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Old 13-05-2008, 10:34   #16
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I have an update since this thread was active a few months ago. My PSK-31 station is now working well, and is QRP (low power, under 5 watts). It runs for many days of heavy operation on a 12-V 15-AH battery and is about to get a lightweight lithium to make it more pleasant to carry around. The result is a backup and field radio system, completely independent of my fancy integrated boat comm gear that depends on ship power... yet can still provide both emergency and fun communications in voice, digital, and CW (Morse Code) modes on all bands from HF through UHF. (I have skipped standard packet, which is a bit passé, and used PSK-31.)

The magic trick for doing the data part of this without a computer is the NUE-PSK, which works beautifully. It is a little box that plugs into your ham rig and any PS2 mini-keyboard, and has its own display. It takes care of all the PSK-31 processing that is normally done with a PC, sound card, and interface box.

Note that this is not in any way equivalent to the PACTOR-based networks out there that allow more-or-less unattended forwarding of email. It is just live keyboard-to-keyboard chat (though there are projects afoot to add mail services). But let's not underestimate the value of a simple system. If I were in trouble somewhere, with my ship electronics all belly-up , my first choice of tool for getting help would depend on whether I wanted to invoke the 5-alarm fire of coast-guard rescue and/or salvage operators... versus alerting a few friends to mobilize resources to help get me out of trouble more quietly.

In the latter case, I would grab my field radio pack out of a compartment under the aft berth. It's a heavy-duty dry bag with a Buddipole HF antenna system (tripod, mast, dipole, cable), VHF/UHF Arrow II yagi antenna for repeaters and LEO satellites, and a soft pack containing the rig (FT-817 low-power HF/VHF/UHF radio, NUE-PSK, keyboard, Li-Ion battery, 12-V charger, and solar panel). This can be set up anywhere, on or off the boat, and give me more or less unlimited opportunity to get messages out (or just play radio, which is self-justifying for an old geek).

From my experience on 40 and 20 meters during the past couple of weeks, the little 5-watt PSK-31 station is good for thousands of miles (with patience).

While this is a far cry from the integrated email-transport of the on-board "shipnet" that seamlessly falls back from EVDO to HF email when I'm out of cellular range (with Globalstar as an option if I want to pay for connect time), it gives me a warm cozy feeling to know that I can always call for help without it immediately being considered a "rescue."

Cheers from Nomadness,

M/V Datawake
Nomadic Research Labs
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Old 14-05-2008, 07:51   #17
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Very cool Steve, thanks for posting up your PSK info. One of these days I'll get around to playing with that a bit more...

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Old 04-11-2009, 05:48   #18
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Winmor sound card vitual TNC for Winlink 2000 out on Beta testing.

Hi All,

Since my Pactor 1 post, things have developed a bit on the Winlink 2000 scene. Hopefully Winmor (a sound card vitual TNC) will soon be competition for Pactor 2 and 3 at a fraction of the cost.

And you can become a Beta tester of Winmor software for free too...

500 Hz

1600 Hz

CPU usage laptop #1, 1.5 Ghz, 1 Gb RAM, Windows XP on .Net 3.5

CPU usage laptop #2 (the XYL's....Shhh), also 1.5 Ghz, 1 Gb RAM, Windows XP on .Net 3.5 running less programs in the background.
The images above were created during Beta testing of RMS Express incorporating Winmor. Two laptops adjacent to each other, talking to each other through the internal soundcards and internal mikes and speakers. (Local loop.)
- I.e. no RF. The radios were shortcircuited out. Soundcard quality is key. This could be an inexpensive external thumb (USB) soundcard. A bad el cheapo internal soundcard (on older laptops), gives a bad constellation display, and can cause the still fragile software to crash. - My observation. Note the CPU usage for the 500 Hz bandwidth. There is NO significant increase in CPU usage for the 1600Hz bandwidth.

