SM026 – Winlink Hamword Game

Hamword is a Winlink-based game that mimics the popular five-letter word guessing game, Wordle. I built this game to give hams a way to practice their Winlink skills while having some fun guessing an unknown five-letter word. All of these rules, and the leaderboard, are at You may have already seen this on the front page of

The only thing you need to play the game is an amateur radio license and an active Winlink account. You can learn more about setting up Winlink at If you are up and running on Winlink, give it whirl. If not, this is a great time to set it up.

So far we’ve had almost 100 hams from 28 different ARRL sections plus seven countries play the game. We’ve processed nearly 1,000 Winlink email messages and have had some great feedback from across the country.

How to Play

Once you have Winlink up and running, send a five-letter word via Winlink to the tactical call sign HAMWORD. The subject line can be anything you wish, and the message body should contain just your guess. Your messages will be graded and returned via a Winlink message at 00, 15, 30, and 45 minutes past the hour.

Response Key

Since Winlink doesn’t allow text colors, you will receive a five-number “key” to guide you in your next choice. The numbers 0, 1, and 2 are returned using the following definitions:

  • 0 means that the letter above the key is not seen in the word that you are guessing. (Similar to gray.)
  • 1 means that the letter above the key is used in the word you are guessing, but it is in the wrong location. (Similar to yellow.)
  • 2 means that the letter above the key is used in the word you are guessing, and it is in the correct location. (Similar to green.)

Weekly Reset

The guessed word will reset weekly at 00:00Z on Monday (Sunday evening in the United States) in this game. So, make your guesses throughout the week and make sure you solve the puzzle before the word resets. You have six chances to solve the puzzle each week.

Good luck, have fun, and let me know how Hamword works for you.


Amateur radio clubs are the backbone of the hobby. The tremendous local hams have good information, and as Elmers or mentors they love to share it. Send something that your club is doing well to me, and I’ll feature your club in this newsletter, and on the ARRL club newsletter. Most clubs are seeing an increase in new member activity recently. Our Oklahoma Affiliated Club Coordinator, Jim Shideler W5JCS, can help you find a club or help your club become affiliated. We currently have 41 clubs listed at Look for a club near you, or verify that your club is on the list. Send Jim an email at if you need club assistance.

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