Sharing a Winlink Radio TNC Via AREDN

Did you know that a Direwolf Packet Radio TNC can be shared with multiple clients on the same network?  Yep, that’s right, so long as each computer can talk to each other over a network, they can all share one Winlink radio as the “hub”. 

The simplest way to connect a bunch of computers together is to use the internal network of your location.  If you have no network (or can’t use it), you can create your own network with a Microtik HAP-LITE, for example. You could also add a GL-USB150 Microuter loaded with AREDN firmware and configured for the same SSID (in this case, “AREDN”) to each computer.  

Why would you want to do this?  Well, here’s a typical use case scenario: you have multiple HAM operators at an emergency communications site, all of which are passing traffic for emergency managers (EM’s).  To speed up the workflow, each operator will transcribe written or verbal instructions from one or more EM’s into a Winlink form on each of their computers.  Then as each operator is ready with their messages, they’ll go ahead and send them one at at time via the linked radio “hub”.   This speeds up the workflow process by distributing the work load to many operators.  

Of course, you’re still limited by the single radio, but you would be able to save a great amount of time vs. having just one person transcribing everything and sending all messages by themselves.  That constraint existed regardless of the number of operators.

Incidentally, many EM’s don’t want computers in a ham radio room to be connected to the network of the emergency operations center (EOC).   Networking computers together with their own Microuter nodes or the Microtik HAP-LITE should keep the IT security guys happy since none of the computers need to have access to the EOC’s network to make this work.