Please see the following information from Barry Feierman (K3EUI) on the Five County Digital Training Net, which has moved to Monday evenings between 7-8pm.  Unfortuately it does conflict with our weekly net, but it is a good idea to try to attend at least for the first half hour.  Right now they are going over Winlink Express on 2M FM Repeaters using VARA FM.  This is something we want to learn as a group as well.

Also, if you want to setup a Raspberry Pi (a very small, low power computer) to run Winlink and VARA FM, this is possible using Windows emulation (through an emulator called Wine).

Build-a-pi, this will allow for very easy installation of many of the most popular ham radio applications on your Raspberry Pi: GitHub - km4ack/pi-build

Winelink: this script will automatically install Wine, Winlink and VARA FM/HF on a Raspberry Pi (version 4B): GitHub - WheezyE/Winelink: Installation scripts for running Winlink on non-Windows platforms (currently just RPi 4)

Net Schedule FCDTN

Net Day

Net Week




Monday 1st Week2nd Week 7:00 PM Week 1,2 Five County Digital Training Net (FCDTN) on N3KZ Philadelphia/Bucktown 147.270 EPA R1 N3KZ PHILADELPHIA
Monday 3rd Week 7:00 PM Week 3 Five County Digital Training Net (fcdtn) on WB3JOE Newtown Square 147.060 DA WB3JOE NEWTOWN SQUARE
Monday 4th Week 7:00 PM Week 4 Five County Digital Training Net (fcdtn) on AA3E 146.835 Eagleville MC R1 AA3E EAGLEVILLE

Repeaters for FCDTN

Channel Name

On Air Name



Off Freq

Off Dir




EPA R1 N3KZ PHILADELPHIA Eastern PA Romeo One 147.27 147.87 0.6 + Plus FM Tone 77.0 Hz
DA WB3JOE NEWTOWN SQUARE 147.06 147.66 0.6 + Plus FM Tone 131.8 Hz
MC R1 AA3E EAGLEVILLE MontCo Romeo One 146.835 146.235 0.6 - Minus FM Tone 88.5 Hz

Here's all of the information from K3EUI on the FCDTN:

Five County Digital Training Net (fcdtn)

Monday night is the new time for the FCDTN   7-8 pm

Repeaters we will use on a rotating basis:

1st and 2nd week - ChesCo  Bucktown 147.270 PL77
3rd Monday - DelCo  Newtown Square 147.060 PL 131.8
4th Monday - MontCo  Eagleville 146.835  PL 88.5

For Monday August 1st

Be sure to download and install Winlink Express (new version available)



Follow the directions on SETUP/CONFIG:  YOU must first register your call, etc. with Winlink.org

There is NO CHARGE for Winlink - but they do ask for DONATIONS $$$  (nagware)

Then you will need to download and install the sound modem VARA FM

You can get VARA FM for 2m (and VARA for HF SSB if you like) from EA5HVK webpage. To use the high-speed version, you must pay a $69 fee, but VARA is free to try it at low speed. So wait to pay AFTER TRYING IT OUT 



Good HELP files and CONFIG information on VARA FM version 4.0. There are two widths: WIDE (6 kHz) and NARROW (2 kHz). We will be using the NARROW FM version on the repeaters.

 Other helpful files on VARA FM

Download and install VARA FM and put the SETUP FILE in a  VARA FM folder on your C: drive. Unzip it. There is no Windows "installation". Yes, you will get a Win10 virus alert - it's OK to UNZIP IT.


Go to SETTINGS in the VARA FM MENU and then pick the correct choices for your sound card. Those familiar with VARA FM will note the PING has moved to the top menu.

For now, don't mess with TUNE or AUTO TUNE. The DRIVE LEVEL is the TX audio adjustment (not the power adjust on radio). We will talk about these during the net.

Choose the appropriate PTT (send) method for your radio/sound card
Pick CAT  only if you have a Rig Control CAT port  (most will not need this on 2m FM)
Pick COM and RTS or DTR pins only if you have a "dumb" COM port (or a USB virtual COM port)
Pick RA board only if you have a DRA sound card (C-Media chips)
Pick VOX if you have a SignaLink (it uses its own built in VOX)

If you have a SignaLink, or any VOX derived PTT, then BE CAREFUL to set the VOX delay DLY knob (hang time)  to a very small value. Those who can achieve a PTT with a COM port, or a CAT port, or by a C-Media alternate method - no issues.

Be sure that Winlink can communicate with VARA FM when the WINLINK MODE option is VARA FM. We'll go over all of this during the NET on Monday evenings. You will want to get sufficient TX AUDIO but not too much TX audio (we'll help with that). 

How we will practice Winlink on an analog FM (voice) repeater Winlink WILL work via a quick turnover analog voice repeater although it was not designed to do this. The FCDTN does have permission to do this for training purposes ONLY.

N3MEL Glenn will station his Winlink GATEWAY (N3MEL-10) for VARA FM on the 147.270 frequency PL 77 so that means that anyone who can hear/hit the Bucktown repeater has access to WINLINK VARA FM during this ONE hour net.

Let’s prepare to send a Winlink email to me or anyone on the net.

****  PLEASE DO NOT USE any repeater FOR WINLINK PRACTICE without the owner's permission ****

See you all Monday at 7 pm

Spread the word - if anyone needs some basic Winlink training using the VARA fm mode, the FCDTN will serve as a training ground for the next few weeks.

De k3eui