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Thursday, June 19, 2014

ARRL Field Day 2014 NTS style messages via ALE AMD

I am the Field Day Incident Commander for N5AT and one of our goals is to get the Bonus points for “NTS style messages”.

I verified with the ARRL and it is not the mode of transmission that is of interest (it must however leave the site via radio RF), it is the message format (i.e. NTS radiogram) that is the requirement.

Thus, please don’t be surprised when you receive an ALE AMD message like the following during Field Day:

4 R NX5MK ARL 3 EM34ST JUN 29 URCALLSIGN BT ARL FIFTY X BT NX5MK AR

= approx. 59 characters, which is under the 90 character limit for AMD messages. Great! (Message size limit verified here: http://hflink.com/standards/ALE_standard_188_141B.pdf )

Maybe the above will inspire some other HAMs to also demo ALE and HFLink to their fellow HAMs during Field Day?! You may of course also choose voice, CW, NBEMS, APRS to send your Radiogram, but AMD makes it so slick… :)

vy 73 de Marcus NX5MK
Apparare Scientior Paratus Communicare

2 comments:

  1. could you please break do this AMD message so I can understand what it is and how to read and write for myself...john_w4jml@verizon.net

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  2. Hi John, thanks for your message. ALE is the abbreviation for Automatic Link Establishment and the free software for it is here: http://hflink.com/software/
    It is an international HF radio comms standard to help establish HF radio connections between multiple stations. It is designed to be used on multi band capable antennas, but single band is ok too. It sends out a brief beacon "sounding" (listen before transmit is integrated in software as not to interrupt others) and soundings are at intervals you specify (usually every 60 mins). That way others know on which bands they can reach you. Likewise, your software can listen to the sounding beacons of others and you will know on which bands propagation is favorable to any given station. In essence: instead of having many transceivers listen on different bands for transmission intended for you, coming from stations at various distances from you, you can use just one transceiver and be ready to receive messages via any band at a moments notice. AMD stands for Automatic Message Display and is the analogue of a text message on a cell phone - just that it is via HF radio. Amateur Radio Pilot Stations throughout the world are on air 24/7 for many years now, who are also connected to the WinLink network, and it is those I what to reach with AMD messages. It's actually a neat way of getting to a WinLink station: instead of calling an individual WinLink station and having to hope that propagation is favorable and that the station is actually on air, you instead call the ALE network (called HFLink), a Pilot Station will pop up and off you go and connect to it and do your WinLink business. Hope the above was understandable. ALE has many functions and I tried to explain most of them. It's like a box of tools to facilitate connection, it is not a mode as such - it is there to get two or more stations interconnected. The actually message transfer can be via any mode you choose (voice, WinLink, other modes, even CW or you choose the integrated AMD which is based on FSK). 73 de Marcus

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