Author Archives: sailma5

Shadowmail Overview: previewing and downloading email from other accounts

ShadowMail Info

“ShadowMail” provides a method of watching a separate email account, and for downloading or forwarding messages as needed. This is available only to Sailmail members, and without charge.

The purpose of Shadowmail is to act as a bridge between your Sailmail address and whatever other email address you might use for regular email. The great advantage of Sailmail of course is that it works pretty much anywhere, but connection speeds are slow whether via radio or satellite. This means that you need to keep your Sailmail address private, and limited to friends and associates who understand not to send jokes, spam, etc.

We strongly recommend maintaining some sort of regular land-based email address for routine mail, on-line ordering, etc. This can be a regular personal or company email account, or a Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail address for “public” use. These folks will keep your low-priority mail forever (Hotmail and Yahoo may require a small annual payment for this) until you can check mail from an internet-cafe. The problem of course is that folks sometimes send important messages to your regular address, and you have no way of knowing. Enter the Shadow…

Once you set it up, the Shadowmail server checks your regular email account a few times a day and sends you a summary of whatever new messages have arrived. Airmail decodes those “new mail” messages to maintain a “shadow” folder for each regular email account, showing the contents of that mailbox as a separate Airmail folder. For example, assume that you set up Shadowmail to monitor your Hotmail account. Then in addition to the usual “Inbox” and “Outbox” folders in Airmail, you would also have a “Hotmail” folder with a gray icon instead of yellow, indicating a “shadow” folder. When you open that folder you see a list of messages which are currently pending in your Hotmail account, showing from- and to-addresses, subject and date.

If you want to download one of those messages via Sailmail then right-click on that message and select “retrieve”. If you want to forward it to someone else (without downloading it) then right-click on it and select “Forward”. If you want to delete it without ever reading it, then right-click and select “Delete”. If you go to the local cyber-cafe and read and delete some of the Hotmail messages, then they will be removed from Airmail’s shadow-folder on the next update. The Hotmail shadow-folder will always match the contents of the Hotmail “inbox”.

To use Shadowmail a current version of Airmail is required, and you must be a Sailmail member. Shadowmail can be used via a radio connection, or via internet or satphone using Airmail’s Internet window. The first step is to read this document carefully and make sure that you understand the limitations. By using Shadowmail you are agreeing to the conditions contained here, and to the Saildocs terms and conditions (

To set up Shadowmail to monitor an email account, first enable Shadowmail and open the “Shadowmail Settings” window. Start by opening Airmail’s Options window (from the Tools menu), and then click on the “Modules” tab. Check the box to the left of “Shadowmail” (if not already checked) and click the “Setup” button to open the settings window.

Initially this “Shadowmail Setup” window is empty, click “New” to create a new account. Then enter the server-address (the internet address of the “POP3” server), the login name and the password for the email account that you want to “shadow”. (This is NOT your Sailmail login, you need to get the server, login-name and password from the outfit that handles the email account that you want to monitor). Make sure “Account Active” is checked, and then click OK. Airmail will send a settings-message to the server and it will start monitoring your account. Mail is checked every 6 hours and you will get a message from the server (“”) whenever new mail is received into that account.

Shadowmail can check any POP3 mail account, such as a business or regular Internet account. The Internet provider will supply the server address, login name and password. Keeping your mailbox tidy will make it easier to keep track of things. A good technique is to wait until you have Internet access at a marina and then retrieve everything you want to save to Airmail and delete it from the server. Alternately you can forward messages from the Shadow folder to another account, such as Hotmail or Gmail for safekeeping.

Here is how some accounts are handled…

Hotmail/Outlook/Live: Hotmail provides secure POP3 access to all Hotmail/Windows-Live accounts. We would still suggest the “plus” service ($20/year), which provides more storage and avoids the account being deactivated if you don’t check it for a month or two. Use the server-name “”, “” or “” (without the quotes), use your complete email-address as the login name, and the same password that you use for web login. Since Shadowmail has to check everything in your Inbox folder whenever it checks mail, it is important to keep things tidy by moving messages that you want to save into “archive” folders and deleting the rest. Create new folders for specific topics (or by year, for example) and move messages that you want to save into those folders for safekeeping after you have reviewed them.

Yahoo: For Yahoo accounts you will also need the “plus” service ($20/year) to allow POP3 access. This also provides additional storage and avoids deactivation. Use the server-name “”, the login name is your Yahoo user-name without “”, and your Yahoo account password. Again, keep your inbox tidy by moving messages that you want to keep into other folders, and deleting the others.

Google GMail: Shadowmail can also check GMail accounts, but GMail is a little “quirky”. Here are the recommended settings, send a (blank) email to for more info (or see You will need Internet access to set this up, to access your GMail settings.

First, log into your GMail account, click on the “Gear” icon (upper-right) and select “Settings”. Next click on Forwarding and POP/IMAP”, find “POP Download”, and select “Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)”.

Next, click on “Accounts and Import”, and under “Change account settings” click on “Other Google Account Settings”. This opens a new security page, on the left click on “Connected apps & sites”. Scroll down and find “Allow less secure apps: and set that to “ON”. (It is still quite secure, see the “shadow-gmail” note referenced above for more detail).

Now go back to Airmail’s Shadowmail settings and create a new account for “GMail”. For server-address enter “”, for login name enter “recent:” (without the quotes) followed by your complete GMail email-address (i.e. “”), and for password enter your normal GMail password.

The three great things about Gmail are that it is free, you get lots of space, and of course good search tools for archived email. The “quirky” part is that POP3 can access everything in your GMail account (not just your “inbox”). Without the “all mail” setting (above) then messages “disappear” unexpectedly from POP3, and without the “recent:” prefix then Shadowmail would have to sort through the entire archive– which can exceed its capacity. Using the “recent:” prefix, in conjunction with selecting the “all” selection in GMail’s POP settings, gives Shadowmail access to all recent messages.

AOL: AOL has added POP3 access and Shadowmail can check AOL accounts. The server is “”, the login-name is your AOL “screen name”, and the password is your AOL login password. The server may occasionally return a “timeout” error, double-check the server-name and don’t worry, Shadowmail will keep trying.

For any email account, if you get back an error-message then double-check the POP3 server-address. Make sure the login name is correct, sometimes it is just your email name, or it may be the complete email address, or perhaps something completely different. Check the support information for the folks who provide the account, they will need to supply that info.

You can also set up Shadowmail rules that will forward specific messages to your Sailmail address whenever they are received. For example, you can set up Shadowmail to forward anything with “urgent” in the Subject-line, and then give your business-associates your Hotmail address and tell them to include that word in the message-subject if they need an immediate reply. They don’t have your Sailmail address, but you can still be in touch- and in control. These “rules” are part of Airmail’s Shadowmail settings window, and can include two different checks, for example sender contains “mom” and size less-than 2000.

Replies that you send for messages which were retrieved by Shadowmail will of course be sent via Sailmail’s servers, and would normally come from your Sailmail address and with the how-to-reply footer added to the bottom. However if you are replying to a message which was retrieved via Shadowmail, then Airmail should substitute that reply address. Check this, however, and if you don’t see the “From” box in the message header then select the Message Menu, “Show From-Box”. A new box appears, enter the address that you want your email to be sent from.

Also, to suppress the Sailmail footer, add a line at the bottom of your message which says “short-footer” (without quotes) for a one-line footer “radio email processed by SailMail” and web-address) or “no-footer” for no footer at all. This should be on the last line, by itself, without quotes.

Some caveats and limitations: Shadowmail normally only sends a notice for new messages, not the entire mailbox. But when the account is first set up then the whole mailbox is indexed, this can be large. If you have a lot of pending messages then try to do this via internet, not radio. Also, remember that the Shadowmail server must download the index for the entire mailbox whenever checking mail, this gets time-consuming if there are a lot of pending messages. The current limit is 1,000 pending messages, this may be adjusted up or down if needed. It is convenient to use the web-based mailboxes (Hotmail, Yahoo, GMail, etc.) as message-archives, but move messages to other folders and don’t keep them in the “inbox”. You won’t be able to use Shadowmail if there are too many messages in the inbox.

Also be careful and selective about setting up an automatic retrieval, and never set up Shadowmail to retrieve everything. Remember that the headers are always sent, and you can retrieve any message- the only reason for automatic retrieval is for messages that you are sure you want, so be selective.

