What a great feeling to open a new day! After struggling with the HAM (High-frequency Amateur) transmission setup between the HAM radio and a Pactor Modem, I am finally able to send and to receive emails through HAM radio. The main reason for having HAM radio is to get weather forecasts at sea. It works virtually anywhere in the world… (Maximum 30 minutes per WinLink station per day, free via WinLink)
For testing, I sent a request email via an available HAM station in Nova Scotia (about 850 miles away from current location) and received a NOAA weather forecast text file via a station in Sarasota Florida. I also found that there are so many AM radio stations available via HAM radio.
- Take a HAM test and receive a ‘Call sign’ assigned by FCC (HAM General License Exam)
- Install ‘AirMail’ Program on Computer (Free Download—Main program to transmit emails.)
- Install ‘ViewFax’ Program on Computer (Free Download—This is to view GRIB file/weather map.
- Install ‘Radio’ on Boat (Ours is iCOM IC-718)
- Install Antenna system with Antenna Tuner on Boat
- Install Modem on Boat (Ours is Pactor IIPro with Pactor-III License)
- Connect Wires between Devices
- Configure Programs accordingly
- Test-fail-test-problem-test-pain-test-curse-test-patient-test-whatever-test-finally VOILA!!!
*** For installation, we ordered and followed “Sailors’ Quick-Start Guide to SailMail / Airmail / Winlink 2000” from DockSide Radio (DSR) in Punta Gorda, Florida. We also purchased a used ‘Pactor Modem’ posted on this site. DSR is easy to contact and quick to get a reply. Recommendation for this company.