Hello operators. I hope you're having a great day. As I'm having a cup of chocolate in the QTH and contemplating T3 storms disrupting today's portable operations, I opened up Winlink. I started calling my local VHF Winlink RMS here in Switzerland to get the email and other important information.
I then realized today was a great day to talk a little about how to keep up to date with the Weather, get News, and have the possibility of posting your position and sending emails to contacts or, even if needed, your local authorities.
Now that we're in 2022, most people have come to depend on their smartphones entirely and, of course, their internet connection for entertainment and contacting others. And, to be fair, as internet access spreads globally in the next few years, most people will never be in a situation where they won't have good connectivity for more than a few hours.
There will always be places or situations where internet connectivity will fail. If you are an amateur radio operator or belong to the prepping community, or are just a person that likes to have a plan B (or C and even D), then this post is definitely for you.
Today I want to talk to you about combining Winlink (https://winlink.org) and Saildocs to give you the possibility of accessing vital information in situations where internet connectivity might not be present or heavily impaired.
Winlink is a "network of amateur radio and authorized government stations that provide worldwide radio email using radio pathways where the internet is nonexistent.
Saildocs is "an email-based document-retrieval system for the delivery of text-based Internet documents either on request or by subscription."
By combining both services, you can retrieve web pages by sending specifically formatted emails to the SailDocs service through Winlink that don't need an internet connection to be sent and received.
The way that this works is by:
Let me give you an example of what I send daily to get the most relevant information (to me) as part of my communications plan.
This single email gets me 12 individual email responses from SailDocs with the following information:
Typically, using VARA FM, this email request takes about 10 to 20 seconds to be sent, while the responses take about 10 to 12 minutes.
Why is this important for you?
Let's say you're in a situation where internet connectivity is lost due to a blackout, solar storm, hurricane, or something far simpler (a significant technical error). Or you're in the middle of the ocean or a very remote location with a significantly impaired or inexistent internet connection. This method will allow you to know the local, regional, or even global situation with minimal power requirements from your VHF/UHF or HF radio.
Additionally, access to this information will significantly help your local group since you can rebroadcast this information using FM voice or HF voice.
One important caveat is that, in the case you are in the middle of a local or regional emergency, you should NOT be taking much time in your local RMS. You should not even be transmitting on amateur radio frequencies if not necessary since you might be occupying resources that might be better devoted to serving the immediate potential loss of life and property of your community.
Hopefully, this post has been of service to you. If that's the case, please let us know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you prefer Winlink to HB9HJU@winlink.org. If you're watching the video version of this post, don't hesitate to use the comment feature on YouTube. We'd love to hear from you.
If you have finished this article, we'd love to invite you to our Amateur Radio Outdoors JS8/WNLK Weekly Net. Please Send an email to AROWNLKNET@WINLINK.ORG for instructions and more information.
73 de Luis, HB9HJU
Amateur Radio Outdoors