VARA FM Winlink RMS Coming Soon Coming to South Central Alaska

The Anchorage ARC is installing a new Winlink VHF RMS (Rado Mail Server) but this RMS will be operated as a VARA FM station instead of using traditional Packet 1200 or 9600 baud.  If you aren’t aware, VARA FM can provide excellent throughput at a much lower expense than setting up a 9600 baud packet capable station (due to the high price of 9600 baud TNCs).  VARA FM is a soundcard mode, so software and a soundcard take the place of the TNC. Check out the Winlink page on VARA FM.

If you aren’t yet on VARA, please consider it.  Anyone can run “low speed” VARA for free. To run “high speed”, you must own a registered version which costs $69.  That’ a WHOLE LOT LESS than the cost of a 9600 baud TNC!

To get started on VARA visit EA5HVK’s website, and click on “VARA FM v4.3.5 (VAR for FM transceivers)” under the very first “VARA MODEM” section.  It’s the second item on the list.  You’ll then be taken to the download page.  Select “VARA FM v4.3.5”, download it, unzip it, and install it, and run it.  To get the “registered” version, from the program, select “Upgrade” in the top banner.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out how to set you radio/sound card up.  We used a Yaesu FTM-6000 with a DigRig Soundcard and cable we purchased from DigiRig.  It was a very simple setup and worked with very little tweaking.

The details of this RMS will be coming soon (location, frequency, callsign, etc.).  We can say it will be located in west Anchorage and will be run under the callsign of KLAA.  It will be interconnected with our other RMS stations via our high-speed AREDN Mesh Network, just like all the other RMS stations are.

FYI….our other area VHF/UHF RMSs include:

Callsign Freq (MHz) Baud Grid Square Interconnected via AREDN MESH
KL7NMC-10 147.970 9600 BP51CE Yes
WL7CVG 144.910 1200 BP51BG Yes
WL7CVG 441.175 9600 BP51BG Yes
WL7CVG 223.660 9600 BP51BG Yes
KL7JFT-10 145.190 1200 BP51JO No
KL7ZK-10 145.010 1200 BP40KK No


In the meantime, you can get setup on VARA FM to be ready!


Kent, KL5T