You guys will get a kick out of this... I posted a message to the
IllinoisDigitalHam group at Yahoo groups calling the "soundings" by ALE
(Automated Link Establishment) stations illegal one-way transmissions, and this
is the response from our good friend Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA. I think you'll all
agree that it simply defies logic...
Have a box of tissues handy - you'll be laughing 'til you cry!
(BTW, I forwarded her explanation to Chuck Skolaut at the ARRL Regulatory
Information service for his opinion, so I can post an authoritative response to
>From: expeditionradio <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Sent: Jan 8, 2008 5:34 PM
>Subject: [illinoisdigitalham] ALE Sounding. What is it and how does it work?
>Here is some info about ALE sounding and how it works.
>What is an ALE sounding?
>In ham radio, ALE sounding is simply a station ID.
>Only the callsign is sent, example "This is AA1BB".
>Sounding is ALE jargon for "Station ID".
>What is the purpose of ALE sounding?
>The ID is transmitted for the purpose of establishing
>and maintaining communications with other stations
>and to meet the station identification requirements
>of ham radio rules and regulations. Sounding may
>also be part of a selective calling process.
>How does ALE fit in the various ham radio rules?
>How ALE sounding is applied to the different rules of
>various countries depends upon that country. Under USA's
>FCC rules, ALE sounding is a station ID and a communication.
>ALE sounding is not "beaconing".
>ALE stations are not sending one-way transmissions like
>a beacon does. All the ALE stations are transmitting and
>receiving communications with all the other ALE stations
>in communication with each other.
>What frequencies are soundings used by hams?
>In ham-friendly ALE, part of the guidelines for
>repetitive soundings is to transmit on "pilot channels".
>Pilot channels are ALE jargon for a designated calling
>frequency, usually only one channel per band. The pilot
>channels are within a segment of the HF bands that are
>designated for automatic operation by the national bandplans
>or the IARU Region bandplans, depending upon which applies.
>Ham Radio ALE Pilot Channel Frequencies
>Freq kHz SSB INTERNATIONAL REGION - AREA
>3596.0 USB NORTH AMERICA - SOUTH AMERICA
>3617.0 USB EUROPE-AFRICA-RUSSIA-MIDEAST
>3626.0 USB ASIA - AUS - NZ - PACIFIC
>7040.5 USB EUROPE-AFRICA-RUSSIA-MIDEAST-S.AMERICA
>7102.0 USB NORTH AMERICA - PACIFIC - ATLANTIC
>7185.5 USB AUSTRALIA
>10145.5 USB GLOBAL
>14109.5 USB GLOBAL
>18106.0 USB GLOBAL
>18117.5 USB EUROPE-AFRICA-RUSSIA-MIDEAST
>21096.0 USB GLOBAL
>21116.0 USB EUROPE-AFRICA-RUSSIA-MIDEAST
>24926.0 USB GLOBAL
>28146.0 USB GLOBAL
>28312.5 USB EUROPE-AFRICA-RUSSIA-MIDEAST
>Amateur Radio Global High Frequency Network (HFN)
>The Amateur Radio Global ALE High Frequency Network
>is a group of volunteer operators who have automatically
>controlled data stations on the ALE Pilot Channels.
>These are known as HFN Pilot Stations, and they provide
>interconnect texting services and HF-to-HF Relay services.
>The long term objective is to be interoperable with as
>many different types of systems as possible. The primary
>purpose of the HFN is to provide emergency and disaster
>relief 24/7/365 communications. When not in use for the
>primary purpose, hams may access any of the HFN stations
>for normal use. Another secondary aspect of the
>HFN stations is that they provide a continuous feed
>to the internet, reporting all other ALE stations they
>receive. This includes soundings and all other types of
>ALE calls. These reports get logged into a permanent
>database, and are visible on "ALE Channel ZERO".
>Many other ham radio ALE operators are transmitting
>soundings on the ALE pilot channels. The more operators
>who are active on ALE, the better everyone is able
>to connect with each other.
>The Ham Radio ALE Guidelines are included below in this
>message. You can get more info about ALE and sounding
>on the web at:
>HAM RADIO SOUNDING INFORMATION
>What is Sounding?
>In Amateur Radio ALE, a sounding is simply a 10 second ALE
>transmission of your callsign (station identification). A sounding is
>different from a beacon because the ALE station uses 2 way
>communications; and the ALE sounding transmission is part of a
>selective calling process for calling and actively maintaining
>communication with other stations in the global ham radio ALE net and
>Why are Soundings Used?
>The reception and communication through soundings enables other ALE
>stations to know which frequencies or bands your station is active on.
>When you first turn on your transceiver, you can send some soundings
>so that other stations will copy your transmissions, and then may
>selectively call you on the best channel, using the minimum number of
>call attempts. The scanning ALE receiver listens to the soundings of
>other stations each time they are heard and stores them in memory with
>channels and times.
>How Are Soundings Transmitted?
>Soundings can be manually transmitted, or set by the operator to
>transmit repetitive soundings every hour. Usually, if repetitive
>soundings are set, when the ALE controller or radio is first turned on
>then there is a delay of a few minutes before the first soundings are
>Ham-Friendly ALE Soundings
>In the ham radio ALE network, there are Pilot Stations in different
>areas of the world that send soundings 24/7. This system transmits
>sounding only on the Pilot Channels in the automatic station
>sub-bands, and this strategy forms part of the basis of ham-friendly ALE.
>ALE Sounding Guidelines for Amateur Radio
>1. As an Amateur Radio Operator, you are responsible for all
>transmissions of your station.
>2. Before sending soundings, or any transmission, listen carefully to
>all your transmitting channels with your receiver. Avoid interference.
>3. Sounding is not CQ. If you want to call CQ, use the HFL or QRZ netcall.
>4. Manual or attended soundings may be transmitted on any ALE channel.
>5. For repetitive sounding, program your ALE to sound only on the
>designated Pilot Channels marked PILOT in the Amateur Radio ALE
>Channel List, for your IARU/ITU Region, and within your license. There
>is one Pilot Channel per ham band in each Region.
>6. Program your ALE controller to use TWS Sound if possible. Using TWS
>Sound increases the efficiency of ALE nets. Please DO NOT use This Is
>Sound (TIS) on the ham bands.
>7. The optimum duration of a sounding transmission is approximately 10
>to 15 seconds. Test and verify your sounding transmission duration
>with your watch. A sounding transmission should NEVER be longer than
>8. The optimum repetitive sounding on a channel is about once every 60
>minutes. Please DO NOT sound repetitively on a channel more than 2
>times per hour.
>9. The optimum scan rate is 1 or 2 channels per second. If you scan
>more than 10 channels, use 2 channels per second.
>10. Check your transmitter operation and antenna system SWR regularly
>on every channel in your scan group!
>11. Take care in programming your ALE controller (software) and
>transceiver. