This page outlines how to establish scenarios for testing how CAP will utilize High Frequency-Automatic Link Establishment (HF-ALE) for operational mission communications. Please note that the HF ALE radios come with one or two CD-ROMS inside the box. Please find them and printout the user manuals and set-up instructions before attempting to operate this equipment.
1) In order to effectively use HF-ALE on missions, the mission communications staff is responsible for:
a. Making certain that the radio’s station HF-ALE call-sign is correctly entered.
b. Ensuring that the radio is properly set up, including power, ground and appropriate HF-ALE antenna connections.
c. Ensuring that radio parameters are as originally delivered, except where specific guidance has been provided by the NTC, National Headquarters, or as recommended in this document.
d. Selecting the National Command Net suite, (for now only Net 1 is authorized and must be used on a non-interfering basis with other CAP activities).
e. Training operators how to switch the radio into and out of HF-ALE operations.
f. Adjusting sounding interval to reflect the number of other sounding stations on the net and the speed at which conditions change, or turning sounding on and off as required.
g. As an option, a "net list" of station call signs to be contacted may be entered, specifying the National Command Net suite (Net 1) or a subset of frequencies.
h. In the event that radios are taken out of the ALE mode, operators should return the radio to ALE operation any time contact between stations is lost, so that contact can be reestablish.
i. All stations should perform check-ins with the ICP/NCS each half hour, or other schedule determined by the Communications Unit Leader.
2) HF-ALE operation creates additional safety considerations, beyond normal HF radio operation. Because HF-ALE radios transmit automatically, antennas should be marked and placed so that personnel do not inadvertently enter a hazardous area.
3) ALE operation on NET 2 is only authorized for use when directed by NHQ/NTC.
The following scenarios represent common mission scenarios in which HF-ALE may be used. Wings testing these scenarios should prepare after action reports and submit them to HQ CAP/DOS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scenario 1: Two Fixed Locations
This scenario applies when HF communication is primarily between two fixed locations, such as an Incident Command Post and a forward base.
- Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) is used to determine a usable contact frequency, after which both radios are left in ALE mode. For each new contact, the radio automatically selects the same frequency previously used. If conditions change and a new frequency is required, the radio will automatically attempt to reestablish contact on another channel in the selected net.
- At any time, operators may initiate a bi-directional sound (BIDR) during which the radio attempts to contact a specific station on every channel in the suite to determine the best channel.
Scenario 2: Multiple fixed locations, such as an ICP and multiple forward bases
This scenario applies when the ICP must communicate with multiple other fixed locations, such as multiple forward bases or camps, as CAP operated during Hurricane Katrina.
- When not in use for voice traffic, the ICP sounds in ALE mode with a sounding interval appropriate to the number of other sounding stations on the net and the speed at which conditions are changing.
- All stations operate in ALE mode. When the mission requires a hub-and-spoke network architecture, only the ICP sounds. When the mission requires a peer-to-peer network architecture (every station need to talk to every other station), all stations sound.
- If paths among stations are such that a single frequency can connect all of them, stations may switch to non-ALE mode and operate as a conventional multi-station net until conditions deteriorate, however this loses the advantages of ALE, should conditions change unexpectedly.
- If different paths among stations require different frequencies, any station may trigger bi-directional sound to determine the current best frequency for any other station.
Scenario 3: Mobile HF-ALE
This scenario applies when HF communication is between a fixed location, such as an ICP, and mobile vehicles with HF capability.
- The fixed location sounds in ALE mode with a sounding interval appropriate to the number of other sounding stations on the net and the speed at which conditions are changing.
- Wings should experiment with the benefits of mobile stations sounding at various intervals, or not sounding at all, and submit after action reports.
- When the radios cannot connect on the previous frequency, the calling station initiates a bi-directional sound to reconnect with the desired station.