Inexpensive Winlink2000/Sailmail HF SSB E-Mail. - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 
  #1  
Old 11-15-2005
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Radiosailor is on a distinguished road
Inexpensive Winlink2000/Sailmail HF SSB E-Mail.

I use an old Kantronics Kam Plus HF Modem (TNC) with Pactor 1 capability (important), for doing E-mail from my laptop hundreds of miles out to sea and from the woods, using Winlink2000.

Any of the following TNC''s should also work for an inexpensive Pactor 1 connection:

Kantronics Kam +
Kantronics Kam 98
Kantronics Kam XL
PK 232
PK 900
DSP 1232
DSP 2232
MFJ 1276
MFJ 12788
DXP 38

All supported by Airmail 3.2 e-mail software for both Winlink and Sailmail.

Winlink2000 would like everybody to use very expensive Pactor 2 and Pactor 3 TNC''s (HF Modems) for faster connections, (and thus shorter connection times), but these TNC''s are outside of the scope of reality for Africa, in my humble opinion.

However, if you do have the money, then by all means buy one of the SCS PTC II TNC''s, at +/- $800 to $1200 a piece.

The Kam cost less than $100 on the used market, (or sits idle in your shack since your Packet Radio days), and I had the radio, cheap manual antenna tuner and laptop anyway. (Plus a Ham Radio license).

It can only do Pactor 1 at about 200 baud, but that is fast enough to do text-only E-mail, the lenghth of this post, in about 15 seconds, or so.

I connect it to my old Icom 735 Ham radio through the microphone socket, but it can also be connected to the accesory plug at the back.

If your wire interface or harness (between the transceiver and the TNC)was professionally built, then you are definately good to go.
If you did it yourself, just check and double check your work and soldering. (See the links later on for wiring diagrams.)

Watch out for ground loops.
I would say, as a rule of thumb, if your transceiver and the tuner is grounded (they should be), then do not have any ground wires connected in your interface wire or harness between the TNC and the transceiver. This causes a hum when the ground wire in the harness is connected, due to different phasing in the slower or faster ground wire connection, compared to your main ground connection to the transceiver and tuner.

If nothing works, I have disconnected all wires on my interface harness, and just left the TNC''s audio transmit line connected. Now open the vox on your transmitter and set it to key the transmitter when you hit the green connect dot on Airmail''s Terminal Window. This crude arrangement works. However, you could then reconnect your other wires one by one untill you get a workable arrangement without having to use the vox. Once again, try not to use the ground wire in the harness.

I assume you know how to tune your transmitter and load it up on a desired Ham radio frequency.
I assume you are a Ham. =)
I assume your computer talks to your Kam. (Airmail 3.2 does this automatically - no need for other software).
I assume your Kam can do Pactor 1 (important) - see the specs. You need firmware version 8.0 or there abouts, but if it says it can do Pactor, you are good.
I assume you downloaded Airmail version 3.2

Now:

Turn everything on.
Call up Airmail on your computer.
Open the Terminal window (Far right icon on your tool bar up top)
After a few seconds,it should say: "Kam modem initialized OK" in the Terminal window.
Tune your transceiver for the desired band (7Mhz, 10Mhz, 14Mhz, 21Mhz)
Find a Winlink2000 frequency here: http://users.iafrica.com/z/zs/zs5s/index_buls.html
Copy and paste this whole list into Airmail and update the frequency list (see the Help file).
Highlight the frequency up top on the Terminal page with your mouse and cursor.
Now set the transceiver''s dial frequency to the frequency displayed at the bottom of the Terminal page.
Tune up the transmitter with the antenna tuner.
Run only about 60 - 70 Watts (or less). - Pactor has a very high duty cycle, and your rig will warm up, if you run full power. This is adequate power for 1000 NM or more.
Make sure you are on LSB (Lower Side Band ) for ALL bands.
LSB is the traditional Pactor mode, however, Winlink2000 now advises to use USB. Bottom line, if you set your audio tone up as LSB, then use LSB. If USB, then use USB. (Tools, Options, Connection from Airmail''s menu bar.)
Click on the "Transmit" icon in the Terminal Window (Green dot) (After listening out for any other Ham activity on the frequency)
Your Kam should now make your transmitter cycle through transmit and receive.
Listen to your signal with a portable radio on LSB, or from another yacht (RF gain turned way down!). The signal should be a nice, clear audio chirping (Not hoarse). Hoarse, means RF in the system, or ground loop in action, or overdriving the audio into the transceiver.

If you hit a PMBO, you will eventually, after a few seconds (up to about 15 secs), hear Pactor chirping coming back in your receive cycle.
Two green lights (Lock and Val) should come on, on your Kam. ("Val" only comes on, when an excellent signal is present - look for a frequency and time that gives you this, for a faster connection, but the system works (just slower) without "Val " on.
Read the message in the Terminal window.
You are in business !!!

Open any unread e-mails in the message index window after all activity stops.

Try all PMBO,s within 1000NM, on all frequencies at different times of the day, untill you find a good, clear, fast connection, and log all settings and times for future ease of use.

All the above might work for Sailmail as well, but since I don''t have a Sailmail account, I did not test it yet.

Here is some more info:
>
> Definately read "A Pactor Primer",
> http://www.airmail2000.com/pprimer.htm
> Good general info here.
>
> See the "Help File" in Airmail
> Specific info about your radio and Kam and USB ports
> to serial ports, in the
> file.
>
> See more on Sailmail and download Airmail here:
> http://www.airmail2000.com/down.htm
>
> Also see:
>
http://www.alleged.com/radio/TNC-Wiring-Diagrams/ka.html
> for Kam
> wiring info to radio.
>
> Also: http://users3.ev1.net/~medcalf/ztx/wire/
>
> And http://www.spaceyideas.com/ozzie/pinouts.html
>
> The system is not "Plug and play", and needs a
> little research and free
> consultation, but works excellent and inexpensively
> when done.
>
> Once all is set up, it could be tested on Winlink
> (free to Hams), or
> Sailmail ($250/year for sailboaters worldwide)

Easy, and cheap for Hams who are far away from the Internet, though.

Excellent for emergency communications.


Bernard.
zs4bdk@hotmail.com
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Health Insurance?.... Mail? ...Any Suggestions? hcsorrell General Discussion (sailing related) 0 09-30-2004 02:11 PM
mail services Breakin Wind Living Aboard 1 03-13-2004 01:52 PM
mail services Breakin Wind Cruising & Liveaboard Forum 2 03-12-2004 10:50 AM
What''s the best way to receive mail? prussell Cruising & Liveaboard Forum 5 04-02-2003 09:22 AM
Mail Harriet Cruising & Liveaboard Forum 3 07-06-2002 04:18 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:29 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.