I know that many of you have already used, tested, and successfully sent/received emails via Winlink, but for me it is a relatively recent addition to the capabilities at my station.
I first set Winlink up in March 2021, but other than sending a couple of emails to make sure it worked, I did not find much use for it other than having the knowledge that it would be available if needed.
A fellow club member, Tim KD9LAI, recently mentioned to me that there is a weekly ‘Winlink Wednesday’ net that is run by KW6GB in Virginia. The purpose of this net is for amateur radio operators to get regular practice using Winlink email so that if it is needed for an emergency, your skills are already tuned and ready for use.
So, with that information, I went to the Winlink Wednesday website and followed the net check -in instructions.
To illustrate the importance of practice, I had forgotten one of the key steps in setting up my software/radio connection, and it took me some time to figure out what I was doing wrong (I needed my 7300 to be in USB-D mode). If this had been a real emergency situation, I would have lost valuable time and may even have given up. Now, I have learnt from that experience and know what to do to make it work first time.
I have checked in to this net 3 times now, and I am glad that I now have a reason to fire up the Winlink Express software on a more regular basis. I am now familiar with the setup requirements and can get emails out in a timely manner. Learning which gateways and bands to use at different times of day is also very useful.
For me personally, with there being so many aspects of amateur radio to not only learn, but to be comfortable and proficient with, I think keeping a good level of familiarity with our radio skills is very important.
73, Mike K9KMV