HF Digital Modes

Fldigi- Realtime Messaging System
Winmor – Radio E-mail System
Digital Modes are a means of operating Amateur
Radio from a computer keyboard
In this context, we are normally talking about chat
modes used on the HF (high frequency) bands
Used to have a regular conversation in a similar way
to voice or CW, where one operator talks for a minute
or two, then another does the same.
Normally a two party QSO, but these chat modes
could allow multiple operators to take part in a net.
The computer acts as a modem(modulator demodulator)
◦ Sound card used to convert digital of PC to analog
audio for the radio
◦ Can use the built in PC sound card or external such
as Tigetronics SignaLink
Software program can control the transceiver
depending on type
◦ Remote control connector (Icom CI-V or Serial)
◦ Audio input via ACC connector or Mic
Many software programs available
◦ Digipan, HRD/DM780, MixW, MultiPSK, HamScope
& Fldigi
Most are multi-mode
◦ PSK, DominoEX, MFSK, RTTY, CW..
Easy tuning of signals using “Waterfall”
◦ Shows multiple QSOs
Prearranged message “Macros
◦ CQ, Me/QTH, Rerun, Brag..
Because of sophisticated digital signal
processing, digital modes can offer:
◦ Performance that cannot be achieved using voice (and
in some cases even CW), through the use of reduced
◦ PSK31 uses100 hertz channels with 30 hertz signals
◦ Tens of QSOs in a 3Khz bandwidth versus one voice
◦ Improved signal-to-noise performance (Reception
below noise level)
◦ Reduced transmitter power requirement (Typically use
5 to 30 watts)
◦ Some modes also offer built-in automatic error
Digital Mode operating procedure is not
unlike Morse operation
◦ Many of the same abbreviations are used (CQ, DE,
FB, K, SK, PSE, btu.. )
Software such as Fldigi makes for simple
◦ Most of the procedural business is setup for you
using the keyboard and point-click mouse
A multi-mode software program intended for
Amateur Radio Digital Modes using a PC
Operates in conjunction with HF SSB radio
◦ Most digital modes use USB
◦ Sometimes used in VHF/UHF operation for NBEMS
(Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System)
Uses PC sound card I/O to radio
◦ May also use external sound card such as SignaLink
USB from Tigertronics
Uses audio-frequency signals
◦ Sound card converts digital characters of PC to analog
sounds for radio
Software can typically control several radio
functions depending model
◦ Change Band and Frequency
◦ RF Power, Squelch, Speaker Volume
Fldigi is a multi-mode
Fldigi runs on multiple operating systems
◦ Can operate several digital modes
◦ Fldigi includes popular modes, such as PSK,
MFSK, RTTY, DominoEX, Olivia, Contestia and
even CW
◦ Linux, OS-X(MAC) and Windows
Lead Developer: Dave Freese – W1HKJ
◦ WWW.W1hkj.com
◦ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/linuxham
Emergency Radio E-mail Systems
Getting Started with Winlink 2000
RMS Express with Winmor TNC
Radio E-mail Systems
Winlink 2000 (WL2K)is a worldwide
system for sending and receiving e-mail
over radio
 The connection from the users computer
does not depend on the Internet
Widely used by mariners, RV Campers and
various groups for emergency
Winlink Messaging System
Perth, Australia San Diego, CA Brentwood, TN
Common Message Servers
5 Mirrored Servers Located Around
The World
Radio Message Servers (RMS)
Servers Maintained by Hams Around The World
Provide Internet Connection to CMS Servers
Ham Radio Station
Running RMS Express & Winmor TNC
Halifax, NS
Wien, Austria
Winlink Messaging System
Like regular e-mail, Winlink messages
are sent to a specific address, and may
contain attachments such as pictures,
maps, ICS forms, etc.
 E-mails can be sent between other
Winlink stations and normal
SMTP/POP3 e-mail servers like
Winlink Messaging System
E-mails sent through Winlink on the ham
bands must follow the usual rules for
amateur radio communications
 May not be used for commercial
applications, and messages may not be
 You can go to this site to check the
current status of RMS servers
Winlink Connection Modes
There are four paths a user can connect to the
Winlink system
Via HF radio to one of the RMS hubs
Via VHF/UHF radio to a local RMS hub
Via Telenet protocol over the internet
Two RMS stations in V.C on 145.650 MHz
Can use Outpost packet systems to send e-mails
Terminal emulation program that allows computer users to
connect interactively to a server and access remote sites,
e.g. on the Internet
Via Winlink Webmail over the internet
Like using G-Mail
Need Winlink e-mail account: “ham [email protected]
HF Winlink Operation
Using HF radio, it is possible to connect
to the Winlink system over long
 Often used by mariners to get
information and send e-mail while
cruising the high seas
 In a disaster, HF Winlink allows us to
connect to a area where the internet may
still be operational
Radio E-mail Systems
As with all digital modes, certain
protocols are used to encode data into a
form that can be transmitted over radio
 Two protocols are used for sending
Winlink messages over HF radio
Pactor 3
 Winmor
Pactor 3
Pactor-3: Is a superior protocol that can
reliably send data over long distances with
weak signals over extremely noisy conditions
 Used by most mariners and emergency
organizations for contingency communications
Unfortunately, Pactor-3 is proprietary protocol that
requires a TNC that costs about $1,400
The ACS/ARES radio room here at ECSS has a
Pactor-3 system
WINMOR: Winmor was developed by
the Winlink development team as a low
cost alternative to Pactor 3
 It is an open protocol, and operates
through low cost sound card devices
such as the SignaLink USB
$1,400 Vs $100
Pactor vs Winmor
Rate bits/sec Bandwidth
Cost (Approx)
Pactor I 200
Pactor II 700
Pactor 2722
Winmor 329
Winmor 1314
2.2 – 2.4Khz $1.2K – 1.6K
$50 -150
$1K - $1.5K
Windows w/
Sound Card
Windows w/
Sound Card
Equipment Needed for Winmor
Requirements are modest
Computer running Windows XP through
Windows 7 with at least 1 GB of Ram
 RMS Express Client software and associated
ITSHF Propagation prediction
 A SignaLink USB sound interface
 A HF radio and associated antenna
Winmor RMS’s are found on 80,40,30 & 20
HF Channel Selection
Winmor WL2K Session
Winmor Sound Card TNC
Further Information
On the web at:
 http://www.winlink.org/
 http://www.Winlink.org/ClientSoftware
 http://www.greg-hand.com/hfwin.32.html
 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WINMOR
The End
Mike D’Amore – N6MDA

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