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Author Topic: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?  (Read 8720 times)

Joe

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What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« on: June 24, 2014, 04:26:51 PM »
Hello all  :)

I have been reading as much as I can on digital communications. And I think I'm ready to make the jump.
Looking for recommendations on what to get. Budget wise I would like to stay as cheap as possible, but not afraid to buy once and cry once either. Looking for VHF and HF modes. From what I have read this is the list I have come up with.

Computer: notebook/laptop
Sound card interface and cables
Radio and antenna
Program like fldigi

For the computer part I am planning on getting a used netbook, but what OS should I get Linux, Microsoft (XP,7, ect.) ?
What kind of interface, I know I will need 2 one for VHF and one for HF ?
What program is stable and secure for sending packets ?


Thank You
Joe
73

gil

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2014, 05:20:06 PM »
Hello Joe,

Luke would explain this better but basically, you got it right. Using an interface like the SignaLink USB would probably work better than connecting directly to the sound card, though that can be debated. The OS depends on which programs you want to run. To send emails you will need RMS Express, and that means Windows. Fldigi can't send emails.

Gil.

Luigi

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2014, 06:00:39 PM »
Signalink is very good for HF. I find that for VHF a Byonics TinyTrak4 works very well as a TNC. It is very cost effective.
Up front costs on an Transceiver are higher if it covers HF and, VHF and UHF. It is less of a pain if you know which radio you want up front, because the Signalink and the TinyTrak use cables specific to your radio. You could go with a VHF radio and start with packet only for a while. The cost of a 2 meter only radio and the Tinytrak4 is a low cost solution.

Check Winlink.org for maps. Some areas do not have VHF coverage. No use in wasting time on that if they are not reachable.

Download RMS express and set up an account run it in Telnet mode to get used to it.
Luigi

Joe

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 12:40:51 AM »
Thank You Gil and Luigi

I checked the map for my area looks like VHF is covered. I will use my 2M Yaesu 2500 and Baofeng for now. I don't have a HF rig yet but its on my list, I know I am getting the cart before the horse but I figured If I am starting a thread might as well ask for future reference.

I am looking at getting a netbook, sticking with name brands I know. The ASUS Eee 1000 series looks like it will do what I want and has good reviews. And small enough to keep protected until needed.

Thanks
Joe

gil

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 12:48:12 AM »
I have never tried Winlink on VHF, but why not... Though a large-area emergency would still leave you SOOL... Winlink on HF works great, though with 5W it is a bit of a challenge when conditions aren't perfect. Sometimes it's just a no-go. I need to get a heatsink for my KX3 to run 10W continuous.

Email through radio can be expensive when you don't have the correct radio. I wonder if an MFJ 9420 would be stable enough and take the 100% duty cycle long enough? Something like an SG-2020 would be better, but good luck finding one. Those who have them are not selling.

Gil.

NCGunDude

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 06:35:44 AM »
Joe, thanks for posting this topic! I've got dual band HT's on 144 and 420 with an amplifier and a Kenwood 2m mobile.

Luigi, thanks for the tip on the tinytrak4.

The laptop I'm using and will be using for digital comms is a Google Chromebook, which can be had used on CL. I like the Samsung, but it has 2G RAM versus the newer Samsung 2 Chromebook with 4G RAM. I've installed Linux using Crouton, and have installed FLDIGI. I figured while I'm learning radio, I'll (re)learn a new OS along the way.

I plan on getting a Signalink USB and was waiting to get an HF rig, since the cable is specific to the radio, but I may need to re-think and plan on having cables for more than one radio.

I needed a push to get going with winmail, and I'll be following the progress here.

RichardSinFWTX

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2014, 08:29:55 AM »
My station in a box has a SignaLink interface connected to my FT-857D and an old Dell D800 laptop running Windows XP.  I just use it for programming my radios and doing WinLink and FLDigi.

WinLink over VHF does work well.  I've done it using my SignLink and an FT-8900R.

madball13

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2014, 09:21:59 AM »
My station in a box has a SignaLink interface connected to my FT-857D and an old Dell D800 laptop running Windows XP.  I just use it for programming my radios and doing WinLink and FLDigi.

WinLink over VHF does work well.  I've done it using my SignLink and an FT-8900R.

This is the set up i have and it works great.

Luigi

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2014, 12:49:26 PM »
Signalink USB also uses a set of jumpers for each radio type. They can sell you a plug in module for the jumpers or you can wire it yourself. Plug in modules are nice if you have a few radios. You can do digital work (FLDIGI) on VHF using Signalink. It works very well.  With Signalink, you can also practice using point to point connections over VHF using the Winmor option with Signalink in RMS Express.

For packet radio in Winlink, a stand alone TNC is recommended. The stand alone unit requires research for specific setup and configuration of your radio, but once set up, it is easy to use.