Saildocs is a service of the Sailmail Association. For more information about Saildocs, send a (blank) email to: (or see the website at

Please send questions about Shadowmail or Saildocs to:

Good sailing, Jim

(updated 2016-02-05)

Connecting to SailMail via the Internet, using AirMail

If you have an internet connection into your computer (e.g. a Wi-fi or cell-phone connection in port, or an Iridium or Inmarsat satellite connection offshore) then you can use AirMail to directly retrieve your SailMail messages over internet instead of connecting via HF-Radio. This is very handy when you are in a marina where internet access is available, and is useful offshore as an anternative to radio.

Just press the “internet” button on the message index window, which looks like a lightning bolt. In the window that then opens up, press the “connect” button, which looks like a green ball. If your internet access is working you will retrieve and send all of your SailMail messages just as if you had a (very fast) connection via radio.

You need an internet connection of course. If you are connecting via marina WiFi or similar, test your internet connection by opening in your browser. If you open a Google search page you should be able to send and retrieve your SailMail messages. (If not, see “Troubleshooting” below).

If you have any problems here are the details and settings.

For Airmail version 3.5 the internet settings are part of the “stations” update and are designated “Server1”, “Backup1”, etc.  To update those settings, send a (blank) email via Sailmail to: and the reply-message will automatically update the settings. The settings will show in the Internet window settings box (Edit menu), but cannot be changed from there. They are stored in the Sailmail INI-file and updated with an updated “stations” message from Saildocs.

For Airmail ver 3.4 (or earlier) the settings are pre-configured but may need updating manually when there are changes. If you don’t see the yellow “lightning-bolt” button, or “Internet Access” or “Telnet” in the Modules menu, then open Tools menu, Options window, Modules tab, and make sure that the box to the left of “Internet Access” or “Telnet Client” is checked. Click OK.

To check (or add) server settings, first check the list of servers: If the server designation (Remote-ID) is listed below, select it and click “Settings”. Verify Remote-Host and Port, change as needed and click OK. The Port is always 50, timeout 120.

For Server1 the Remote ID is SMSG1, Remote Host is
For Server2 the Remote ID is SMSG2, remote host is
For Backup1 the Remote ID is WQAB964, remote host is
(The current list is always shown here:

Select “Server” and click the “Settings” button (or click “New” if there is no listing for WRD719). Check or enter the following settings:

** Note: For quicker access via Iridium, use Server1 (or WRD719), make sure the port is “50”, and enter the numeric IP-address “” instead of “”– this saves a few seconds. Note that this address may change if we need to shift servers– so if it won’t connect then enter the “” and note the address which is shown when you connect. (Don’t include the quotes shown here).


If you get an error instead of connecting, then double-check your settings and try port 50 instead of 50001, or vice-versa. Also try opening a web page in a browser. If you cannot open a web page, then find out why your internet connection is not working.
If you can open a web page but cannot connect to Sailmail, then it is likely that the internet provider has blocked port 50 and 50001. Ask them to un-block port 50 (or 50001), or read on:

There is one other trick, and that is to use Airmail’s “mail client” window to access Sailmail’s POP3 server. This is unlikely to be blocked for receiving mail, but may be blocked for sending mail. Here’s the skinny:

Connecting to Sailmail via Airmail’s mail-client window:

Open Airmail’s Tools/Options window, click on Modules tab, make sure that “Mail (pop/smtp) Client” is checked (enabled). Click OK to save changes and close.

Now go to Airmail’s Modules menu, Mail-client. If you don’t already have a “Sailmail” tab, then click “New”, enter “Sailmail” as the account-name (without the quotes, for all this), and enter the following settings:

On the right side, under “POP3 connection”, enter the following:
Server address:
Login name: (your Sailmail callsign)
Password: (your Sailmail password, same as for telnet)
Leave mail on server: No check-mark
(no entry for “days” or “KB” box)
Timeout: 60
Port: 110
Tick the box “Include in check-all”.

On the left, under “SMTP connection” enter the following:
Server address:
From Name: (your name or boat name, used only for the return address)
Email address: (your complete Sailmail address–
Authorization: Check the “Login” box
Login: (your Sailmail callsign, same as above)
Password: (your Sailmail password, same as above)
Timeout: 60
Port: 2525
Check the box “Include in check-all”.

Now click OK to save and close, and then click “Check all” on the mail-client window to check your mail.

