Winlink FAQ list
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Winlink 2000
(Revised February 19, 2015)
Material from various Winlink 2000 User Groups, and others
Please send new and revised material to [email protected]
[use the “Find” feature of Adobe Acrobat to locate needed information]
How is this FAQ group organized?
General Questions about Winlink 2000
AirMail – Setup - General
AirMail – Use - General
AirMail – Setup (HF Pactor)
AirMail – Use (HF Pactor)
AirMail – Setup (VHF/UHF Packet)
AirMail – Use (VHF/UHF Packet)
AirMail – Setup (Telnet via internet connection)
AirMail – Use (Telnet via internet connection)
AirMail – Peer-to-Peer - Setup
AirMail – Peer-to-Peer - Use
Paclink – Setup – General
Paclink – Use (VHF/UHF Packet)
Paclink – Use (Telnet via internet connection)
Keyboard Access – Setup
Keyboard Access – Use
RMS Packet Station – Setup
RMS Packet Station – Use
10000 RMS Relay – Setup
10500 RMS Relay – Use
11000 RMS Express and WINMOR – Setup
11500 RMS Express and WINMOR – Use
20000 Emergency Communications Networks
Page 1 of 107
General Questions about Winlink 2000
All these new words: AirMail, Winlink, Paclink, Telpac, Telnet, RMS, etc. get me
confused. Is there a “Winlink for Dummies” book?
Not yet! But there is a short “Winlink made Simple” publication available at:
Bud Thompson, (N0IA) has written an online course “WL2K For the Digitally Challenged”
for those who have not yet installed the various client (end-user) programs for using the
Winlink 2000 system. See:
This Group is specifically designed for those who have not yet installed the various client
(end-user) programs for using the Winlink 2000 system. There is no TNC, data terminal, or
radio required for this on-line course. When there is sufficient interest, this group may
expand to details of wiring computer-TNC-radio for using the Winlink 2000 client software
components over the air.
The first thing to do is go to the "FILES" section of this group, and look for E-Mail
Assignments. Start working on the assignments at your own pace, and use the facilities of
this Yahoo Reflector group to obtain assistance.
Is there a Glossary of Winlink terms available?
Yes, see the Winlink web site at for an official description
of many terms. Following is an “alternative” version of several common terms.
RMS -- A "gateway" station, which bridges Winlink user radios to the email part of the internet.
RMS VHF - A RMS station which operates on VHF or UHF bands.
RMS HF - A RMS station which operates on the HF bands.
RMS Packet – “SysOp” software which enables a "Windows" RMS VHF/UHF station to function.
RMS Gateway – “SysOp” software which enables a "Linux" RMS VHF station to function.
BPQ32 – “SysOp” software which enables a RMS VHF station to function, if using the "BPQ"
software. "RMS Packet", "RMS Gateway", and "BPQ32" all perform the same function. Note:
BPQ32 can perform many other functions, in addition to this WL2K function.
RMS Trimode – “SysOp” software which is used by a RMS HF station. It enables the station to
accept Connects from stations using the pactor, WINMOR, and "Robust Packet HF" protocols. Each
Sys Op has the option to enable his station to use one, two, or all of these "protocols"
RMS Relay - Optional “SysOp” software used with RMS Packet or RMS Trimode to "relay" messages
if "the internet" is not working.
Page 2 of 107
RMS Express - Software used by Winlink users to interact with RMS stations; or to interact with
other user stations exchanging messages in the "peer to peer" fashion. Sometimes the
abbreviation of RMSE is used when referring to RMS Express.
AirMail - An older cousin of RMS Express; does most of the same functions.
Paclink - An older cousin of RMS Express, younger than AirMail. It uses your "normal" email client
program (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc) as the message index interface. It uses pactor and packet, but
not WINMOR. It doesn't do peer-to-peer.
WINMOR - A cousin of packet, pactor, and Robust Packet.
Pactor - A cousin of packet, WINMOR, and Robust Packet. Siblings are Pactor 1 (slowest), Pactor 2,
Pactor 3, Pactor 4 (fastest).
Winlink 2000 - ("Winlink" or "WL2K"). A system of email servers, radio stations, and associated
software. A private email system which supports Amateur Radio, MARS, and SHARES users. It
interacts with other email servers.
Winlink Hybrid Network - A voluntary subset of RMS HF and RMS VHF/UHF stations which are able
to exchange messages (on behalf of others) between each other using "radio", in addition to
performing their normal WL2K functions. The goal of this function is to enable Winlink users to
function during an "internet outage", without using the "peer-to-peer" method. See Q164.
CMS - An email server associated with the Winlink system. Redundant locations are at San Diego
(California), Brentwood (Tennessee), Perth (Australia), Halifax (Canada), Wien (Austria).
Telnet - A "non-radio" [using the internet] alternative method for RMS Express, AirMail, and Paclink
users to function without using a radio path to connect to a RMS station. It enables Winlink users
to connect directly to the Winlink email server.
Peer-to-Peer -- A method for RMS Express and AirMail users to exchange messages via radio with
each other "directly", without using the internet. This is "one-on-one"; no "nets", no :cc. RMS
Express and AirMail stations can interact with each other, using packet or pactor (both must be
using the same protocol).
What is a “PMBO”?
This is an amateur radio station which functions as a port to the rest of the Winlink 2000
infrastructure. It is a “bridge” between radio stations and the e-mail part of the internet. A
PMBO performed the same function as a RMS Pactor station. Use of the PMBO software
was discontinued early in 2008. See Q107.
Page 3 of 107
What is a “RMS”?
“RMS” is a Radio Message Server. It is a direct radio port or gateway to a CMS site.
Early in 2008 software relating to PMBO and Telpac was replaced by software relating to
RMS. PMBO software was replaced by RMS Pactor software. Telpac software was
replaced by RMS Packet software.
A benefit to WL2K users of these changes is a reduction in the “latency” of messages, as
they move between the user and the Common Message Server (CMS). See Q4010.
A “RMS Pactor” station is a gateway station to the WL2K system for pactor users. A
previous name for this function was “PMBO”. A ”RMS WINMOR” station is a gateway
station to the WL2K system for WINMOR users. “RMS HF” refers to the entire group of
RMS Pactor and RMS WINMOR stations. For information regarding WINMOR, see Q930
and Q940.
The connecting procedure for users does not change, even though the names have
How do you suggest that I learn about Winlink 2000; and solve setup and operating
problems that arise?
1. Use the most recent version of software to access the Winlink 2000 system (AirMail,
Paclink, Paclink Unix, RMS Express).
2. Read the Installation and Operation instructions for the software program used.
3. Read the installation and operation instructions for your radio and modem equipment.
4. Read the Help files with the software.
5. Review the information in the Winlink 2000 web page:
6. Read the remainder of this list of FAQ’s.
7. Search the messages in the Winlink 2000 user discussion groups. See Q520.
8. Use an internet search engine to find relevant information on the web.
9. Ask your local RMS Packet station operator for assistance. See
10. Ask a HF RMS station operator for assistance. View the AirMail “Frequency List’ (text
version] for contact information.
11. Ask a member of the Winlink 2000 Development Team for assistance.
12. Contact the Winlink 2000 System Administrator:
Page 4 of 107
Steve Waterman, [email protected]
Home: 615-665-0952, Cell: 615-300-5296
Is Winlink 2000 designed to replace the e-mail part of the internet, in case the
internet fails?
No. Its original purpose (started in 1999) was to provide a very long range radio path for
radio amateurs who did not have access to “land-line” communications needed to send and
receive e-mail messages. Subsequent uses have been oriented toward providing partial
backup of e-mail services for ARES/RACES “served agencies” during a local commercial
communications outage or communications overload. Transfer speeds and available
bandwidth do not allow for complete replacement of services. This may change with
increased use of D-Star and RMS Packet satellite paths to the internet infrastructure.
How do I register as a Winlink 2000 User?
“Registration” is automatically done when you connect to the Winlink 2000 system via radio
or via a telnet session. Accessing the WebMail part of the WL2K web page does not
automatically register a new user. Your User information will remain in the database for
400 days after your last interaction with the Common Message Server. User radio
privileges are not checked by Winlink 2000 system staff. Use of WebMail does not
“update” the 400 day limit; this must be done by using a RMS station, or connecting directly
to the CMS.
My e-mail account appears to be deleted after a period of non-use. Why?
Yes, your account was deleted automatically by the system after 400 days of non-use by
radio or telnet. This has been a function of the Winlink system for many years now, and
helps validate our charter as a special radio e-mail service and separate WL2K from
general-purpose internet e-mail services.
WebMail is a convenience available to radio e-mail account holders as long as their
account is active. You cannot reset the 400-day countdown clock by using WebMail. Only
using telnet or access via radio keeps a WL2K e-mail account active.
As explained on the web site registration pages, an account for web site access does not
link in any way to or create a radio e-mail account.
Establishing a new e-mail account is very easy. All it takes is connecting with an RMS
station via RF or a CMS using telnet (no modem or radio required) and sending a message
using a legitimate call sign. Your account is created automatically when you do this.
Details and some additional ideas for getting started again are at
How many Winlink 2000 users are there?
Early in December 2007 there were about 13,000 registered users.
In February 2008 there were exactly 19,503 registered stations with unique callsigns.
Page 5 of 107
I just connected to a RMS, expecting an important message. WL2K says I have no
The RMS may be seeing you as Usercallsign-15, caused by your going through a Node (if
using packet, with either AirMail or a terminal (keyboarding) program). See Q145. If that
is the case, and you are using AirMail, you might try connecting to the Node as
Usercallsign-15. See Q3510 if you are using AirMail or Q8550 if you are using a Terminal
(Keyboarding) program.
Another possibility is that you may have opted to have your WL2K mail Forwarded to
another email address.
I would like to use my callsign with a SSID as my WL2K address. Is that possible?
Yes, if fact you can have multiple WL2K addresses, such as [email protected] and
[email protected] The system should treat those two call signs as separate
users. There are some areas of confusion that need to be discussed.
In WL2K if you connect as a –ssid callsign and there is THAT –ssid registered in the
system as a separate user it will treat you as a separate user. There are some specific
reasons for this having to do with RMS’s etc.
If you connect with a –ssid and THAT –ssid is NOT registered in the system it treats
you as the BASE call sign …no ssid
If you connect through a packet network or some switches (Nodes) that ALTER your
–ssid then this can pose a problem. Paclink has an extended feature added (signified by
the N in the SID) that tells the target RMS what your real –ssid is even if the packet network
altered it in the connecting process. See Q3510 and Q8550.
If you want your Paclink to really operate as K3ABC and not as K3ABC-3, then simply
change the call sign in the site properties. You will also have to change any accounts on
Outlook Express, Outlook etc to match the new base call sign. See Q3560
Are there any guarantees that the message I send via WL2K will get through to the
intended person?
No guarantees, but if one of your intended recipients is NOT a WL2K user, you will get a
service message from the CMS, telling you of that problem. Assuming that you have
addressed the message correctly, there are still a multitude of reasons why the intended
person might not get the message; or got it and has not read it. The WL2K system is
good, but not infallible; ditto for the rest of the internet infrastructure.
Some e-mail servers’ Spam Filters are very aggressive. Some may reject e-mail
originating or from a server located in specific countries. It is the responsibility of the
message originator to verify that the message path is working – all the way to the recipient
of the message. See Q750.
“Receipt Confirmation” is discussed in a web page by K7BFL:
Page 6 of 107
What happens if the Common Message Server (CMS) fails?
The CMS consists of five different computer systems in five different locations: San Diego,
Brentwood (near Nashville, Tennessee), Halifax, Perth, and Wien (Vienna). They are
backing each other up on a continuous basis. If a failure occurs at one location, all users
using that location will be re-directed to one of the other locations. See Q164.
What is the Winlink Hybrid Network?
See Q103. There is a good detailed write-up on the Network in the RMS Express Help file.
Phil (W4PHS) also has a good written presentation on it (revised in October 2014),
available from his own web site at:
There is also a piece in the winlink web page at:
After you have read these documents you might go to RMS Express....Files....Hybrid
Network Preferences [if you are capable of using pactor or WINMOR; or if you can Connect
via packet to one of the participating RMS network stations]. Participation in the Network
is optional. It's benefits only occur if your favorite HF RMS stations are not capable of
connecting to the CMS.
Note that not all HF RMS stations participate in this Network.
Select a Message Pickup Station (MPS). This is the station (or stations) you would use to
send and receive messages during a unique "internet outage".
If you are a AirMail or Paclink user you can use (if needed) the Hybrid system by
Connecting to one of your MPS with AirMail or Paclink. However RMS Express is the only
software which can be used to define your MPS list.
After I download a message from a RMS how is it deleted from the WL2K system?
The message is immediately deleted from the CMS to which you are connected. Within
several seconds that CMS sends a “delete” command to the other CMS locations to update
their database.
Page 7 of 107
Are there any guidelines concerning the size of messages that WL2K will accept and
120000 bytes is the largest “compressed” message size that will be accepted for Winlink.
Due to the much slower transfer speeds of radio paths (compared to dial-up, etc) it is better
if messages are kept as small as practical, while still accomplishing the communications
objectives of both users. Following are approximate air times needed to transfer a 4K
message (after compression) for several modes of operation, under ideal conditions:
Packet (1200) direct
Packet (1200) 1 Node
Packet (9600) direct
Pactor 1
Pactor 2
Pactor 3
Pactor 4
Telnet (Internet Access)
2 minutes
2.5 minutes
1 minute
15 minutes
4 minutes
30 seconds
15 seconds
10 minutes
3 minutes
Messages containing “emotions” and “backgrounds” contain embedded image files; which
should be avoided, if possible. These images can be stripped from your incoming
messages by setting your Attachments Limit to 0. However all other “useful” Attachments
will be stripped also!
WL2K (except when using Keyboard or Web Message Access) will process Attachments of
many file types. Some file types comes with significant “overhead”. This overhead can be
reduced by changing the file to a txt, rtf, or csv file, if appropriate.
Image files should be as small as practical!
What are some of the design principles of the WL2K system and associated
Principles include:
1. A message system compatible with SMTP e-mail.
2. Enable messages to be transferred to the destination party in a VERY accurate
manner, within a short time duration (several minutes).
3. Enable use of the available internet infrastructure, if available.
4. Encourage use of VHF/UHF radio spectrum, if a “non-radio” path is not available.
5. Enable EFFICIENT use of HF radio spectrum, if VHF/UHF is not available. Use a
small as possible “RF Footprint”.
6. Enable e-mail type messages to be sent between two radio stations, without using any
portion of the “internet”. This is called “peer-to-peer”.
Page 8 of 107
Does WL2K support Linux or Macintosh (MAC OSX) operating systems?
Yes, but since Windows operating systems are used by the majority of actual and potential
users, we feel our limited man-power resources should be used to improve the present
Windows based software.
There is a version of the RMS Packet software that runs under Linux and several have
used this to add packet gateways to WL2K...again this is more of a server function than
user access. See Q9100.
A Linux version of Paclink is being developed by N2QZ and KA1WPM. Contact them if you
would like to help. Nick, N2QZ, has created a yahoo group for people interested in the
paclink-unix project.
Here's the URL:
The Macintosh can now run AirMail just as well as any computer out there, especially, the
new Intel based Macs. These new Macs can run Windows naturally through “Boot Camp”,
which comes with the operating system. You can also run Windows via VM Ware or
Parallels. These programs basically run Windows just like a regular Windows machine
except in many cases faster. One other advantage to these programs is you can also run
multiple operating systems, such as Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, etc.
AirMail will also run on older Mac’s using the Windows emulation, such as Soft Windows.
This may be a bit sluggish, depending on the speed of your computer, but will work.
AirMail also runs fine on older Mac’s under Virtual-PC. The only wrinkle has to do with
USB/serial adaptors not AirMail, either map the serial port from the Mac side OR enable
VPC's USB support and install the Windows USB drivers. But don't do both, that ties the
serial ports into knots.
You can also run AirMail under WINE on Linux.
If you mean as a WL2K RMS Pactor station, the answer is no; those are only Windows
.NET programs running on Win 2000 or Win XP. Perhaps someday there will be a .NET
runtime for the Mac which would make things a lot more transferable.
As a last resort you can access WL2K via any dumb terminal program on packet in
keyboard mode. This is not is error prone, does not allow attachments
etc; but it will work in an emergency. HF access via keyboard is very restricted due to its
inherent inefficiency.
The WL2K Development Team is open to integrating other operating system software into
User programs. If you are or know a good Mac programmer we will encourage him and
help him if he would like to write a Native Mac client. It really isn't that hard. We will give
the VB.NET source if they wish.
If you have such programming expertise and want to donate your time, please contact the
System Administrator, K4CJX.
Page 9 of 107
Why doesn’t WL2K use the TCP protocol?
Tests done early in the development process indicated that the B2F format we use resulted
in higher throughput than using the TCP protocol, which has much unnecessary overhead
for radio use.
While monitoring transmissions from WL2K stations, I notice that the content
appears as “gibberish”. Isn’t this illegal?
The content looks that way because it is a compressed binary format called “B2F.” This
format is available to anyone, so the compressed data is not considered encryption or
illegal for radio amateurs. Additional information about B2F is at:
Data transferred through Winlink 2000 is not considered to be Secure.
Data transferred through Winlink 2000 using the Keyboard method is not compressed;
therefore it is readable by other listeners.
What document(s) explain the components of a packet exchange in Paclink or
AirMail? A question has been raised specifically regarding the “FF, FC, FS, FQ, EM,
& YY” that shows up during a session. What do each of those mean?
What you're seeing is a BBS forwarding exchange where the two connected systems
propose transmission of messages they have available for the other user, and list which
messages they wish to receive of those proposed.
For documentation of the basic F6FBB BBS proposal exchange, see:
WL2K uses the standard FBB type protocol with a B2 extension. B2 is simply a specific
mechanism for encapsulating a message which allows adding attachments, addressing
multiple recipients, and mixing radio and e-mail (internet) recipients. Otherwise it is virtually
identical to the FBB B1 protocol and it uses the exact same LZW compression algorithm as
The B2 protocol was developed in 1999 by the WL2K Development Team to be an efficient
mechanism to move text and binary attachments using the FBB forwarding protocol. The
FBB protocol and B2 is more efficient than the standard internet SMTP protocol in RF
applications such as Packet or Pactor.
Page 10 of 107
Why is the BCC email feature not available for Winlink users?
For anyone interested in why Winlink 2000 does not utilize BCC on the Ham bands, please
refer to Section 605 of the Communications Act, Citation 47.
Obviously, this only applies to Amateur Radio (b. Exceptions), and perhaps only in the
United States, but that is not the issue. Winlink is capable of Encryption, and could also
obscure the recipient list of a message via the IETF RFC for SMTP mail if there was a
purpose. However, keep in mind, so can Microsoft, Apple, and other software providers.
What is important is NOT what Winlink 2000 can do or cannot do, but what the FCC allows
the US Amateur Radio Control operator to do, and Blind Copying recipients of messages is
not allowed.
I am active in MARS and the National Traffic System, handling messages using the
“Winlink 2.9” software. Can I use this software with Winlink 2000?
No, it is not compatible. The Winlink 2000 system is an off-spring of Winlink 2.9. Winlink
2.9, Winlink 3.1, and Winlink Classic are all similar. Winlink 2.9 is a user program. Winlink
2000 is a “system”. AirMail is similar to Winlink 2.9, but has MANY differences. A major
difference is the message routing process. AirMail and Winlink 2000 do not support “Hrouting”. Winlink 2000 is centered on the SMTP e-mail standard.
Winlink 2.9 was written by Victor D. Poor, W5SMM, who continued to write software for
Winlink 2000. You can read more about the history of Winlink at:
AirMail can be used to send and receive NTS radiograms via the NTSD system, by
accessing the NTSD “Area Hub” pactor stations. See the instructions at:
How can I send a Radiogram via Winlink 2000?
It either be embedded in the Body of the message, or Attached to the message.
AirMail can be used to send and receive NTS radiograms via the NTSD system, by
accessing the NTSD “Area Hub” pactor stations. See the instructions by at:
Also see Q6100.
Page 11 of 107
How can I find the location of a WL2K user?
If you have access to the web, go to the WL2K web page….Maps….User Positions…
Click on the dot of the approximate position of the station you are looking for. Click again
on “View Position Reports” to see all of the recent reports from that station.
If you do not have access to the web, and are using AirMail, send a “Position Request”
message via Message Index….Window….Winlink-2000….Position Request.
What are some of the Limits associated with WL2K?
Message size maximum, including Attachments: 120000 bytes (compressed)
[If a message exceeds the absolute compressed size limit, a service message will be sent
to the sender advising that the message has not been accepted. There are no limits on the
number of messages for each user or the overall byte size]
Attachment name size maximum: 50 characters (including extension). This is not a
problem when Sending from a Winlink address, but does occur when Receiving at a
Winlink address [the Attachment is not downloaded, with no "error note"].
Life of an Unread message: 21 days
Registration period for a WL2K user: 400 days since last access via radio or Telnet
(Internet Access)
Life of a Tactical E-mail Address: 400 days since last use
Life of an e-mail address in your Whitelist: 400 days since you last sent a message to that
Tactical address name length: Current Tactical addresses are limited to 12 characters total
(including any "-") preceding the "". See Q7030.
User daily time limit for HF users is defaulted to 30 minutes. The RMS operator may
change that default, or customize it for different modes (pactor 1, pactor 2, pactor 3) and
different users. If you have specific larger needs, e-mail your request to the RMS operator
([email protected]).
There are no User daily time limits associated with a RMS Packet station or Telnet (Internet
Page 12 of 107
Is there somewhere I can see how many messages the WL2K system has handled
last month?
Yes. From the WL2K web page go to …Tools…Live System Information….Traffic
I just got a “message not delivered” service message from the WL2K Common
Message Server. Why?
