Monday, July 4, 2011

ALE Network celebrates anniversary

The Global ALE High Frequency Network (HFN) sets a new up-time record
by operating 100% continuously on all international amateur radio
shortwave bands simultaneously 24/7/365 for 4 years straight.

Relying on HF (High Frequency) ionospheric communications, all radio
stations in this worldwide system scan the ham bands every 10 seconds,
rapidly maintaining contact through short digital bursts of signals
using a system known as ALE (Automatic Link Establishment). With about
2000 registered operators, the HFN covers a vast area of the planet.

HFN International Coordinator Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA comments, "The ALE
network was founded to foster HF Interoperability between all types of
organizations, agencies, individual ham operators and nets. While its
main focus is on international EMCOMM, this far-reaching service has
ample capacity for radio operators everywhere to use for ordinary
calling and QSOs... including some DXing. The huge success of this
network, during such low solar cycle conditions, has shown the true
strength of ALE to find and use unpredictable HF band openings that we
see all the time."

ALE was originally an expensive system for government services, but
recent innovations in digital technology have brought the cost way
down. The first organized amateur radio ALE nets began in 2001,
corresponding with the release of the free PC-ALE software controller
for ham radios. Several years of development by the 4000-member HFLINK
organization adapted ALE to be a ham-friendly, interference-free
system. In 2007, the internet- connected HFN network went into full
scale 24-hour service. HFN rapidly expanded to cover large areas of
the earth, and it has become the prime framework for ham radio
operations using the global standard ALE system. In keeping with its
roots, ham radio ALE still maintains compatibility and
interoperability with goverment ALE radios, many of which are also
available now on the surplus market and being used by hams. Nearly
every major HF SSB radio manufacturer in the world is now marketing an
ALE radio.

HFN Network Manager, Alan Barrow KM4BA, said "The recent addition of
real-time maps of network connectivity HF paths, combined with
features such as ALE-integrated WINMOR/WINLINK, provides a versatile
platform for fast and reliable interoperable communications. The
website HFLINK.NET has literally been turned into a virtual
communications center at the fingertips of every ham."

All ham operators are encouraged to participate in ALE, especially
during ALE On The Air Week (AOTAW) from 5 to 15 August 2011, to
practice techniques and emergency preparedness. All modes of operation
will be used in AOTAW, including SSB (Single Sideband) voice
communications, digital modes, HF relay, HF email, and mobile texting
messages in the field. Info and free ALE software is available for ham
rigs at http://hflink.com

To follow the operations of the Global ALE High Frequency Network,
please see the HFLINK.NET website. Data activity is primarily on the
following frequencies (kHz) Upper Sideband: 3596, 7102, 10145.5,
14109, 18106, 21096, 24926, and 28146. Selective calling SSB Voice
activity is on Upper Sideband frequencies: 3791, 3996, 7185.5, 7296,
14346, 18117.5, 21332.5, 24932, and 28312.5 kHz.

About HFN
Global ALE High Frequency Network (HFN) is an international ham radio
service organization of volunteer operators in various countries of
the world, dedicated to interoperability and emergency/relief
communications.

HFN website: http://hflink.net
Contact: Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, VR2KQ6XA (HFN International ALE Coordinator)
Contact email: hfn2011@hflink.net

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