Flmsg as a Stand-Alone Forms Application
Question: Are other NBEMS users using flmsg with applications other than fldigi?
Flmsg's flexibility is noted at the start of the Help file, I'm curious about how others are using flmsg in addition to its use within NBEMS.
Earlier this week on another emcomm
oriented reflector there was a discussion about sending forms. This,
for the most part, included talk of sending scanned ICS paper forms as
attachments or using an embedded forms feature in the communications
program. The former requires the sending of an approx 20 kB image
file for each page and would require ARQ or flamp and a fast mode.
The argument for this was that transcription errors could be avoided
by sending an image of the original form. As examples of the latter,
the Outpost packet client has the ability to send radiogram and
ICS-213 forms with a built in tool. Also, the latest versions of RMS
Express can now handle html forms using its own utility. There's a
nascent forms library but, as of now, there are no forms. Some test forms have been circulated.
With Outpost and RMS Express, the form
has to be created on the program in question and there is little (or
no) ability to be able to move a form from one application to any
other. At last not easily as far as I can tell. That aside, the new RMSE utility is much like flmsg in its general
In the discussion, a few folks -
myself included - noted that flmsg can be made to work with just
about anything. First off, there was a lot of confusion as to what flmsg is. Getting beyond that, a few examples were cited.
In Maine ARES/RACES, our primary digital tools include NBEMS and to a lesser extent RMS Express. RMSE is used mostly as a BPQ BBS client but can also be used with the Winlink system. RMS Express has the ability to carry attachments. John Wiseman G8BPQ made a number of enhancements to BPQ in 2014 which permitted the use of RMS Express (with attachments) as a BBQ client.
As a result, we are using flmsg as our “standard” radio forms program, regardless of what we use it with. It can also be installed on the computer of team member who is not serving as an operator and who may not even be a ham. This takes the load off of the person who is sitting at the radio. They just have to load the message from a thumb drive.
As an example, an operator can send a flmsg 213 from a field location to the county EOC using VHF NBEMS. If the message has to go further, the flmsg file can be attached to RMS Express and sent on via the BPQ BBS using packet or out of the region with Winlink.
While not the most desirable, if the ultimate recipient doesn't have a clue what flmsg is, the text output of flmsg can be cut and pasted into the RMS Express message screen. Using Notepad++ the text looks like:
ICS 213 GENERAL MESSAGE
INC: Test of Formats
TO: Ray Sisk
POSITION: Knox EMA
FROM: Steve Hansen KB1TCE
POSITION: Owls Head
SUBJ: Test of Formats
SIGNATURE: Steve KB1TCE
POSITION: Owls Head, ME
(The only thing missing is a way to get the text back into flmsg.)
The other option is to use flmsg's html
output and then send the html file. The file is larger than with the
other methods but is not overly large (say 1k for a flmsg file, 3k
for the html). Certainly far better than sending a scanned document.
Bottom line, a lot of versatility.
So – are others using flmsg with more than NBEMS? If so, how and what might be some current limitations or opportunities for enhancement?
Thanks and 73,
Dave Newmyer <dnewmye@...>
Our state ARES digital group uses FLMSG with both RMS-EXPRESS and AIRMAIL software. Also, we have used it with tnc-based mailboxes. In some cases we rename the .213 extension to .txt for sending as file attachments, then rename the extension back to .213 .toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
Have also used FLMSG with voice ARRL Radiogram messages. Like the word number check feature, as well as being able to archive the message plus being able to print out in a professional looking format.
On 5/8/2015 1:33 PM, shansen@... [NBEMSham] wrote:
Thanks for your reply Dave.
Is it your expectation that all message recipients will have flmsg available?
I think that the NTS folks are looking at some sort of forms solution but I'm not quite sure what it might be. We use flmsg for radiograms on our Maine digital nets. Our NTS liason moves out-of-area traffic via the statewide voice net and I cut and paste to the Airmail NTSD format.
73, Steve KB1TCE
On 05/09/2015 10:37 AM, Dave Newmyer dnewmye@... [NBEMSham] wrote:
Dave Newmyer <dnewmye@...>
Given our circumstances, it is doubtful that all recipients will have FLMSG running, but it can be installed fairly quickly, or else at least read by common text editors.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
I recently received an NTS radiogram destined for a new ham in the area via a regional SSB net on 40M. Took the message, typed it into FLMSG, then printed out on paper (html report I believe) and hand delivered it to that individual at a meeting we were both attending at an EOC. The professional look of the message was well received, and I believe worth the effort.
By the way, I had not handled any NTS traffic in years prior to that meeting.
I do appreciate the hard work that W1HKJ and crew put into the FLDIGI software!
On 5/10/2015 7:14 AM, Steve shansen@... [NBEMSham] wrote:
I don't take radiograms on voice nets that often but when I do I try to do like you did - enter it directly into Flmsg. First off, my handwriting stinks. Second, it's easy to verify the check sum. Third, I can quickly decode the ARL if present (yeah, I've got it printed on a sheet of paper somewhere but never close at hand). And then everything you say regarding appearance, etc.
Agree totally on W1HKJ &Co.
73, Steve KB1TCE
On 05/10/2015 11:32 AM, Dave Newmyer dnewmye@... [NBEMSham] wrote:
73's, Pete N1ZRL