Any Ham Radio People Here?

I’ve been a Ham off and on since the 1970s - in and out of the hobby/service during that time (seen by the FCC as a service due to the capabilities of ham radio, such as the current situation in Louisiana).

In the van I run a 2 meter rig that I mostly use for APRS tracking, but it’s capable of Winlink email, voice and digital repeaters, and of course simplex comms (FT-2980). Just installed the necessary hardware to run a portable HF radio for long distance communications using SSB, CW, and digital modes. The HF portable rigs I have are Ten Tec Scout and Yeasu FT-857D.

All runs on my battery/solar system. Doesn’t use any more power than the TV.

Let us know what you use.

Just added VARA/Winlink HF so I can stay in touch with family and friends via email in places where there’s no phone/internet service. I tend to camp in some very remote locations. VARA has seamless worldwide coverage via the HF/shortwave frequencies.

Guess not…

Greetings!

Now you got my attention… You’re sending/receiving emails via HAM? Internet too?

Cheers!


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart


Yes, sending and receiving emails via ham radio. It’s called Winlink (you can google it). I can be 1,000 miles away from the nearest internet connection or cell tower and still send and receive emails. Can’t surf the internet though. Ten or so years ago I did it while working at remote sites to stay in touch with family, but it took a lot more hardware then. Now all it takes is a laptop, sound card interface between the computer and radio, some software, and an SSB radio that can transmit and receive on the shortwave (HF) frequencies. You also need a General class or higher ham radio license.

Greetings!

Oh well… With full, fast & unlimited internet I might consider it, but just email isn’t worth it to me…

Cheers!


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart


There’s no way to make it work for internet because the internet uses way too much bandwidth for the shortwave spectrum. The entire shortwave spectrum is between about 5 and 30 MHz - high speed internet requires a lot more than that. The Winlink modes have a bandwidth mostly less than about 2,400 Hz. The advantage of shortwave (HF), is that it can be used to send messages thousands of miles without the use of any infrastructure between the sender and receiving end. No cell towers or repeaters needed - just one station communicating with another, hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles apart.

It’s worth it to people who have no other way to send and receive email. Mostly used by people who are far away from any internet connection such as a sailboat at sea, or camped in very remote areas.

Greetings!

Maybe I’ll wait for good satellite internet then…

Cheers!


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart


Yep, providers like Starlink are blasting satellites into orbit to provide that - for a hefty fee. Right now it’s about $1,200 a year plus you have to purchase their equipment.

For me I don’t need internet all the time, so Winlink works to stay in touch, and it doesn’t cost anything except the equipment and some software. The equipment costs less than a new iPhone, and I also use it for other things such as chatting with old friends on SSB, morse code, or PSK31. I bought the radio that’s in the van about 15 years ago and it’s still going strong. And you don’t need the latest computer either - mine is an old police surplus Panasonic Toughbook running Windows 7. Since it’s rarely connected directly to the internet there are few security issues with the old machine. Thankfully software for this system is kept simple and efficient, so it works wonderfully on the older machines.

Winlink is not a for-profit commercial enterprise, so it’s not designed to screw the consumer - it’s designed to work with radios that can be 50 years old, and old computers that are no longer relevant for other purposes.