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HF Interoperability Exercise
12~22 October
HFIE, the international ham radio HF Interoperability Exercise is sponsored by HFLINK.

Amateur Radio Service operators in the event activate their stations on the air using the same standards as non-governmental (NGO) and government organizations worldwide for interoperable HF communications. The focus of operation during this exercise is ALE (Automatic Link Establishment) and SELCALL (HF Selective Calling). 

Ham operators are invited to participate at any time during the 10 days of this free and open informal event. Operators get real-world experience and become proficient in HF Interoperability communications using the following suggested methods:

  • Initiate and respond to ALE calls
  • Initiate and observe ALE soundings
  • Link up with fellow operators for texting
  • Link up for SSB voice QSOs
  • Share helpful information on setting up ALE
  • Initiate and respond to SELCALL calls
  • Share information on setting up SELCALL
  • Exchange local status and infrastructure reports

Join the growing thousands of amateur radio operators worldwide with ALE-capable and SELCALL-capable stations. Participants may discuss, learn, and ask questions using the HFN Comm Centre chat room on HFLINK.NET. The experience gained by operator participation in the exercise is also useful for HF Emergency/ Disaster Relief communications (EMCOMM).

Start: 12 October 2018 at 0001 UTC
End: 22 October 2018 at 2359 UTC

More information about ALE Frequencies for HFIE.
More information about ALE Interoperability.
More information about SELCALL.
More information about Selcall Frequencies for HFIE.

HFIE was previously called ALE On The Air Week (AOTAW)

Dominica Airlift
ALE Operators Support Dominica Airlift Humanitarian Relief Operations 2017
ALE Operators in North and South America are mobilizing to provide HF support for the Dominica Airlift - "Angels To Eden" flights. The airlift in early October assists humanitarian relief in the Caribbean island that was hit with the full force of category-5 Hurricane Maria in late September. Several ALE HF portable base stations are being set up at areas where all the other land communications have failed. ALE Operators who want to help with the airlift can check in at the HFLINK.NET chat room.
Brian Lloyd WB6RQN HF Radio Flight Route Map Brian Lloyd WB6RQN Completes Historic Earhart Flight with ALE HF Radio
Brian Lloyd WB6RQN Flying Round The World in His Mooney M20K 231 Airplane Spirit Equipped with Micom 3 ALE HF Radio.

Texas, USA
: On May 31, 2017, pilot and ham operator Brian Lloyd WB6RQN embarked to retrace the historic worldwide equatorial flight route, commemorating
80 years since Amelia Earhart's famous attempt at circumnavigating the world in 1937. He completed the solo flight in August. Brian's aircraft is equipped with HF Automatic Link Establishment, and is active on the ham radio ALE channels during the flight. Ham operators worldwide can connect directly with Brian WB6RQN/AM Air Mobile on High Frequency SSB, ALE and AMD text messaging during the flight. The 125 Watt radio system is equipped with an under-fuselage HF antenna and SGC SG-237 antenna tuning unit. See the WB6RQN ham radio schedule.

Brian Lloyd comments, "At this point the planning shows that longest leg of the flight will be from Fiji, across Howland Island (where Amelia and Fred disappeared), and then on to Kauai, Hawaii. That leg is 2,788 nm (3,208mi or 5,163 km) long. The flight time for that leg will be about 15 hours." See Project Amelia Earhart.
Broadband Butterfly Terminated Dipole Antenna BBTD The BBTD Antenna
Broadband Butterfly Terminated Dipole:

New Antenna Articles for 2017
The Broadband Butterfly Terminated Dipole antenna (BBTD) was invented by Bonnie Crystal (KQ6XA). It is a type of traveling wave antenna, similar to a terminated folded dipole antenna (T2FD or TFD). But, the BBTD antenna is constructed of triangular or irregularly-shaped elements, instead of narrow rectangular elements. The triangular geometry has many structural and electrical advantages over... read more...
HFIE Ham Operators Test ALE HF Interoperability for Armed Forces Day Celebrations
13 May 2017. The USA Armed Forces Day Crossband Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test, is an annual HF interoperability event. The US Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard sponsored the annual military/amateur radio communications tests in celebration of the 67th Anniversary of Armed Forces Day (AFD). Ham operators participate using ALE, especially on the USA 5 MHz ALE simplex frequency 5371.5 kHz USB. It is on a common frequency that many hams already have programmed for ham radio HFN and HFL ALE nets. Upper Sideband (USB) is utilized on all frequencies for transmit and receive.
More information, see HFLINK.COM page about AFD2016.


