(page updated on 3/16/2023)
Preferred Winlink RMS Gateways
|Germantown - temporarily off the air
|Gambrill Mt. (Frederick)
|PG ARES affiliated
|PG ARES affiliated*
|Connect via RESTON digipeater
- VHF RMS gateways can be used as digipeaters for peer-to-peer connections between local stations when Internet access to the Winlink Central Message Server is unavailable.
- An asterisk (*) indicates these Winlink Nodes have RMS Relay installed. This means if the internet is down messages can still be left for a recipient to pick up directly.
- When seeking a HF RMS gateway, a simple strategy is to listen to SSB stations on your target band to see where propagation is good. Then select a gateway from the Channel Selector in the same general part of the county. For example, if you are hearing stations in the Midwest on voice, choose a gateway station in the Midwest.
- When using Ardop or Vara, you have two choices for bandwidth. Under ideal propagation conditions, the wider bandwidth mode achieves greater throughput, which is a significant benefit when sending a larger message. But if the band is crowded, you will be more successful (and considerate of others) when you choose the narrow bandwidth. Be sure to select a gateway having a compatible bandwidth. The Vara HF modem performs significantly better than Ardop under less-than-ideal conditions. Similarly, Vara FM provides greater throughput than the AX.25 packet modem. A license to use Vara costs $69, and multiple instances may be installed for use under a single call sign. It is well worth the money and highly recommended.
Winlink Tactical Addresses
|Medstar Montgomery Medical Center (Olney)
|Holy Cross Hospital (Silver Spring)
|Holy Cross Germantown Hospital ‡
|ARRL Maryland-DC Section Manager
|ARRL Maryland-DC Section Emergency Coordinator
|ARRL Maryland-DC Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator
|Montgomery County EOC
|NIH Radio Amateur Club Station (Bethesda)
|MONTGOMERY COUNTY FACILITIES †
|OTHER USEFUL TACTICAL ADDRESSES
|MAIPN Comm Van
† If you are configuring a laptop to be used for Winlink at one of these facilities, you will need to obtain the password in order to retrieve messages addressed to that facility’s tactical address. Before sending a message to another facility’s tactical address, verify that they are able to retrieve it.
‡ Note the potential source of confusion between the abbreviations of Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) and Holy Cross Germantown Hospital (HCG). If in doubt, verify which hospital was intended and spell out the hospital name.
Maryland-DC Section Monthly Winlink Challenge
The Maryland-DC Winlink Challenge is a monthly training activity sponsored by Maryland-DC ARES to familiarize operators with advanced features of Winlink and other digital modes that are useful for emergency and disaster communications. All ARES members in the MDC section are encouraged to participate. (We have a few participants from neighboring sections as well.) One purpose of the Challenge is to encourage the regular use of Winlink among amateur radio operators. It’s easy to participate — all you have to do is send a Winlink message to tactical call sign MDCWINLINK-1, asking to be added to the mailing list for the challenge. You’ll receive a Winlink message each month with instructions for that month’s exercise.
Most exercises do not require you to be on a certain frequency at a specific time. Rather, a range of time is specified, and you complete the activity at a time of your choosing within the specified time span.
Text Messaging Templates
You can use Winlink to send SMS and MMS text messages to a cellphone. There might be an operational need to do this, and it is a great way to demonstrate the capability of Winlink to stakeholders and members of the public. The only catch is that you need to know the recipient’s cellular carrier, since each carrier has their own email address for delivering text messages to their customers.
We have assembled several custom Winlink templates to streamline the process of creating text messages. The templates we have provided prompt you to select a carrier from a list, and then fill in the appropriate email address for that carrier.
These templates are available on the MCACS website. It is a simple matter to copy the template files to your computer, making the templates available within Winlink Express. You can find the details of how to do this in this document: