December 2018

December 2018

DEC Bulletin

In November 2013 the Winlink Development Team (WDT) released its next generation of Winlink 2000 (Email via Amateur Radio). The hybrid system design marked a major milestone in Winlink’s growth with higher reliability and performance. The hybrid system fully meets the Department of Defense Instruction for radio-only message transfer without the use of the Internet. The hybrid system still takes advantage of the Internet as long as it is available, but when the Internet connection is lost the system can still provide end-to-end email delivery.

At the present time a client connected to a Radio Mail Server (RMS) that is connected to the Internet is piped directly through to a Common Message Server (CMS). Now with the hybrid system if the Internet is lost the RMS will look for a neighboring RMS and deliver the email to that server. The new server will then deliver the email via the Internet. If that RMS doesn’t have Internet either it will do the same and look to its neighboring RMS. Each RMS is capable of determining the calculated path to the destination Message Pickup Station (MPS). The MPS is an RMS gateway the user chooses to use to have routine radio-forwarded messages delivered to for pickup. The user can designate up to three MPS’.

The path for message forwarding is calculated at each RMS. The forwarding network is much like a mesh network. Self-initiating, self-healing like the Broadband Hamnet network.

What makes this hybrid system valuable in disaster conditions is that it automatically forwards message from RMS to RMS with minimal network infrastructure. By using HF we can deliver a message with fewer relay stations. The system optimizes delivery time end-to-end.

The FCC amateur rules confines automatic station to a very narrow shared sub-band space. USA hybrid RMS stations are not allowed to use the automatic, unattended sending. RMS Relay will notify the operator that it has messages to be forwarded manually. The operator will have to manually check to see that the frequencies are clear before manually sending the messages.

Hybrid RMS stations outside the jurisdiction of the FCC may run fully automatic. So the worldwide network will route the message to our Canadian or Mexican RMS stations across North America. Despite these restrictions the latency of end-to-end delivery is not compromised. Latency remains 1 to 2 minutes.

So, with or without the Internet amateur radio operators will still be able to deliver a message in a timely, accurate and efficient manner using the digital mode. Also take a look at the Nov. 21, 2018 issue of the ARES® E-Letter (http://www.arrl.org/ares-el?issue=2018-11-21 ), “How to send E-mail to a Disaster Area via WINLINK” by Gordon Gibby, KX4Z.

Questions and comments are welcome and encouraged regarding the content of this article. Send an email to the address shown below.

Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT 
DEC, District 6 – Far West Texas 
Email: kb5hpt@arrl.net
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