The WL2K outbound E-mail (SMTP) client will try and send your outbound mail directly (no
relays) to the end recipient 10 times over a period of 5 hours. If it still fails (in this case
because it appears the ISP is not accepting or blocking the connection) it gives up and
sends a failure notice to the originator.
Most of the times these failures are due to:
(a) Improperly listed public MX record for the destination domain
(b) Some form of spam or other filtering mechanism used by the ISP
(c) The server is off line or otherwise down. If multiple servers for a
domain are available (as listed in the MX records) all are tried.
What kinds of Attachments will the WL2K system accept?
All except .exe and .zip. Attachments are not useable when accessing via the Winlink web
page or when using the Keyboard Method.
I can't seem to send an attachment. When I attempt to send, I get the message
"(Attachment deleted, could not be sent in this mode.)" Tried in P2 same thing; tried
different RMS's; same thing.
Go to Tools….Options….Settings. Make sure that “B2F” is selected for the BBS
Forwarding Protocol.
I sent a message to someone who does not have a Winlink account. Some
additional “legal” words showed up at the bottom on the message. Why?
Winlink appends a "footer" containing reply guidance for recipients to the bottom of
messages being sent to Internet (SMTP) addresses. The footer is only appended to a
message at most once every 30 days; for a particular email address. The footer is never
appended to messages sent to a Winlink address or to known bandwidth-limited services
such as SailMail, (as well as many known blog services). The addition of this footer occurs
at the CMS and before the message is forwarded to the recipient's Internet mail provider.
As such, it does not consume RF bandwidth.
You can completely eliminate the footer if you wish by including in your message a line
containing the text: "no-footer" (minus the quotes). The "no-footer" text itself will be
suppressed and will not be included in your message. This “no-footer” switch is good for
30 days, for that particular email address.
This message was sent using Winlink, a free radio email system provided by the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation
and volunteers worldwide. Replies to this message should be brief using plain text format and any attachments kept
small. Commercial use or use of this email system for monetary gain is strictly forbidden. See
for additional information.
Page 13 of 107
Please review for me the rules associated with “secure radio access” to my WL2K email account.
WARNING: Enabling secure login carries the risk that you will be unable to connect,
because of errors on your part, on the part of system operators, or possibly software errors.
DO NOT REQUEST SECURE LOGON unless you have an alternate email path (from
WebMail) available to correct errors with your password, or you may be locked out of your
account with no e-mail access.
1. Secure Login helps prevent the possibility of someone else "spoofing" your callsign and
connecting to your mailbox. This has not been a significant problem in the past, but if
desired a password-protected login can be requested. This optional feature has two
parts: turning the feature On or Off, and defining/using a password for your WL2K account.
2. The “switch” to turn this feature On or Off (default is Off) is accessed via the web page….My Account (don’t forget to Save your settings). The “switch”
(residing at the CMS) cannot be accessed by using programs such as AirMail or RMS
3. AND if the “switch” is turned On, then the associated switch (and your password) must
be defined in the Tools..Options…Settings (AirMail), Site Properties (Paclink), or RMS
Express Setup (RMS Express) screens.
4. “My Account”…..Password Change (via is the ONLY place where you
can change your Secure Login password.
5. Don’t confuse your WL2K e-mail secure password with the password you may use to
access the web site. They are not linked to each other.
6. Also, be aware that “Keyboard” access to your e-mail is NOT possible if Secure Login is
turned “On”. See Q8510.
Is there any priority associated with the downloading of messages to a user?
Yes, smaller messages are downloaded before larger messages, in groups of five.
Page 14 of 107
What are the rules regarding WL2K and “Third Party Traffic”?
Remember that there is no privacy over amateur radio. Anyone who is properly equipped can read
messages handled by Winlink. Each gateway sysop routinely monitors messages passing through their
station to ensure acceptable message content. Any message violating local rules is deleted and the sender
advised. Gateway sysops are legally responsible for traffic flowing through their stations.
Third-Party Traffic
Third-party traffic is any message transmitted that is either from or to a non-amateur licensee. In the
Western Hemisphere (with a few exceptions) there is no restriction on third-party traffic being passed over
amateur radio. Many countries outside of the Western Hemisphere also now permit third-party traffic over
amateur radio. Messages between amateurs if they originate from or are delivered over Internet are not
considered third-party traffic. Third-party traffic rules only deal with that portion of the message path which
is transmitted over the radio spectrum.
For example: if a message originates from a non-amateur as an internet email in the U.K. and is delivered
to a U.S. amateur over the radio from a gateway station in the US, no third-party rule is broken even
though the U.K. does not allow third-party traffic over amateur channels. Likewise, a message originating
from a U.S. amateur and passed by radio to a U.S. gateway is OK even if it is addressed to the Internet
address of a non-amateur in the U.K.
Users and sysops must make themselves familiar with these third-party rules for the country in which they
are operating as well as linking with if they are exchanging messages with non-amateurs. US gateway
sysops should know that §97.219(c) provides protection for licensees operating as part of a message
forwarding system. "...the control operators of forwarding stations that retransmit inadvertently
communications that violate the rules in this Part are not accountable for the violative communications.
They are, however, responsible for discontinuing such communications once they become aware of their
Business Content
Directly or indirectly enhancing one’s pecuniary interest using amateur radio is universally prohibited.
Business traffic is any message that is related to an amateur’s business or an activity involved in making
money or attempting to make money for the amateur. Placing orders to trade stocks are a clear-cut
example of disallowed message content. On the other hand, in the US, the FCC has opinioned that merely
ordering items for personal use is not in violation of the rules so long as it is incidental to your activity as an
amateur and not to enhance your pecuniary interest. Even though the Winlink user may use Telnet
connection or WebMail and never transfer information over the Amateur radio spectrum, it is the policy of
Winlink administrators to abide by the Part 97 (US rules) as it pertains to business related message
The WL2K administrators may block any unsolicited mail sources, incoming messages from list servers or
any “subscription-type" messages that might contain business related traffic. The best way to avoid
unsolicited mail is to keep your Winlink email address private and to learn to properly use your account
RMS SysOps have software available [SysOp Message Manager] to monitor the content of messages going
In and Out of their station.
Page 15 of 107
How do some features compare between Outpost, AirMail, Paclink, and RMS Express?
Download Location
RMS Express
Jim Corenman
Useable for Telnet
(Internet Access)?
Useable for Packet?
Useable for Pactor 1-3?
Useable for Pactor 4?
Useable for WINMOR?
Yes, with BPQ
Uses compression of
data, before
Can be used with a
Sound Card?
Yes. with
AGW and
Can be used with most
any TNC on packet?
Yes. with
AGW and
Yes, KISS and
Can handle
simultaneous radio
Sessions with different
modes (like packet &
Useable for "peer-topeer" message
Able to do a Manual
"Keyboard" Connect?
Yes, with
Yes, with
Yes, with included
Windows 95+
x86, x86_64,
Windows XP+
Windows XP+;
needs "fast" CPU
Single user
Single user
Single user
Multi user
Up to 5 users
OS, CPU requirement
Recommended uses?
Single user
Single user
Diagnostics with packet
networks is
Page 16 of 107
RMS Express
Tactical Address
Message Precedence
Radio Only Forwarding
network support?
RMS Relay Support
Message Preview/choose
Manual via
Built-in Message Editing
and Administration?
Yes, also uses
any e-mail
Uses email
Uses any e-mail
Attached documents?
Address Book?
Scripting for packet
Connects via Nodes or
Yes - Limited
"Catalog" of Help and
Weather bulletins?
Yes, unlimited
server LAN
Up to 3
per e-mail
Yes, with AGW
and AMPE or
Yes, using
script, cron
Yes, HF and
VHF only
Multi-user [callsigns]
Variable font size
KISS TNC support for lowcost TNCs and radios with
built-in TNCs
Automatic Gateway
AGW/AGWPE support
Ease of Setup
Update Support
Easy to
Difficult for
Linux noobs
Depends on
As needed,
small user
Automatic, frequent
Free; Donation
Free; including
WINMOR is $39
(donation) nagware
Protocol which drove
initial development of
the software
Cost of software
Page 17 of 107
Q580 Does WL2K comply with Part 97 of the FCC Rules?
A580 RMS stations and WL2K users are governed by the rules and regulations of their own country.
Winlink 2000 complies with §97.221 for an Automatically controlled digital station:
- For Wider than 500 Hz: 97.221 (b) (b) A station may be automatically controlled while transmitting
a RTTY or data emission on the 6 m or shorter wavelength bands, and on the 28.120–28.189
MHz, 24.925–24.930 MHz, 21.090–21.100 MHz, 18.105–18.110 MHz, 14.0950–14.0995 MHz,
14.1005–14.112 MHz, 10.140–10.150 MHz, 7.100–7.105 MHz, or 3.585–3.600 MHz segments.
[Editor Note: “data” includes emission type J2D, which includes pactor 3 (3 kHz or less).]
- For 500 Hz: 97.221 (c) A station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or
data emission on any other frequency authorized for such emission types provided that: (1) The
station is responding to interrogation by a station under local or remote control; and (2) No
transmission from the automatically controlled station occupies a bandwidth of more than 500 Hz.
Winlink 2000 complies with §97.109 Station control, for 3rd Party traffic rules:
- (e) No station may be automatically controlled while transmitting third party communications,
except a station transmitting a RTTY or data emission. All messages that are retransmitted must
originate at a station that is being locally or remotely controlled.
Winlink 2000 complies with Section §97.219(c) for 3rd Party traffic Content Rules:
- §97.219(c) provides protection for licensees operating as part of a message forwarding system.
"...the control operators of forwarding stations that retransmit inadvertently communications that
violate the rules in this Part are not accountable for the violative communications. They are,
however, responsible for discontinuing such communications once they become aware of their
Winlink 2000 complies with §97.309 for data emission codes:
- (4) An amateur station transmitting a RTTY or data emission using a digital code specified in this
paragraph may use any technique whose technical characteristics have been documented
publicly, such as CLOVER, G-TOR, or Pactor, for the purpose of facilitating communications.
Winlink 2000 complies with Sub-Part E when so designated (i.e.: §97.403 Safety of life and
protection of property):
- No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radio
communication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the
immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication
systems are not available.
Page 18 of 107
Q590 Let’s assume that there is a total internet crash; none of the RMS stations have a path to the
Common Message Servers. Is WL2K of any use to me?
A590 There seems to be confusion has to how WL2K deals with the loss of Internet. Let me address this
question and see if I can bring a little clarity to it.
As presently designed and deployed, the assumption is made that Internet may fail regionally but
not globally. A disaster may take out the Internet infrastructure over an area of as much as several
states or a single country but not the entire world.
If Internet fails in a given region those RMS sites that implement RMS Relay in the region will be
able continue to exchange traffic locally on VHF and globally on HF. RMS Relay will provide the
ability to reach WL2K stations on HF that are in areas where Internet is still functional and can still
reach a CMS site. CMS sites are purposely geographically dispersed (Australia, Canada, Europe,
USA) to provide a high level of redundancy.
Individual HF client stations using Paclink, RMS Express, or AirMail will continue to be able to
exchange traffic with out-of-region HF stations that can still reach any one of the CMS sites.
The whole idea is to keep users and the network entirely connected even when even large areas
become isolated due to loss of Internet. The WL2K addressing would remain functional and
anyone that can reach any functional HF or VHF port can exchange messages with anyone else
anywhere in the system without thought about how it is routed.
It is argued by some that we should build a system to support total global failure of Internet. Army
MARS has in fact plans to implement just such a system using HF accessible and interconnected
CMS sites. I do not know the timetable for this implementation, but meanwhile the system outlined
in the Winlink 2000 Roadmap document is currently being implemented, and will support any
disaster scenario experienced to date.
An all-HF system, no matter how implemented, will have bandwidth and latency limitations that
constrain its value. Served agencies need (and expect) a communications service will be able to
handle a reasonable volume of complex traffic with good speed. To that end we need to provide a
service that will make use of the best and fastest means available at any given time.
The WL2K mission is to provide, through a volunteer network, effective last resort communications
in civil emergencies and personal communications in non-emergency conditions
By Vic Poor, W5SMM, AAA9WL
February 13, 2008
Q600 The SCS “Pactor 3” TNC’s seem to be “expensive”. Is there any “discount” program?
A600 The TNC’s made by SCS contain a LOT of technology. Discounts are available from Farallon
Electronics for qualified users. See:
Page 19 of 107
Q610 How do I change my Attachments limit?
A610 As of February 2008 the “Attachment Limit” concept has been replaced by a “compressed
message limit”. This can be changed via the WL2K web page….My Account….Edit. The limit is
in bytes. The default value for new users is 120000 bytes (compressed).
Go to: Message Index….Window…Winlink-2000….Options Message.
[Note: the reference to “Attachment Limit” in the Options message is actually the “Compressed
Message Limit”.]
If you are using RMS Express, go to Files…Update User Options
If you are using Paclink, see Q7650.
Q620 I will not be accessing the WL2K system for several months. Is there a way to have all of
my incoming WL2K e-mails diverted to another e-mail account?
A620 Yes, using the AirMail software, go to Window….Winlink-2000….Options Message. Change the
“Alternate Address”. Send the message, either via radio or Internet Access (Telnet).
To return to receiving email at your Winlink address; send another Options Message from AirMail,
with the “Alternate Address” blank.
If you are using RMS Express, go to Files…Update User Options
This can also be changed via the WL2K web page….My Account….Edit. The limit is in bytes.
Q630 How does the WL2K system deal with Spam?
A630 Messages incoming to WL2K users are filtered, using high level methods, by the Central Message
Server (CMS). Winlink 2000 uses the information from SPAMCOP. It also requires a reverse DNS
lookup. Each server IP address must return a PTR-record that matches the HELO or ELHO
command received from that server and it must have an A-record that matches the host name
shown in the HELO or ELHO command. If such a record exists, then it has entry to the Whitelist
In addition, each individual WL2K user uses a “Whitelist”. About 90% of the messages into the
CMS from the internet are Spam! In order to combat this problem it was decided by the Winlink
Development Team than use of the Whitelist should be required of all users.
After August 1, 2008, the Whitelist is turned “On” for all users, and cannot be turned “Off”.
As of September 2007 WL2K is no longer using a Spam Filter with a “Threshold”. Ignore
references to a Spam Threshold in the AirMail software.
Page 20 of 107
Q650 How does the “Whitelist” function?
The “Whitelist” option allows messages to be downloaded to you only if the message was sent
from an internet e-mail address on your Whitelist; or if the message was sent to you from other
WL2K user or if the sender put a “//WL2K” in the Subject line [see Q670, Q680, Q690]. If a
message is rejected, the CMS will automatically send a “Rejection Notice” to the sender of the
The data for your Whitelist is stored on the CMS computers. Decisions regarding rejecting
messages to you are made by the CMS, independent of which user software you are using
(AirMail, RMS Express, Paclink, etc).
Data for your Whitelist is composed of two unique pieces:
a) A list of allowed e-mail addresses or e-mail domains.
b) A list of disallowed e-mail addresses or e-mail domains (the “Blacklist”)
Since you have been using the Winlink 2000 system, the CMS has been accumulating e-mail
addresses in YOUR “Whitelist”, adding to the list each new address to which you send a message.
Addresses in your Whitelist remain there for 400 days after you last sent an e-mail to that address.
Q670 Tell me more about the Whitelist details.
A670 In order for a message to get through the WL2K spam filter, ANY MESSAGE TO A WINLINK
USER FROM THE INTERNET must be from a sender's address or domain name that is in the
recipient's whitelist, OR AS AN OPTION, the sender must include the character sequence
//WL2K R/ in the subject line of the message. If //WL2K R/ is found in the subject line, the message
will be accepted and forwarded to all of the recipients of the message, including Winlink
Subject://WL2K R/ (then any other normal subject content to follow).
If the sender is not in the recipient's whitelist and no //WL2K R/ is found in the subject line the
message will be rejected with a reference to the Winlink WEB page where instructions for sending
WL2K messages will be found.
There will be certain exceptions. Messages from, and other specific
domains will be accepted unconditionally except where a recipient specifically blocks the domain
name in their whitelist.
Under these conditions, unless the Subject line contains //WL2K R/, you will ONLY receive E-MAIL
messages from those (non-WL2K) addresses that you have recorded in your own Whitelist.
Page 21 of 107
Q675 How do I view or change the address or domain entries in my Whitelist or my Blacklist?
A675 New e-mail addresses are automatically added to your Whitelist when the CMS receives the
message from you, independent of which user program you are using. The list can also be
changed by:
Create a new message [the following is an example] to the CMS with the following
format (not case sensitive):
To: [email protected]
Subject: Whitelist
LIST will return a list of all Whitelist and Blacklist entries for the user.
ACCEPT: [email protected]
will allow messages from
[email protected] to be accepted. You may send multiple lines, each containing one e-mail
Reject: [email protected]
will reject any messages from [email protected] You
may send multiple lines, each containing one e-mail address.
Delete: [email protected]
will remove [email protected] from the user's Whitelist.
You may send multiple lines, each containing one e-mail address.
will allow all messages from [email protected] to be accepted
will reject all messages from [email protected]
IMPORTANT NOTE: Domain Entries without the "@" will be treated as "domain names" only. For
example if "Accept:" were entered, then ANY message from that "domain name"
( would be accepted.
Send the message
An example of a message to control your Whitelist:
Subject: Whitelist
Accept: [email protected]
Accept: [email protected]
Accept: ARRL.NET
Delete: [email protected]
Page 22 of 107
Q680 I notice that messages sent from Paclink have modified my Subject, prefaced by
//WL2K /R. Why? Do I need to always include the //WL2K R/ in the subject line of all my
messages going through the Winlink 2000 system?
A680 The reason Paclink automatically puts //WL2K R/ on the subject line is to implement one of our
"good use tips", that is, to also use it on your outgoing messages, so that persons who click their
'reply' buttons and have an email setup that replies from a different email address than they
receive on will have a good chance of having //WL2K R/ in the subject line of their reply. Persons
in these situations would otherwise have the reply mail rejected. This also goes for folks with ISPs
who use some nonstandard message headers. You would be surprised how often this occurs.
No--you don't need //WL2K R/ on outgoing messages. New addresses not already on your
Whitelist are automatically added to it. But if you have internet recipients in the above categories,
you sure will want it. See Q670.
Q690 Tell me about the “Message Precedence” logic that is used in WL2K.
A690 A process for MESSAGE PRECEDENCE handling for Internet traffic on the WL2K system has
been implemented. All messaging passing between users of the Winlink 2000 system and Internet
e-mail now require message precedence headers in the subject line UNLESS the Internet e=mail
address of the originator/recipient is in the user’s Whitelist. In other words, the Message
Precedence System bypasses the Whitelist.
Considering that emergency e-mail to and from areas that would not otherwise have access to
Internet e-mail can become targets for an exceptional amount of traffic within short timeframes:
and considering the slow nature of a HF radio link, having the ability to prioritize messages of
importance that exceed a routine priority is paramount to the success of such communications.
In addition, with the message precedence system in place, SPAM should be totally eliminated.
This is critical when considering the size and number of unwanted e-mail now invading the Internet
e-mail system and the slower speeds of radio e-mail.
The optional precedence indicator is included in a Winlink message by adding one of the following
to the beginning of the Subject Line in a message, whether originated from Internet email or
within the Winlink system.
//WL2K Z/ - Flash (for urgent message use only)
//WL2K O/ - Immediate (for urgent message use only)
//WL2K P/ - Priority
//WL2K R/ - Routine (Default)
This is what the CMS assumes, if nothing else is there.
Here are some examples of acceptable subject lines using the precedence indicators:
//WL2K Z/ EOC Flooding
//WL2K O/ Shelter Status – Full
//WL2K P/ Food and bedding inventory request
//WL2K R/ Supplies received
Re://WL2K R/ Generator manual needed
FW://WL2K R/ Please bring gasoline
Unless there are special circumstance, routing precedence //WL2K R/ should be used
Page 23 of 107
Q700 Even though recipients are on your Whitelist, some internet addresses get rejected by the
CMS. Why?
A700 Verify that the “From” address of the Sender is the same as the address you have in your Whitelist.
This situation is common with folks who use services such as “ARRL.NET”.
There is a standard in e-mail delivery designed to prevent spam sent from domain names that do
not match the IP address. (This is a common way spam originates). It's called reverse-DNS
lookup. WL2K central servers check with the DNS of every incoming internet sender to be sure the
'From' address matches the IP address from which the message comes. If not, it is rejected as
incoming spam. This is our firm policy.
Some may point out that RFC 2821 states that SMTP servers (ISPs) may verify the match, but
should not reject the message if verification fails. Our policy is tough for a reason; WL2K is a radiobased service for the benefit of our radio users. Each licensed radio user is bound to obey legal
rules that govern them or they risk their license. In virtually every country these regulations strictly
prohibit indecent or commercial content from being transmitted on the airwaves. Besides the
normal spam problem for anyone with a mail server on the internet (less than 1% of messages
hitting our system are valid), we MUST be bound by regulations more strict than RFC 2821. Also,
the Winlink 2000 system is NOT an ISP. We are a private concern and are not legally bound to
RFC 2821, or to accept any messages that are not of our choosing. We do not charge our users
for the services we provide. We strictly obey the rules that govern amateur radio in every country
our network stations and users operate.
What can you do?
If your recipient's internet mail provider has not updated their DNS records to include reverse-DNS
(PTR) records, the WL2K check fails, and incoming legitimate mail can be branded as spam and
rejected. Advise your internet correspondents to tell their ISP to upgrade their service to current
anti-spam standards by adding a PTR record (the reverse-DNS record) to their DNS servers. If
they won't, your recipients can get a free email account with Yahoo or gmail (Google) that properly
The good news is that most ISPs are diligent and have the same concerns about spam. For the
few that don't, well, we wish they did. Sorry for the trouble, but internet spammers have made life
complicated for us all!
