22 nov 2010

ENG - Email by radio *without Pactor* with WINMOR

During the last few weeks, we have tested the new Winmor protocol for exchanging email from a sailing boat.
In short, the Winmor protocol allows to send/receive emails WITHOUT the need of a Pactor modem, by just using a PC with a soundcard. Transmission speeds vary, but are somewhat in the middle from Pactor II and Pactor III speeds.
There is another system which is pskmail (more info at http://www.pskmail.eu/), it also allows to exchange brief messages, albeit at a very slow speed (closer to Pactor I speed).

A thorough description of Winmor can be found on the http://www.winlink.org/ web site, together with the latest RMS Express and Winmor TNC versions, these two being the softwares needed to exchange emails via radio with a PC/sound card.
The software demo version is fully functional, there is just a pop-up window, if one wishes to register there is a small fee.
I won't go into a detailed description of the several technical possibilities, they can be found in the above site and also in the Yahoo Group "Winmor" (address available on http://www.winlink.org/ web site), but describe our own setup, which has allowed us to send our position to APRS, request GRIB files, send text updates to our blog, receive text bulletins by email.

The radio is a basic ICOM 706MKIIG, it is connected through the 13Pin ACC plug on the back of the radio to a Signalink USB external sound card (the web sites above will show that the signalink is not a strict requirement, but seems to make things a little bit easier), which is in turn connected to the PC. The PC is a Samsung NC10 Netbook, difficult to find simpler than that.
We have either dipole antennas for a few frequencies, or otherwise a long wire antenna from the stern gantry up to the mast, fed through a CG-3000 ATU.

While on passage from Gomera (Canaries) to Dakar, we could connect with servers in Canada and the US (5.5k and 6k km away), and:
1. Send our position: this is similar to the "position report" command available with Airmail, though with RMS one has to format the message one by one. It just takes half a minute. The positions you see from Gomera to Dakar have all been sent through Winmor.
2. Retrieve weather text bulletins, namely the Metarea II bulletin, through saildocs system,
3. Request a couple of GRIB files. Just as an example, an 11k GRIB took slightly less than 10 minutes to be downloaded, which is more than ok for us

As there are very few (if any) /MM stations using Winmor at the moment, if you do and have other suggestions for the boaty guy (rather than for the ham enthusiast), please leave a note?

Roberto, M0ITA
(second digit is a zero)

9 commenti:

Anonimo ha detto...

Ciao Branca, tutto bene? mi sembra che chiedervelo sia uno schiaffo per noi costretti al freddo della padania, ci manca solo che diciate no!!.
Ho visto sul sito STW questa ricerca per portare materiale in Casamanche, mi sa che per voi è tardi, magari possono a costi accettabili spedirvelo in una cassa a Dakar, e voi fate la consegna, ti allego il messaggio in francese, fate vobis.
Saluti a tutti e se scrivi una guida a prova d' asino sull' email in HF, a me interessa molto, anche io in barca ho l' IC 706 MKII senza modem.


Une association morbihannaise recherche des voiliers qui pourraient emmener du matériel en Casamance (jouets, matériel scolaire...).
Personnellement nous partirons en 2012, mais en attendant, les besoins sont permanents et le garage de l'association est plein.
Pas assez de moyen pour envoyer via un conteneur.
L'accueil en Casamance sera assuré par des personnes impliquées dans l'association depuis plusieurs années.
Si vous êtes intéressés, contactez-moi à l'adresse suivante :
A bientôt et bon vent à vous !

Branca branca branca ! ha detto...

grazie Mario

grazie per il riferimento; ci sono varie associazioni con gli stessi fini, tipo Voiles sans frontières proprio a Lorient il nostro porto, pero' alla fine abbiamo deciso per la strada "autonoma", abbiamo un sacco di cose da dare nei villaggi, non possiamo accogliere un medico o dentista in barca ma nel nostro molto piccolo qualcosina cercheremo di aiutare, anche se per quel che abbiamo visto finora in termini di umanità qui si riceve molto più di quanto non si potrà mai dare


per la guida HF... sorpresina a breve

FrancoB ha detto...

