Welcome to the Sarasota Digital Group Home

Who we are:

The Sarasota Digital Group (SDG) is an unaffiliated group of amateur radio operators who’s collective goal is to develop and deploy digital capability for use in emergency communication (emcomm).

The SDG has no organization, no rules, no borders. We do have a charter ( Charter Link ).

There are some SOPs that deal with hardware and procedure that are mainly to keep everyone in the same universe. Individual preferences may vary from established SOPs

What do we do: The SDG concentrates on the following:

  • Packet Radio: The main emphasis is on the amateur e-mail system called Winlink ( Winlink.org ) mainly in the VHF band.
  • Pactor: Utilized on HF as part of the Winlink network to transfer messages out of the immediate area.
  • Narrow Band Emergency Messaging Software (NBEMS): This includes FLDIGI ( link ) and EasyPal ( link ) on V/UHF and HF.
  • Microwave:
    • The SDG is developing an AREDN ( link ) microwave network in the 2.4 MHz band that is planned to connect all relevant sites in the county. Currently the American Red Cross (ARC) and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) are connected. This allows both VOIP phone communications as well has high speed Winlink connections.
    • The future will include HAMWAN ( link ) high speed data link into Tampa and St. Petersburg.
  • Radio Only: The SDG’s concentration is on radio only communications, “if all else fails”. The systems developed by the group will be useful long before we reach the critical point but that possibility must be considered at all times.

Where’s this happening:

  • All over Sarasota county and now includes amateurs from Manatee and Charlotte counties.
  • We meet regularly on Tuesday, usually for lunch at Miller’s Ale House ( link ) around 11 AM for lunch then by 12:30 we move to the ARC ( link ). Be sure to check first as our schedule may vary.

How to participate:

  • Show up on Tuesday. Be willing to participate. An amateur radio license is not required. If you have an interest in digital communications and want to help in emergencies then come see what we are all about.
  • Contact any of the individuals listed at the end of this page or e-mail SERC@n4ser.org

Mesh Net Click to enlarge

The Following is some information we’ve put together

Latest News (5/26/17): 

We are ready to install two additional HF antennas at the ARC. A Cushcraft R7 that will be utilized on the pactor radio and a multi-band dipole for NV+BEMS.

The radio room has been completely upgraded. “Can you here us now?”

2.4 GHz AREDN now connects the EOC and ARC and K4JBV on the air and a bunch of us via internet tunneling.

Sarasota Digital Network Map: ( Link )

Work is beginning on installing HAMWAN in Sarasota.

Want to get started with Winlink? Here’s how ( Link )

KPC3+ with AGW Express Interface ( Link )

A soundcard / AGW PE  or KISS TNC digipeater is possible ( Link )

Want to see what a Winlink Gateway / Packet digipeater looks like? ( Click Here )

Links: Blue / Underlined

Home Tutorials Hardware Software Plans The SDG


Getting StartedStar Burst



  • PiGate

    • The latest WinLink Gaget is the PiGate ( PiGate.net ). A Raspberry Pi based WinLink WiFi hot spot. These will come in handy for field or shelter work. Could even work as a home WinLink base station.
  • Kenwood

    • TM-D710
      • Digipeater:

        Digipeater: can be turned on/off through menu on front panel

        MYAlias: must be set via a terminal program. (-5) has been selected as a standard.

        MCOM: set to on via terminal program.

