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Old 11-08-2014, 00:51   #1
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FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

As a ham radio operator I use FLDIGI for a number of digital modes. I see cruising folks use Pactor modems for email. Couldn't one use only software and avoid having to use an external modem? Just curious. Thanks!

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Old 11-08-2014, 02:55   #2
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

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Originally Posted by frgeorgeh View Post
As a ham radio operator I use FLDIGI for a number of digital modes. I see cruising folks use Pactor modems for email. Couldn't one use only software and avoid having to use an external modem?
Yes. There are two alternatives: WINMOR implemented in RMS Express for use with Winlink and PSKmail. WINMOR is a little faster than Pactor II. PSKmail is pretty slow.
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Old 11-08-2014, 03:35   #3
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

I have a SignaLink USB on board and use it succesfully with PSK and have also tried it with Winmor and PSKmail but in the real offshore world its only Pactor/sailmail for me.
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:55   #4
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

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I have a SignaLink USB on board and use it succesfully with PSK and have also tried it with Winmor and PSKmail but in the real offshore world its only Pactor/sailmail for me.
I agree with you on Pactor. One of its attractions to me is that I can use Pactor with Airmail on Sailmail, Winlink, Shipcom, CruiseEmail, and Bushmail.

PSK31 is nice for chatting.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:50   #5
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
...but in the real offshore world its only Pactor/sailmail for me.
I have to wonder why. You successfully use Winmor and PSKmail at other times. Do you imagine that there are times when sailmail will work and these others would not? It's all radio transmission and propagation either way. If conditions allow your Pactor/sailmail signal to get through, then there is absolutely no reason to believe that Winmor wouldn't work just as well. The only meaningful difference between the two happens in the computer or modem, AFTER the transmission has been sent and received.

And PSKmail is actually much less sensitive to a poor signal than the sailmail protocol. Meaning that you would likely be able to send an e-mail successfully that way when conditions were not good enough for sailmail. Of course, PSKMail is slower, but that seems like a fair trade-off for a system that is free and will deliver the mail when others might not.
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:27   #6
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

Thanks for the replies! I also have a signalink USB for my Yaesu FT-897. We plan to bring this aboard if we can ever sell our house and get the heck outta here and....sorry, I digress.

Yes, Winlink is the plan for long range emails here too. Don't they use Pactor in that network? Guess I need to go take a look. Which Winlink client do you think a couple would need - just normal email traffic.

Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:29   #7
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

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Originally Posted by frgeorgeh View Post
Yes, Winlink is the plan for long range emails here too. Don't they use Pactor in that network?
Yes, using a Pactor modem is one way to use winlink. Using a sound-card interface (like your Signalink) and software to act as the modulator/de-modulator is another way. The software that you would use with your Signalink is called "Winmor." This makes it unnecessary to spend the money on the proprietary Pactor modem.

The one consideration is that winmor is only available on amateur frequencies. Hence, as I'm sure you know, no business transactions allowed. If you want to send and receive business e-mails via your marine HF radio then sailmail is what you're looking for (and what you'll be paying for).
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:40   #8
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

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If you want to send and receive business e-mails via your marine HF radio then sailmail is what you're looking for (and what you'll be paying for).
Very good point indeed! Thanks. Is
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Old 11-08-2014, 13:29   #9
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

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I have to wonder why. You successfully use Winmor and PSKmail at other times. Do you imagine that there are times when sailmail will work and these others would not?
Ease of use primarily. Maybe its different in the NW Pacific and N Atlantic but even Winlink is problematical in the SE Pacific and southern South America. I've worked PSK in assorted locations and quite enjoy it for chatting but my use of Winmor and PSKMail can best be described as experimental.
With Sailmail I know that the stations will be there all day every day and once you get into the routine and know the best time of day for specific stations and frequencies life becomes simple... simple is good......
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Old 11-08-2014, 13:31   #10
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

and also.... I have had a pactor modem for about 12/13 years.. predates Winmor and PSKmail.... maybe if I had to buy one now I would try harder with PSKmail and Winmor.
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Old 11-08-2014, 13:45   #11
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

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With Sailmail I know that the stations will be there all day every day and once you get into the routine and know the best time of day for specific stations and frequencies life becomes simple... simple is good......

If sailmail uses Pactor, couldn't we still get by with digital interface and Pactor decoding software or do you have to use their client SW only? All new to me.

I also really like PSK 31 for chatting. It gets through pretty well when band conditions are in the toilet. Maybe we can work each other some time. That would be fun!

George
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Old 11-08-2014, 14:53   #12
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Re: FLDIGI instead of Pactor modem

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I have to wonder why.
I can't speak for the other gentleman, but for me it isn't a matter of Sailmail or Winlink (I use both), but Pactor over the alternatives. PIII is significantly faster than WINMOR and P4 is much faster yet. PSKMail is really slow.

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Do you imagine that there are times when sailmail will work and these others would not?
Sometimes. I am very grateful to all the Winlink volunteers but there is no standardization and little to no notice of changes. Beam positions change, equipment gets borrowed for other applications, software configuration control doesn't always follow best practice, .... Sailmail does have a standard configuration and there isn't much change.

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Yes, Winlink is the plan for long range emails here too. Don't they use Pactor in that network? Guess I need to go take a look. Which Winlink client do you think a couple would need - just normal email traffic.
Many but not all Winlink stations use Pactor. Some use WINMOR. Some use both. The station list that goes in your client software can be sorted accordingly.

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Originally Posted by frgeorgeh View Post
If sailmail uses Pactor, couldn't we still get by with digital interface and Pactor decoding software or do you have to use their client SW only? All new to me.
The two meaningful candidates for client software for Winlink are Airmail by Jim Corenman and RMS Express by the Winlink Development Team. In my opinion Airmail is still the tool of choice for cruisers - the support for weather fax, gribs, and the catalog are better in my experience.
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