Q720 I just sent a message from my Blackberry to a W2K User. It was rejected by the
CMS….”not on the Whitelist”. The User has my correct email address in his Whitelist.
What happened?
A720 The CMS may be seeing the message coming not from your email address, but from “”. You need to Setup your real email account on the Blackberry and delete the account.
Go to and search for your email support from your provider. You can also
delete a signature line there.
You can also delete a signature line there.
Page 24 of 107
Q740 It seems that a friend of mine is just unable to get an important message to me through the
WL2K Spam Filter? Any suggestions?
A740 a. Have them preface the Subject: with “//WL2K”.
b. You send a message to them first.
c. You send a message to the email address that your friend uses as a “From” address.
d. Have your friend show their email Network Administrator the contents of FAQ700.
e. Have another friend (who is able to send emails to you) relay the email to you.
Q750 Is there a good way to “Road Test” my WL2K equipment and software?
A750 Yes; it takes some time, but is well worth the effort, especially if you do not use the Winlink system
during the situation for which you are planning to use WL2K.
It is NOT good enough to “ping” your local RMS gateway station. Messages need to be sent and
received. You are using a digital system; which is only “one electrical connection” OR “one
character of software code” away from Failure.
You need to test the entire “system”, which includes:
your equipment and software
the Winlink 2000 system
the equipment and software on the “other end”; the person with which you need to exchange
Be as realistic as possible. If you (User1) expect to exchange messages with User2 during an
“emergency event” by using your laptop with packet going through a Node, don’t make the Test
with your desktop computer, using Telnet. If User2 expects to exchange messages during the
“emergency event” using their Blackberry, the Test should not be done with their desktop
The testing process:
1) User1 sends a message to User2
2) User2 confirms receipt of the message, by doing a “Reply”.
3) User2 sends a message to User1.
4) User1 confirms receipt of the message, by doing a “Reply”.
A successful test is the receiving of all four messages.
Don’t forget to print one of the four messages!
Your printer ink supply may have dried up!
The configurations of the systems you are testing are dynamic, living systems. Firewalls
and Spam Filters are continually being changed. Test on a regular basis!
See Q150, 380, 610-740, 3510, 8550.
Page 25 of 107
Q900 Who pays the expenses of creating and operating the Winlink 2000 system?
A900 Winlink 2000 (WL2K) is (and always has been) all volunteer. No one is compensated for their
contributions of time which now [2007] totals well over 20 man-years. We try to offset at least
some of the costs of running servers, registering internet addresses and domains, licensing
software etc with donations.
In 2006 we set up a not-for-profit public service corporation to handle the finances and
contributions from the distributions of CDs and also as a vehicle to accept donations of equipment
and services (e.g. retired commercial servers etc). This corporation is called the Amateur Radio
Safety Foundation Inc. (ARSFI) see The directors of the ARSFI are primarily
the founders and developers of WL2K and no director receives any compensation. We are in the
process of obtaining Public Charity status 501(c )3 for this corporation but that is a time consuming
process and it is not guaranteed we will be granted this status.
The ARSFI is the mechanism we use to pay for the expenses of WL2K and to purchase what
licenses, hardware and new development tools and software are required. It is also a mechanism
to provide training for Emcomm groups and distribute information about WL2K and Amateur Radio
Emergency services in general.
Interested parties or those wishing to contribute to the operation of WL2K can do so in one of a few
ways. These mechanisms can all be reached via the ARSFI web site above.
Join the ARSFI ($10/year). Your membership gives you a vote into how the organization is
run and what it does. The contribution goes to the ARSFI and some of that is used to support
Winlink 2000.
Make a cash donation through the ARSFI. Both Pay Pal and Secure Credit Card
mechanism are available on the web site. We request that personal donations be
limited to $100.
Purchase one of the CDs which we make available throughout the year to various boater,
RV, and EmComm groups. These have convenient up-to-date software and other useful
information. A nominal $15 donation is suggested to cover duplicating and mailing costs. If you
would like a CD configured to target a particular group or service please contact one of the
directors and provide us information on what your target audience is.
Make a donation of equipment or services to the ARSFI. This can be in the form of retired
but otherwise useable servers, radio equipment, software, facilities or services (e.g. legal,
accounting, engineering, programming or documentation help) To make a donation of equipment
of services please contact one of the directors of ARSFI.
Donations of cash or check are also appreciated and should be sent to:
c/o Rick Muething, KN6KB
6143 Anchor Lane
Rockledge, Florida USA 32955
Make checks payable to ARSF Inc. or Amateur Radio Safety Foundation Inc.
Your support of WL2K and the ARSFI is much appreciated.
Rick Muething, KN6KB
Director, Treasurer Amateur Radio Safety Foundation
Winlink 2000 Development Team
Page 26 of 107
Q920 What Discussion groups are concerned with WL2K?
Purpose of the group is to share ideas, uses, methods and procedures of utilizing Winlink 2000 for
Disaster Recovery/Emergency Preparedness; and to include any other organization/agency that
deploys or is considering deploying Winlink 2000 for emergency communications.
A general purpose list for things like: Beginner questions on setting up, tips on using and
connecting to the Winlink 2000 system, frequency updates, Winlink 2000 station status and new
station additions are all welcome on this list.
This Reflector is specifically set up for the purpose of obtaining Winlink 2000 user applications, and
to support and discuss their installation, configuration and use.
WINMOR is an HF digital protocol designed for use with the Winlink 2000 network. WINMOR
provides an alternative to external Pactor hardware.
WINMOR is protocol that works with a PC sound card to provide a virtual TNC enabling throughput
performance approaching hardware based Pactor 2.
Discussion group about the Paclink-Unix project:
A user group established by John Wiseman G8BPQ/GM8BPQ and Ron Stordahl AE5E (ex N5IN)
for BPQ32 - AX.25 NET/ROM compatible node software for Windows.
BPQ for DOS and BPQ32 for Windows were written by John Wiseman G8BPQ/GM8BPQ and
have a considerable following of appreciative users.
BPQ32 includes BPQMailChat, a modern BBS and Chat system, and BPQAPRS, an APRS
Mapping and Messaging application.
BPQ32 offers three program interfaces. The DLL interface is the fundamental and most capable
interface and is recommended for new applications. An AGW-like front end interface is offered
permitting BPQ32 to be used with any program currently supporting AGWPE. The third, now
deprecated, interface method is ActiveX.
An AGW back end interface has been added to allow BPQ32 to use sound card modems.
Many useful BPQ32 utilities and configuration examples are included.
Page 27 of 107
Q925 I have questions about getting Weather reports via Winlink/SSB. Is there a group that
discusses these issues?
A925 Yes.
The purpose of the group is to share ideas, uses, methods and procedures of utilizing Winlink
2000 for Disaster Recovery/Emergency Preparedness; and to include any other
organization/agency that deploys or is considering deploying Winlink 2000 for emergency
Q940 Now that WINMOR is implemented, will I still be able to use my Pactor equipment?
A940 Yes It is expected that the RMS Pactor stations will continue to service Pactor users for many
years to come.
Q945 What is the difference between “Dial”, “Mark”, and “Center” frequencies?
A945 See this information from the AirMail Help files.
Q950 Are there other general sources of Help for WL2K users and SysOps?
A950 Harris County (Texas) ARES/RACES – WL2K Resource Page
National Traffic System – Digital (NTSD)
N0IA – Tuning Packet Parameters for Best Performance
K7BFL – Suggested Packet Parameters for RMS Express, AirMail, and AGW
SV2AGW – A discussion about packet TNC’s built into radios
Icom – D Star Specifications
ARRL Lab (KC1SX) – Comparative Performance of Packet Radios at 9600 baud
The “Pactor Primer” and “RF Interference”; two excellent articles written by Jim Corenman,
KE6RK; author of the AirMail software:
Page 28 of 107
AirMail Installation and Setup Instructions – W5IFQ and KC5QHH
Florida Amateur Digital Communication Association
K0BG has an excellent web site regarding tips for installing a mobile station that works well: Good information about RF noise, static, grounding.
KL7EDK has written a fine “paper” about techniques he has used to his enable his HF RMS station
to be very successful, with a very low ambient noise level.
Q951 How can five servers handle hundreds of connections made to them without a way to
prioritize or throttle demand?
A951 The first thing you have to remember about server loading is the bandwidth of a radio channel
(packet or pactor or WINMOR) is VERY slow compared to internet bandwidth. Each of the CMSs
have at least one T1 connection (1.5 megabits/sec). Most have multiple. Each T1 line would
handle roughly 200 simultaneous 9600 baud packet channels running at max throughput. Or
something like 1000 Pactor channels. In practice these servers are set up to allow 1000
simultaneous connections but we have rarely seen them go above 20 or so. There are currently
five CMSs with distributed DNS servers world wide. All RMS sites now cache actual dotted CMS IP
addresses so they don’t require any DNS service. All RMSs automatically rotate through all
available CMSs if a connection can’t be made to the initial CMS. If a CMS ever becomes saturated
it simply will reject new connections and slow down the throughput to those connected to it.
However based on the typical speeds of radio links most users would never even see this
Each CMS has a firewall and a mechanism for capturing connect attempts and these along with
some additional mechanisms can be used to block most Denial of service types of attacks. It might
be worth noting that we have had a Central server mechanism used in WL2K for over 9 years and
have never had a successful Denial of service attack. Since going to redundant CMSs about 4
years ago we have had virtually 100% availability of the system…even during major disasters such
as Katrina, The Tsunami, etc., and hardware/internet failures at a CMS.
Page 29 of 107
AirMail – Setup - General
Q1000 What kind of computer operating system do I need to run AirMail?
A1000 Windows 95 is the “minimum” operating system, although a more modern Windows operating
system is always encouraged.
Q1005 I see that there are several “modules” in addition to the “HF Terminal”. What are their
A1005 The “Telnet Client” module is used to communicate via the Telnet protocol, using an internet
connection. The “setup” for this is via the Tools…Options…Modules…Telnet Client…Setup
window. This module is the easiest to get setup, and is suggested as an initial means to get
AirMail working. See Q4000.
The “Terminal” or “HF Terminal” module is used to communicate via HF, using pactor 1, 2, or 3.
The “setup” for this is via the Tools…Options…Settings window. See Q2000.
The “VHF Packet Client” module is used to communicate via packet radio. The “setup” for this is
via the Tools…Options….Modules….VHF Packet Client…Setup window. See Q3000.
Q1010 I having trouble getting AirMail to talk to my computer com port. Any suggestions? I am
using a serial to USB converter between my computer and the TNC.
A1010 Some serial/usb converters work ok; some don’t. Good results have been reported for those
brands of Radio Shack, Manhatten, Keyspan, Edgeport, IBM and Startech. Many folks are
having difficulties with those sold by Belkin, but that may have changed.
The Keyspan and IBM devices have been tested and listed on the Microsoft Hardware
Compatibility List (HCL). Since only “listed” hardware has been tested and found to be
substantially compliant, buying unlisted equipment is a gamble at best.
You can find which converters are on the HCL by checking at:
Things like COM ports floating (or, being able to be assigned and reserved unchanged by the
driver) are symptoms of software that can't get on the approval list because someone wrote cheap
Q1020 I want to install a new version of AirMail. Do I need to uninstall the old version first?
A1020 No; just copy the new file into your main AirMail Folder. Double click on the new file. Installation
will begin. All of your previous settings and frequency lists will be preserved.
Page 30 of 107
Q1030 I have been using AirMail successfully for several days. Yesterday I installed a new
version, and reset the "starting" message number [Tools...Options....Settings....Current
Message Number] to the same number as was used for my first message. The RMS to
which I connected would not accept my next message. Why?
A1030 Each message "alive" within the Common Message Server must have a unique message number,
referred to as a "MID". You should not "reset" the starting message number when re-installing or
updating the AirMail software.
However, if you are using multiple computers (like your laptop and your desktop) with the same
callsign, keep the message numbers significantly different from each other in the two computers.
To do otherwise your “new” message to another WL2K user might not be downloaded at its
intended destination. If he is using AirMail, he might get a “Message Already Received”, from
your “other” computer, since AirMail keys on the message number of the Sender.
Q1040 I can’t seem to get the “Earthmate LT-20” GPS receiver to work with AirMail. Any
A1040 The original Earthmate was connected via a serial port, used a Rockwell chipset and a nonstandard interface at 9600 baud. AirMail can communicate with that device if you check the
"Earthmate" box.
The 2003-vintage USB Travelmate was different, and worked in NMEA mode if you told the
DeLorme installer that you wanted to use the GPS with other applications also. If you made that
selection when DeLorme was installed, then special drivers were installed that created a virtual
com-port that would speak standard NMEA. In this mode the "Earthmate" box should NOT be
checked, it is behaving as a standard NMEA GPS.
Apparently the same is true of the LT-20, except that the special NMEA-drivers are not part of the
DeLorme installer. You can download the “DeLorme Serial Emulation Driver for USB Earthmate®
GPS and Earthmate® GPS LT-20 Receiver” from
After the new driver is installed, start AirMail and configure the proper COM port for the LT-20 in
the Message Index…..Window….Position Report…Data Input….Setup window. Check the
“GPS/NMEA Port Enabled” box, and select the proper COM port. Do NOT check the “Earthmate”
box. Also, be sure the “Data Input…Enabled” box is checked.
Q1060 Is it possible to get AirMail software to use on a Windows mobile PDA?
A1060 No, sorry. Windows CE (for mobile devices) is completely different from the Windows 95/98/ME or
Windows NT/2000/XP families.
Page 31 of 107
Q1080 I have been reading and now using the next generation of USB flash drives: the U3 smart
drive. Has anyone setup the AirMail program to run under the U3 smart drive?
A1080 [from WA9OTP] A handy way to transport the AirMail program between computers is in a
small USB flash drive. These drives are very inexpensive now, compact, and durable. When
AirMail 'installs' it copies programs to your computer, it does not add complex links (DLLs).
According to Jim Corenman, KE6RK, who wrote AirMail:
"The only caveat is that if AirMail has never been installed on the machine, then a library file might
be missing- vcl50.bpl which normally lives in the Windows/System32 folder. The fix is to copy that
file into the AirMail folder on the USB-drive. 73, Jim"
I have tried this, and included the vcl50.bpl file as Jim suggests, and found that AirMail will boot
and run from the flash USB drive on any other machine.
Of course, you may have to adjust the com ports for your new situation.
Page 32 of 107
Q1090 Are there any special things I need to know to get AirMail to work with the new Windows
Vista operating system?
A1090 First, a comment on upgrading to Windows Vista: If your new computer came with Windows Vista then that's
great. If you are contemplating upgrading your computer to Windows Vista then make sure that is what you
want to do. Windows-XP is robust and reliable; if yours is not then something has been compromised. And
upgrading a compromised system results in a compromised system with fancy new drapes. But if you have
a fast processor and at least a gigabyte of memory, then go for it.
The next question is an upgrade-installation or a clean install. Generally we prefer a clean install, but only if
the computer manufacturer supports Win-Vista for your computer, and provides driver updates. For example,
upgrading our three-year-old IBM Thinkpad was a piece of cake-- do a clean install for Win-Vista, go to the
Lenovo website support/downloads page and install the system-update file for Windows Vista. We were
impressed, but your mileage will vary.
There are a couple of issues when running AirMail under Windows Vista, mostly related to new Vista security
features. The short answer is that AirMail works fine under Win-Vista when run as an administrator. A new
security feature of Windows Vista is "User Account Control" (UAC). Remember, if you can do anything useful
with your computer, it is not sufficiently secure. "User Account Control" is a watchdog service that does two
things: warns you if you are trying to do something useful, e.g. run a program. And, if a program attempts to
write into protected areas (e.g. the "program files" folder), a virtual copy of the file or folder is created instead
for that user. The result, for AirMail, is severe schizophrenia, and release-notes that just keep reappearing.
Here's how to fix it:
First, install AirMail as usual: Download the file from the website and save it in a "downloads" folder, then
open that folder and open the downloaded file. AirMail will go through the install steps, and Windows may
show a "not installed properly" warning when finished-- click "Yes this installed normally" and continue.
Once installed, before running AirMail, right-click the AirMail desktop icon and select "properties", click the
"Compatibility" tab, and check "Run as administrator". This allows AirMail to write into its own folders
(otherwise prohibited). For AirMail versions prior to 3.3.090 also check "Run this program in compatibility
mode" and select Windows-XP SP2 (this will enable com-port descriptions).
You will continue to get warnings from UAC about an "unknown program" each time you start AirMail, and
you may want to disable UAC. You can disable UAC in Control panel: open "User Accounts" and turn "User
Account Control" off.
Help file: Vista does not include the program to display the traditional help files, "Winhlp32.exe". This may be
available for download, alternately it can be copied from Windows-XP C:\Windows folder. To do this you will
first need to set the permissions for the C:\Windows folder to allow Administrators full access, and to do this
you will need to first take ownership (right-click the Windows folder, select properties, then Security tab,
Advanced button, Owner tab, Edit button). Then copy the complete (277KB) Winhlp32.exe from Win-XP over
the 9KB "stub" Winhlp32.exe on Win-Vista.
The propagation program installs OK and runs properly under AirMail. It will not likely run correctly under its
own desktop icon without some fiddling similar to the above.
Upcoming versions of AirMail will move the user-folders into Win-Vista's user-space, while maintaining the
basic hardware settings in a common file. This will avoid issues with UAC as well as permitting separate
"personalities" if desired. The Help file will also be converted to HTML format. The goal is for AirMail to run
smoothly under Vista's highest security settings but this will take some effort.
[from Jim Corenman, author of AirMail; February 1, 2007]
Page 33 of 107
Q1150 I am having trouble getting AirMail to install. I followed the instructions on the web site, but
after I start the install it never seems to complete unzipping the files it grays out and an
AirMail button appears in the tray, but it doesn't do anything. No AirMail folder is created in
the Programs file. I've left it running for over a half hour and still nothing and if I hit cancel a
popup tells me that "install.exe is still running". Help please!
A1150 [from KF6PNA] Some versions of InstallShield have a problem working with screens that have
resolutions above 1024x768.
I have a desktop computer with 2 monitors connected. The primary is a 19" with resolution
1280x1024. The secondary is a 22" widescreen with resolution 1680x1050. With nothing left to
lose, and since I'd tried everything else I could find, I changed the resolution on the 19" to
1024x768, reran the installation and lo and behold, the setup dialog boxes appeared on my
monitor and I was able to complete the install.
I changed the resolution back and tried to do another install and noticed that I could just barely see
the dialog box along the right side of the screen. I was able to grab the setup dialog window and
drag it back onto the screen and was able to complete the installation. Then I figured one more test
was in order. I changed the configuration of the video card to only use the 19" monitor and ran
another install, with the resolution set to 1280x1024, and everything worked perfectly as it had in
the past.
The bottom line... The setup dialog boxes were displaying "off the screen" giving the appearance
that the install was hanging, when it was actually just waiting for a response. Problem solved! I'm
using an NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS video card with the latest drivers.
Q1170 Is there a way that I can use Bluetooth with AirMail? I am using WINE.
A1170 From a discussion forum by Owen Morgan LA7QZ about Airmail bluetooth operation under WINE.
Page 34 of 107
AirMail – Use - General
Q1500 There seems to be a very large message trying to download to me. My message pipeline is
plugged! It will take too much time to download.
How can I delete the message before it
A1500 Sometimes a very large message (with or without Attachments) gets sent to a WL2K user and the
attempted downloading of it results in very long air time and the inability to download other
messages. There are several methods available to fix this problem:
Method 1
If you have RMS Express installed on your computer, see FAQ 11680.
Method 2
Have someone who has access to your WebMail account read and off-load the message; then
Delete the message
Method 3 (See Q8510, Q8515) [Radio Secure Log-in must be turned OFF]
a. Set your program to the "Keyboard" mode. (AirMail is normally in the "Handshake" mode.
b. After connecting to a RMS station, type LM. This will give you a listing of the messages waiting
for you, complete with Message ID, size, and origination.
c. Find the number of the offending message. Copy and Paste its
Message number into a line to be sent back to the CMS as:
K xxxxxxxxxxxxx [xxxxxxxxxxxxx is the Message ID]
d. The message will then be Killed (Deleted). You will get a
confirmation of that back from the CMS.
e. Repeat (b) to confirm that the message is no longer in the queue
for you.
f. Disconnect (Disconnect Button or type BYE)
g. Connect again, in the normal Handshake mode. The Pipe will be
h. Send a note back to the offending Sender.....
The KM command will work also, but ALL of your messages will be deleted.
Method 4
Download the message via Telnet (Internet Access) or the WL2K web page, if an internet
connection is available.
Method 5: Request the System Administrator to delete the message.
Page 35 of 107
Q1540 I want to use AirMail with “Internet Access”, Packet, and Pactor. Do I need three different
computers, or three “instances” of AirMail on one computer?
A1540 No, a single installation of AirMail on a single computer will handle your needs. The three
communications access methods each have their own unique communications “Module” within the
main AirMail software. If you expect to have the Packet Module and the HF Terminal (Pactor
Module) open at the same time, they each need to have different port numbers.
Q1580 What is the “Catalog” part of AirMail?
A1580 AirMail's "Catalog" window can be used to request weather bulletins and other documents from the
Winlink 2000 system for hams, and also from the Saildocs server operated by the Sailmail
association but also accessible via e-mail by WL2K users. The AirMail catalog is found under the
Window menu, Catalog selection. The catalog window is divided into two panels- on the left is a
"tree" showing various folders, similar to AirMail's message-index tree or Windows Explorer. These
folders represent categories of documents which can be requested.
