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.
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.
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.