Winlink is a unique email application that works with both radio and internet. It operates very similar to other email applications such as Outlook or Gmail. Winlink of course has a lot of additional features and functions that make it useful for Amateur Radio.
Why Use Winlink?
Winlink has a very unique feature in that you can send and receive email from your non-ham friends. This is huge, as there are very few methods to accomplish this bridge from Operator to non-operator. Imagine being able to send an email to your family and friends who are several states away without any internet at all, just an walkie talkie (HT or Handheld Transceiver, in Amateur speak) and a phone with no cell service are the minimum requirements.
Advantages of Winlink
- Ability to send to and receive from non-ham people
- Ability to send a message to pretty much anywhere
- Can use with or without internet access.
- Can be used as a Public Mail Server
- Can be used as a Private Mail Server (point to point & only authorized callsigns)
- Operates on pretty much any band from 2m to 160m
- Zero Cost
- Equipment can be as minimal as an HT , cable , and a cell phone without service.
- Support is very good with many radio specific training and setup videos
- Works anywhere in the USA (using HF radio)
Disadvantages of Winlink
- Can be daunting to setup and learn
- Requires a cell phone, tablet or computer to operate
- Requires regular usage to stay in practice.
- Radio coverage of Winlink gateways is limited (VHF only, HF has blanket coverage of USA)
- A major regional event might clog Winlink Gateway HF stations
- Winlink Gateways are one customer at a time, waiting to send may be necessary
Winlink is a very useful tool to have available during an event. You can receive news, weather, information directly from non-ham loved ones and friends who are outside of the affected area. You can send and receive map locations (view them in offline mapping within the Winlink tool) . We run an Winlink Private Server that is updated daily with News, Weather and the Midwest Prepper Report NET map and status report. Our private Winlink server is a great tool for practicing your Winlink skills.