The catalog entries are organized first into sections for "WL2K" and "Saildocs". Clicking the little
"+" will expand a selection, clicking a "-" will collapse it (just like Windows Explorer). The right and
left-arrow keys can also be used to expand and collapse folders.
Under "WL2K" are a folder for "global" bulletins, plus a folder for each station which has been
seen, containing that stations local bulletins as well as the "update" listings. Under the "global"
folder are folders for each bulletin category, click on these (or use the arrow keys) to open that
folder and show the contents in the list on the right side. Bulletins or documents are requested by
checking the corresponding check-box, see Winlink 2000 Bulletins for more information.
Of particular interest and use for WL2K users are the WL2K_Help and WL2K_Users folders.
These folders contain messages that can request specific Help files and specific “current”
information regarding WL2K users.
Under "Saildocs" is a series of category-folders. The "Grib files" category is a special folder which
brings up a grib-request window with a world map for requesting grib weather-data files. See "Grib
Weather Files" for more information on requesting grib data. Saildocs also includes a large number
of text weather-bulletin documents which can be requested. These are organized into folders
under "Saildocs" for the different ocean regions. Some areas have sub-folders to further divide the
selection for easy browsing. Also, many bulletins are listed under more than one heading, for
example Atlantic hurricane bulletins are listed under both "Atlantic" and "Tropical". See "Saildocs
Catalog" for more information on requesting documents from Saildocs.
Page 36 of 107
Q1600 How do I update the list of messages in the Catalog?
A1600 Every time there is a small change, deletion or addition to the WL2K Catalog displayed in the
AirMail menu "Window>Catalogs," the list should be updated periodically to take advantage of the
changes and additions. This is done by sending a “Request” message to the WL2K CMS; then
waiting for the updated Catalog to come back from the CMS
The Update is relatively short, while obtaining a new List is a bit longer. Either way, once the
change is received, AirMail automatically updates your existing Catalog list. The method for
obtaining a revised list is as follows:
Go to the AirMail menu item "Window>Catalogs."
what you have in your present Catalog.
Do either 2a, 2b, or 2c; depending on
2a. Under Catalog, expand "WL2K' further to show some of the RMS or CMS call signs.
Pick a RMS or CMS that you wish to use and Click on that callsign. On the right-hand side you
will see both "LIST" and "UPDATE." Go to Step 3.
2b. On the left, expand the directory tree to Catalogs….WL2K…Global.
In the “Code” column you should find “LIST” and “UPDATE”. Go to Step 3.
2c. Create a new message, using the following format:
To: [email protected]
Subject: REQUEST
In the body of the message include either one of the following lines:
[if you want an entire new Catalog file]
[if you want a simple update to your present Catalog file]
Go to Step 4
3. Check either "UPDATE" or "LIST." If you choose "UPDATE," all changes & additions will be
shown, BUT the deletions will NOT be taken away. However, if you choose "List," then you will
have a fresh new shorter list. Unless otherwise instructed, an update will be adequate.
4. Post the message to WL2K and Send your request.
5. Wait a minute; check back into any RMS or CMS and retrieve the information you requested.
Once the update or new list has been received, it will automatically update your AirMail Catalog
List. If it does not, restart AirMail. If that does not update your Catalog, select (do not Open) the
update message you just received; then go to Tools….Update Catalog.
Page 37 of 107
Q1610 What is GRIB weather data?
A1610 GRIB is a file format and stands for Grid In Binary. It is used for the storage, transport and manipulation of
gridded meteorological data, such as Numerical Weather Prediction model output. It is designed to be selfdescribing, compact and portable across computer architectures. The GRIB standard was designed and is
maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.
GFS is a mathematical model developed from USA weather offices. GFS stands for Global Forecast System
and is a global numerical weather prediction model run by NOAA/NWS. This model runs four times a day. It
is "pointed" to USA. It means that every mile AWAY from the "center" has less probability of a correct
prediction. In USA and Atlantic the probability is more than 75% that is really good. In Mediterranean it is
around 50%. It means that if the grib says "South" it has the same probability than "North"; and it is not good!
The local bulletins in the WX_ area is the best solution for Mediterranean sailors
Grib files are extracted from a computer forecast model (GFS). While such computer data can provide useful
guidance for general wind flow, there are limitations which must be understood. The file is a weather
prediction generated by a computer run by NOAA/NCEP (GFS, WW3 models) or the US Navy (comaps,
nogaps) and downloaded and processed by Saildocs (a service of Sailmail). The network is complex, and
any computer network is subject to hardware and software failures or human error which can effect accuracy
or availability of data. In particular, if servers were not able to download a current data file then the grib-file
may be based on old data.
Also remember that grib data is not reviewed by forecasters before being made available. You are getting a
small part of the raw model data that the forecasters themselves use when writing a forecast, and it is your
responsibility to make sure that the data is consistent with your local conditions and with the professionallygenerated forecasts (e.g. text bulletins and weather-fax charts).
Grib data also has limitations along shore, where local effects often dominate and may not be adequately
modeled. In addition these models cannot provide adequate prediction for tropical systems, frontal activity or
convergence zones. For example, while global models can provide useful data on the likely track of
hurricanes, they grossly underestimate the strength of hurricanes because of their small size compared to
the model grid. For hurricane/cyclone forecasts, carefully monitor the appropriate warning messages and do
not rely on grib data from any source.
That all said, grib data can provide useful guidance not available elsewhere. Understand the limitations and
use the data carefully. Grib data should be considered supplemental to other forecasts, and not be relied
upon in lieu of professionally-generated charts or forecasts.
AirMail does not understand the Euro coamps lat-lon limits, you will need to
format the request manually. You can create a "GFS" request and then change
the code from "GFS" to "coamps", and change the grid if desired.
See or send a (blank) email to:
[email protected] for more info on formatting grib requests.
Additional info regarding grib files can be obtained from the AirMail Help file or from or from
Q1630 Is there a maximum number of addresses that can appear in the AirMail “To” line?
A1630 No; however keep in mind that most folks use some sort of spam-filter on the receiving end, and
most spam-filters are sensitive to messages with a bazillion "to" or "cc" addresses- lots of cc's is
something often used by spam. So keeping the number of recipients down to a reasonable number
per message will increase the chances of getting it through.
Page 38 of 107
Q1660 How is it possible to view all addresses in the “To” line as I add them to it?
A1660 Save the message, then select View menu, Message-header, and re-open the message. You will
see the complete headers with word-wrap, easy to check or copy.
Q1700 How can I select multiple addresses in the address book?
A1700 Create an address-book entry called "Group" or whatever, enter one to-address and as many ccaddresses as you want, one per line. To copy/paste; use the right-click menu (or the usual
windows shortcut ctrl-V to paste).
Q1720 How can I print out a message, if I don’t have a printer connected to my computer?
A1720 If you have a “thumb drive” and another computer (with printer) is available in your vicinity, try this:
Select the message (do not Open).
Select File…..Import/Export…..Export email format.
as a text file on your thumb drive.
This will enable you to Save the message
If the message has Attachments, “Save As” them on your thumb drive, by right-clicking with the
Move your thumb drive to the other computer.
Open the files and Print.
Q1750 AirMail version 3.4.062 does not seem to Forward Attachments. Why?
A1750 There appears to be a bug in that version. Version 3.3.081 does not have that problem. A “work
Use the REPLY Icon (Format a Reply Message)
Left click in the empty body.
Right click, and then choose Append Original Message
Click YES button to include original Attachments
Change address for the recipient from the originator to the receiver. Add your extra text.
Page 39 of 107
AirMail – Setup (HF Pactor)
Q2000 I have connected to a RMS Pactor station, with a Posted message to go out, but it won’t go.
A2000 You may not have your BBS Forwarding Protocol set to “B2F”. See
Tools…Options…Settings…System Settings
Q2050 I have heard talk about my PK232MBX not working on Pactor. What is this all about?
A2050 The early PK232mbx models with firmware rev. of 7.0 have code in them that effects how binary
files are transferred. The WL2K folks found that the B2F protocol is the most effective way to
transfer files. However with older code in the firmware, the PK232 cannot use this protocol so it
switches to the FBB protocol, which is slower.
The whole point is that you get a slower throughput with the older firmware. In revision 7.1 the code has
been changed to accommodate B2F, but do not expect to see a major increase in throughput
because it is still only Pactor 1. To see a major increase in throughput you need to go to Pactor 2
or 3 (with a SCS tnc).
The PK232mbx will not support use of the GetFAX function.
Page 40 of 107
AirMail – Use (HF Pactor)
Q2500 How do I choose which RMS Pactor Station to use?
A2500 Use the data from the AirMail propagation module (View…Propagation) to give you guidance on
which stations and frequencies are better than others, at the time of day you want to connect.
Do NOT try to connect on a frequency that is in use!
Use RMS Pactor stations which should have a very strong signal with you, according to data from
the propagation module.
Use lower frequencies (80 and 40 meters) if possible.
30 meters is a very useable “forgotten” band.
Use Pactor 3 or Pactor 2 if you have them. It saves everyone time, and makes more RMS time
available for other users.
Use one of the stations that are not quite so “busy” as others. You can get a feel for this by going
to the WL2K web page….Reports…..RMS HF Station Status;
Click on the station symbol callsign….
Q2510 I am not getting solid Connects with any RMS Pactor Station. What could be wrong?
A2510 Several items could affect the performance:
See the AirMail Help files. See Q950.
Does the LSB/USB configuration of your radio match that of your TNC?
Are you on the correct EXACT center (not dial) frequency? The main frequency chart is
listed as center frequency. In the lower right hand corner of the Terminal screen on the AirMail
Terminal form, you will find the actual dial frequency. The dial frequency varies with modem type
and other factors, while the center frequency is always the same, regardless of mode of operation
or sideband used.
The TNC to computer baud rate should be set as high as possible, given the specs of your
computer and TNC.
Over modulation of the transmit audio? You should barely see any ALC with full output to your
transceiver. This can be set up in AirMail. Read the AirMail help files. Reduce the transmit audio
gain level. Less is Better.
Turn off all processors, compressors and filters on both the receiver and transmitter.
Is your receive bandwidth filter wide enough for the mode used? Pactor 3 needs 2.4 KHz.; Pactor
2 needs 0.7 KHz; Pactor 1 needs 0.6 KHz.
Some radios do not perform well with both the microphone and the TNC connected simultaneously
to the radio. Disconnect the microphone.
Page 41 of 107
Maybe you have an “RF or Audio” problem due to RF feedback into your system. A symptom on
this problem would be a “better” signal, when using a very low power output. Use ferrite chokes
and/or less power output. This feedback can also be reduced by Increasing the audio level from
the TNC and decreasing the transmit audio gain at the transmitter.
If you are using a battery for power, is the battery voltage too low? In this case maybe a lower
power output setting may work better.
Listen to your transmitted signal with another receiver. Does it sound like that of a public RMS
Pactor station? See above.
Maybe you need a better antenna?
Install a better earth ground connection or counterpoise.
Q2520 I am not getting solid Connects with one particular RMS Pactor Station. What could be
A2520 Several items might improve the performance:
See the AirMail Help files. See Q950
Change to a difference frequency band for that RMS Pactor Station
Try a connection at a different time of day.
Use another RMS Pactor Station. It does not matter. They are all transparent to the system.
If the audio from the RMS Pactor Station sounds distorted or “different”, that station may have a
problem. Notify the Sys Op by sending an email to: [email protected]
Q2525 I am using pactor 1 with my MFJ-1278 to Connect just fine to a RMS Pactor station.
However I can’t seem to upload or download any messages. What could be wrong?
A2525 That particular TNC does not support the “B2F” compression protocol, required by WL2K.
However you should be able to exchange messages with other pactor stations, using the peer-topeer approach. See Q5000.
Page 42 of 107
Q2530 I have connected to a RMS Pactor Station and messages are flowing, but VERY SLOWLY.
Any suggestions?
A2530 If you are “almost done” with the transfers, hang in there and wait for the finish.
If you will have a significant estimated time left to finish the transfer, do a Hard Disconnect (hit the
Button twice). Pick another RMS Pactor Station, another frequency for the same RMS Pactor
Station, modify your equipment for a better signal, or wait until propagation conditions improve.
There are many RMS Pactor Station’s and frequency bands available; something usually works
better…now. The Magic of WL2K!
When you make the next connection, AirMail tells the RMS Pactor Station how much of the
message(s) have already been transferred, and the process will continue from where it left off on
the previous connection.
See Q2680.
Q2533 I have heard that there may be problem, using my Icom 706MkIIG with Pactor 2 and Pactor
A2533 The very early (you would have to check with Icom to get the serial number range) versions of the
706 MkIIG have issues with a slow transmit rise time which adversely affects Pactor 2 and Pactor
3 performance. Apparently it occurred during the first month of production. There is a mod
required which will correct the problem. An article describing a fix for this problem is in the Yahoo
WL2K Emcomm User Group. See Message numbers 9735 and 9736 at:
As of January 2009, Icom will modify these radios at no charge as long as that model is still in
production. A 706 MkIIG with serial number 01718 had this problem and it was remedied with this
modification, done by Icom.
Q2535 When using the HF Terminal window I constantly have to use the scroll bar to keep up
with the information showing in the window. How can I keep that from happening?
To fix the scrolling problem:
1. Maximize the Terminal window.
2. "Restore Down" the Terminal window (the box next to the Close Box)
3. Scroll down to the bottom of the Terminal window.
The Terminal window should then scroll up automatically, with new information
Q2540 After a message for me arrives at the CMS, how does a RMS Station initiate a Connect with
A2540 It doesn't. RMS Stations are "listeners" only, scanning several frequencies on several bands.
They do not send out any beacon messages. They just sit and scan and scan and scan, waiting
for someone to call them. You need to call the RMS Station to initiate a Connect,
You must also initiate the Connect with interacting with a RMS Packet station.
Page 43 of 107
Q2545 Are RMS Pactor Stations considered to be "automatic robot" stations?
A2545 That depends on your definition of "robot" and "automatic". RMS Pactor Stations have their
transceivers and TNC's controlled by the station computer. They are usually "unattended" by their
Control Operator. Transmissions will begin ONLY after the receiver detects being called by
another station AND in the moments before the call the frequency was deemed to be “not
occupied” by the RMS Pactor Station (this is a new feature). Loss of a satisfactory receive signal
will time out the transmitter and Disconnect with the user station.
Possible modes and frequencies are enabled by software, abiding to government regulations.
The list of scanned frequencies may change, depending on time-of-day. Get the RMS Pactor
Station Frequency List from ZS5S or the WL2K website for the latest information (see Q2560).
Q2550 How do I find what frequencies the RMS Pactor Stations are scanning?
A2550 AirMail has a built-in frequency list of all public RMS Pactor Stations. The scanned frequencies of
a particular RMS Pactor Station show up in the HF Terminal Window, when the RMS Pactor
Station is selected. Be sure to set your radio dial to the “Dial Frequency” shown at the bottom of
the Terminal Window. The frequency shown above is (depending on setup) the Center
Q2560 How can I keep the Frequency List up-to-date?
A2560 Download the list of Public RMS Pactor Stations List from this site at Tools….Live System
Information….RMS List
EmComm operators can receive a special EmComm RMS Pactor list from their local RMS sysop.
These lists are compiled by the WL2K server from actual on-air stations reporting in within the last
48 hours of the time you download them. You can also download those special Emcomm lists
from, if you have the correct “Service Code”, available from your local Emcomm
A Public RMS frequency list for Pactor, Packet, Robust Packet, or WINMOR stations can also be
downloaded from the Catalog part of AirMail:
Q2570 How do I download a new Frequency List, using AirMail?
A2570 To download a new Frequency List for inclusion in AirMail, follow the instructions below:
1. Go to Menu items: Windows…Catalogs…WL2K…Global…WL2K_RMS
2. Check the Box labeled “PUB_PACTOR”. Post to WL2K.
3. Check into a RMS Station (or the CMS) to send the request.
4. Check for new mail in a few minutes. A new message should be there for you, with the latest
frequency information.
Page 44 of 107
Go to Q2580 for installation instructions.
Q2580 After I have downloaded the new Frequency List, how do I install it in AirMail?
A2580 1. Open AirMail. A message with the new list (embedded in the message) should be in your In
Box. Select it [do not Open]
2. Go to “Tools….Make Frequency List”.
3. Scroll through the list; verify that it is the “new” list.
4. If your list is a “Public” list, and you have additional Emcomm RMS Pactor stations to add, Copy
and Paste the info for any Emcomm RMS Pactor stations you want to include. See Q2590.
5. Click the "Update" button, the program will go into a frenzy of formatting.
6. Click "Save" the frequency list.
7. Go to “View….Frequency List”
8. Check the stations what you would like to include in your HF Terminal window list.
9. Update….Save….Ok
10. Close AirMail….Open AirMail
Q2590 Where can I find a list of RMS Pactor stations which are primarily supporting “emergency
A2590 See the list of active public and EmComm RMS Pactor stations at:
Send an email to one of the Emcomm stations in your local area, requesting the list and your
intended use of the list.
Merge the Emcomm list with the Public list, in the same text file. Install in AirMail in the “HAM”
System. See Q2580
Q2595 I have been trying to send a message via an Emcomm RMS Pactor Station (KL7EDK). It will
not go. It is Posted to WL2K. Why won’t the message be sent?
A2595 You probably have your Emcomm RMS Pactor stations in a unique AirMail “System”, other than
“HAM”. The message will be sent if you either Post it to KL7EDK, or Post it to WL2K and include
the station data for KL7EDK in the “HAM” System.
Page 45 of 107
Q2600 Are there some “maintenance” things I should be doing to keep AirMail and my part of
WL2K running smoothly?
A2600 Yes, like most hardware and software, revisions occur.
a) Frequency List. See Q2560 and Q2570. This should be done every 1-2 months, only if you
are using the HF part of WL2K
b) AirMail Catalog. You should probably update this 2-3 times each year. See Q1580 and
c) If you are using a TNC, update the Firmware. If you have a SCS TNC, it is updated about
every year. Check the SCS web page for news about a new release. The latest is version 3.9.
Your version number will show on the Terminal Window when you start up. The updating process
is a shore chore, using the internet
download from the SCS web page
start AirMail
Tools....Update PTC Firmware
d) AirMail software. The latest non-beta version is 3.4.034. It is available by Clicking on the
“AirMail” name at the top of the column from the WL2K web page at:
e) Winlink 2000 FAQ file. This is a pdf user "help", revised several times each year. Download
from or the WL2K website. Please send new material to [email protected]
as you learn things that other folks might not know. You are now using that file!
Q2650 It seems like there are not many RMS Pactor stations that will accept a Connect from my
pactor 1 equipment. Why?
A2650 The throughput of pactor 2 is about 3x the throughput of pactor 1. The throughput of pactor 3 is
about 30x the throughput of pactor 1. See Q170. If a particular RMS Pactor operator can keep
his station relatively “busy”, accepting only pactor 2 or 3 connects, he will probably choose to go
the “no pactor 1” route. By doing that, his station is providing the “most data transfer” for the “most
users”. Each RMS Pactor station owner/operator independently makes a decision regarding the
use of pactor 1. RMS Pactor stations have given special considerations to pactor 1 users during
unique events. E-mail a RMS Pactor Station with your special requests. They have the
software ability to accept pactor 1 Connects on specific bands, and/or during specific times during
the day.
The overall goal is to maximize the throughput on any given available band segment. The addition
of Emcomm RMS Pactor stations will provide additional support for pactor 1 users.
Page 46 of 107
Q2680 Is pactor 3 the best mode to use, all the time?
A2680 Not always. Sometimes pactor 2 has a better throughput than pactor 3; usually when using a
narrow (0.5 kHz) receive filter to improve the signal/noise ratio of the received signal. This may
occur during “noisy” band conditions or when the band is particularly crowded.
Page 47 of 107
AirMail – Setup (VHF/UHF Packet)
Q3000 I have one of the new Kenwood radios (D700) with a built-in “Tasco” TNC. Will it work with
AirMail (Packet Client module)?
A3000 Yes, but proceed very cautiously. The first versions of the D700, TH-D7, etc. have a very small
Other radios which have this same packet performance are the Kenwood TS-2000, TH-D7,
and Alinco DR-135. The radios will work fine if used with an external TNC supported by AirMail.
The built-in TNC will can also access WL2K via the “Keyboard” method (see Q8000).
It can also access WL2K in a limited manner by using the special APRSLINK method described at:
A process for using the Alinco DR-135 (with internal “Tasco” TNC) with AirMail is described
in Q3005.
Both Paclink and RMS Express now have KISS drivers available for use with all radios with
the “built in” TNC. See Q7016 (Paclink) or Q11220 (RMS Express).
The newer model radios (D710A, etc) have a larger buffer and work better if they are used in the
KISS mode.
From K6ACJ ----The TH-D7, D700 and D710 all work on Packet using the KISS mode and
actually the same KISS configuration; I use the TAPR2 TNC in AGWPE.
The difference in buffers between each will cause problems but the
D710 has been tested extensively and seems to work fine. The TH-D7
will work on very short messages but sometimes lock up. When the
TH-D7 locks up a FULL RESET must be performed and all the settings and
memory are returned to Factory default. So, if you want to
experiment with the D7, use the Free Kenwood Memory configuration
program to READ and SAVE the D7 settings making it very easy to
restore after the inevitable crash.
The D700 didn't lock up but if I recall I keep maxframe to 1 and
paclen to 64, same as I used for the D7.
The D710 worked fine on packet and Winlink 2000, I was able to extend
maxframe and paclen settings out for longer messages, so in my opinion
the D710 is Ok for packet and Winlink 2000.
Page 48 of 107
Q3005 How do I configure my AGWPE software to enable AirMail to be used with the Alinco DR135, using its internal TNC?
