How to use Winlink transparently

So, if you followed this blog at all (all three of you), then you know that I generally long to get away from everything, and I’ve really gotten excited about the Winlink radio email service to keep me in touch when I get there.

I currently have set up a Winlink station, using a Kenwood TR-7625 2M radio, a Diamond x510 antenna with 8.3db of gain, a Kantronics KPC3 TNC, and my Asus EEE 1015PEB netbook. I use the Airmail program in Ubuntu 11.04, running under wine. I can connect to winlink via packet when I’m somewhere remote, and via the internet with it’s available, and if someone sends me an email to<“winlink”><“org”>, I might actually get it, or a notice that the sender is not on my white list.

It’s that last part that I’m worried about. How are my correspondents to know that I’m not at home and to send mail to my Winlink account instead of my more traditional one. What if I haven’t yet added an entry to my white list for some rarely heard from aunt, or uncle, or what if one of my more tech savvy friends switched to yet another ISP based service.

Toward this end, I want to use my current email address as a buffer.  For starters, Google mail already has great spam protection, and is an established email for me.  I started by setting up a fairly general forward in gmail, but keeping out various forms of news or alert emails which I don’t want over the air.

Unfortunately, it seems that gmail is adding a tag which Winlink seems to think implies spam. All messages instantly get returned as “Invalid sender”. I’ve asked the Winlink team what I can do about it, and for the moment, it’s nothing. It seems that I’m hitting a rule in the Winlink spam filter which I can’t work around with any sort of user setting. Thankfully, the team at believes this to be a reasonable use, and especially Lor Kutchins, W3QA, has been very helpful as their representative. Thanks guys!

Hopefully they can get this fixed up quickly.


About Grant Wagner

General class ham: KC9SJQ
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7 Responses to How to use Winlink transparently

  1. Dizzy-Dick says:

    Why don’t you take your laptop with you and an air card for it and do your emails that way? That is what I do on trips. Oh yeah, that would take the fun out of it, right?

    I remember back in the 70’s, I built a mic-coder from Heath Kit and was so exicited to be able to use the autopatch. I could be a hundred miles from home on a hunting trip and still be able to call my wife though my home repeater which had fantastic coverage and an autopatch. I guess now a days autopatches are made obsolete by cell phones.

  2. Grant Wagner says:

    Well, the short reason is that any place where I want to get away from it all is, by definition, out of the ear shot of a cell tower. For lesser and other reasons, I don’t want the full internet, nor the extravagant bill that comes with cellular based data plans. I may even try a HSMM rig at some point.

    All of this 2M stuff is really just testing, and hopefully will soon be replaced by either this system or PskMail over HF. We’ll see. My wife and I are dieting, and a reasonable HF (Kenwood 480? Icom 706MG2?, Yaesu FT-857?) rig is going to be my 100Lbs reward.

    • AB9NZ says:

      It’s funny in the lower 48, you can see a cell tower just about everywhere, (passing sharecropper shacks heading out of Mobile Alabama I couldn’t see any on the horizon), But that still doesn’t mean you’ll have any bars on the cell phone.
      There is a crowd hatin’ on the winlink if used on the hf, I haven’t formed an opinion yet, but it sure looks like fun.
      A new rig is such a great investment, I’d love to have an ft857 in the truck, I’m surprised how much use I’m getting out of the 2 meter rig that’s riding along now. The 706 is discontinued, and I’ve read some parts are unobtanium when they break down, something to consider. One of these days we need to put some slow scan tv over the repeater Amigo.
      I hope all is well, Tom, AB9NZ

      • Grant Wagner says:

        Yeah, I just looked. I wonder when it was canceled? I feel like it was in AES’s catalog this past spring, but it wasn’t in the current fall one. Unfortunately, the wife and I went over our finances, and decided that $1K was just to much strain on our budget. We are trying to save to “buy” a baby (adoption). Maybe something more reasonable toward a used rig.

        The more I am in this hobby, the more I seem to understand the divisions in it. In at least 2M WinLink, there seems to be a strong bias toward emergency communications. That is probably because the most active local group is the lake county races. However, something somewhat said (which you commented on, shortwaveamerica?) made sense to me. For emergency use, Public Service officials usually have equipment that works on non-amature bands that is much more sophisticated that what we have with full time training operators to use them. On HF, the contesters seem to really get upset over anyone else using the band. I’m glad the Nora group seems less focused on such things and just about having fun.

        That all said, I have earned my right to use the air as much as any other ham, and I appreciate using the digital modes. I don’t think it makes any difference if the person on the other side is human or a store-and-forward system.

  3. FM says:

    In case you’re still interested, I got gmail to winlink forwarding to work by whitelisting the following address:


  4. James says:

    FM: very well deduced Sir


    It works! You have saved me a lot of time and frustration, thank you.


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