Winlink for EmComm: Beginners Workshop

Welcome to the WaveTalkers Winlink for Emergency Communications: Beginners Workshop! Over the next 4 weeks the WaveTalkers crew will guide you step by step into the world of Winlink. Below you will find the syllabus for the workshop and what you should do to prepare for Week 1.

Preparing for Week 1

To participate in the class you will need the following:

  • Windows 10/11 PC or Virtual Machine
  • Latest copy of Zoom which you can download and install from:
  • Updated Web Browser, we suggest using Chrome as your Default Browser.
  • Valid Amateur Radio Call Sign (you will need this to set up your Winlink Account)
  • Download the latest copy of Winlink Express.
    • Go to
    • Click on the Download: Winlink Express (current production version) link
    • We will step through the installation and initial setup process together in class.



Week 1: Getting Started

The Goal for Week 1 of the workshop is to get you started with Winlink and able to successfully send and receive winlink email messages.

Topics covered:

  • What is Winlink from an Emergency Communications perspective.
  • Winlink Installation on a Windows 10/11 PC
  • Setting up your Winlink account and application settings.
  • Guided tour of the Winlink User Interface including tricks for working more efficiently within the application.
  • Sending and receiving your first Winlink messages via Telnet

Homework: Send a Winlink email message to your out-of-area emergency contact.  Explain to them what Winlink is, why you are sending this message, and ask them to reply to your Winlink message.

At the end of the first week you will have a working copy of Winlink installed on your Windows PC and be able to send and receive basic winlink messages to a Call Sign address, a tactical address, and a real world email address.

Week 2: Position Information & Winlink Forms

The Goal for Week 2 of the workshop is to familiarize you with the basics of sending and receiving Winlink Forms.

To participate in Week 2 you will need to have a working copy of Winlink already installed as per Week 1, and an up-to-date web browser, we suggest Chrome for maximum compatibility. A USB connected GPS is highly recommended although not required. Link to a suggested models will be provided on the WaveTalkers Website and noted during Week 1.

Topics covered:

  • Overview of Winlink Templates and Forms
  • Submitting a Mappable Winlink Check-In Form
  • Configuring Winlink Location Information and Submitting a Position Report
  • Submitting a Field Situation Report
  • Submitting a USGS DYFI Report
  • Overview of Winlink Mapping Capabilities
  • Submitting a Mappable Winlink Check-Out form.

Homework: Exchange Winlink Check-in and Field Situation Reports with your team members.  Map the responses for the Field Situation Report, save a JPG image of the map and attach the image to a winlink message and send that message to all 3 of your instructors (W6AH;W0DHG;NR6V).

At the end of Week 2 you will be able to successfully report your latitude and longitude position information via Winlink and submit multiple key Winlink Forms.

Week 3: ICS Forms and Working with Form Data

The Goal for Week 3 is to familiarize you with commonly used Incident Command System (ICS) forms and empower you to import and export data for forms.

Week 3 is building on the previous 2 weeks so in addition to everything noted above it will be helpful to have access to a basic spreadsheet program for working with tab delimited data.  Suggested spreadsheet programs include: Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or Libre Office Calc. A basic knowledge of spreadsheet applications will be helpful, although not required.

Topics covered:

  • Working with common ICS forms
  • Exporting and Importing form data using CSV formats
  • Importing and Exporting CSV form data into a Spreadsheet for basic data manipulation and data entry
  • Web EOC Quick Request
  • American Red Cross Forms
  • Generating an ICS-309 Communications Log

Homework: Use the winlink tools to create an ICS-205 with at least 1 voice and 1 digital frequency.  Exchange ICS-213 messages with at least 1 of your team mates with each of you sending and receiving at least 2 messages to each other. Generate an ICS-309 that covers the entire length of this course including Week 3 homework exchanges and submit a CSV version of that report to your instructors.

At the end of Week 3 you will be able to send and receive common ICS forms and work with the data contained within those forms.

Week 4: Sending Traffic via RF and Simulated Exercise

The Goal for Week 4 is to provide you with an overview of sending and receiving winlink traffic via a radio connected to a PC and for you to participate in an Simulated Event where you will be asked to successfully send and receive Winlink traffic.

Topics covered:

  • Overview of Windows PC to Radio Connections
  • Submitting weather reports
  • Live demonstrations of Winlink with Packet, VARA FM, VARA HF
  • Participate in Simulated Event Exercise

At the end of Week 4, you will be a confident Winlink operator, capable of successfully passing appropriate EmComm information in a timely manner via Winlink.   You will also be ready for advanced workshops focused on specific RF operating modes using HF, VHF, and UHF bands

Workshop Zoom Link

February 16, 2022
7pm Pacific / 10pm Eastern

Zoom Doors will open approximately 10 min before the workshop begins.

Join Zoom Meeting 
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Thank you for joining us our this journey into ham radio and emergency communications.

Chris Mattia de W6AH
Social Media: @wavetalkers #wavetalkers