This uses the standard POP3 connection (port 110), that will certainly not be blocked.
For sending mail, many providers want you to use their own SMTP server. That’s fine, ask them what the server-address and login info is.

If you want Airmail to also dial a telephone connection then check the
“First dial…” box and select the appropriate connection. (Note: earlier
versions of Airmail did not properly disconnect even when the “hang up” box
was selected, always make sure that the phone disconnects).

Note that Iridium has blocked most internet ports, as a result Sailmail
is currently supporting both port 50 and 50001 on both servers- use port-50 for Iridium connections, or if there is any problem connecting to port 5001- it may be a blocked port for the local connection.

More information:
For more details on accessing Sailmail via an Iridium sat-phone, see the FAQ post IridiumPPP

Also, for HAMS, remember that Winlink also supports Telnet but the settings
are different. Check the Airmail help file and the MBO List (View menu) for
settings and server addresses, or contact

Cheers, Jim

(revised 2020-04-18)

AirMail and Viewfax software

This is the download page for Sailmail’s Airmail client program for SailMail. Airmail is compatible with all Windows versions from XP onward including Windows-11, both 32 and 64-bit versions. Airmail also runs well on Intel-based Mac’s using ParallelsVMwareVirtualBox, etc, and on Linux under WINE (with some difficulties, not really recommended). Supported modems include the SCS PTC-II-family and “Dragon” modems plus most Pactor-1 modems.

Continue reading

Iridium GO! overview

SailMail is now a certified application for the new Iridium GO!

The GO! is a small Wi-Fi “hotspot” that provides voice telephone service via a Wi-Fi connected smart-phone, and data access to certified apps including SailMail with less expensive data rates. This expands SailMail’s seamless service via radio, satellite and land-based internet to theGo

Iridium GO!, with no setup required. The Iridium GO! is supported by the new Airmail 3.5 release, click “Downloads” above. For more information see the Post at IridiumGo  and see the videos at:

Weather via Sailmail, overview.



You can use the SailMail system itself to receive text or grib weather forecasts at no charge.  The easiest way (free) is to use   For information send an empty email to

Several commercial services format and email grib weather forecasts for a fee.  PredictWind, Squid/Great-Circle, Grib.US, BuoyWeather, Ocens, MaxSea, MovingWeather, Météo-France, and many others are in that business.

You can use SailMail to communicate with a meteorologist or commercial weather service (e.g. Commanders Weather or WeatherGuy), who can advise you on reasonable departure dates and routes, and can send you periodic routing advice during your passage.   We highly recommend this, particularly for new cruisers who have not yet become confident in their ability to interpret weather data.

Finally, there are fax weathermaps and SITOR text weather forecasts that are broadcast by the US Coast Guard and by other HF stations around the world.  Your SCS PTC-II modem can be used in conjunction with your laptop to receive these broadcasts.


Weatherfax Images

Weather charts are created by NOAA and broadcast via radiofax by USCG, and can be received with Airmail software using any of the SCS Pactor modems.

The first thing you need is the broadcast schedule. So go to this web page:  Scroll down and find “Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules (PDF)” and download a copy. There are five US broadcast stations: Pt. Reyes (near San Francisco), New Oreans, Boston, Alaska and Hawaii, plus a bunch of overseas stations. The US stations are coast guard and quite reliable, the others vary.   The schedule tells you times for each chart, for each station.

Now open Airmail, open the “fax” window (“Get Fax” under Modules menu, or button on toolbar). With radio and modem powered on, select fax mode, select station and frequency. The radio freq should be set (selected freq minus 1.9 khz), and you should hear a characteristic “warbling” fax tone, if the station is transmitting. Try each frequency for the clearest signal. Then wait– Airmail will detect the special tone at the beginning and end of each fax transmission, copes each chart and saves them automatically.

You will note in the schedule that the charts are send in blocks over a couple of hour period, just turn the radio on and open’s airmail’s fax window, and let it run during that period.

Now, all that said, you can get most of the same information from GFS grib data. The zero-hour forecast-time is based on actual conditions, then each forecast is computed from that. The same data is used for grib files, and also to generate the fax charts. The fax charts are reviewed by forecasters, and information added– storm warnings, frontal positions, etc.

