's Petition, to allow Amateur Service licensees to use modern digital emissions, thereby furthering the purposes of the Amateur Service and enhancing the usefulness of the service," the FCC said in its NPRM. "We do not, however, propose a bandwidth limitation for data emissions in the MF and HF bands to replace the baud rate limitations, because the rules' current approach for limiting bandwidth use by amateur stations using one of the specified digital codes to encode the signal being transmitted appears sufficient to ensure that general access to the band by licensees in the Amateur Service does not become unduly impaired."

The ARRL staff was still reviewing the NPRM at publication deadline, and we will report further on this proceeding.

Published with permission of the ARRL. Copyright 2016 Amateur Radio Relay League, Inc.


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