A3005 K7CPO has had good results with the following setup procedure, using AirMail 3.3.081. AGWPE
or AGW Packet Engine Pro is also needed with AirMail (with the addition of AMPE or
AMPEstreams22 (see Q3015). It has been successfully tested with several RMS Pactor stations,
both directly and via Nodes.
If your computer is “old and slow” it may not have enough cpu speed to handle all of the needed
software. It works fine with a Pentium 4, 3.2 GHz.
Edit the AirMail ini file; set Packet Length=126.
Save the file.
Use a DB-9 male/female cable between the DR-135 and the serial port (or serial/usb adapter) on
your computer.
The Port setup for AGWPE or AGWPE Pro is:
9600 baud radio to computer
TARP TNC2 [blank]
Kiss Simple
ExitKISS on Exit
Single Port
Check Every 120
Use the VFO to determine the packet frequency
Turn on the radio; get into the Data mode by pushing the Function key, then the Squelch
Start AMPE (or AMPEstreams22) and the Airmail Packet Client.
Operate the AirMail Packet Client as “normal”.
It is VERY helpful to use the “monitor” part of AGWPE to monitor the health of the software,
hardware, and packet frequency activity.
The radio/software will “lockup” if any of the following (there may be others) are done:
Changing power level
Changing from Data to Voice to Data
To recover: restart the radio; restart the software.
Page 49 of 107
Q3010 I am using AirMail 3.3.048. I would like to use the Packet Client module with my Sound
Card, using the AGW-PE “TNC” selection. It doesn’t seem to work at all. What am I doing
A3010 Nothing. The reference to “AGW-PE” was mistakenly left in the code by the AirMail author, who is
in the process of writing code to enable FUTURE versions of AirMail (Packet Client module) to
work with Sound Cards and TNC’s using KISS, with the addition of the AGW-PE software.
However KG9OG has come up with additional software to enable the AirMail Packet Client to work
through the AGW software to your Sound Card. See Q3015
Page 50 of 107
Q3015 So, is there a way that the AirMail Packet Client can be used with Sound Cards and TNC’s
that are not on the pull-down setup list?
A3015 Yes! KG9OG has come up with additional software to enable the AirMail Packet Client to work
through the AGW software to your Sound Card device or any TNC that can be placed in the KISS
mode. An additional benefit of using this method with any TNC is that you will be able to
monitor all packet traffic on the frequency, using the Monitor function of the AGW software.
N7XOO has written the following instructions to use for AirMail 3.3.081 or 3.4.034 Beta and
Windows XP, 2000, or Vista.
Configuring AirMail Packet Client to work with AGWPE or AGW Packet Engine Pro
For Windows XP, 2000 and Vista 32-bit (Vista 64-bit is untested):
The purpose of this process is to enable the AirMail software “Packet Client” module to work with mostany
sound card device or TNC that can be placed in the KISS mode, and with enough buffer memory to
handle the demands of AirMail, and your computer CPU is quick enough for AGW.
This configuration requires the addition of one or two additional pieces of software, each approximately
3M in size. Both are free-ware. The following assumes that you already have AGW working well on
your computer.
1. Download, unzip, and install the “AirMail to Packet Engine” program (AMPE),
(AMPEstreams22 may be substituted for AMPE as required, see web page listed below for
download and configuration instructions)
The link to the AMPE program (written by Brian Smith KG9OG) is;
After installing, read the excellent Help File and look for the Startup Command string. You now
need a way to start AMPE; do either (a) or (b)
(a) AMPE Shortcut
If a shortcut for AMPE is not on your desktop, create a shortcut on your desktop to AMPE16.EXE.
Then edit that shortcut, by right clicking, selecting “Properties” and then on the “Shortcut” tab in the
“Target” box add the information as below; substituting the call you are using in AirMail for
MYCALL, click Apply and then Ok. (NOTE: Be sure to add a space after AMPE16.EXE before
entering the first letter of MYCALL)
“C:\ampe\AMPE16.EXE” MYCALL,1,TRUE,8000,8100 where MYCALL is the call you are using
for AirMail, and “1” is the AGW Port you are using
(b) AGW Packet Engine “Other Software Autostart”
AGW Packet Engine or AGW Packet Engine Pro may also be used to define the Command String.
Within AGW, select Setup…Auto Start other programs….ampe16.exe
the Startup Command String would be “MYCALL,1,TRUE,8000,8100”
[you need to scroll to the right to see the column for the Command String information]
Page 51 of 107
2 If you are using AirMail 3.4.034 Beta, go to Step 3. If you are using AirMail 3.3.081, continue:
Start AGWPE, then AMPE, then AirMail;
In AirMail click Tools…Options…Modules….VHF Packet Client Setup
Enter KAM+ for the TNC type and T8100 (T8200 for AMPstreams) for the Com Port
Click OK and then Apply and Ok to close the AirMail Options window. You may not really
be using a KAM+ but that’s what is recommended for a choice. [The actual interface with
your TNC is determined by the port settings in AGW, except for Packet Length].
Start the AirMail Packet Client Module. The Packet Client window should say “Packet
initialized OK”
Go to Step 10. [the port redirector software is not needed if you are using AirMail 3.3.081]
3. Download and install the Lantronix CPR (Com Port Redirector) version
The link to the Lantronix file is;
Be sure to use the 3 version; the 4 version doesn’t seem to work for this application. The purpose of this
software is to enable you to create a “Virtual Com Port” on your computer (with a number than is not
already being used), and to “re-direct” that Virtual Com Port to
the actual Port number (1, 2, 3, etc)
that you have previously configured as part of the AGW software.
IGNORE all the install and setup error messages when installing on Vista 32-bit.
The program will still install. Unblock ports in any Windows Firewall messages.
4. Reboot the computer.
5. Open the Lantronix Com Port Selector Program and click the “Com Setup” button. Select a com
port number that is not used by your computer.
Click the Port settings box and check "Raw", click the “Add IP” button and enter for Host and
8100 for Port. Click “OK” and then click “Save”.
IGNORE any setup error messages when installing on Vista 32-bit.
6. Reboot Again. The Lantronix software will now be running in the background. Verify the existence of
your new “Virtual Port” by looking at Control Panel….System…Hardware…Device Manager….Ports.
NOTE: For Vista 32bit, Device Manager will not show the Virtual Com Port, but it IS
7. Configure AirMail Packet Client to use the virtual com port you set up in the
Lantronix CPR and choose KAM+ for the TNC. You may not really be using a KAM+ but
that's what's recommended for a choice. [The actual interface with your TNC is
determined by the port settings in AGW, except for Packet Length]
Page 52 of 107
8. Close AirMail and edit the Airmail.ini file
Backup your airmail.ini file; then do the following editing.
Within the [Packet Client] section “comment out” lines by inserting a semi-colon at the beginning of these
lines. See the Example below. Note that in this example COM12 is your “Virtual Port”; not the com port of
the device you will actually use.
All other settings remain the same, just add semi-colons starting with Tx Delay and ending with Packet
Length 2.
[Packet Client]
Port Settings=COM12:9600,N,8,1
Show Link Messages=1
Packet Length=126
;Tx Delay=600
;Slot Time=300
;Max Frames=2
;Frack Time=6000
;Max Tries=10
;Response Delay=2000
;Check Time=30000
;Radio Baud=1200
;Tx Level=500
;Tx Delay 2=600
;Persistence 2=64
;Slot Time 2=300
;Max Frames 2=2
;Frack Time 2=6000
;Max Tries 2=10
;Response Delay 2=2000
;Check Time 2=30000
;Radio Baud 2=1200
;Tx Level 2=500
;Packet Length 2=120
Save and Close the airmail.ini file
9. Start AGWPE, then AMPE, then AirMail; then start the AirMail Packet Client Module.
You should see a pop-up message from the Lantronix Com Port Redirector, and then in the Packet Client
window it should say “Packet initialized OK”.
10. You should now be up and running with the Packet Client window. When you click “Connect”;
AirMail will be using the port and device you have configured in AGWPE (or AGW Packet Engine
[written by Gary Harrison, N7XOO; January 9, 2008, revised February 17, 2009]
[edited by Don Felgenhauer, K7BFL, April 26, 2009, March 12, 2012]
Page 53 of 107
Q3017 I have gotten AMPEstreams 2.2 to work with my USB Signalink and AirMail. It works great. I
ran into trouble when I created another TNC in Packet Engine Pro, the Alinco DR-135 radio.
The Alinco was on port 2 and would not talk to AMPEstreams 2.2. I am not sure how
AMPEstreams uses two ports?
A3017 The last version of AMPE was 1.6 and AMPE was a one port application. So switch to
AMPEstreams 2.2 if you haven't already. The instructions for using AMPEstreams with more than
one Packet Engine port are in the AMPEstreams Help file. Best to use the Rev1 Help file available
Basically when you start AMPEstreams you can set the default Packet engine radio port to use by
specifying the proper command line arguments. See the AMPEstreams Help file. Using the Packet
engine program start menu option makes command prompt inclusion easy.
Then if you want to initiate an outgoing connect from your AirMail through a different Packet
Engine radio port add space # Packet Engine radio port number after the callsign string in your
AirMail connect to text box.
ie: AirMail packet module connect to text box> W1AW #2
More details are in the AMPEstreams Help file.
[from KG9OG]
Page 54 of 107
Q3020 I have the Packet Client module configured, but I can’t seem to be able to connect to any
RMS Packet stations. Help!
A3020 You may have some basic packet setup deficiencies. With the same equipment, can you connect
to ANY other packet stations? Are you on the correct frequency? Is your transmit audio level set
Some radios do not perform well with both the microphone and the TNC connected simultaneously
to the radio. Disconnect the microphone.
There are a couple of books available which describe some of the basics of setting up and
operating a packet station. They are: "Your Gateway To Packet Radio" and “Practical Packet
Radio”, both written by Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU. Both books are out of print, but can be obtained
at reasonable prices from your local used book store or on-line book sellers.
N8UR has excellent basic packet audio level setup information available at:
KC2RLM has a great web page regarding “Sound Card Packet” at:
Larry Kenney (WB9LOZ) has an excellent “Introduction to Packet Radio”, available from:
Q3023 Is there an “optimum” Packet Length, when using the AirMail Packet Client?
A3023 Yes, 126 is the magic number. Numbers larger than 126 bytes will result in alternate “large” and
“small” packets being sent; with the average being 126.
Page 55 of 107
Q3025 I get a major amount of RF noise generated somehow from my laptop. This often interferes
with the ability of the PTC IIe modem from linking with the incoming WL2K station. Some of
the noise is reduced when I simply get out of AirMail. This leads me to think it might come
down the USB/serial ports for controlling the rig and/or the USB/serial port for the SCS PTC
I switched to a newer laptop and found the noise level significantly less. However the
laptop still seems to bump up the RF noise level.
I have several RF choke coils around the power leads, the serial
computer control cable, and the PTC modem serial cable. Any solutions?
A3025 Laptops DO generate an incredible amount of noise. If you are using an HT the best solution is to
use an external antenna. This puts some distance between the laptop and the transceiver’s
antenna. A 20 foot distance may help.
Other possible remedies:
1) Switching power supplies for Laptops. Use an Aircraft grade supply.
2) Put ferrite chokes (snap-ons) on all the cables coming from the computer serial, mouse, power
3) Use a RF filtered DC source for the Transceiver....make sure it has 20+
ampere capability.
4) Bypass other sources (Refrigerators, bilge pumps, chargers, alternator
etc) at the source with good quality RF bypass capacitors.
Get a good book on RF Interference. Read the AirMail Help files.
There is usually no one silver bullet...normally several things each reduce
the noise a smaller amount.
See the web site of K0BG (see Q950); good information about grounding, noise, static.
Useful information about RF ground systems is available at:
Page 56 of 107
Q3030 I am using a KPC3+ with AirMail Packet Client, telling AirMail that it is a “KPC3”. The TNC
uses software (XMITLVL) to set the audio transmit level. I set the value to 130 with another
program, before starting the packet client module. Everything works fine, until the next
time I start the packet client module; the value has been reset to 100 (default). How can I
get AirMail to not change the XMITLVL value?
A3030 Tell AirMail that you have a KAM+.
Here is another solution to the problem (from VA3RSA):
When setting up the "VHF Packet Client", the KPC-3+ user will usually select the KPC-3 type TNC
(nearest to KPC-3+). The TX Audio Level selection box is "greyed out" (can't be changed) with a
fixed value of 500 (millivolts).
The results are saved to the AirMail.ini file under the [Packet Client] section with TX Level 500.
When the "Packet Client" is started, AirMail will initialize the TNC. The value that has been set for
XMITLVL will be 280 (a result of the KPC-3+ converting 500 into digital setting 280). This can be
verified by closing the "Packet Client" and opening the "Dumb Terminal". At the command prompt
cmd: type 'xmitlvl' and it reports 280.
On my own KPC-3+ (ver. 9.1 ROM) I use XMITLVL 48 in combination with the radio's digital drive
level setting (other users may have completely different settings). I observed that the "TX Audio
Level" box can be "ungreyed" (i.e. made active/changeable) by selecting the TNC type as any one
of the PTC-II types. Non-PTC-II TNC's leave the box "greyed out" (unchangeable). I selected the
PTC-IIe (one-port type) and set the drive level to desired value (may require experiment etc.). In
my case entering 24 millivolts sets my XMITLVL to 48 which is what I want. Go back and select the
"KPC-3" TNC and save all settings.
CONFIRMING THE CHANGES: Checking AirMail.ini will confirm the setting TX level 24 (which will
get converted to xmitlvl=48). Next, start up the "Packet Client" and let the TNC initialize. Then
close down the "Packet Client" and start the "Dumb Terminal". You should find that XMITLVL is 48.
NOTE: The user must determine by experiment the correct setting of XMITLVL for their KPC3+/radio combination resulting in the correct TX deviation level (for my radio it happened to be 48).
Then adjust AirMail's "TX audio level (millivolts)" setting to give the required XMITLVL number (for
my case it was 24 millivolts).
Page 57 of 107
Q3040 I am using a KPC3 TNC. Is there a good way to set the transmit audio deviation at the
proper level?
A3040 Yes, here is how Airmail deals with TX Audio levels with the KPC series.
In the Airmail Tools/Options/Modules in the VHF Packet Client under SETUP second from the
bottom is TX Audio Level this is grayed out. This level is sent to the TNC when you start the
Packet Client and when you get the initialized OK prompt.
To set the correct level using a Deviation meter or Service Monitor, do the following:
In the Dumb Terminal at the CMD: type CAL this will bring up the calibration menu by selecting "T"
that will cause the PTT to engage and both tones will be generated. with the + and - keys you can
increase and decrease the audio levels till you get the correct deviation level. Now exit the
calibration menu, this will stop the PTT and tones. At the CMD: type XMITL and it will read back
the XMIT level. Note this number as it is the level you will need to set.
Note: the XMITL is from 0-502 Airmail defaults to 500 which will be at the 5 KHz+. The deviation
level that works the best our area is between 2.5 - 3.0 KHz dev. Each step in the XMITL is approx.
15 mV by the owner’s manual
Note: The TX Audio Level will be grayed out with the KPC3 you will need to change to any of the
PTC modem series to be able to change it. You will need to change back to KPC before you exit
and you will need to run the Packet Client to write the info to the TNC.
Now go to the Dumb Terminal and at the CMD: type XMITL and see how close you are to the
XMITL number you originally came up with for the correct deviation.
To get this right on you may need to go back and forth changing the TX Audio level in the Packet
Client SETUP screen and remember to run the Packet Client to write the info to the TNC.
Note: you must close the Packet Client window to be able to go to the Dumb Terminal screen. TX
Audio level and XMITL will not be the same number.
If you are using a KPC3+, continue on to the advice in Q3030
Q3050 I am having trouble with AirMail talking to my PK232MBX. My terminal program works ok.
What is the problem?
A3050 Most likely the problem is that your serial port was configured using your Terminal Program and
those settings do not match those required by AirMail. There are a few different approaches to
fixing this problem. Here is one.
In you Terminal Programs, such as WinPack, go to the cmd mode and type RESET. This will
reset you TNC.
Change the setting in your program to the following: Baud rate=9600, Start bit=8 parity=none,
Stop bit=1 and Handshake=Hardware. Save the changes.
Now send the Autobaud “*” cmd to the TNC and you should get the sign on message.
Page 58 of 107
Close your Terminal Program and open AirMail. Make sure you have AirMail set up to the
correct serial port and the right baud rate. You can check this by going to “Tools-Options” and
going to the “connection tab” and check the settings. Also go to the “module tab” then to VHF
Packet Client and then to the “setup” box and check the settings there. Make changes if
needed and save the setting. Now AirMail should work for you.
NOTE: Make sure you make the changes before you send the Autobaud command or you will be
right back to where you started from.
Q3060 I have been trying for some time now to get my PK232mbx to send and receive Pactor. I have
upgraded the PK232 to the latest firmware and DSP and USB port. It works fine in the “Dumb
Terminal” mode. Help?
A3060 There is a passage in the manual 4.3 #5 that states that the DCD must be off unless packets are
received. It must be on when receiving packets.
When the channel is quiet, the DCD LED must be OFF.
If the DCD LED stays on when the packet channel is quiet, your
PK-232 will never send packets to other stations.
The original DCD pot is prone to seize up and self-destruct. It is a 1000 ohm pot and can be easily
replaced. If it is grinding or hard to turn it time to replace it. Otherwise you won't be able to receive
signals sent back to you. Timewave will send you a replacement that has three wires soldered to a
panel mounted potentiometer and a new knob. They need five bucks and a padded envelope.
Sounds like you may have a reversed DCD problem. Funny enough the fix for that is to NOT use
the SQL line between the TNC and the radio. Then the TNC will behave normally.
Q3080 When I close AirMail and open my Terminal Program not all the functions work right. What
may be wrong?
A3080 AirMail turns off several functions that it does not need, such as Monitor. To restore those
functions you need to reset the TNC. Here is how:
Close the Packet Client window
Go to Tools….Dumb Terminal and wait for the cmd prompt to come up.
Type RESET and hit the Enter key. You will see many boxes with zeros and eight’s in
Now send the auto baud command and you will see the TNC sign on message. Now close
the dumb terminal and close AirMail.
Open your terminal program. You may need to enter you call and the date/time again. Your
terminal program should be ready to go.
Page 59 of 107
Q3100 I cannot get the Packet Client window to connect to a local VHF ham station, in fact the
Icom 706 MkII G doesn't transmit. (The window shows that AirMail's Packet Client is
connected to the SCS IIe modem). AirMail works great for me on HF, with the same
equipment. What am I doing wrong?
A3100 The 13 pin DIN on the back of the Icom 706 and IC-7000 normally has one PTT pin for HF control,
and another pin for VHF/UHF control. You can solve your problem three ways:
1. Obtain another cable that uses the VHF transmit control pin.
2. Obtain another cable that connects to the microphone jack on the 706; that cable will work for
both HF and VHF control.
3. Use the software menu on the radio to enable the HF control pin and the VHF/UHF control pin to
be the same pin [from Gary Wood (K6AUD) of Farallon Electronics]
Set menu item 30 (see page 54 in the ICOM manual) to the OFF position. This activates H-Send
(PTT) on pin 3 for all bands. The 13 pin input on the 706MKIIG will work for both Pactor and packet
operation with the SCS PTC-IIe, PTC-IIEX, and the PTC-IIUSB modems.
If you're using a PTC-II or a PTC-IIPRO containing a plug-in DSP packet module, then you will
need to use our #8120 cable for 1200 Baud, or our #8050 cable for 9600 Baud, which will connect
from the Packet port on the modem to the 6 pin mini-DIN packet connector on the rig. [NOTE:
this menu option is not available on the 706MKI or 706MII.]
Set menu item 20 (see page 131 of the Icom manual) to the OFF position. This activates H-Send
(PTT) on pin 3 for all bands. The 13 pin input on the 706MKIIG will work for both Pactor and packet
operation with the SCS PTC-IIe, PTC-IIEX, and the PTC-IIUSB modems.
If you're using a PTC-II or a PTC-IIPRO containing a plug-in DSP packet module, then you will
need to use our #8120 cable for 1200 Baud, or our #8050 cable for 9600 Baud, which will connect
from the Packet port on the modem to the 6 pin mini-DIN packet connector on the rig.
Page 60 of 107
AirMail – Use (VHF/UHF Packet)
Q3500 How do I find a working RMS Packet Station in my local area?
A3500 Where are two pages on the WL2K web site that will give you the information. The first one is a
map of RMS Packets that have reported to the Common Message Server within the past 24 hours.
It is a link off of the “Maps” tab. The link is:
Select the station symbol on the map or select the station call in the list to obtain detailed
information about the station’s location, frequency, etc.
A “RMS Packet Station Status” tells you the time since a station last checked with the Common
Message Server. It is from the “Reports” tab:
Another option is you can request of list of nearby RMS Packet stations from the AirMail “Catalog”.
To use this you must have a recent update of the WL2K catalog. You can do a list update or
a full list in AirMail. Once the list is updated you will find a new bulletin called
WL2K_PACKET under the category WL2K_USERS.
To use the new WL2K_PACKET function you will need to have posted a position report.
This can be done with AirMail using the position report menu. If you have posted a report
recently (within 30 days) and have not moved substantially that will be sufficient.
Now request bulletin WL2K_PACKET using AirMail’s catalog feature. This will put the
request out and it should be available for pickup in a few minutes. The request will have all
active RMS Packet stations and all RMS Packet servers within 100 miles (statute miles) of
your posted position. The call sign, Grid Square, distance and bearing, Frequency and
Baud rate will be in the list (example follows this message). Only those or RMS Packet
stations that have reported in the last 30 days will be considered in the list….normally
stations report about once per hour or so.
Q3510 I have heard that there are special “Posting Rules” needed when I use AirMail with a Node.
