A HEJAN Box’s Devotion to Winlink

Back in 2004, a QRO digital portable radio station was put together inside an IKEA HEJAN cloth box (originally intended for the storage of vinyl records).

The station was designed for exchanging email messages via Pactor and Winlink from “Vándor”, a vintage Alberg 22 sailboat cruising the lower Ottawa River. In August 2004 it was used to post in real-time in a Yahoo Group (vandorswake@yahoogroups.com) the daily log of Vándor’s two-week solo sailing trip from Ottawa to Montreal and back:



The 2004 station comprised an ICOM 706MKIIG radio, an MFJ 902 “Travel” manual tuner, an SCS PTC IIex Pactor TNC, an SGC-237 coupler, an Icom CT-17 CI-V Level Converter allowing the connection of the IC-706 to a Toshiba 8000 laptop computer running Windows XP and Airmail (by Jim KE6RK).

One year later, this same station was used in Field Day 2005 from the front gardens of the Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa to send messages via the Pactor protocol to the RAC Section Manager as well as others on behalf of VE3RAM (the callsign used by the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club):


Eleven years later, during Field Day 2016, similar Winlink messaging capabilities were deployed by VA3OVQ (the callsign of the Ottawa Valley QRP Society) operating during Field Day from the gardens of the St Paul Presbyterian Church in Ottawa.

The 2016 QRP digital station, used by VA3OVQ to successfully exchange radio messages from the field, comprises an Elecraft KX3 radio (with an internal ATU), a Signalink USB external sound card and an Apple MacBook Pro computer running OSX El Capitan. CrossOver (from CodeWeavers) is used to emulate Windows and run the Winlink Express software to transmit and receive using the Winmor protocol:


The only item of the station that did not change in the last 12 years (apart the VA3PCJ operator, although this may be highly debatable) was the – since long discontinued – IKEA HEJAN 37 x 37 cm. box in blue cloth (IKEA item 800.509.58): “Design and Quality IKEA of Sweden”, “Made in Viet Nam”:


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