Military ALE stations

AFD Event ALE Channel Frequencies

Channel Name

Amateur TX Frequency

Military Frequency

Freq Format


3996.0 USB

4000.0 USB



5371.5 USB

5371.5 USB



7296.0 USB

7357.0 USB



14346.0 USB

14383.5 USB



18117.5 USB

18272.5 USB



21432.5 USB

20940.0 USB

Solar Cycle
Solar Cycle Peaked Already.
Next Cycle Starts in 3 Years With Less Sunspots, Peaking in 2022-2025
Solar Cycle 24 Was In Its Last Peak in 2015

2015 - The solar cycle was on its second and strongest peak. The levels of moderately high solar activity with occasional solar flares were expected to continue through end of 2015 and then subside dramatically over the next 4 years. Then we should see the solar minimum for 3 years. An upswing of the next solar maximum, Cycle 25, is predicted to peak between year 2022 and 2025, but be somewhat less potent than our present cycle. The following chart shows our present position in the cycles.
Solar Cycle 25 Prediction - Source: Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA, HFLINK
(Prediction Source: Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA, HFLINK)

HFIE US Ham Operators and Government Test HF Radio Communications
Disaster Communications Compatibility Exercise Uses Automatic Link Establishment

Washington, DC, and San Francisco, CA 27 March 2014 - US Amateur Radio operators (ham  operators) and Federal Government radio stations engaged in a nationwide test of their capability to communicate with each other by shortwave radio, in case of an emergency or disaster. They participated in a 12-day joint readiness exercise which ran from 27 March through 7 April, covering all areas of USA, using a digital High Frequency (HF) radio system known as Automatic Link Establishment (ALE). This High Frequency Interoperability Exercise 2014 (HFIE-2014) ran concurrent with the federal National Exercise Program (NEP) 2014.

ALE is a standardized digital signaling protocol used by each radio service, ham and government, to establish HF communications between their own stations. For the first time, the government regulatory agencies (FCC and NTIA) have authorized these stations to communicate with each other using ALE. HF radio enables long distance communication independent of terrestrial communications infrastructure, internet, or satellites.

To facilitate the communication testing, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) secured temporary authority from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Federal Government radio stations and hams are allowed to communicate with each other using ALE during the exercise. Under existing rules, hams have secondary access to 5 HF radio channels on which Government stations are the primary users.

HF radios used by Federal Government stations have the ALE capability built into the hardware. Amateur Radio operators have implemented the same ALE protocols using their personal computers with ham radio equipment and software. The Special Temporary Authority allows for on-the-air testing of interoperability between the hardware and software-generated ALE implementations.

Participation in the interoperability exercise was open to all ALE-capable Federal Government radio stations and to all ALE-capable US Amateur Radio stations. While five channels are available if needed, the test plan called for using only two of the channels in order to minimize impact on other stations not participating in the exercise. Specifics of the STA were as follows:

(1) Temporary modification of the authority granted at NTIA Manual section 7.3.8(4), which authorizes Federal Government stations to communicate with stations in the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, to allow communications with any Amateur Radio station utilizing Automatic Link Establishment, limited to the five channels in the 5 MHz band which are available to the Amateur Radio Service on a secondary basis, for the period March 27th through April 7th 2014.

(2) Concurrent waiver by the FCC of that part of FCC rule 97.111(a)(4) which limits communications with US Government stations to transmissions necessary to providing communications in RACES, limited to the five channels in the 5 MHz band which are available to the Amateur Radio Service on a secondary basis, for the period March 27th through April 7th 2014.

