Florida WINLINK Net

Florida WINLINK Net Sponsored by Clay County ARES Volunteer

by Gordon Gibby KX4Z

Ray Cook WD4SEN has volunteered to head up an emergency preparedness practice WINLINK Net for Florida, similar to several others elsewhere in the nation. Participants simply use on-the-air radio to send a radio email using any WINLINK RMS server station they wish, to KI4UWC@WINLINK.ORG, with one or two lines of specified content. This is similar to weekly practice voice nets that allow people to check their gear. Not only does this check out the participant’s equipment, setup, and knowledge of this important system, it also allows discovery of multiple possible email Radio Message Servers (RMS) within reach of the ham.

Check-ins can be done on either VHF or HF. Participants have all of Monday each week to get their email sent. On HF, there are scores of possible server stations all over the USA and the world. Any can be utilized. Most HF users will simply use a soundcard system and the built-in WINMOR protocol that comes inside of WINLINK EXPRESS. A lucky few might have a PACTOR modem and be able to utilize that faster protocol. The number of HF servers in Florida seems to be growing, with a new station now turning on in Orlando, W7USR.

On VHF the range is a bit more limited, but many communities have a local VHF RMS station. (You can view a map here: https://winlink.org/RMSChannels ). There are 27 packet RMS servers in Florida, including Ray’s WD4SEN-10, -13 and -15. The really savvy user may be able to jump onto the SEDAN and reach WINLINK gateways that are accessible via the SEDAN (including KX4Z-10, KM4YGH-10 and NK3F-10) —but this takes a bit more expertise and knowledge of the state’s VHF digital packet systems.

Every Sunday afternoon, Ray will post the message format requested, on the home page of the Clay County ARES: http://www.clayares.org/wp/ He’s just getting started with this, and may add a “peer to peer” component (for a limited check-in time frame) in the future For now, he’s delighted to see the system come up and function well – check-ins the first week were 2, and jumped to 9 the second Monday, as the Alachua and Marion crew learned of his system. After the conclusion of each Monday, he sends out a reply to all checked-in stations with summary information.

Similar practice nets are functioning in Tennessee (https://wcares.org/monday-night-winlink-net/ ), Virginia (Winlink Wednesday, now > 70 check-ins, https://www.albemarleradio.org/2017/08/14/aresraces-of-virginia-winlink-net/ ) Wisconsin (Tuesday, http://www.wi-aresraces.org/ ) and over 5 years in San Diego (https://www.winlink.org/content/san_diego_winlink_net_marks_five_years ). The nationwide WINLINK system handled 27,000 messages in October 2017 over HF, and 21,000 over packet.

Florida PACTOR HF (left) and PACKET VHF (bottom) Winlink RMS server stations. Participants in the Florida Winlink Net can use any server – doesn’t have to be in Florida, but Florida coverage is getting better!

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2017 ClayARES Christmas Dinner

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

On December 5, 2017, at 7:00 pm we will have our Annual ClayARES Christmas Dinner at Journey Church, located at 6225 Lake Gray Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32244.  We look forward to seeing everyone there.  The cost is $10.00 per person.  No matter if you are our newest member, or have been a member for years — we want everyone to come out and celebrate with us.

Please complete the info below to let us know that you are coming and how many are coming with you.  This dinner is open to everyone who wishes to attend. Continue reading

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2018 Clay ARES Voting Ballot

Please complete the form below to cast your ballot to vote for the 2018 Clay ARES Officers. Continue reading

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Public Safety Advocate: When All Else Fails, There Is Ham Radio

As I am preparing a report on the commercial and public safety communications activities during and after Harvey, Irma, and now Maria, which was the worst of the batch, I took some time to reach out to the amateur radio community to find out what they have been doing. The answer is a lot, and often!  First, the Radio Relay International (RRI) organization made up of amateur radio operators who specialize in long-range communications has been busy handling health and welfare messages from the islands. Meanwhile, the Red Cross, which has a relationship with the American  Radio Relay League (ARRL), put out a call for fifty Red Cross certified ham radio operators to travel to Puerto Rico. Tim Duffy, president of the Radio Club of America (RCA) and president of a large amateur radio supply company also played an active role.

For the Full story, click here.

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2017 OP Fall Festival

The OP Fall Festival will be this Saturday and Sunday, October 21 & 22.  Clay County ARES has a booth in the same location as last year and is looking for volunteers to help staff the booth.  We will have a go-kit setup and on the air as well as information to pass out to the community.  Our goal is to meet as many people as possible, let them know who we are, and educate them about the benefits of amateur radio to the community.

Please fill out the information below and let us know when you are available to assist. Continue reading

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