Dealers/Installers for Pactor modems and SSB’s


Richmond BC, Vancouver Marine Equipment +1 800-863-8646 Brian Stilling <>

Ladysmith BC, White Squall Consulting Inc +1 250-924-6642  Martin Dunsmuir <>

Victoria BC, Victoria Marine Electric Ltd +1 250-383-9731 Brian Stilling <>

Markham ON, Stand Sure Marine +1 416 409 4089 David Anderson <>

Whitby ON, Durham Radio +1 905-665-5466 Keith Carcasole <>

Lunenburg NS, Oceanside Communication Systems +1 902-634-4430 William Latter <>



San Diego CA, Offshore Outfitters,  +1 619 225 5690, Shea Weston

Sausalito CA, Farallon Electronics +1 415 331 1924 Eric Steinberg <>

San Diego CA, Downwind Marine +1 619 224 2733 Chris or Linda <>

Santa Cruz CA, Maritime Electronics +1 800-582-1333 Terence M. Boland <>

Sausalito CA, Maritime Electronics +1 415 332 5086 Brian Backer <>

Punta Gorda FL, DockSide Radio +1 941 661 4498 Gary Jensen

Ft. Pierce Fl, Lamplighter Marine +1 772 595 5910 Dave LaLonde <>

Ft Lauderdale FL, Concord Electronics +1 954 779 1100 Michael Robilio <>

Portland OR, Rodgers Marine Electronics +1 503 287 1101 Marty Kirk <>

Portsmouth RI, Custom Navigation +1 401 683 6005 Steve Gill <>

Galveston TX, SeaTech Systems +1 800 444 2581 Steven Bowden <>

Washington DC, Cruising Services & Supplies +1 202 342-0191 Dick Juppenlatz <>

Salford PA, TechYacht +1 610 287 0703 Tim Hasson <>

Mamaroneck NY, Innovative Marine Services +1 914 698 4959 David Fontaine <>

Mamaroneck NY, RadCom Technologies +1 914 698 6800 Murray Cohen <RadComMarine@AOL.COM>

Thomaston ME, Midcoast Marine Electronics +1 207 354 0012 Kevin Boughton <>

Mukilteo WA ,Windward Communications +1 425 353 6520 Chip Adams

Anacortes WA, Anacortes Marine Electronics +1 360 293 6100 Bryan Hennessy <>

Seattle WA, Offshore Store, +1 206 632 3025  Brian Rickard

San Francisco, CA, Cal Marine Electronics, +1 415 391 7550, Fred King,

Anacortes WA,, +1 360-333-9973, Tom MacNeil,

Annapolis, MD, AuspiciousWorks  +1 443 327 9084, Dave Skolnick,



St John British Virgin Islands, Cay Electronics Ltd Rob Wassell +1 284 494 2400,<>

Chaguaramas,Trinidad   ELECTROPICS Marine Services Ltd., Andreas Kretzschmar +1 868 634 2232


Bursledon Hampshire UK, SailCom Marine +44 1489 565100 Bob Smith <>

Enkhuizen The Netherlands, Shiptron +31 228 317437 Jugo Baya <>

Bergum The Netherlands, Dolstra Elektronika +31 511 465789 Albert Dolstra <>

Uffelte The Netherlands, Quadrad +31 521 351588 Peter van der Wal <>

Uitgeest The Netherlands, RYS Electronics +31 251 311934 Gerard Rijs <>

Flensburg Germany, Lunatronic, +49 461 14509975, Michael Wnuk,

Hamburg Germany, ESD GmbH – UB Funk & Datensysteme,  +49 40 53897-114  Thorsten Wilke,

Mauguio France, SUD Communication +33 (0)467509852 Jean-Marc Montariol <>

Rheda Wiedenbrück, Germany,, +49 1713457070 Joerg Drexhagen

Weston  super Mare England,  Mactra Marine,  +44 1934 517288

Gallipoli Italy, Elettronica Navale, Enrico De Rosa, +39 0833 202251

Lignano Italy, Nautigamma Trade srl +39 0431 720500 Antonio Pezzoni

Capannoli Pisa, Arno Electtronica, +39 0587 607390, Marco Menozzi,

Barendrecht (near Rotterdam) The Netherlands, Advitek Marine Systems +31 10 7370047 Richard Selier

