need to transmit any volume of information during an incident can be
critical. Accuracy and speed by which this information travels can certainly
become a factor in a positive resolution to the incident; lives and property
loss are paramount to the citizens of
gives us a tool to augment Orange County's extensive communications arsenal. This program allows e-mail to be
transmitted via amateur radio in a compressed mode, saving crucial time.
This system has the ability to work from any point on the planet. Operation
of the Winlink system does not require extensive amateur radio knowledge to
e-mail is handled by simple “client” software such as Outlook, Outlook
Express, and other similar e-mail programs. All of the features of your
“client” e-mail software are at your fingertips just as though you were
at your desktop. Attachments of photographs, spreadsheets, and Microsoft
Word documents are compatible with this system. During a demonstration at
the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross, a roster including
names and phone numbers, a 10 kilobyte file, was successfully transmitted
from their meeting room to an off-site campus.
configuring a Winlink system for use at an Incident Command Post, a local
area network can easily be established with a router and personal laptops.
This system can be extended using other common network technologies such as
WiFi. Each laptop can be
operated by IC personnel without the need for an amateur radio license. The
only person requiring the license is the operator of the initial Winlink
system, consisting of a radio and modem. This initial laptop system is
therefore used as a bridge to a router, sharing e-mail access to the rest of
the IC personnel.
of Orange RACES has had a working Winlink Gateway in operation since 2005,
operating from the Loma Ridge EOC. E-mail has been transmitted and received
in the field successfully from any area with a view of the Loma Ridge site.
OCRACES has three Winlink Gateways throughout Orange
The surrounding areas of Riverside, San Bernardino, and San
Diego Counties also participate in Winlink.
HF, VHF, and UHF Winlink stations are now in operation at the
Orange County EOC.
A list of other government agencies using Winlink is available online at