September 21, 2023

Local Winlink Node - Explained!

(By Keith, KN5G) As most of you already know the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club has a WinLink, VHF Gateway on the air so that local Amateurs can access the Global WinLink Network and send and receive messages through the International WinLink messaging system.

For the newer club members the Gateway station is located in downtown Henderson at the old Jail Building on the west side of the Court House. The antenna is on the tower there at what is presently the OEM Office, along with the County Commissioner’s repeater.

The Gateway is on 145.010 MHz., and supports both Packet WinLink Sessions and the newer and faster VarAC protocol for VarAC Sessions. The Gateway has a good range and can also be used as a digipeater using the alias HENDER.

There are a handful of us who have VarAC stations set up at our home QTH and we enjoy a good VarAC ragchew with each other from time to time. The VarAC mode allows for unconnected Broadcast from

users and the WinLink Gateway station can receive a VarAC broadcast and digipeat it for longer range. We can also connect with either Packet or VarAC through the WinLink Gateway if we can’t reach each other via a simplex connection.

In other words the Winlink Gateway is a versatile tool when it comes to digital messaging and communications between local Amateur stations.

It gives us 2 meter access to the global WinLink messaging system.

It can serve as a digipeater between local stations that can’t quite reach each other via simplex using either packet or VarAC protocols.

And, using packet or VarAC is a great tool for emergency communications supporting transfer of forms, digital photos, and other information as needed.

All local Amateurs are encouraged to implement and become proficient with the common digital modes the Rusk County Club uses for emergency communications.

The tool is there, you just need to take the time to learn to use it!

Plus it is a lot of fun to chat with each other via VarAC!

Give it a try and if you hit a snag or have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to myself KN5G, David W5CWT, or Nathan N5NDC. We like to help!