What is that all about?
A3510 Depending on the software used by the Node, you may need to do the following, when using
You need to use two Connect sessions; one to Receive messages, and another to Send
messages. This “problem” is associated with the packet Node modifying Yourcallsign when
talking to the RMS Packet station.
When receiving messages, “Connect As:” Yourcallsign-15. This will cause the CMS to download
messages to [email protected]
When sending messages, “Connect As:” Yourcallsign. This will cause your messages to be sent
out as coming from [email protected]
The Paclink software is not affected by this modification; messages can be sent and received in a
single session.
Page 61 of 107
Note: When using AirMail with a Node, try this “one step” Connect process; it may download
messages fine, without the above process:
Connect To: RMSPacketCallsign NodeCallsign
[no v or via used]
Q3520 I just connected to a RMS Packet Station (K7BFL-10) through a node (WR7VHF-4). I had
Posted three messages via K7BFL-10. None of my messages got sent. Why?
A3520 The messages also may need to be Posted to the FIRST station (WR7VHF-4) you connected to in
the connection process. It is best if you Post to WL2K.
Q3530 I am attempting to connect to a RMS Packet Station through a node called SEATAC. I
cannot connect to the node because I get an error message “AirMail not licensed to this call
sign”. Does AirMail need a license?
A3530 No, AirMail does not need any special licenses for amateur radio use. You got that error message
because you tried to connect to a node “alias” name, instead of the node’s call sign.
Q3540 Will AirMail work with more than one Node?
A3540 AirMail will work with more than 1 node. The procedure:
1. Select the Keyboard mode.
2. Enter the Call [NOT the Alias name] of the first node in the "Connect To:" box
3. After connecting to the first node, type in the lower split screen
c node2callsign
4. After getting a connection confirmation..
5. repeat steps 3 and 4 until you are connected to the RMS Packet Station
6. Select the Handshake mode
Messages will now flow automatically (but SLOW....). Use MAXFRAME=1
Q3550 Will AirMail work with a Digipeater?
A3550 Yes, AirMail will work when going through another packet station acting as a digipeater. The
1. Select the Handshake mode.
2. Enter into the "Connect To:" box…gatewaycall via digicall
Messages will now flow automatically (but SLOW....). Use MAXFRAME=1
Page 62 of 107
Q3555 What is the difference between a packet “Node” and a packet “Digipeater”?
A3555 Node - any terminal on a network, more specifically for Amateur Radio packet, this is a higher
function than a digipeater because a packet node acknowledges to the sending station and makes
connects to the next station. Most commonly used node software/firmware includes G8BPQ (also
known as BPQ node), KaNode (Kantronics controllers), and others (TheNet).
Digipeater - the lowest level of networking in packet radio. Not used much since the introduction
of the node function, except for APRS, which nearly requires it.
Generally, using a packet node (see above) does not add functionality to a packet network
EXCEPT when it is used to link different frequencies. Experience has shown an approximately 50
percent data transmission speed reduction when using the node function, versus a simple
digipeater, when all transmissions are done on the same frequency. [from KK5CA][and the
following from VE1YZ]
A "digi" is a short name for "digipeater", or digital repeater. This name came into being in the very
early days of Packet radio before the evolution of the network node. Digipeating was built into the
firmware (and still is) of all TNCs
The basic digi had no networking smarts in it. It was simple Packet store and forward
system. You don't connect to a digi, but rather connect to your destination station "via" the digi
callsign. You had to manually build your route to destination by daisy chaining digipeaters. A digi
is very inefficient.
Then came the network node… First came the Netrom, and later it's clones, TheNet, X1J,
etc. There were software nodes, most notably BPQ that ran in a computer.
All of these network nodes share one thing in common. You connect to them, then connect to the
destination node, or destination node, then connect to the desired station. Network nodes contain
elaborate automatically updated routing tables. Most support TCP/IP.
More importantly, a network node on a LAN (VHF) controls all the traffic on the LAN, since it is
usually in a commanding position. For this reason, it is always better to connect to the LAN node,
rather than connect directly to another station on the LAN.
Then there are simple nodes such as the KANode and the AEA one built into some manufacturers
TNC firmware. You also connect to them but they have no automatic network routing. They work
very well, and are much better than a simple digipeater.
To confuse the issue, all nodes usually support digipeating, but its use is generally frowned upon
for connection purposes. It is there mostly for beaconing.
So, if someone talks about a "digi", in this day and age, you have to ask them to be more specific.
There are other networking systems such as Rose, plus many more. I'm not familiar with them.
Page 63 of 107
Q3560 I am using AirMail to send an e-mail to K6SSS-4. He doesn’t get it, but he does get it when
we use Paclink. Is there a problem?
A3560 AirMail versions prior to 3.3.048 will not support dash-number calls (as a WL2K user). 3.3.048 will
support dash-number calls as independent user callsigns (not to be confused with packet dashnumber SSID's). Note that for Pactor use, 6-char callsigns can only use a single-digit suffix (i.e. 6
letters plus a dash plus 2 digits won't work for Pactor, but will work for packet).
All recent versions of AirMail will support the use of packet SSID numbers for packet connection
purposes only.
See Q140.
Q3580 How do I set up a Tactical e-mail account for AirMail?
A3580 Tactical e-mail accounts are not useable with the AirMail program. However you can use AirMail
to exchange messages with a station using a Tactical e-mail account.
Q3600 In the Packet Client window; how do I delete some of the entries in the “Connect To” list?
A3600 1. Stop AirMail
2. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Airmail
3. Open airmail.ini with Notepad [you may need to change your “View Folder” options to view
“hidden files”]
4. Scroll down until you see a bunch of CONNECT TO entries, such as:
Connect To 1=AL1Q-10 WR7VHF-3 AL1Q-7
Connect To 2=K7BFL-10 WR7VHF-3
Connect To 3=K7PKT-10
Connect To 4=K7PKT-10 KC7AAD-2
5. Delete (very carefully!) lines which you no longer need.
6. Renumber the list, in sequence.
7. Save and Close the file
Q3640 Is there a maximum number of addressees that can appear in the AirMail “To” line?
A3640 See A1630
Q3660 Is it possible to view all addresses in the “To” line as I add them to it?
A3660 See A1660
Q3680 How can I select multiple addresses in the address book?
A3680 See A1700
Page 64 of 107
Q3700 I am using a PK232mbx TNC, with the latest firmware (7.2). It is working fine with WL2K
packet for normal messages. However when I try to send a message with a 15K
Attachment, the process hangs up. Why?
A3700 That particular problem has been experienced by many others; the cause is unknown.
Downloads TO you are ok; uploads FROM you hang up if the compressed attachment is greater
than about 5K.
You can permanently solve the problem by configuring the PK232mbx in the KISS mode. See
Page 65 of 107
AirMail – Setup (Telnet via internet connection)
Q4000 What is a “telnet” connection?
A4000 Telnet is an Internet protocol that allows the user to connect to a remote computer. AirMail has a
communications module called the “Telnet Client”, or in later versions “Internet Access”. This
module enables the AirMail user to send and receive messages directly with the Common
Message Server, using an internet “non-radio” path. This results in a much faster throughput
Q4010 How do I setup AirMail to use a Telnet (Internet Access) connection?
A4010 (Similar information may also be found in the Global Catalog under WL2K_Help).
AirMail Telnet Client setup. Go to AirMail menu item: "Tools>Options>Modules" and check the
Telnet Option. If you wish you can also set the module to initialize when bringing up AirMail by
also checking "autostart." However, if you wish to start the module manually, then go to menu
item: Module>Telnet client."
The setup for accessing the CMS (as routed by CMS logic to one of the 4 locations) is:
(Remote Call Sign; not case sensitive)
(Remote Host; not case sensitive)
(TCP Port Outbound)
(Timeout in seconds)
(Password; not case sensitive)
Remote Call Sign and Remote Host information (case insensitive) for the specific CMS Sites are:
(San Diego)
(Wien [Vienna])
(Brentwood, Tennessee)
[the Password for all sites is CMSTelnet (not case sensitive)]
All of the active Common Message Servers are continually updating each other with new
Page 66 of 107
Q4370 I have an Iridium SatPhone. How can I use it with Telnet?
A4370 Winlink 2000 Telnet (Internet Access) Set-up Instructions with AirMail for Iridium SatPhone Users
(Please see the source information at, courtesy of Jim Corenman
and Sailmail)
WL2K Access via Iridium SatPhone/Telnet
This document describes how to set up an Iridium PPP connection for use with the WL2K Telnet
servers, and is a modified version of a non-copyrighted Iridium document entitled PPP DATA
Prior to using your Iridium phone as a modem for PPP Data, you need to do the following two
Install a Standard 19200 bps modem driver on your computer (instructions below).
Set up and configure a dial-up networking connection for the PPP service (below).
The modem driver must be configured with the following Extra Initialization String:
AT+CBST=71,0,1. In the dial-up networking connection, TCP/IP should be the only enabled
network protocol. You must have an available serial port on your computer (e.g.,COM1). You must
have Administrator privileges if using Windows NT, 2000 or XP Professional. Horizontal rule.
Windows XP Setup (others similar).
Step 1: Install the Modem Driver
 close all applications
 choose Start > Control Panel
 double-click on Phone and Modem Options
 select the Modems tab and click Add...
 check Don't Detect My Modem; I will Select It from a List; then click Next
 click Standard 19200 bps Modem; then click Next
 click the Selected Ports button and click on an available COM Port (e.g., COM1)--this is the
port to which you will connect your Iridium phone; click Next, then Finish.
 click the Standard 19200 bps Modem to highlight it and then click Properties
 select the Advanced tab
 In the Extra Initialization Commands box, enter: AT+CBST=71,0,1
 Then click OK, then OK again to close.
Step 2: Configure Dial-Up Networking
choose Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications > Network Connections
click Create a New Connection, and click Next
select Connect to the Internet and click Next
select Set Up My Connection Manually and click Next
Page 67 of 107
select Connect Using a Dial-up Modem and click Next
if a Select a Device window appears, check the box next to Standard 19200 bps Modem, and
uncheck all other devices; then click Next
enter a connection name (e.g., Iridium PPP) and click Next
in the Phone Number box, enter 008816000025 and click Next a username and password are not
necessary, but will keep Windows from asking each time you dial.
click Next, then Finish
click Properties for the new dial-up connection, then the Networking tab
make sure Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is checked; uncheck all other components
click OK, then close the connection box.
For use with AirMail's Telnet window, the simplest way to make the connection is to check the Dial
First box in the Telnet window, then select the Iridium PPP connection. Don't forget to check the
Hang up box.
First go to AirMail's Tools/Options menu, Modules tab, and check the box to the left of Telnet
Client. Click OK. Then go to the Modules menu and select Telnet Client. This opens the Telnet
window, very much like the Terminal window except it operates over an Internet connection. Click
NEW and enter the following parameters:
(As example)
Remote callsign: WL2KS
Remote host:
Port: 8772
Local callsign: Set to your ham callsign
Click OK to save settings.
For use with AirMail's Telnet window, the simplest way to make the connection is to check the Dial
First box in the Telnet window, then select the Iridium PPP connection. Don't forget to check the
Hang up box.
To check mail, go to AirMail's Modules/Telnet menu, make sure WL2KS is selected in the call sign
box, and click the green Connect button. AirMail will dial the phone, contact the server, exchange
mail and hang up.
Note: To make use of the Dial First feature, you need AirMail version 3.1.948 or later. Point your
browser to: and download amup948.exe to a Downloads folder. Make sure
AirMail is closed, then open that file and install it into the same C:\Program Files\AirMail folder.
If you want to place a PPP Data call manually, you must open the Dial-Up Networking window and
select the dial-up connection you created for your Iridium phone. Make sure the phone is set up,
then open the Iridium PPP dial-up connection and click Dial. Don't forget to disconnect when you
are finished!
Page 68 of 107
AirMail – Use (Telnet via internet connection)
Q4500 When I hit the “Connect” button nothing happens? Why?
A4500 The CMS location you are trying to connect to may be having trouble. Try connecting to another
Common Message Server location.
You may have lost your connection to the internet.
Page 69 of 107
AirMail – Peer-to-Peer - Setup
What is “Peer-to-Peer”?
Peer-to-Peer is a process by which two radio stations, using AirMail, connect to each other
without using any of the WL2K infrastructures. The two stations can exchange messages
“automatically” using (or not using) the B2F forwarding protocol (Handshake) or exchange
information in a conversational mode (Keyboard).
How do I set up AirMail to do Peer-to-Peer, using the Packet Client module?
Go to Tools.....Options…..Autoanswer. Make sure that “Accept Incoming Connects” is
checked. Just connect to the other station, using the callsign of that station. If you want
to exchange information conversationally, select the Keyboard mode.
How do I set up AirMail to do Peer-to-Peer, using the HF Terminal module?
It is recommended that you to create a new “System”. Use any name other than “Ham”.
1. Go to View….Station List (Systems will be selected)
2. Select “New”
3. Enter a new system name of your choice…..then Ok
4. Select the NEWSYSTEMNAME…..Settings
5. Enter your Callsign…….then Ok
6. Close AirMail, then Open AirMail
7. Go to Tools…Options….Settings. Select the tab for your new system. Make sure that
the B2F box is checked.
You also need to add the Peer-to-Peer HF stations to which you will be connecting to the
Go to View….Station List….NEWSYSTEMNAME
Select “New”
Enter the callsign of the first Peer-to-Peer station…..then OK
The NEWCALLSIGN will then be Selecting in the Station List
Select “Settings”
Enter information about this new callsign…..then Ok.
Repeat for additional new stations.
Close HF Terminal
Open HF Terminal
The passive station “being connected to needs to have “Accept Incoming Connects”
checked. See Q5020.
Packet stations to which you will be Connecting peer-to-peer should not to be defined in the
new system.
Note: It is possible to add peer-to-peer stations to your Ham system and exchange
messages with them via HF, peer-to-peer. The advantage of placing ptp stations in a
separate system is to enable easy updating of the RMS Frequency List, which is in the
Ham system.
Page 70 of 107
AirMail – Peer-to-Peer - Use
I am using Packet Client. How do I connect to a Peer-to-Peer station?
Select either the Handshake mode or the Keyboard mode. If it will be a direct connection,
just enter the station’s callsign in the “Connect To” box.
If the connection will be through one or more digipeaters, Nodes, K-Nodes, etc.; See
I connected to another station, using Peer-to-Peer. He sent me 4 messages, but I
don’t see them in my In Box. Why?
They were probably addressed to someone other than YourCall. Check the Transit Box, if
you think the messages were actually sent to your station. If the messages were not sent,
then they were not “Posted” to you. See Q6300.
How do I send a message to the station to which I am Connected; Peer-to-Peer?
You create the message as normal. The word on the “To:” line on the message
preparation screen can be anything, even though AirMail gives a Warning Message for
non-callsigns. (Post). Send the message to the station to which you will Connect, or (if
you expect the Connect to be on HF) to the name of the AirMail HF “System” which you are
using. Note: if you use this later option the message will flow to the FIRST station
who Connects to you, not necessarily the station you want to receive the message.
If you are using packet and are using a Node or Digipeater you may need to Post the
message to either the first Node, or the ultimate Callsign-15.
I am using pactor (HF Terminal window). How do I connect to a Peer-to-Peer station?
In the Terminal window, select the correct “system” and the callsign of the station you
would like to connect. See Q5040. Do either (a) or (b) below:
a. Select the “Keyboard” mode of interaction with the other station. Hit the green “Connect”
button. After the station answers, the contact should proceed; you will be the initial
“sending” station. Send a CTL O to transfer control to the other station. Messages will not
flow between stations; information is “keyboarded”, one word or one line at a time.
b. Select the “Handshake” mode of interaction with the other station. Hit the green
“Connect” button. After the station answers, the contact should proceed as if you were
connecting to a RMS station. Messages will “automatically” flow In and Out of your station;
then you will automatically Disconnect.
If you both are in the “Handshake” mode, messages in the Out Box and the Transit Box will
automatically flow to the other station, IF they have been Posted to the other station, and
have not been previously sent to that station.
[Wildcard Posting: messages which are Posted to the Airmail System name you are using
(HAM or PTP or MBO or MARS or xxx) will also flow to the station to which you are
Page 71 of 107
Are there any operating advantages from using the “Keyboard” operating method,
when connected to another station Peer-to-Peer?
Not really. The “Keyboard” method is very slow, compared to using the “Handshake”
method. Handshake results in a MUCH higher efficient use of a frequency channel, and
results in a complete “saved” documentation of the information shared between the two
stations. If possible, use a voice channel for Chatting, especially on HF.
I have a message Posted for another station. The message will not “Send”
automatically. Any suggestions?
a. The other station should make sure that its “Tools…Options….AutoAnswer” box is
checked for “Accept Incoming Connects”.
b. Both stations should be using the Handshake mode.
c. The message should be Posted to the Receiving station; or, if using Nodes, the first
Node you used in the Connection process.
How do I send an ARRL Radiogram to a NTSD Station?
NTSD (National Traffic System – Digital) stations are NOT the same as WL2K RMS Pactor
stations. They scan different frequencies, and do NOT “automatically” forward messages
to other NTSD stations. NTSD generally does not make use of the internet….radio only.
See the web pages by AE5V:
Also see Q320.
I am using AirMail with pactor, peer-to-peer. Data compression does not seem to be
happening. Why?
Be sure that the “B2F” box is checked in Tools….Options….Settings…YourPTPsystem
Is there a way that I can set up my AirMail software to act as a “relay” between two
other stations?
Yes, through making using of the “Tools….Options….Routing” screen. Make a new line
entry for each “relay”. See the Help files in AirMail 3.3.080 (or later). The messages
coming In to your station will be stored in the Transit Box. They will flow out of the Transit
Box when the downstream station connects to your station.
Page 72 of 107
I would like to act as a HF pactor “BBS” station, using AirMail. What do I put in the
Routing Table?
Make a new Routing Table entry for each station you want to Relay.
(1) In the “Received Via” column, put “HF”
(2) In the “Addressed To” column, put “StationCallsignA”
(3) In the “Post To” column, put “StationCallsignA”
Note: do not make any entry for your BBS StationCallsign
Messages Received will be Posted and placed in your Transit Folder, for later Pickup
I would like to act as a packet “BBS” station, using AirMail. What do I put in the
Routing Table?
See A6310, except use “PKT” instead of “HF”.
I would like to send a message to another station, for relay through a pactor or
packet “BBS” station. How do I compose the message?
Make a new message (or Forward another message).
(1) In the “To” line of the message, put “OtherStationCallsign”. If it is ok for either of
several stations to pick up the message from the BBS [first one there gets it], put all
of those OtherStationCallsigns in the line (separated by a comma, with no spaces,
no quotes).
(2) In the body of the message, note that the message is coming from you. This is
needed because when OtherStationCallsign picks up the message from
BBSStationCallsign, the message will show as coming from BBSStationCallsign.
(3) Post the message to “BBSStationCallsign”. Send. [The first station to access the
BBS Transit Box will get the message; other stations will not get the message.]
Note: The BBS Station must have appropriate Routing Table entries. See Q6310.
Page 73 of 107
I would like to send the same message (like a cc) to several another stations, for
relay through a HF (pactor) or VHF (packet) “BBS” station. How do I compose the
(single) message?
Make a new message (or Forward another message).
(1) In the “To” line of the message, put
“<OtherStationCallsign1>,<OtherStationCallsign2>,<OtherStationCallsignN>” Note:
no quotes, no spaces
(2) In the body of the message, note that the message is coming from you. This is
needed because when OtherStationCallsign picks up the message from
BBSStationCallsign, the message will show as coming from BBSStationCallsign.
(3) Post the message to “BBSStationCallsign”. Send. [All stations on your list will get
the message when they access the BBS Transit Box.]
Note: The BBS Station must have appropriate Routing Table entries. See Q6310.
Can I make an entry in my Address Book to handle cc messages described as in
Yes, Open the Address Book and make a “New” entry.
(1) In the “Address” line, put something to describe the group of stations, such as
“ARES Incident Stations”.
(2) In the “To” line of the message, put
“<OtherStationCallsign1>,<OtherStationCallsign2>,<OtherStationCallsignN>” Note:
no quotes, no spaces
(3) In the “Post Via” box, but BBSStationCallsign
(4) In the “Subject” box, enter an appropriate Subject
(5) In “Message Text” box, enter appropriate text; also noting that the message is
coming from you. This is needed because when OtherStationCallsign picks up the
message from BBSStationCallsign, the message will show as coming from
(6) Select “OK” to Save the Properties of this Address entry.
(7) Send the message..
Note: The BBS Station must have appropriate Routing Table entries. See Q6310.
Page 74 of 107
Paclink – Setup - General
Q7000 What is Paclink?
A7000 Paclink is a third generation version of Paclink AGW, and Paclink MP. It has the ability to send
and receive messages using packet and pactor 1, 2, or 3, when using an appropriate TNC.
Another significant addition is the ability to use many TNC’s directly, without the need for the AGW
NET 2.0 also needs to be installed (available free from Microsoft).
See for free download information. Click on “Paclink” at the
top of its column.
Paclink has replaced Paclink MP and Paclink AGW; the earlier software is not supported.
Q7005 I have one of the new Kenwood radios (D700) with a built-in TNC. Will it work with Paclink?
A7005 Yes, see Q7016.
Q7010 What kind of computer operating system do I need to run Paclink?
A7010 Windows 2000 is the “minimum” operating system.
See Q500
Q7013 Is there are version of Paclink that I can use with Linux?.
A7013 See the Yahoo User group at
Q7015 I would like to use my SCS TNC for Paclink. Can I?
A7015 Yes. Paclink directly supports all the late-model SCS modems.
Page 75 of 107
Q7016 How do I configure the Paclink software to be used with the Kenwood or Alinco radios ,
using a built-in “Tasco” TNC?
