Recently I was looking for alternatives to allow me to send Winlink messages over the 2m band via packet. One of the problems that I can’t seem to solve on Linux is making AX.25 and Direwolf work properly. I’ve read through (and followed) a dozen tutorials, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to make that work.

One alternative is using Windows and the RMS express program coupled with Soundmodem. However, as you all know, I am not too fond of Windows, and I principally use Linux and other open source operating systems. It also is not very handy to have to dual boot my laptop into Windows which means suspending the usual JS8 and other HF operations to do Winlink. So I needed another option.

Of course, there is Wine or virtual box as well, allowing me to run Windows, or windows programs within Linux. But, for one thing, it really just goes back to using Windows in a different format. Also, for some reason, having multiple signalink USB devices seems to be giving me a lot of trouble. On one boot, the HF signalink will be device 2, and the vhf one will be device 3, but on the next boot, it gets reversed.

Doing a little digging, I came across WoAD, Winlink on Android. At first glance I thought it just allowed you to do telnet winlink connections, but after playing with the program, I found you could actually use it to do ardop and packet as well! I thought there was no way it could detect and use the signalink, but after connecting it to the OTG cable, it fired right up.

I will mention, that at first it didn’t transmit out, because the default setting was for the output to be on the right channel, and I had to change the settings to the left channel to get the output to work. However, other than that, it worked right out of the box!

I plan to play with it a bit more, but so far, I’m pretty impressed with the app! I can see this being very useful with a handheld or vehicle mounted radio, too, which makes for a very small package to carry in emcomm situations.

Linux – keep it simple.

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