Winmor HF Email

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Winmor HF Email

An HF Transmission Protocol for Winlink

by Rick Medero s/v C_Language

Winmor is a Free Email Service

Use Your PC Instead of a Pactor

This is a free email service similar Winlink/Airmail. It's available to licensed Ham radio operators. It was developed by many of the same folks that did Airmail. The main goal is to reduce the amount and cost of the hardware that interfaces your PC to your radio. They have achieved this by using processing power within your PC to implement a modem with performance similar to Pactor II. For more detailed info see: Winmor Primer.

One important component in a modem is the Analog to Digital Converter. This is the thing that converts the analog sound from your radio into a stream of numbers that your computer can operate on, as well as converting a stream of numbers from your computer to analog sound into your radio for transmit. Winmor uses common Sound Card hardware for the converter. The Sound Card hardware in your PC can be used, but there are some advantages to using an external sound interface like the one described on Tigertronics.

Along with the Sound Interface, your PC must have a way to "Key" the transmitter on your radio. There are many ways this can be done. One is to use the built in Sound Activated Switch in the Signalink USB sound interface (similar to VOX function found on many Ham radios). If your rig has VOX and you are handy with electronics you can make your own sound interface using the internal or external Sound Card at less cost than the ~$100 for the Signalink device. I made up my own interface with VOX and I can tell you the $100 is worth it.

The Winmor software for your PC has two main components RMS_EPRESS.exe and WINMOR_TNC.exe. Unlike Airmail you are encouraged to make a $40 donation to the Armature Radio Safety Foundation at which time you will receive a key that allows WINMOR_TNC.exe to run. I don't know if that will change. I had no issue with this. The donation goes into the same fund that supports Winlink. That's a lot of service at little cost.

My early experiences with Winmor were not encouraging mostly due to the limited number of stations available that were providing connection service. That has improved. I find that it is easier to connect with Winmor than with Pactor II.

Like Airmail, RMS_EXPRESS has the handy function of controlling your radio frequency via a direct connection between your PC and your radio, usually a USB to serial adapter between the PC and radio.

I am not ready to sell may Pactor modem, but I don't think I would buy one until I tried living with Winmor performance. Even if you currently have a Pactor modem, as I do, setting up Winmor as a backup is not very expensive, its lots of fun, and a donation to the Foundation is already deserved if you are using Winlink.

One source for the Signalink sound interface is at dxengineering. Tigertronics SignaLink™ USB unit w/sound card less radio interface cable - TIG-SL-USB.

Recently I decided to buy one of these. The difficult part is the cable from the module to your radio. Tigertronics supplies many configurations inexpensively. You should contact them for the one compatible with your rig. I made the cable for my radio and it ended up costing me $9 for the RJ-45 connector (had to get box of 25), $17 for the tool to crimp the RJ-45, and one 8 pin DIN I had along with a bit of wire. Hope to find other uses for connectors and tool.

Thanks to the Sailing Vessel Cat Tales for info on a Multi Meter with Clip-On amp probe that will measure DC current flow: Sears model 82369.

Rick's site s/v C_Language