The Ham bands in the USA and Europe are buzzing with hams testing a new digital protocol, nl Winmor, (Soundcard virtual TNC) for the Winlink 2000 Amateur Radio messaging system. (Email via HF and VHF).
The Beta version software (RMS Express is available for FREE on Yahoo Groups - Winmor. (You will need to sign in to your free Yahoo account.)
All testing results are also posted here between participating hams for each other's benefit.
Please read all the supporting documentation and educate yourself on Winmor before posting something.....=)
No more expensive TNC needed ?
Look for "RMS Express Full"
Also definitely read "RMS Express Install Instructions.doc"
It works well under Windows XP.
For Windows Vista you need to create your own download directory.
Sign in to your free Yahoo account (or create it), if you cannot open this direct link:
Have fun.
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Old 04-11-2009, 05:54   #19
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My personal best Winmor thruput. Faster than Pactor 2.

My personal best thruput while bench testing RMS Express incorporating the Winmor protocol. Two 1.5 Ghz, 500Mb Ram laptop machines on Windows XP with only internal sound cards were used, linked by audio only. (External microphones looking at the internal speakers.)
This is faster than Pactor 2.
2009/10/27 21:50:57 *** Connected to: ZS4KC @ 1600 Hz at 2009/10/27 21:50:57
2009/10/27 21:50:57 [RMS Express-0.3.1-B2F]
2009/10/27 21:50:57 ; ZS4KC DE ZS4BDK () >
2009/10/27 21:51:24 [RMS Express-0.3.1-B2F]
2009/10/27 21:51:24 ; ZS4BDK DE ZS4KC ()
2009/10/27 21:51:29 FC EM 69YFVLUD3JFG 71354 70035 0
2009/10/27 21:51:29 F> B2
2009/10/27 21:51:29 FS Y
2009/10/27 21:56:13 *** No HF RMS WINMOR enabled stations found
2009/10/27 21:56:13 *** Disconnected at 2009/10/27 21:56:13
2009/10/27 21:56:19 *** Connect Request to ZS4KC at 2009/10/27 21:56:19
2009/10/27 21:56:22 *** Connected to: ZS4KC @ 1600 Hz at 2009/10/27 21:56:22
2009/10/27 21:56:29 [RMS Express-0.3.1-B2F]
2009/10/27 21:56:29 ; ZS4BDK DE ZS4KC () >
2009/10/27 21:56:29 [RMS Express-0.3.1-B2F]
2009/10/27 21:56:29 ; ZS4KC DE ZS4BDK ()
2009/10/27 21:56:29 FF
2009/10/27 21:56:57 FC EM 69YFVLUD3JFG 71354 70035 0
2009/10/27 21:56:57 F> B2
2009/10/27 21:56:57 FS Y
2009/10/27 22:07:21 *** 69YFVLUD3JFG - 71352/70031 bytes received
2009/10/27 22:07:21 FF
2009/10/27 22:07:33 FQ
2009/10/27 22:07:35 *** Disconnected at 2009/10/27 22:07:35
2009/10/27 22:07:35 [Session Stats:] Duration: 11.22 min
Bandwidth: 0 Mode Shifts: 0
Decode Attempts: 906
Weak R-S Decodes : 645 Weak R-S Sums: 0
Strong R-S Decodes: 127 Strong R-S Sums: 1
Bytes Sent : 56 Bytes Received: 70705
Thruput(bytes/min): 6308
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:25   #20
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Thanks for pointing out Winmor, looks like winlink just got a LOT more affordable

I've been following pskmail for a while..
sv Libertalia
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Old 18-12-2009, 08:17   #21
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No problem, idpnd.

Theoretically to get better Winlink 2000 coverage, any moored boat with 24/7 fast internet access and also running Winmor, can now also become a RMS (Radio Message Server.) Think about the possibilities.
Other boats can then connect through you to the Winlink 2000 system.
This would vastly increase Winlink 2000's reach.

Just a thought.


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email, pactor

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