The HFIE-2014 is a semi-annual ham radio readiness exercise coordinated by the HFLINK organization http://hflink.com and the Global ALE High Frequency Network http://hflink.net
It is open to all ALE-capable ham radio stations. Technical and operational guidelines for ham and federal government stations are available at: http://hflink.net/hfie2014

National Exercise Program (NEP) 2014 is a complex emergency preparedness exercise with activities sponsored by government departments and agencies, designed to educate and prepare the whole community for complex, large-scale disasters and emergencies. As part of the National Preparedness Goal (NPG), it enables a collaborative, whole community approach to national preparedness that engages individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations and all levels of government.

Media and Technical Contact: Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, HFIE-2014 Coordinator
Email: hfie2014@hflink.net

HFIE HF Interoperability Exercise
Started: 27 March 2014
Ended: 7 April 2014

International ham radio HF Interoperability Exercise sponsored by HFLINK and HFN.
Ham operators were invited to participate at any time during the 10 days of this free and open informal exercise.
HFIE-2013 Certificate and Wallet CardOperators can look forward to certificates and wallet cards showing they are qualified in ALE. They will continue to keep track of each other on the air and by using an inter-connected chat room with a map feature that picks up their transmissions.

Non-governmental and government organizations worldwide use ALE for HF interoperability communications. This Interoperability Exercise covers standard ALE (Automatic Link Establishment), NALE (Non-Automatic Link Establishment), and SELCALL (HF Selective Calling). 

Operators get real-world experience and become proficient in HF Interoperability communications. They initiate and respond to ALE calls, link up with fellow operators for text or SSB voice QSOs on HF, and share helpful information about setting up ALE stations. It's not a contest, and many just do it for fun.

Join the thousands of amateur radio operators worldwide with ALE-capable stations. Participants discuss, learn, and ask questions using the HFN ALE COMM CENTRE chat room.

HF Interoperability Exercise 2014
2014 HF Interoperability Exercise
Starts:1200 UTC 27 March 2014
Ends: 2359 UTC 07 April 2014

Previous HF Interoperability Exercises
2013 HF Interoperability Exercise
2012 HF Interoperability Exercise
August 2011 AOTAW
May 2009 GlobalSET
Novermber 2008 AOTAW
March 2007 AOTAW
October 2006 AOTAW

Autotuners & Broadbands Popular Among ALE Ops
The HFLINK 2013 Antenna Poll Results are in...
Popular Types of ALE Antennas
The 5000+ member HFLINK forum was asked: "What type of antennas do you use for ALE?"
Operators responded to the poll with many different types of HF antennas. As the above chart shows, autotuners and broadband antennas tend to be used most often by ALE operators. Autotuners mounted at the antenna feedpoint (32%) are deployed slightly more often than broadband antennas (31%) or autotuners at the radio. The single most popular type of antenna is the T2FD (14%). Click on the chart to zoom in for a more detailed analysis of poll results for all the popular ALE antenna types.

HF Interoperability Exercise
Gobble Gobble:
The Sound Of ALE

If you tuned into your shortwave radio in October 2013, you may have heard a gobble-gobble noise. What may seem like a flock of wild turkeys were actually the sounds of the HF Interoperability Exercise, and it was in full swing. It started Friday the 4th of October, and ran for 10 days. Ham operators all over the world were on the air for this international communications preparedness exercise, using Automatic Link Establishment (ALE). The innovative ALE system is a digital selective calling method, enabling radio users to ring each other up on High Frequency shortwave using their callsigns like a phone number. HFIE, as it is known among hams, happens several times per year and is sponsored by HFLINK.COM and the Global ALE High Frequency Network (HFN) organization.

Kurt Stephens KJ4AYT, a radio operator in Florida, had this to say: "I use ALE a lot, both in my professional career and as a ham. I'm really excited to be participating in HFIE. Within the first hour, I was able to easily get signals to three different continents with my Micom 2 radio. I recently designed a new antenna for my station and I'm checking the performance of it in this exercise. I call it the WOLF antenna. It has good broadband SWR on all the HF bands, perfect for ALE. I look forward to making lots of new contacts with it."


Another ham, John Lawson W4JML, commented, "I'm in Wyoming and I need to use ALE with Army MARS, so I decided to get some more experience with it during this exercise on the ham bands. I downloaded the free PCALE software and hooked the computer up to my Icom IC-765, running into an 80m delta loop antenna. Amazingly, within a few minutes after setting it up to scan, I made my first ALE contact when Kurt KJ4AYT called me on 7 megahertz, and did some texting. I'll be on this again tomorrow for sure."