A7016 The easiest way is to select one of the new KISS drivers (within the revised Paclink software),
especially written for the “Tasco” built-in TNC radios.
K7CPO has also had good results with the following setup procedure, applied to Paclink. AGWPE
or AGW Packet Engine Pro is needed. It has been successfully tested with several RMS Pactor
stations, both directly and via Nodes.
If your computer is “old and slow” it may not have enough cpu speed to handle all of the needed
software. It works fine with a Pentium 4, 3.2 GHz.
Edit the appropriate Paclink AGW Channel Configurations.
Maxframes=1. Save the file.
Set Packet Length =126;
Use a DB-9 male/female cable between the DR-135 and the serial port (or serial/usb adapter) on
your computer.
The Port setup for AGWPE or AGWPE Pro is:
9600 baud radio to computer
TARP TNC2 [blank]
Kiss Simple
ExitKISS on Exit
Single Port
Check Every 120
Use the VFO to determine the packet frequency
Turn on the radio; get into the Data mode by pushing the Function key, then the Squelch key.
Start Paclink
Operate Paclink as “normal”.
It is VERY helpful to use the “monitor” part of AGWPE to monitor the health of the software, hardware,
and packet frequency activity.
The radio/software will “lockup” if any of the following (there may be others) are done:
Changing power level
Changing from Data to Voice to Data
To recover: restart the radio; restart the software.
Page 76 of 107
Q7018 I am having trouble with Paclink working with my TNC and AGWPE. Do you have any
troubleshooting suggestions?
A7018 Forget about AGWPE and Paclink until you can confirm that your TNC/AGWPE works on AGW
Terminal; and you can make a connection to a packet station using AGW Terminal.
Some simple rules to get AGW to work:
ALWAYS start AGW with the TNC in normal Terminal mod(command prompt) and at a fixed
baud rate.
Check the manual for your TNC to make sure AGW is sending the correct commands. The
default command AGW puts in are often (but NOT always) correct. Check your TNC Manual and
use the commands necessary to put the TNC in KISS mode. (e.g. I found my older KPC3 required
a different command sequence than what AGWPE defaulted.
Set up the TNC and radio correctly for either open squelch or normal squelch before starting
Always have AGW set to “exit KISS on exit” …this returns the TNC to terminal mode.
Finally if you can’t make AGW work with AGW Term you are setting up something
wrong. Try AGW Pro (easier to set up) at least the 30 day demo. IMHO it is worth the $50 for the
simplicity and better support ….but AGWPE (free) will work.
Q7020 What is a “telnet” connection?
A7020 Telnet is an Internet protocol that allows the user to connect to a remote computer. Paclink has a
communications module called the “Telnet Client”. This module enables the Paclink user to send
and receive messages with a Common Message Server, using an internet “non-radio” path. This
results in a much faster throughput speed.
Q7030 What is a Tactical E-mail Address? How do I get one?
A7030 A Tactical Address is something like “[email protected]”. A
tactical address may consist of alpha characters only, or alpha characters, followed by a dash,
followed by alphanumeric characters. An address name may not exceed 12 characters (including
the - ). Valid tactical address examples: MLBShelter, RedCross-123, Police-99A.
More information about Tactical E-mail Addresses and how to get one are included in the Paclink
Installation Instructions.
or from a file by K4CJX
Q7040 Is a Tactical Address good forever?
A7040 No. It lasts for 400 days after its last use. See Q360.
Q7050 I having trouble getting AGWPE to talk to my computer com port. Any suggestions? I am
using a serial to USB converter between my computer and the TNC.
A7050 See Q1010
Q7060 I have the Paclink configured, but I can’t seem to be able to connect to ANY RMS Packet
stations. Help!!!
See A3020
Page 77 of 107
Q7080 Is the Icom D-Star equipment compatible with Winlink 2000?
A7080 Yes, it can be used with the Paclink software and AirMail using setups for connections with CMS
and RMS Packet. Another way is to use Paclink as a POP/SMTP server in a high-speed D-Star
LAN. D-Star users with DD mode can connect directly to the Paclink server using their e-mail client
software with tactical e-mail addresses. With good design of the local high-speed network,
extremely efficient and fast radio e-mail service can be expected.
Q7100 I am trying to use my KPC3+ with Paclink and AGWPE. How can I get it into the KISS
A7100 Using the AGWPE software, on the TNC Setup page under Properties (for the com port being
“Tnc Sub Type”: XKISS (Checksum)
Under “Tnc Control Commands”:
“IniKiss1”: XKCH ON
“IniKiss3”: RESET
“ExitKiss On Exit”: box is Checked
[from KF4BXT]
Q7140 Can I use Paclink with my CompuServe account? If so, how?
A7140 The only interaction possible between the Winlink 2000 system (including the use of Paclink) and
CompuServe would be to exchange emails between your WL2K address and CompuServe email
Q7160 I have heard that there may be problem, using my Icom 706MkIIG with Pactor 2?
A7160 See Q2533
Page 78 of 107
Paclink – Use (VHF/UHF Packet)
How do I find a working RMS Packet Station in my local area?
See A3500
My “Connect Script” times out, with a resulting Dirty Disconnect. How can I fix it?
Try shortening your Script lines, such as:
C N1XYZ-10
Can I do “Peer-to-Peer” communications with Paclink?
No, Paclink is only used to exchange messages with a RMS Packet station, a RMS Pactor
station, or directly with the CMS. Peer-to-peer is being considered as an addition to a later
Can I use Paclink on HF pactor?
Yes, Paclink is useable on pactor, with the appropriate TNC.
Using Paclink, how can I send a “Position Report” message, similar to what can be
done with AirMail?
Create and send a message, according to the follow template:
To: [email protected]
Subject: Position Report
Time: 2009/11/19 01:23
Latitude: 47-42.00N
Longitude: 117-16.39W
Comment: Home in Spokane
------Note: There seems to be a problem when using this process with the Thunderbird email
client. A "workaround" is:
Compose a position report message and address it to your regular Winlink email address.
Before connecting Paclink to CMS or RMS, go to the "Paclink" folder, open the "TO
WINLINK" folder, and bring up the associated .mime file with Notepad. Edit the "TO:"
address to be "[email protected]".
Save the .mime file and exit Notepad. Then, connect to the CMS; the message will be
send and acknowledged by the Winlink CMS.
Page 79 of 107
It has been a while since I accessed my Winlink account with Paclink. Outlook
Express seems to be hanging up. Why?
If you use Outlook Express with Paclink make sure you never leave more than 200 e-mail
messages under the Paclink account folder Outlook Express will hang when trying to get
new messages and never transfer all the messages to the In Box.
How can I get a “Catalog” of Help Files and Worldwide Weather bulletins, which is
available with the AirMail software?
From Paclink and using Outlook, Outlook Express, or whatever you are using with Paclink
as a user interface, send a message as follows:
To: [email protected]
In the message body on a new line, type the word, LIST, and nothing else.
Send that message. Wait about 1 to 3 minutes. It WON'T work to send a request over the
Internet using normal e-mail; just through a RMS station (or using telnet to a CMS) using
the WL2K system pathways.
Either wait until your automatic poling takes place, OR manually connect with Paclink. You
will get a large (about 70K) text file with all the catalog items. The first column will be the
"category" and the second column will be what you request.
How can I change the value of my Message Size Limit, and other Options?
Send the following message, from your Paclink software [or Keyboarding] (just include in
the body of the message the information you want to change):
To: [email protected]
Subject: Options
[alternate email address]
[compressed maximum message size in bytes]
[use this out-of-country prefix with my callsign]
SUFFIX: [use this out-of-country suffix with my callsign]
Page 80 of 107
Paclink – Use (Telnet via internet connection)
Page 81 of 107
Keyboard Access – Setup
What is the “Keyboard Access” method all about?
It enables a user to send and receive messages (without Attachments), using very basic
packet or Pactor software. It is VERY SLOW, compared to the normal AirMail and Paclink
software “Handshake” protocol. It should only be used on HF Pactor for special situations,
such as deleting a very large message before it is downloaded. See Q2540. The method
is acceptable for normal use on VHF/UHF packet. Users are STRONGLY encouraged to
receive increased communications benefits by upgrading to either AirMail or Paclink.
Data is not compressed, so a casual listener will be able to easily see all of the data being
If possible, please use Paclink, RMS Express, or AirMail (Handshake mode). They are
faster, give more features, don't make syntax errors and use up fewer system resources.
99% of all the WL2K system problems are due to keyboard entry and keyboard users make
up less than 1 percent of WL2K users.
What kind of computer operating system do I need to use Keyboard Access?
Most any computer and operating system will work (with packet). Some folks have used
Palm devices.
When I try telneting to the telnet server, I get an
error message saying that 'transparent mode' is required. This occurs with
the default telnet that ships with my Mac's OS X operating system. I've
tried some other telnet applications off of the internet, but get the same
I tripped over a note on the Outpost webpage that indicated that placing a
'.' in front of my callsign can work around a 'transparent mode' problem.
And indeed, when I did this, I was able to log in to
I only see this documented in the Outpost release documentation.
While I don't intend to use the telnet interface for long, it'd be nice to
know if this is a solution advocated by, or whether I need to
find another telnet client on OS X that doesn't have the 'transparent mode'
The telnet RFC requires that the user name be preceded with a "." if the
connection is to be in transparent (8-bit binary) mode rather than 7-bit
alpha mode. Since the CMS Telnet server requires an 8-bit binary mode to
handle the B2F protocol the initial login requires the "." in front of the
users callsign when logging in.
Client programs such as AirMail, RMS Express, and Paclink take care of adding the "."
automatically. If you are using a simple telnet client terminal program you need to add the
"." yourself.
Page 82 of 107
Keyboard Access – Use
How do I find a working RMS Packet Station in my local area?
See A3500
How do I access the WL2K system, using Keyboard Access?
Connect to a RMS Packet Station (Radio Secure Log-in must be turned OFF):
R xx
K xx
List all messages for me.
Read all messages for me.
Kill (delete) all messages for me.
Read content of message number xx.
Kill message number xx. (don’t forget any underscore which may be in the number!)
Send a message (see A8520)
Help File (very condensed)
Are there any special Keyboard restrictions when using pactor?
Yes, it is not possible to Read or Send a message when using keyboard pactor. This is
because of the VERY low throughput speed of pactor, when using Keyboard. The
Keyboard feature is included with HF pactor primarily to enable a User to Delete a
message that is “clogging” his mailbox. See Q1500. The commands which are available
K xx
(yields a special pactor help file)
List mine
Kill message number xx (don’t forget any underscore which may be in the number!)
How do I send a message, using Keyboard Access?
SP or SENDPERSONAL <Destination(s)> Send a personal text message to the
destination(s) indicated. Destinations may be a Radio callsign (without H-route) known to
the WL2K system or "SMTP:<e-mail_address>"
Multiple destinations should be separated by ";" or ","
e.g. SP W4ABC;SMTP:[email protected]
Be careful to enter addresses correctly and include the required prefix “SMTP:" in front of
any e-mail address.
You will be prompted for a subject of the new message: And then prompted for the
message body:
For the message body enter any text. use Cr for multi-line. End with /EX on a separate
line. No attachments. Acceptance of the message will be confirmed.
Attachments are not supported by Keyboard Access.
Page 83 of 107
I have connected to a RMS Packet Station, using Keyboard Access. Nothing is
happening on the screen. Why?
The software does not have many “prompts” to let you know what to do next. You need to
take the lead. It will not tell you if there is mail for you unless you type LM.
I made a typing error. Apparently the program does not coach me about my errors?
Your assumption is correct. If you type something and you do not get a response within a
minute, assume you made a typing error. Correct the error and try it again. If that does
not help, then Disconnect and start over.
The “Keyboard Access” program was meant to be a VERY SIMPLE, intro type program. It
is not intended to be a heavy duty message transfer program, like AirMail or Paclink.
Programming enhancements to this software should not be expected. However if you
programming skills and have time to donate for such a project, contact K4CJX.
If possible, please use Paclink, RMS Express, or AirMail. They are faster, give
more features, don't make syntax errors and use up fewer system resources.
99% of all the WL2K system problems are due to keyboard entry and keyboard users make
up less than 1 percent of WL2K users.
In my terminal program MyCall has been defined as W6ABC. When I originate and
send a message via WL2K, using Keyboard Access, it arrives at the other end as
coming from [email protected] Why?
You are probably using a packet Node to get to a RMS Packet station. The Node is
changing your callsign to W6ABC-15, which is what the RMS Packet station sees. The
WL2K system sees [email protected] and [email protected] as two unique email addresses.
The “workaround” procedure which will enable you to send messages from
[email protected], and to download messages for [email protected] is:
prior to starting your terminal program, change MyCall to MyCall-15. This will enable you
to Send messages from [email protected] and Receive messages for
[email protected]
Page 84 of 107
RMS Packet Station – Setup
Just what is a “RMS Packet” Station?
It is an amateur radio station which provides a communications path between a VHF or
UHF packet “WL2K user” and the Winlink Common Message Server (CMS). The RMS
Packet station normally does not store any information. It is not a BBS. It is not a Node.
You do not need to install RMS Packet on your computer in order to send and receive
messages via the WL2K system.
The RMS Packet software replaces the Telpac software. Effective March 1, 2009 support
for the Telpac software will cease by the Winlink Development Team. Also, at that time,
the CMS will no longer accept Connects from Telpac software.
Just what is “RMS Relay”?
“RMS Relay” is optional software which may be used in conjunction with RMS Packet. Its
primary purpose is to enable many of the features of RMS Packet to continue if the internet
connection to the CMS is lost.
See Q10020.
What kind of computer operating system do I need to run the RMS Packet software?
Windows XP is the “minimum” operating system.
Is there a version of RMS Packet available for Linux operating systems?
Yes. DL5DI and W3SG have a working Linux RMS Gateway using the Linux operating
system. More information is available from:
I am a casual user of the WL2K system. Do I need to install the RMS Packet
software on my computer?
No. You only need to install RMS Express, AirMail, or Paclink to send and receive
messages. RMS Packet is for advanced WL2K users, who want to provide something
back to the WL2K System; that being a VHF/UHF Gateway for access from local WL2K
If I decide to install the RMS Packet software, do I have any obligations to the WL2K
No. You can choose to operate it as many hours a day as you want. 24/7, As Needed,
Page 85 of 107
What call letters should I use for my RMS Packet station?
If possible, use a quasi standard of yourcall-10.
Are there any frequencies that I should avoid for my RMS Packet?
The WL2K Development Team recommends that you avoid 144.39 MHz, which is a
common frequency for APRS use. If possible, coordinate your frequency choice with other
local packet users.
RMS Express, AirMail, and Paclink, if in use, require a very intense use of a channel. They
both work best if they are not competing for channel use from other users.
RMS Express, AirMail, and Paclink will both work with a digipeater and a node. In order to
maximize throughput for all users, all WL2K users of the digipeater should refrain from
connecting when another WL2K user (using AirMail or Paclink) is connected.
If possible, stay off of frequencies which have heavy use of DX Clusters.
An ideal community arrangement would be to have multiple RMS Packet Stations on
different frequencies, using different internet service providers, located in diverse parts of
the local geographical area.
Can I run more than one RMS Packet station on a single computer?
Yes, if you are using AGW Packet Engine with your RMS Packet software, you can operate
multiple RMS Packet stations, on different frequencies, all with the same callsign. The
RMS Packet “AGW Packet Engine Configuration” screen enables you to define multiple
AGWPE ports, all using the same callsign, such as K7ABC-10.
Several "instances" of the RMS Packet software can be running simultaneously if there is
sufficient memory and horsepower in your computer, and you would like to use different
callsigns for each RMS Packet station. There is a protection mechanism to keep from
running multiple copies of the same instance number. For each separate instance you will
have a completely independent setup (call sign, TNC parameters, log file, etc). Each
instance must of course refer to a different Com Port and TNC/radio when you are using
direct modem control. Also each instance must have its own .aps file and own sign-on
banner file. For example the filenames for a KAM TNC aps file for instance 2 would be
KAM_2.aps. The sign-on banner for instance 2 would be the file banner_2.txt.
Setting up a second “instance” is described in detail in the Help section of the RMS Packet
It is possible to install the RMS Packet software on a laptop and use it to run a
“portable station”.
Yes, that is an excellent application. With the addition of a WiFi card and external antenna,
these stations can be deployed to any hotspot (or, heck to any neighborhood or commercial
area where connections may be found easily these days) to set up an instant gateway for
other Paclink or AirMail stations.
Page 86 of 107
Having your free hotspots pre-surveyed and several operators capable of deploying
portable RMS Packet stations is a very viable strategy that can bring depth and flexibility to
organizations that can afford little permanent infrastructure.
If your cell phone is capable of “Broadband” and you can connect your cell phone to your
laptop, then your portable RMS Packet station is ready for action!
I need to change some of the station description information about my RMS Packet,
which was given when I originally registered the station. How do I change the
Update the “Site Properties” page in your copy of RMS Packet.
A new Linux client gateway version is needed that matches the status and registration
methods implemented in RMS Packet. Please correspond with Lee (K0QED)
([email protected]) to work on facilitating these changes.
My RMS Packet software is running 24/7 and seems to “go to sleep”, with an
associated shutdown of the software. Any suggestions on a solution?
It may be caused by the “Power Management” switch on your serial or usb connection
going into a sleep mode (independent of the “Power Options via the Control Panel).
The serial and usb Power Management switches can be turned off via
Control Panel….System….Hardware….Device Manager….Universal Serial Bus
Controllers….USB Root Hub….Properties….Power Management.
I am using a KPC3+ as my TNC, with the “direct” RMS Packet software option. Our
local node operator says that my RMS Packet is sending out a beacon with a call
alias of DISABL, which messes up the Node Table on the Node. How do I get that
turned off?
[info from KB5WBH and KG4VUB]
The beacon comes from the setting for NETCALL. NETCALL is associated with the K-Net
feature of the TNC (firmware newer than 8.3). This feature enables the TNC to become
part of a network of Nodes.
The default factory value is lowercase "disabled" >> NETCALL disabled <<
When RMS Packet initializes and reads the original TNC settings, it saves that setting in
the registry as "disabled”. If you select "restore TNC settings on exit" in the RMS Packet
settings, then RMS Packet will issue the cmd "NETCALL DISABLED" when you close the
program (along with restoring all the other saved settings.)
The TNC sees the value "DISABLED" for the NETCALL cmd and sets that value, thinking
it’s a node alias. This turns on the K-Net feature in the TNC and results in the automatic
beacon DISABL . I guess it only holds 6 chars for the alias.
According to a phone call with Kantronics, the only way to turn it off is with a hard reset.
cmd: restore -d
In RMS Packet just make sure "restore TNC settings on exit" is unchecked.
Page 87 of 107
Another sure way to solve the problem (from KE6AFE) is to modify the aps file, including
the following:
IDINT 0 ; this disables the Node ID timer
NETCALL % ; this clears both the nodes and routes tables
Finally, another way to solve the problem is to run RMS Packet with AGW. This also lets
you use AGW Term for keyboarding on the same radio/tnc as the RMS Packet. The
Monitor function of AGW is also available to monitor all activity on the frequency
I am using a KPC3+ as my TNC, with the “direct” RMS Packet software option. When
I start RMS Packet, it hangs up, just after the first item of the aps file, "8bitcon ON".
There is no response from the TNC, it just freezes. RMS Packet has to be shut-down
by CTL-ALT-Delete. I have tried a different KPC3+, a different aps file, and
reinstalled RMS Packet. How can this be corrected?
This problem has been solved by installing “Port Monitor” software on your computer.
Page 88 of 107
The “autoupdate” feature of RMS Packet is giving me fits! How can I get updates
without having my computer shut down?
Every Tuesday night is known among geeks who deal with Microsoft systems as "Update
Tuesday." In the wee hours, all Microsoft systems will contact their update servers and
download the latest OS updates, patches and security updates if "autoupdate" is turned on.
In most cases when the OS is patched your system will reboot itself. Unless you configure
your system to automatically log in a privileged user and start all the applications, it will
appear just as was reported.
There are numerous ways to configure your system to come up online and operating after a
reboot. This is a good thing to do, not only to support automatic updates (you can turn it off,
but that leaves your system vulnerable to security issues--NOT recommended), but also to
facilitate remote administration and remote rebooting.
I suggest you start by downloading a little applet from the WL2K site (downloads >
Software--Utilities > AUTOLOG.exe and save it on your system. Run it and it will configure
your registry to automatically log in after a reboot, making it ready to run programs without
any intervention.
Next, Windows should be set to use an NTP server to set the real-time clock in the
computer. Search Windows help for "NTP" and choose an item named "Synchronizing the
time clock" or something similar, where you will find directions on how to do this in
windows. There are also third party applications that will do this. We like to use one of the
Naval Observatory servers on the internet to synchronize with.
Afterwards, move shortcuts for all applications (RMS Packet, RMS Relay, etc.) you want to
run to the "startup" folder. Make sure all shortcuts work properly first.
Last, add the Remote Desktop server to the system so that you can administer the system
from a distance over the internet connection. The server software component is on the
Windows distribution disk for XP Pro and needs to be installed separately. This item is
optional and may work differently on different versions of Windows. See the Windows Help
documentation on "Remote Desktop" or "Remote terminal" or "terminal services" for
There are many other ways to accomplish the same result, but these are the painless ways
and the ones most available users with average Windows skills.
Page 89 of 107
RMS Packet Station – Use
I have been getting intermittent “hang-ups” from RMS Packet, with multiple users. I
have reviewed all of the literature, but can’t solve the problem. What should I do
Save the RMS Packet Log of events prior and during the incidents. Send the Log to
I have a RMS Packet Station up and running. I can't seem to figure out how to
"monitor" or audit the content of the messages, due to the compression of each
message; in order to comply with FCC Rules. Or has that duty been delegated to
someone else in the WL2K organization that is able to see the actual words?