Complimenti per l'arrivo a Dakar!
Molto interessante il sistema di email senza Practor(che costava piu di un HF usata) forse lo possiamo sperimentare anche qui nel mare davanti a casa. Aspetto co impazienza la guida HF che immagino si sta trasformando in un libro..
Buona permanebza in Africa!
Franco B

Branca branca branca ! ha detto...

ciao Francone,

yep, davvero anche davanti a casa, per quel che ho visto mi sembra molto sensibile a ogni tipo di interferenza, io dai porti non riuscivo neanche ad agganciare un server per un secondo, appena fuori o all'ancora tutto ok; conmiciano ad esserci diversi server quindi prova pure tutti quelli che ti vengono fuori dalla lista che dà il programma, anche quelli con un punteggio di propagazione non tanto elevato.

poi magari dimmi se e come ti funziona

ciao, r

Anonimo ha detto...

E' vero, io ho la radio ma poca esperienza, a Las Palmas, dal porto ho provato diverse volte senza risultato, da fuori del porto, anche se vicino, poichè ero di fronte, sono riuscito a parlare bene con L' Italia.
Sono convinto che potrebbero essere anche delle interferenze della 220V e amenicoli vari, piuttosto che dei vari WIFI, per radieggiare ci vuole tempo che quando sono in barca fra moglie figie e svaghi, non riesco a trovare e pazienza.


David ha detto...

Thnks for that, most intersting. It is the route that makes sense to me!
Just have to find out why my 706 has gone silent!!

Branca branca branca ! ha detto...

Hello David,
thanks for your message.

I forgot to mention the "winmor primer" pdf file on the winlink.org web site, it gives step-by-step instructions for setting up the station.

Also, when you try to connect, do not disregard those channel stations which RMS Express propagation scores at the third or fourth place, or even lower.

Have fun, and please hop here again with any feedback you may have.


David Bains ha detto...

Branca, great to hear the Winmor worked all the way across. I think I'll have to get a net book, since I am all Mac at home. I'd be interested to
hear which stations you listened to for speech forecasts (French?). Did you speak to the Hamnets on 14303 or 24100 or 141225 or 14316 ?
David M0DKD (see QRZ)
How are the kids taking sailing? My 20yr old daughter has gone to college and no longer wants to sail with Dad! Her Mum still puts up with it.
I've just put an old Create 730 alloy V dipole on the roof in Brighton, amazingly no neighbour has asked me what it is yet! Maybe they never look up!
Be great to have few more messages in English on your blog. Altho my boat is still based at Manfalcone Italy I've been slow to learn any Italian, everyone speaks so fast! I do try and read the paper very day.
I'm thinking of following you across the pond. I'm buying books about the ECW as well.
David Bains

Branca branca branca ! ha detto...

thanks for your message.

Voice weather forecast for eastern atlantic were from RFI (Radio France International) at 1133UTC on 15300kHz, they cover all the necessary areas for a east-west transatlantic north of the equator (just google images "rfi zones meteo" and you'll get a map). It's in French.
Metarea II (which is similar to RFI coverage area but includes some areas south of the equator, namely Sierra Leone + indications about the location of the ITCZ axis) is broadcast by Monaco Radio at 0930UTC on 17260kHz and 13146kHz, it is read in French but I heard it read in English too afterwards, though not always.
Anyway, the terms used are standard met wording so knowing a few dozen words one can maybe record the message and listen a second time, esp Monaco which is read quite slowly.

Nets: I tried to speak with Bill G4FRN on 14303 at 0800UTC but succeeded only a couple of times, after that (especially when on the west africa side) unfortunately he could hear my signal but not copy it.
OTOH, I was in daily contact with Alfredo IK6IJF at 1700UTC on 14297.5 for the Italian Maritime Mobile net and cannot praise enough its help. The net is in *English* too, he read the metarea II bulletin, then the Metarea V (Brazil seas), and also gave us Weatheronline spot forecasts for our position. Its net was originally at 1900UTC, then he moved it to 1700UTC to have better propagation with us so you may wan to try both times.

Kids: they are 3 and 7yo and are really happy. To be honest they might have been happy on land too, anyway, the cruising life does not seem to bother them. After three months of flat water on the african rivers, the first two days of the crossing they suffered from heavy seasickness, but it only last a couple of days.
When in Brazil, at the sight of an helicopter the younger one said "look dad, a giant flying fish"... made me chuckle

Keep in touch David!