Over three thousand ALE stations have registered so far, and many of them are on-the-air this week talking by single sideband (SSB) analog voice or digital texting. Some use the exercise to provide training or maintain their proficiency in HF Interoperability; an important issue these days, due to the new digital standards for governmental and non-governmental organizations in emergency and disaster communications.
The distinctive turkey gobble sounds of ALE can usually be found on the following frequencies.

HFLINK Automatic Link Establishment High Frequency ALE
Over a Decade of ALE HFLINK
HF Interoperability

HFLINK celebrated 13 years of ALE in 2014. The HFLINK forum has become a gathering point for amateur radio operators and professionals in HF. The organization was founded by Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA, as a High Frequency Interoperability international resource for ALE and Selective Calling. The first large scale organized Ham Radio ALE nets began in late 2001, during the recovery from the 9-11 disasters. Since then, HFLINK has grown to over 5500 members. Through teamwork, frequency coordination, technical standards, and protocol optimization, ALE has become a widely accepted ham-friendly, interference-free system worldwide.

FCC Changes 5MHz Ham Radio Rules, Adds Data Comms
In 2012, FCC adopted new rules for the 60 meter band.
How do these changes affect USA hams?
Under the new rules, Ham Radio operators in USA are allowed to use Data modes on 5 channels in the 5MHz band, with some restrictions. The maximum power level is 100 Watts PEP with reference to a dipole. One of the channels that previously was prone to constant interference has been replaced with a clearer frequency. For a more detailed information about the changes, please see HFLINK 5MHz News.

Global ALE High Frequency Network Global ALE High Frequency Network Celebrates 7 Years of Continuous 24/7/365 All Band HF Digital Service in 2014
The Global ALE High Frequency Network (HFN) set a new up-time record by operating 100% continuously on all international amateur radio shortwave bands simultaneously 24/7/365 for 7 years.

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 4000 registered operators, the HFN covers a vast area of the planet.

All ham operators are welcome and invited to participate in the net on the air at any hour of the day or night, for normal QSOs and messages, soundings, or priority Emcomm use.

IARU IARU GlobalSET EmComm Radio Events
ALE operators participate in Global Simulated Emergency Test communications exercises sponsored by International Amateur Radio Union (IARU)
GlobalSET is the on-the-air international emcomm radio event sponsored by IARU. The objective is to promote readiness for international emergency disaster relief communications. Operators participate in the Global Simulated Emergency Test by sending text messages to the central IARU GlobalSET headquarters, relayed via amateur radio stations. Hams may activate their ALE stations, start scanning and sounding before the event, and send messages during the day of the event.
For more information, please read the details on the HFlink forum.
GlobalSET Objectives:
1. Increase the common interest in emergency communications.
2. Test how usable the IARU Emergency Center of Activity frequencies are across ITU regions.
3. Create practices for international emergency communication.
4. Practice the relaying of messages using all modes.
GAREC Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference
ALE for Emergency / Disaster Relief Communications
Presentation at the IARU Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference
The International Amateur Radio Union's Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference GAREC-2007 was held in Huntsville AL, USA, with international delegates from IARU Region 1 and Region 2 attending. The focus of the GAREC conference was: How the amateur radio service can apply advanced technologies to emergency communications in the service of early warning, emergency response and disaster relief. The ALE presentation at the conference included information about how ALE can provide an interoperative method for all emergency and disaster relief communicators to communicate with each other. more...
A conference report for HFLINK members is available on the HFLINK forum.

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Using Micom 2 and Micom 3 for Ham Radio ALE
Programming Icom IC-F7000 and Icom IC-F8101 for Ham Radio ALE/Selcall
HF Portable Antennas
HF Selcall CCIR 493-4 Australian Type 

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 4600+ 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.

Webmaster note 2023:
Site is in process of being updated with more recent information. Archival technical information and resources are still available.
The HFLINK.NET map chat site is not yet available.
Super Antenna on Amazon

ALE channels are frequency coordinated internationally.


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