EMCOMM Email Via Radio In Sangamon County, Illinois (Updated 2/2/2015)
Winlink 2000 (WL2K) is a worldwide system of volunteer resources supporting e-mail by radio, with non-commercial links to internet e-mail. These resources come from Amateur Radio, the Military Affiliate Radio Systems (MARS), and other volunteer organizations. The system provides valuable service to emergency communicators, and to licensed radio operators without access to the internet.
Since June of 2007 I have been operating a VHF RMS Packet Station into the WL2K system. It's call sign is N9PUZ-10 and it is accessed via a 1200 Baud TNC on a frequency of 145.610 MHz.
A Kantronics KPC-3 Plus 1200 Baud Terminal Node Controller (TNC)
In order to access the RMS Packet station you will need a VHF radio, a 1200 Baud TNC, Winlink RMS Express, the Paclink program or AirMail and a suitable computer. Details of the current programs and computer requirements as well as instructions on installation may be found on the Winlink web site.
Nearly any 1200 Baud TNC can be used as long as you can connect it to your radio and your computer. Two of the more popular ones are the Kantronics KPC-3 Plus pictured above and the Byonics TT4 which is available brand new and assembled for around $75.00.
To begin with my advice would be to use the RMS Express software. It installs on your computer and provides an interface between your TNC and includes an email like window to send and receive. RMS Express also supports the HF WINMOR protocol and can control an SCS Pactor 3 external modem.
In addition to the N9PUZ-10 gateway I also operate a higher level digipeater in Sangamon County -- N9PUZ-3. If you cannot connect directly with N9PUZ-10 then you can digipeat to gain access to the system. Simply set up your Paclink software to use the optional connect script "VIA N9PUZ-3." N9PUZ-3 also has an alias of "SPI" and operates on 145.610 MHz.
The diagram below depicts a typical deployment of Winlink stations. They may be used to provide email to areas where a conventional Internet connection has been lost or to an area or location where email access may not normally be available.