Winlink 2000

For someone who likes playing with technology I’ve got this fear of impending doom that as a species, the more we become reliant on technology, that bubble will eventually burst and we will either be returned to the state of hitting rocks against things to make sparks to light fires or we will be hunted down by Schwarzenegger sized robots suffering from terminal acting syndrome!

Lets be honest the worlds financial systems now run in the construct of computer systems rather than in paper ledgers. When the power gets switched off that there ledger wasn’t such a bad idea!

As such I’m still a strong believer in engines without electronic management systems, mechanically wound watches and oil filled compasses!

Where’s this going you may ask yourself? Good question! Everyone loves being able to surf the net, send email, shop online etc etc. But what happens when the Internet gets switched off? Not such a silly question when you consider that a bloke in a JCB can put the scoop through a bundle of cables running up your street and cause havoc, a fire at the local telephone exchange can wipe out the internet for an entire city or a DOS attack on an ISP can level things at a national level!

This is where fall back systems are the best thing since sliced bread. Before the internet (and that wasn’t that long ago!) there was radio and people were doing some very clever things which have fallen out of mainstream fashion since the internet took off.

One of those things is packet radio and all of the embryonic systems which have become mainstay of the modern internet – mailboxes, email, bulletin boards.

I’m not going to regurgitate other peoples sites just to fill a page but have a Google and see what’s out there.

In short if you’ve got a radio and a way of connecting a computer to it you can in effect unplug the network cable and still achieve global communication via email without the internet. Having all of the required ingredients for this I delved into the world of Winlink and created an account. is a good place to start and a radio with a SignaLink USB can readily utilise WINMOR as a protocol without having to buy a hardware TNC, everything being done in software.

If you’ve got a few minutes the following video does a much better job at explaining how things work without being technically heavy.

As such with Winlink up and running amateur radio enthusiasts have a redundancy system which has a whole host of applications, least of all a means to let people know you are safe and well if you’re afloat on the ocean or if a civil emergency is declared and infrastructure is disabled by either them or us!

Just to prove it worked I sent myself an email!

Screenshot 2015-11-29 15.32.09

Somewhat pointless people may argue but getting an email from A to Z via a series of other people’s radios is rather neat!