Winlink: E-Mail Emergency Relief Communications and Message Relay with or without the Internet

Winlink: E-Mail Emergency Relief Communications and Message Relay with or without the Internet

Decided to incorporate Winlink 2000 into the AREDN – Mossel Bay Mesh Network.  The Mossel Bay Mesh is currently using Winlink Express with Telnet to connect to Common Mail Servers World wide.

What is Winlink 2000?

  • Worldwide system for sending e-mail via radio
  • Provides e-mail from almost anywhere in the world.
  • Provides vital support for 10,000+ sailors
  • Adopted for contingency communication by many
    government agencies
  • Used by infrastructure-critical NGOs such as
    International & American Red Cross, Disaster Relief, Disaster Response & Recovery, FedEx, Emergency Response
    Teams, etc.
  • Amateur Radio Operators – Worldwide

Example:  Emergency Communications

  • “… we got nothing when we tried calling out on HF.
    We tried calling the Maritime Mobile Net, but nothing
    was out there. As a last-ditch effort, we used Winlink
    to e-mail the Coast Guard for help. Within an hour, we
    heard a C-130 plane, and later, a helicopter overhead.
  •  Doug Faunt, N6TQS
  •  (Bounty survivor)
  • 14 of 16 Crew rescued

The recent fires in the Southern Cape necessitate the use of digital emergency data networks  during large scale emergencies or disasters.  The Knysna Fire Disaster revealed the vulnerability when Commercial Communications (Internet, Cellphones, Landlines, Power  etc.) collapsed. Winlink allows all roll players to communicate when all else fails.

Adaptive Message Routing Through Mossel Bay MESH Network

  • Fully automatic, wide-area MESH network routing.
  •  Not limited by source-to-destination propagation.
  • If a direct link is not available to the destination MPS,
    intermediate RMS will relay the message.
  • The optimum path is computed by each RMS based on HF
    propagation estimates, time of day, Pactor speed, message
    size and other factors. This is Adaptive Routing.
  • Each intermediate RMS recomputes the optimum path.
  •  If a RMS is unavailable, the system will route around it.
  • Busy RMS are tried a few times and then routed around.
  •  Radio messages can be relayed through RMS that are or are
    not connected to the Internet.


  •  Winlink use continues to grow, especially for Emergency and Disaster Communications.
  • The Winlink Development Team continues to enhance
    capabilities to adapt to changing needs.
  •  Winlink now has three modes of operation:
  • Conventional connections to a CMS backbone server
  • Hybrid (Radio-only) MESH network with HF relaying
  •  Peer-to-Peer connections between client stations
  • The new Winlink Hybrid Network allows Winlink to
    continue handling messages via HF forwarding if the
    Internet is down.
  • Steady improvements are being implemented regularly.

Lookout for future Winlink updates and add-on functions to the AREDN – Mossel Bay Mesh Network.

Article:  Johan ZS1I  Founder and Administrator: Mossel Bay Mesh Network

Acknowledgements: Winlink 2000  and Winlink Development Team.

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