Week 14: Setting up and using VARA FM

At the time of our original training for VHF/UHF Winlink there were no VARA FM RMS nodes in Ohio. This has now changed.

VARA FM is an alternative VHF/UHF Winlink mode created by the same person that created the VARA HF mode, Jose EA5HVK. VARA FM should work with any sound card interface that works with Packet Winlink. The basic free version of the software is functional but limits connection speeds and some other features. The $69.00 registration fee covers both the VARA FM and VARA HF modes.

You can download the modem from https://rosmodem.wordpress.com/.

Once installed, you will need to open a “VARA FM Winlink” session, open Settings; VARA FM Setup, and enter the path to where you installed the sound modem in the “VARA FM Modem Location” box.

This page has a more detailed explanation of VARA FM and it’s set up, including using an Auto tune function to adjust the settings of your sound card for optimal performance:

There are currently 2 VARA FM RMS nodes in District 3: K8DRC-10 in Dayton and N8JE-10 in Springfield. Both operate on 145.030 MHz simplex.

Digipeat works much the same as with Packet Winlink. K8DRC-10 and N8JE-10 can hear each other and so you can use Digipeat to get into the system if your nearest node has lost internet connectivity.  Please note there is no separate Digipeater SSID for these RMS nodes.  Use -10 in Digipeat as well as connected mode.

Feel free to send a message to KA0AZS to try this mode out.