NOTE: Crossover 19 and older do not have the latest version of Wine, so unless you have the latest version of Crossover, Forms and Templates like the ICS-213 Form will NOT work in Winlink Express. Everything else will, however.

Before we get started, please note unless you are comfortable issuing a few simple commands in a terminal window, I recommend you use a $39 commercial product called Crossover to avoid many frustrating issues getting DotNET to work properly. But if you want to try the free version see my instructions here.


Download this Crossover Archive and import it under the “Bottle” Menu “Import Bottle Archive”. This should give you a fresh working version of Winlink Express along with VARA HF installed and working.

Download the Crossover Archive here:


Use Crossover to create a Windows XP bottle (recommend using the name “Ham” or something similar). Install “Microsoft Dot NET 3.5 service pack 1” in that bottle, then install “Microsoft Visual Basic 6 Runtime Service Pack 6” and “Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Runtime” for VARA support. These components can be found in Crossover’s application list under “Non-Applications… Components”. Be careful to select the (Ham) bottle each time you intsall a new component. Now download and install RMS Express and VARA in that bottle as well.

RMS Express should load now.

For USB/Serial Cables or radios with internal USB/serial rig control, use COM33 or COM34 in Ham programs like Winlink Express, RMS Express, HRD, etc. If for some reason that won’t work, see here. Please note that Winlink Express may not offer COM33 or COM34 as options. You can edit the RMS Express.ini file to force this OR you can follow these instructions to add them as an option in all pull-down menus.

For VARA support, download these components:

and place them in /Users/[user name]/Library/Application\ Support/CrossOver/Bottles/[bottle name]/drive_c/windows/system32 and if any exist, replace them.

NOTE:  If VARA crashes after doing the above, try replacing this file in the system32 folder mentioned above.

If you are still having problems installing RMS Express or getting VARA to launch within the program, check to make sure you didn’t skip a step in the DotNET and Visual Basic Runtime installations. You need all those components to be working first.

If after following the instructions above, Winlink Express or VARA crashes, try restoring this bottle to Crossover. It includes a Windows XP bottle with the above components installed and Winlink Express and VARA are also installed and operating fine. You will still need to follow the tips on using COM ports above.

Some tips when using Crossover:

Always make sure you have the correct bottle selected before doing anything. Otherwise the default creates a new bottle each time. Everything should be in the “Ham” bottle you already created above.

If you get stuck installing programs, it’s because you need to tell Crossover it is an “Unlisted Program” by clicking on the “Browse All Applications” button and then clicking on “Unlisted Application”.

Good luck!  K6ETA

Please note, I can’t offer support on installation beyond these instructions. Sorry but I have a day gig!