        MCON: set to on via terminal program

        Radio: TNC must be set to: Packet

        Any terminal program can be used such as PuTTY ( http://www.putty.org/ )

  • TNCs

    • KPC3+ with the AGW Express Interface

      • This will allow you to run multiple programs through your KPC3+ such as RMS Express and UISS or AGW Terminal to monitor the frequency. Be sure UISS has a different call then RMS E, just add a SSID.
      • This does work.. Is it a perfect solution? Not known. testing so far is limited. Feedback is appreciated.
      • *** To have the TNC exit KISS mode just close AGW PE, clcik on the icon in the task bar then select exit, before closing AGW Express interface.
        • If by chance you do close everything with the AGW Express and the TNC is ‘stuck’ in KISS mode, just open AGW PE and close it.
      • The AGW PE settings for a KPC3+ put it in XKISS mode which does not appear to be compatible with RMS Express. Here’s a quickie on how to make it work:
      • Install AGW Express Interface:
        • You may need to uninstall previous attempts including AGW PE, HW Virtual serial port and delete the AGW Express folder.
        • Follow W2YG’s tutorials on how to do this, they are the best.
        • Be sure and pick “Standalone” for the Virtual Serial port.
        • Select the AGW PE for your packet engine and the second soundcard choice and put in the COM portthat your TNC is on..
      • Modify AGW PE:
        • The port in AGW PE must be configured for a KPC3+, will actually be set to a KPC3.
        • Start AGW PE (not AGW Express).
        • Click on the AGW PE icon in the system tray, click Properties, select the port, there should only be one and click  OK
        • Select Port should point to the COM port that the KPC3+ is attached to
        • Change the Tnc Type to KPC3. (not KPC3+)
        • Change Tnc Control Commands to:
          • IniKiss1 Leave blank
          • IniKiss2 INTFACE KISS
          • IniKiss3 RESET
        • ExitKiss On Exit should be checked.
        • Single port should be selected.
        • You can edit the Port1 fields under TNC Radio Port as you like, it is FYI only.
        • Click OK to save your changes
        • Close AGW PE
      • Modify RMS Express:
        • Open a Winlink Packet session in RMS Express and click Setup
        • Packet TNC Type: TNC-X
        • Serial Port: COM73
        • Serial Port Baud 9600
        • NOTE: here is where you would change RMS E back to communicate directly with the KPC3+ by changing the Packet TNC Type and Serial port accordingly.
        • Close RMS E.
      • Now start AGW Express Interface and you will have RMS Express running through AGW PE.
    • KPC-2

      • The Kantronics KPC-2 comes from the same era as the PK-88. It is a stuurdy, well built TNC that will run forever. many show up at hamfests and on line.
      • Even though RMS Express will not directly supprt a KPC-2 one can still be used for WinLink’s RMS Express with the AGW Express interface program.  Details can be found on the N4SER’s Elmer Pages ( Link )
    • PK-88

      • A rather old TNC listed in RMS Express as acceptable. Can be found for ~$50.
      • KISS mode: cmd: KISS 01. To exit KISS mode [ctrl][c] at least 3 times
      • RMS Express resets this TNC restoring all factory defaults such as MYA to empty. This excludes using the PK-88 for an RMS Express client and a digipeater at the same time. Individually the TNC can handle either very well.
  • ACS Station / Go-Boxes

    • EOC
      • Kenwood TM-G707, Kantronics KPC 3+ TNC, 2M antenna @ 110 feet.
      • Stand by is WC4EM-5 digipeat unless activated.
    • Go-Box:
      • Yaesu FT-7800, Kantronics KPC 3+Note 1
    • Cables
      • Associated Radio
        • Radio to TNC: KANTRONICS 1200B TO 6PMD
        • Computer to TNC: USB TO DB-25(M) CABLE 5.5′

Note 1: KPC-2 may be used with AGW Express




  • SSID are not permitted ( or just not used? ) in Hybrid HF routing. So should NOT be used in situations where a message may end up in the Hybrid system.
  • SSIS are acceptable for local use except
    • 1, 5, 10 resered for BBS, Digipeat, Winlink Gateway

Tactical Address

  • A neat idea and they work very well BUT not for peer 2 peer.
  • For now, we will not be using tactical addresses.

RMS Relay

Soundcard WinLink Express

AGW Express

NOTE: AGW Express is no longer supported. Winlink Express (formerly RMS Express) now supports KISS mode. This allows soundcard packet users to now use the UZ7HOsoftware.