No. - §97.219(c) provides protection for licensees operating as part of a message
forwarding system. "...the control operators of forwarding stations that retransmit
inadvertently communications that violate the rules in this Part are not accountable for
the violative communications. They are, however, responsible for discontinuing such
communications once they become aware of their presence.
[RMS Packet stations in non-USA countries are bound by the rules and regulations of their
A User of my RMS Packet Station timed out during a session. He was downloading a
large message. Why did that happen?
It probably happened because the “Connection Timeout” number in your RMS Packet
Setup refers to the time between interactions of your RMS Packet station and the Common
Message Server that you are using. In this case the entire message was moved from the
CMS to your RMS Packet very quickly. Then the process of moving the message to your
User began. During that process your RMS Packet had no interaction with the CMS; hence
the timeout.
Your User can obtain the entire message after you increase the Connection Timeout value.
Page 90 of 107
I noticed the WL2K map position of my RMS Packet station is incorrect. How do I
change it to show my correct position?
Positions of RMS Packet stations are calculated by the CMS servers and plotted at random
positions within the 6-character grid square configured in the RMS station's packet channel.
This is done so that stations each other do not overlap on large scale displays, and to make
them quickly distinguishable.
The real-time RMS maps are intended as tools for users to find on-air stations to contact,
not as an exact location marker for sysops and their stations.
If your map position is outside your grid square, then correct the grid square information in
the Packet Channel dialog of your RMS software. All reported information about your RMS
station is controlled by editing the Packet Channel and Site Properties dialogs in the RMS
software. The web-accessible database of station information for Telpac software is no
longer available or supported.
I am using the Telpac software for my Winlink Packet Gateway station.
will that software be supported?
Effective March 1, 2009 support for the Telpac software will cease by the Winlink
Development Team. Also, at that time, the CMS will no longer accept Connects from
Telpac software. The RMS Packet software replaces the Telpac software.
How long
Page 91 of 107
RMS Relay – Setup
What is “RMS Relay”?
It is software installed on the computer of a ham who wants to act as a local gateway to the
internet for local users who want to do radio email. It is installed as a “not required”
enhancement for RMS Packet or RMS HF.
RMS Relay is a special program that provides local store and forward message handling in
emergency situations when no Internet access is available to connect to the WL2K email
It is normally used in conjunction with one or more instances of RMS Packet located on the
same computer or local area network.
RMS Relay has three modes of operation (one of which is selected by the Sys Op):
* Normal -- If an Internet connection is available, RMS Relay acts as a conduit
from the RMS Packet or RMS HF program to the Internet and a CMS. If the Internet
connection is down, RMS Relay refuses connections from the RMS program, so the
program rejects connections with the message "No CMS available".
* Radio-only, local message hub -- When this mode is selected, RMS Relay does
not forward messages through the Internet even if it is available. All messages
are stored in a local database. The primary use of this option is to provide a
store-and-forward Radio Message Server that can serve as a message hub for a set
of stations. If station A leaves a message for station B or C, the message can
be retrieved by stations B and C if they connect to the hub. Since messages are
not sent to a CMS, messages can be exchanged only between stations connecting to
this hub. These features are very similar to that of a packet “BBS”, with the addition of
being able to “cc” a single message to multiple recipients.
* Hold for Internet access -- If an Internet connection is available, RMS Relay
passes the message through the Internet to a CMS. If the Internet connection
goes down, the RMS Relay stores messages in a local database until the Internet
connection is restored at which time it sends them to a CMS. Caution: since
connecting stations do not know when the Internet connection is restored, any
messages they send through that RMS Packet or RMS HF station will be held and delayed
until the Internet connection is reestablished. This may cause unexpected delays that might
be unacceptable for emergency messages.
When in either the “radio-only” mode or the “hold” mode, RMS Relay acts to
exchange messages locally between users that can access that particular RMS gateway
Note: if messages are stored locally at the RMS station, AND the RMS operator manually
decides to access another RMS Pactor station which DOES have internet access, those
messages will be Moved to the CMS level and messages (at the CMS) for recent local
users will be Copied from the CMS to the local RMS station.
The minimum operating system is Windows XP.
RMS Relay software is free.
Page 92 of 107
What callsign should I use for “RMS Relay”?
In the “RMS Relay Site Properties” screen, use the callsign associated with your RMS
Packet callsign, something like “MyCallsign-10”.
Page 93 of 107
RMS Relay – Use
How does RMS Relay operate if the “Normal” mode is used by the Sys Op?
If an Internet connection is available, RMS Relay acts as a conduit
from the RMS Packet program to the Internet and a CMS.
If the Internet connection is down, depending on how long the Internet has been lost:
RMS Relay refuses connections from the RMS Packet program, so the program
rejects connections with the message "No CMS available…connection refused"
RMS Relay will tell you “*** Unable to connect to RMS Relay at Localhost”
“No CMS connection is currently available. Messages will be held until the Internet
connection is available and then forwarded”.
How does RMS Relay operate if the “Radio-only, local message hub” mode is used
by the Sys Op?
RMS Relay does not forward messages through the Internet even if it is available. All
messages (including messages to non-winlink addresses) are stored in a local database.
After Connecting, you will get the following banner message:
“This is a radio-only hub. Messages will not be sent through Internet. Using the local
XXXX-X database”
The primary use of this option is to provide a local store-and-forward Radio Message
Server that can serve as a message hub for a set of stations. If station A leaves a message
for station B or C, the message can be retrieved by stations B and C if they connect to the
hub. Since messages are not sent to a CMS, messages can be exchanged only between
stations connecting to this hub.
Note: If the Sys Op should ever change the mode to either of the other two modes, AND
an internet connection is available, then all remaining locally stored messages will be
immediately forwarded to the CMS.
Page 94 of 107
How does RMS Relay operate if the “Hold for Internet access” mode is used by the
Sys Op?
If an Internet connection is available RMS Relay passes the message through the Internet
to a CMS.
If the Internet connection goes down, RMS Relay stores messages in a local database until
the Internet connection is restored at which time it sends them to a CMS. You will get the
following banner message:
“No CMS connection is currently available. Messages will be held until the Internet
connection is available and then forwarded”
RMS Relay acts to exchange messages locally between users that can access that RMS
Caution: since connecting stations do not know when the Internet connection is restored,
any messages they send through that RMS Packet or RMS HF station will be held and
delayed until the Internet connection is reestablished. This may cause unexpected delays
that might be unacceptable for emergency messages.
When the internet is down, how can RMS Relay get messages to and from the CMS?
If the “Radio-only, local message hub” mode or the ““Hold for Internet access” mode is
used, AND there is not Internet connection, the Sys Op of the RMS gateway may manually
a) The operator initiates a pactor 3 Connect to any RMS Pactor station (which has a
working internet connection).
b) Messages residing locally (as received FROM Users) will be sent TO the CMS,
via the RMS Pactor station; then removed from local storage.
c) Messages residing on the CMS for Users which have Connected to the RMS
station in the past 21 days will be downloaded from the CMS to RMS Relay local
storage. These messages are NOT deleted from the CMS.
How is the RMS Relay software started?
The RMS Relay and RMS Packet software are unique and separate packages. Each
needs to be Started.
Page 95 of 107
RMS Express and WINMOR – Setup
Q11000 Why do I need the RMS Express software?
A11000 Generally, it is the only software available if you intend to use the “WINMOR” protocol. It is also
designed to provide most all features available from the AirMail and Paclink software packages.
Therefore RMS Express can be used for direct Internet Access, Packet, WINMOR, and Pactor.
See Q500.
Q11020 What are the System Requirements for using RMS Express?
A11020 32 or 64 bit Windows OS ( Win XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 2003 Server), or
under Windows on the Mac using a VM engine or dual boot arrangement. Windows XP systems
require Microsoft .NET v3.5 runtime installed.
There are minimal CPU demands with the exception of WINMOR operation. The heavy DSP
demands of WINMOR require a computer of at least 700 MHz Pentium/Celeron class and at
least 512 Meg of memory. If multiple applications are running concurrently a faster computer and
more RAM may be required.
Q11030 How do I get the RMS Express software?
A11030 Go the “Client Software” part of
Click on the “RMS Express” at the top of its column
Q11050 What is WINMOR?
A11050 WINMOR stands for WINlink Message Over Radio and is a new HF radio transmission protocol
by Rick Muething, KN6KB, of the Winlink Development Team. WINMOR was introduced at the
2008 ARRL / TAPR Digital Communications Conference in Chicago on September 26-28, 2008.
Unlike Pactor, only a simple computer soundcard-to-radio interface is required, and it runs as a
"virtual TNC" (the WINMOR TNC application) together with host software. The protocol (not the
software) is fully documented as an API and is without restrictions or license issues preventing
anyone from implementing the protocol in other software.
Users may employ either WINMOR or Pactor to transfer mail in the WL2K system, depending on
their equipment. While WINMOR may not equal P2 and P3 in total performance, it provides a
cost-effective means of using the system, and is more robust and faster than P1. WINMOR is
attractive to EmComm users who have trouble justifying the high cost and low utilization of a P2
and P3 modem. See Q170.
See the User Software page to download the RMS Express client software, which includes the
virtual WINMOR TNC software, and additionally supports Pactor 1-3, AX.25 packet and Telnet
protocols using a wide variety of TNCs and multimode controllers.
Page 96 of 107
Q11070 What is a “WINMOR TNC”?
A11070 WINMOR TNC is a Windows "helper application" that creates a virtual WINMOR HF MODEM
(TNC) using a standard PC sound card. It is intended to be used by developers who create
complete end user Client or Server host applications. Examples of such programs are RMS
Express (Radio client) and RMS WINMOR (Radio Server).
The WINMOR TNC software license is provided in the help files of the downloaded program, and
is not in the public domain. Please see these files for details.
All the latest versions of the files for the WINMOR TNC helper application are available for free
download from the Winlink FTP site.
Q11090 Do I also need to install “RMS WINMOR?
A11090 No. “Users” of the WL2K system do not need the RMS WINMOR software. This software is
used by those dedicated Operators and Stations which provide a Gateway between WINMOR
Users and the WL2K Common Message Server (CMS).
However, if you would like to serve other WL2K WINMOR users, contact K4CJX regarding
becoming a RMS WINMOR station.
See Q11550.
Q11210 Can I use WINMOR with the AirMail software?
A11210 Yes. Rob Fisher (WA7RF), with an October 29, 2010 update by John Wiseman (G8BPQ), has
written instructions regarding how to accomplish this task:
Q11220 How do I configure RMS Express to be used for packet with a Kenwood or Alinco radio
using a built-in “Tasco” TNC?
A11220 Select one of the new KISS drivers (within the revised RMS Express software), especially written
for the radios with a “built-in” TNC.
Page 97 of 107
Q11250 Is there any way I can monitor the frequency while I am using RMS Express with packet?
A11250 Yes. W2YG has written a new piece of software to be used between RMS Express and AGW
Packet Engine. It is called "AGW Express Interface". It is functionally equivalent to AMPE,
which is used between AirMail and AGW Packet Engine. So you can use the Monitoring
function of AGWPE or AGW Packet Engine Pro to see what is happening on the frequency,
without using a second TNC or sound card device.
The use of AGWPE or AGW Packet Engine Pro will also enable you to use most any TNC or
sound card device with RMS Express.
The free software is available from:
Q11300 Any tips about setup of WINMOR with the Elecraft KX-3?
A11300 Yes….(by Bud Thompson (N0IA), August 8, 2013)
Firmware Revisions:
MCU 1.54 (beta)
DSP 1.21
Initial Settings
SignaLink RX and TX controls at mid-point; DLY full CCW.
KX3 Settings
AF/RF volume 10/1 - about right for mid-point on SignaLink RX control
NB Off
PBT BW 2.4 KHz FL 1
PWR (Push- temp hold Keyer/Mic knob to get menu ) set for 7 watts maximum
Elecraft KX3 and RMS Express WINMOR Session
Adjust SignaLink RX control as needed for about mid Green level on Winmor TNC Rec
Level with no signal present.
Adjust SignaLink TX control for 7w during TX level test. This will indicate one, but not more
than two bars on ALC meter and no compression. (Signal looks good on my Trimode
Page 98 of 107
Here are some preliminary observations:
I suggest using filter FL1 and keeping PBT Bandwidth at 2.4KHz. BW much narrower than 1.4 KHz
results in Channel Busy ON all the time. (WINMOR TNC likes to look at the whole picture!)
When RMS Express WINMOR Radio Set up is configured for "USB Digital" the radio is put into
USB DATA mode so far as I can tell. A tap on DATA then changes to USB DATA A mode.
The TX/RX changeover Latency is not consistent (at least the measurement reports indicate that.)
When calling a station that does not respond most of the measurements result in "Timeout in TR >
RX Latency Measurement" presented in orange window. When a measurement is presented it is
usually quite good- less than 100, sometimes under 50 which, if consistent, would be great. Few
actual measurements are presented, indicating that overall latency is not good for WINMOR. This
does not change when using "USB" or
"USB DATA" or "USB DATA A" mode with RMS Express.
However, links can be made - files transferred, and of course with a 10 watt radio peaking at 5-6
watts, who knows how good the link really is; but it would be best for Latency to actually be under
the maximum most of the time. I can't find any likely menu options that would affect this on SSB;
certainly the QSK CW TX/RX change-over is excellent.
Comments welcomed - especially those that can improve the application.
[Note: when running 10 watts or less -- it is ALL ABOUT antenna!]
Q11400 How can I get help with installing RMS Express?
A11400 Use the extensive “Help” files available with RMS Express.
Do a Search on YouTube for “K4REF”. You will find several nice videos regarding how to install
and use RMS Express.
Use the many primers and help articles available at
Here is a recent primer by W4PHS:
Join the WINMOR Yahoo User Group
Page 99 of 107
Page 100 of 107
RMS Express and WINMOR – Use
How can I get Help with using RMS Express?
See Q11400.
What is a “RMS WINMOR” station?
It is a gateway radio station between a WL2K user, using the WINMOR protocol, and the
Common Message Server (CMS). It provides an identical function to that of a RMS Packet
station and a RMS Pactor station.
A WINMOR user Connects to one of these stations to send and receive messages, using
the WL2K system.
How can I get a list of the callsigns and frequencies used by RMS WINMOR stations?
RMS Express maintains a up-to-date listing of stations available (with frequencies) for
WINMOR, pactor, and packet Connects. The list can be updated via Telnet (Internet
Access) or via radio, using the RMS Express software.
Automatic updates only occur at the beginning of each new month, or when a user uses
RMS Express for the first time that month.
It is advised to update your channels list regularly or before a (sailing) trip; every now and
then a new RMS pops up.
The real-time status of these WINMOR stations is available from:
Page 101 of 107
Using RMS Express, how do I create and send a new message to an email address?
Select Message….New Message. If needed, select an appropriate Template.
Do either of the following:
Type in the email addresses and/or callsigns (if WL2K addresses).
Select the “To:” or “CC:” box. This will bring up the “Select Destinations”
window; select and add individual addresses or Groups. When finished,
select “Complete”.
“Post to Outbox” or “Save in Drafts Folder”
Double click on the message. Verify that the “Group” (if used) expanded to include the
addresses in the Group.
All messages in the “Outbox” folder (and only that folder) will be sent during your next
communications “Session”. After a message is Sent it is moved to the “Sent Items” folder.
I saved a message in the Draft Folder. Now I can Open it, but can’t edit the message.
Select the message, but don’t Open it. Go to Messages…..Edit.
How do I print a message, using RMS Express?
Select the message. Double click to Open the message. Select “Print” from the menu
containing ”Close Print View Attachments Reply Reply All Acknowledge Forward
Using RMS Express, how can I send a “Position Report” message, similar to what
can be done with AirMail?
Go to Files….GPS / Position Report
Fill out the form, Post, and Send
Using RMS Express, how can I get a “Catalog” of Help Files and Worldwide Weather
bulletins, which is available with the AirMail software?
RMS Express now comes installed with the Catalog. To get updates, you need an internet
Go to Files…..Winlink Catalog Requests…..Request Catalog Update
RMS Express will interact with the CMS to update your Catalog
Page 102 of 107
Using RMS Express, how can I change the value of my Message Size Limit, and other
Go to Files….Update User Options.
Fill out the form, Post and Send.
If that does not work, send the following message, from your RMS Express software (just
include in the body of the message the information you want to change):
To: [email protected]
Subject: Options
[alternate email address]
[compressed maximum message size in bytes]
[use this out-of-country prefix with my callsign]
SUFFIX: [use this out-of-country suffix with my callsign]
Using RMS Express, how can I send a message to a “list” or group of email
The easiest way is to create a “Group”. This is a list of multiple email addresses or
callsigns (if the address is [email protected]).
Make sure all Session windows are closed.
Go to Files….Group Addresses. Type in a “Group ID” name. A group address
name may be any character combination that follows the same format rules as a radio or
tactical address. Just be careful that you don't choose a name that is the same as a call
sign or tactical address that you might need to send a message to.
You can either type the list of callsigns (if WL2K addresses) and email addresses in
the box to the right of “Group ID”, or Copy and Paste the list from an external file (such as
an Excel or Word file).
Select the “Update” button at the bottom.
When you compose a new message, just select the name of the Group from the
Contacts list and put it in the “To:” box (or the “CC:” box).
[You may need to restart RMS Express before the new Group name will appear in the
Contacts list.] See Q11575.
Page 103 of 107
What is the difference between Abort, Stop, End Link, and Disconnect?
By definition there is a difference between an ABORT and a STOP, END LINK or
Abort normally requires no response from the remote end. It will end the local link with a
disorderly shut down but ALWAYS works immediately.
A STOP, END LINK or DISCONNECT initiates a disconnect request/sequence that is a
more controlled ending and affects both sides of the link. Pactor and packet have similar
You need to have both types but good operating practice is to not use an Abort unless
absolutely necessary because by definition it leaves the other side in an unknown state
requiring the remote end to use a timeout mechanism to reset things.
If you have sent some messages before doing an “Abort”, you might consider re-sending
those messages; the CMS may not have the complete information about those messages.
There seems to be a very large message trying to download to me. My message
pipeline is plugged! It will take too much time to download.
How can I delete the
message before it downloads?
Start RMS Express. See Files...Review Message List before Downloading. Check this
Connect to a RMS with RMS Express. During your Session, a screen will appear for you to
make a choice about the "problem" message: "Delete before downloading" or "Hold for Later
Downloading". Make your choice and proceed. This is a nice feature of RMS Express.
For other options, see Q1500.
I understand that RMS Express has a “database backup” feature. How does it work?
One of the new features in RMS Express version is automatic daily backups of
databases. If something happens that causes your message or contacts database to get
deleted or corrupted, you can restore an earlier version.
The backup is done automatically once a day when RMS Express is closed. The backed up
databases are stored in the Data\Backup folder under the folder with your call sign. If you
have multiple call signs, there will be a separate backup folder for each call sign.
To restore databases or do a manual backup, click Files on the main menu bar followed by
Backup and Restore Databases. On the Backup/Restore control screen you can set the
backup interval, force a manual backup or restore databases from an earlier date.
Since the backup is done within the RMS Express folder, this does not provide any protection
against deletion of that folder or a catastrophic disk failure. So if you use a backup system like
Carbonite, it is recommended that you use it to back up your RMS Express folders.
Page 104 of 107
How does the “message template” feature of RMS Express work?
One of the new features in RMS Express version is a Message Template Manager and
built-in editor for creating or modifying templates.
A message template can be used to provide information for a message by clicking "Select
Template" on the screen where you enter the text for a message you're composing.
Templates can fill information such as the destination address, CC address, subject,
WL2K/peer-to-peer, current time, call sign, GPS position and many other items. This is
described in the RMS Express help file.
To manage templates, click "Message" on the main menu bar followed by "Templates...". This
will open the Template Manager screen. If you have created any templates, they will be listed.
On this screen you can add new templates, edit existing templates or remove templates. The
screen where you add or edit a template has a Help button that will provide quick help about
items that can go into a template.
Page 105 of 107
Page 106 of 107
Emergency Communications Networks – Design and Use
Is there a “good” way to utilize several local RMS Packet stations during a “high
loading emergency event”?
Use a Voice Net to coordinate the use of RMS Stations.
Use Reply, Forward, “Copy and Paste” to minimize typo errors.
Use the cc ability of AirMail, RMS Express, and Paclink to send copies of a message to
multiple recipients.
Encourage Users to use the commercial internet (or Winlink via Telnet) if available.
If you have local internet access, use the WL2K System, instead of doing peer-to-peer
message transfers.
If local RMS Packet stations are “overloaded” and if some Users have Pactor or WINMOR
capability, encourage them to use Pactor or WINMOR, instead of a local RMS Packet
Pactor and WINMOR Users should be encouraged to use multiple RMS stations.
Pactor 1 Users should be encouraged to use packet or WINMOR, if possible.
If possible, access RMS Packet stations directly, instead of through a Node.
Encourage Users to listen to packet activity. Things go quicker if a RMS Packet station is
servicing one User at a time, even though they may be programmed to handle many
simultaneous Connects. The activity level of Paclink, AirMail, and RMS Packet is very
quick and intense, compared to keyboarding BBS type activity.
If you have more than one RMS Packet station in the area, ask the SysOps to consider
putting them on different frequencies.
Temporarily change the frequency of a RMS Packet station to a non-Node frequency.
Decrease the MAXFRAME value to 1 for all users of the Node, including the RMS Packet
During a recent Emergency Drill several of us were simultaneously trying to access a
local RMS Packet station through our local Node. We each experienced lots of
Retries. What can be done to solve this problem?
See Q20200
Page 107 of 107
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