There are options to go from Winlink to Signalink for packet (See http://www.soundcardpacket.org/). Those options rely on a handful of programs that must work together in order to establish a connection. In my opinion, this is overly complex and prone to error. Complexity is not desirable during an emergency. If one of the programs in the chain breaks down or is mis-configured, you will not be connecting to a packet station.

Gill, I agree with your assessment on VHF. An area wide outage is going to make VHF useless if all stations are down. For Joe, this may be a place to start on an RF only email system. Don't rely on it entirely during a regional outage.

Long distance VHF links are possible with a digipeaters. The option is nice if HF conditions are lousy or if you are in a situation where VHF is sufficient to handle communication needs. Some areas of the country might have vulnerability in the VHF area and HF is better suited for those situations. Hurricane and tornado prone areas loose repeaters and cell towers pretty quickly. Up here we are prone to earthquake and volcanic activity. These types of events are rare so we keep more options available depending on the circumstance.

Usually it is best to go with the faster options first: 1. Cell phones 2. VHF Winlink 3. HF Winlink 4. Attempt to leave the disaster area or not be there in the first place.

Joe

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2014, 02:20:27 PM »
Just scored a HP Mini, was over at my brothers house helping him out. I knew they a notebook so I asked my sister in-law which one they had, and if she liked it. It took her a minute to remember where it was, since they got their tablets they haven't used it. I told them what I wanted one for. They thought it was a good idea to expand our comms and gave it to me.

So now its charging so I can go in and clean it up and start loading the programs needed. Now all I need is to order the interface, and I can start VHF.


Gill, I agree with your assessment on VHF. An area wide outage is going to make VHF useless if all stations are down. For Joe, this may be a place to start on an RF only email system. Don't rely on it entirely during a regional outage.

Usually it is best to go with the faster options first: 1. Cell phones 2. VHF Winlink 3. HF Winlink 4. Attempt to leave the disaster area or not be there in the first place.


I agree VHF for area wide outage will be useless if all stations are down. The people I need to contact during a disaster would be using RF packet.

We have a comm tree set up to contact each other in a disaster. 1 cell phone/text message 2. CB/ VHF simplex HT's 3. VHF Winlink 4. HF Winlink 5. If you have to bug out without making contact with anyone, we have a marking system set to leave a note for any on that comes by.

Luigi

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2014, 10:07:41 PM »
Joe,
PM me if you need help with the winlink setup. If you go the packet route, there are a few volume settings that are critical for good transmission and reading of data.
Luigi

Joe

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2014, 11:48:18 PM »
Thanks Luigi I will take you up on that.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Lamewolf

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2015, 03:45:45 PM »
Signalink is very good for HF. I find that for VHF a Byonics TinyTrak4 works very well as a TNC. It is very cost effective.
Up front costs on an Transceiver are higher if it covers HF and, VHF and UHF. It is less of a pain if you know which radio you want up front, because the Signalink and the TinyTrak use cables specific to your radio. You could go with a VHF radio and start with packet only for a while. The cost of a 2 meter only radio and the Tinytrak4 is a low cost solution.

Check Winlink.org for maps. Some areas do not have VHF coverage. No use in wasting time on that if they are not reachable.

Download RMS express and set up an account run it in Telnet mode to get used to it.
Luigi

So Winlink will run as a soundcard mode ?  I thought it would take a TNC.

Quietguy

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2015, 06:24:11 PM »
So Winlink will run as a soundcard mode ?  I thought it would take a TNC.
RMS Express will operate WL2K on HF using Winmor as a soundcard mode.  I have used a SignaLink for this and it is pretty smooth.  Speeds are not great, I have heard somewhere between Pactor 1 and Pactor 2, but it works fine for normal text emails or small attachments.  It makes a good low-cost alternative to Pactor modems.

In theory sound card packet can be used on VHF to access WL2K stations but I have heard there are problems making it work reliably and a hardware TNC is much better.  I have hardware TNCs so I have not attempted sound card packet in a long time; the TNC makes it easy and reliable.  Even the old Kantronics TNCs work well so the cost isn't too bad.

Wally

Lamewolf

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Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2015, 07:12:54 AM »
So Winlink will run as a soundcard mode ?  I thought it would take a TNC.
RMS Express will operate WL2K on HF using Winmor as a soundcard mode.  I have used a SignaLink for this and it is pretty smooth.  Speeds are not great, I have heard somewhere between Pactor 1 and Pactor 2, but it works fine for normal text emails or small attachments.  It makes a good low-cost alternative to Pactor modems.

In theory sound card packet can be used on VHF to access WL2K stations but I have heard there are problems making it work reliably and a hardware TNC is much better.  I have hardware TNCs so I have not attempted sound card packet in a long time; the TNC makes it easy and reliable.  Even the old Kantronics TNCs work well so the cost isn't too bad.

Wally

I've been trying to get RMSexpress loaded on my laptop but it keeps coming up that the file is no good.  I've deleted the file and downloaded it again several times and it still does the same thing, maybe one day I'll figure it out.  Is the Winmor and WL2K all included in the RMSexpress, or is it separate software ?