Two SERC Elmer links: ( AGW Express ), ( UZ7HO replaces AGWPE )

  • Where is the ini file?

    AGW Express uses an XML file to hold data such as paths between sessions. The XML file is stored in the following folder:

    C:\Users\{your user name\AppData\Roaming\W2YG Software\AGW Express Interface\

  • Virtual Serial Port not found

    The XML file may be hidden. Unhiding files / folders is slightly different for each version of Windows. It most likely is in the Windows File Explorer.

    In the XML file mentioned above check for this entry: <HWVSPINSTALLED>YES</HWVSPINSTALLED>. If it says NO, change to YES.
    Check for this entry under <HWVCP>: <PATH>C:\Ham Software\HW group\HW VSP3s\</PATH> Insert that path if it is blank (or the actual path if you installed elsewhere).

AGW PE / UZ7HO / Dire Wolf

There are three software packet engines, or TNC replacement, applications available to the ham wanting to participate in packet radio without a TNC. It may be for budget reasons, a new TNC can cost $200 or for simplicity, most of us already have a sound card to rig interface. Why buy another piece of hardware? Here is a brief explanation of the three most popular software packet engines:

  • AGW PE ( Link )This is the ‘gold standard’ of software packet engines (PE). What sets it apart from the other two PEs is that AGW PE can communicate with TNCs as well as soundcards.This is the PE supported by the SDN. AGW PE is currently used for soundcard only setups as well as a TNC front end to allow multiple applications (RMS E, UISS, Digiplex etc.) to access a single TNC or soundcard.
  • UZ7HO ( Link )The U7HO is a soundcard only PE. It can not communicate with a TNC. Based on the AGW PE API. Reviews claim it does a btter job decoding packets than any other software packet engine. The interface is a little snazzier than the AGW PE. If you are using a soundcard it is worth giving it a try.
  • Dire Wolf ( Link )The newest PE to show up. Sound card only, no TNC control. Originally Linux based, very popular with Raspberry Pi developers. A Windows version is available. Claims to be much better at decoding than AGW PE or UZ7HO. Worth giving it a try if you are using a soundcard.



This section will contain the Sarasota ACS emergency digital plan and other related information.

  • Competencies
  • There needs to be some level of performance required before engaging in digital activity during an emergency.
    • Pioneer
      • Supplies their own equipment.
      • Shows proficiency in RMS Express
    • eCom
      • ACS member
      • dGox Box and RMS E proficient.
  • A minimum standard will need to be meet on RMS E proficiency.


Sarasota’s Packet Stations

A listing of the known Winlink stations in Sarasota county. To be added to the list contact SERC@N4SER.org

Map of Sarasota’s packet Stations

A Google ‘My Map’ showing where known WinLink / Packet stations are in Sarasota County. This is a WIP.



Sarasota Digital Group

The Sarasota Digital Group (SDG) mission is to promote and support the use of amateur radio digital communications during emergencies. The SDG is an independent organization with no ties to any other group, club or organization. There is to be no defined organizational structure to the SDG. A single person may be asked to ‘head’ the SDG but that position is strictly advisory with no authority.


is open to all, those with and without an amateur operator’s license. The only requirement is a desire to promote amateur radio digital communications, particularly in times of an emergency

operates primarily in, but in no way limited to, Sarasota county.

is responsible for creating and maintaining the Sarasota Digital Network.

This charter may be altered by the chosen ‘head’ as needed to keep the original charter intact.

Note: This is a copy of the preliminary charter. The original resides off-line in the SDG dropbox.


The Group

Who’s responsible for putting this together?

Bob Morgan (KJ4SV)

Brent Parker (W8XG)

Den Spiess (W2DEN)

Gary Wells (WB9AYD)

John Boutcher (KM4EJE)

Les Keegan (N4LPK)

Micky Taylor (KM4BHF)

Rick Brown (AJ4FW)

Bill Martin (K4JBV)

John Snow (W3ATR)


Bob Davisson (KA4BOB)

Ed Gansen (K8DSS)