Winlink Demo day for San Diego County CA ARES

As mentioned in the ARRL ARES E-Letter:
Many portable client stations in operation, both battery and generator powered.
Parking lot of Sharps Hospital Spectrum facility, San Diego CA.

Vara HF
Vara FM

On the air activation combined with ARES EMCOMM training.
Attendance was high with many prospective amateurs asking questions.
Great training and public demonstration of the capabilities of Winlink for emergencies

More photos here from my SmugMug album.
Another photo album! John Wright, K6CPO Public Information Coordinator, San Diego Section

Event comments from K6RJF Rob Freeburn;

Good news: in recent years the number of Winlink-capable devices available on the market has increased, prices have dropped, and data speeds have increased tremendously.

Bad news: the endless combinations of devices used for Winlink frustrates newcomers because there are so many choices.

To help newcomers make informed purchase decisions and to encourage additional hams to try Winlink, on 12/14/19 the San Diego ARES Winlink Support Group demonstrated a dozen different device combinations to the general membership of San Diego ARES using a variety of sound card, TNC, and modem methods on VHF and HF frequencies to showcase the strengths of a variety of devices and methods. Methods demonstrated included Winlink VHF packet, VHF VARA-FM, HF VARA, and HF Pactor 3. 

During hospital training exercises, San Diego ARES deploys Winlink-equipped hams to half of the San Diego County hospitals covered by ARES. With a population of over 3,000,000 people, San Diego County is the fifth most populous county in the United States. The ARES long-range goal is to cover all hospitals in San Diego County with Winlink -- a goal which will require doubling the number of trained operators and Winlink stations. 

During hospital drills, San Diego ARES uses Winlink to send a hundred formal messages per hour between hospitals and also from hospitals to the County-level Medical Operations Center. Before the expansion of Winlink, ham voice nets during hospital drills were chaotic traffic jams. Over the years, as San Diego ARES developed and deployed additional Winlink-capable teams to hospitals, the voice nets grew calmer, formal message traffic volume and accuracy increased, and Served Agency satisfaction spiked "off the chart."      

A surprise entry demonstrated was the inexpensive RA-25 radio adapter which when used with free UZ7HO sound card software permits packet and high speed VHF VARA-FM capability.  

During a training event or real emergency, Winlink operators rely on Winlink gateways located outside the affected area. During the 12/14/19 equipment demonstration, San Diego ARES relied on distant AJ7C gateway in Los Angeles (Culver City), CA, and spirited KO0OOO gateway in North Las Vegas, NV, as well as local HF Winlink Gateway XE2BNC in Tijuana, Mexico; local VHF Gateways K6RDX, WW6RB, and XE2BNC; and a high-speed duplex digipeater maintained on a mountain by the Palomar Amateur Radio Club (PARC).   

San Diego ARES Winlink equipment demonstrators included Pat Bunsold WA6MHZ, Mooneer Salem K6AQ, Bob Younger AI6KU, Frank Parks NB1Z, Mike Samyn AJ6GK, Dennis Yard N1TEN, Gary Asbury N6GLS, Chris Claborne N1CLC, Tim Everingham N6CUX, Rob Freeburn K6RJF, Mike Burton xe2/N6KZB, and myself.

Much appreciation is due also to the Winlink Development Team ( and to the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Inc. ( who maintain the global Winlink System 24/7.

Winlink Linkomatic