Slovenia UScom l.t.d.  +386 1200 6040

Serbia,  Aluxom l.t.d.  +381 11 3477 981

Hannover Germany, funk-an-bord, +49 511 695699,

Jyväskylä Finland, ILKKA LILJA Oy Ltd, +358 14 3722134,

Slovenia, EKO SOLUTIONS Ltd; + 386 41 680 597; Ted Mezek,

Dieren Netherlands, Egenolf van Stein Callenfels, +31 65356 3781,
Dar es Salaam Tanzania, Plustronics Communications Ltd, Robin Moseley <>

Cape Town South Africa, C-dynamics +27 21 555-3232 Bruce Robinson <>

Cape Town South Africa, Duxbury Networking +27 21 423 7115 Robert Ravensberg <>

Cape Town South Africa, Radio Holland South Africa +27 (0)21 511 0864 Martin Hulme <>

Durban South Africa, Radio Holland South Africa +27 (0)31 2055309 Martin Taylor <>


Darwin NT Australia, Navcom +61 8 8981 1311 Bob Stroud <>

Bundaberg QLD Australia, Rampant Marine Elect. +61 7 4159 5344 Dave Dee <rampantmarine@queenslander.netau>

Mackay QLD Australia, MME Electronics +61 7 4955 5101 Patrick Mee <>

Melbourne VIC Australia, Nautek Marine Services +61 4 1039 8400 MichaelFizallen <>

Melbourne VIC Australia, Offshore Marine Electronics +61 3 9597 0528 Colin Miller <>

Adelaide SA Australia, Intl. Comms. Systems +61 8 8447 3688 John Moffat <>

Cairns Queensland Australia, Endless Technology,  +617 40410990 +61407125459, Xenek Stoehr,

Waihi Beach New Zealand, Jacques Calvo +64 7 863 5225,

Auckland New Zealand, Sailboat Accessories +64 9 412 6949 Leslie Egnot <>

Whangarei New Zealand, Steelcom Electronics +64 9 438 4644 Murray MacFadyen <>

Whangarei New Zealand, Waypoint Electronics +64 0274 965 299 Wayne Limbrick <>

French Polynesia, LSAC +689 20 45 87 Luc Callebaut

Queensland Austrailia, +61 7 4125 7700 Paul Richards


Brunei Darussalam, Borneo, Brunei Bay Radio +673 8 358111 Allan Riches,



If other dealers are interested in being listed here, please email .


Setup Pactor modem and SSB, overview

To send and receive email over the SailMail’s worldwide network of SSB stations, you need a properly installed SSB and you will need to acquire an SCS Pactor modem, which is a special modem available from ham radio or marine electronics dealers that is designed to transfer data over radio.   The SailMail system works best with the SCS PTC-IIIusb or a P4dragon modem, with the P4 modem providing somewhat faster data communications.   The SailMail system will also work with older design SCS Pactor modems, such as the II, IIe, IIex, IIpro, IIusb, but if you own or buy an older SCS modem, make sure that it is upgraded to use the Pactor-III mode, and that you install your modem in such a way that AirMail can control the frequency of your SSB. DR7800%20400x400

Once you buy your Pactor-modem, there is still much to do:  you will need hook up the Pactor-modem with your radio and Windows based laptop, download the AirMail software, set it up, and learn how to operate the system.   This can be tricky unless you get help.

You have two choices:

You can buy the Pactor-modem yourself, figure out and make the interface cables, download the software, read the documentation, and sort it all out.  If you want to take this approach, there are instructions on this website.    Alternatively…   you can get help from your marine electronics dealer who will sell you the Pactor-modem, supply the professionally wired cables to connect it to your radio, hook it up, load the AirMail software in your laptop, and show you how to operate it.  The radio-specific cables with ferrites etc. and installation will typically cost about $200-300.    Even if you take this approach, you should download and keep a copy of this website aboard as a reference.
Unless you either like sorting out details of interfacing laptops and radios, or you are bored to tears and looking for a challenge, we suggest that you contact your marine electronics dealer.  ic-m802_02251405

There are a number of marine electronics dealers who can sell and install a Pactor-modem for you, located throughout the world.  They will obviously charge you for their services to do the installation, but they are earning their money; the installation requires skill.  There is a list of these dealers on this website.