Winlink amateur radio email via paclink-unix on the Raspberry Pi

This is my second attempt to get a Winlink client (see here for a high level overview of Winlink) working on the Raspberry Pi. I first tried Pat /wl2k-go but it crashed (I created a ticket on github to followup), so for my second attempt I took a look at paclink-unix.

This site has a very detailed step by step install and config steps – follow exactly and pay attention to any errors 🙂 :

A few additional notes:

  • wl2kax25 did not compile for me with the ax25 version that I previously had installed, possibly from apt-get from the default repos. Once I noticed this was missing I went back to the steps in the doc above and downloaded the ax25 packages from source, compiled, installed, rebuilt paclink and now I had the wl2kax25 app
  • Editing the /usr/local/etc/wl2k.conf file: the email= value is your local user email address on your local device, in this case on the Pi (e.g. for me, pi@localhost). This is used when wl2ktelnet/wl2kax25 retrieves incoming messages and it sends them to this user. If you see the wl2k app downloading messages but they’re not showing up in your inbox, check this.
  • Checking /var/log/mail.log is very useful to see what’s happening to your outbound and inbound messages!

The usage sequence is:

  • send outbound message with mail client, e.g. alpine
  • run wl2ktelnet to send over an internet connection if you have one
  • or, run wl2kax25 to send over your configured ax25 stack

The setup I got working is:

  • Raspberry Pi, with alpine (regular email client), direwolf (packet soundcard modem) and ax25 (to link paclink to direwolf)
  • Rigblaster Advantage USB soundcard, connected to an Icom 880

To send over vhf to my nearest Winlink gateway, I used:

  • wl2kax25 -a 1 -c KG6SJT-10 via KBERR


-a 1 is port 1 defined in my /etc/ax25/axports

-c is the call of the Winlink gateway I’m connecting to, and I’m connecting via a packet digipeater, KBERR.

2 Replies to “Winlink amateur radio email via paclink-unix on the Raspberry Pi”

  1. Hi,
    Just got this link via google. Is ist possible to get the image where your description really works ? This would be great. I am ready to pay up to $100.-
    Best 73, Walter, HB9AGA

    1. I’m not sure I still have that sdcard with that same setup. I could probably recreate it and share the image though. Might have some time in the next week or so to get it working again.

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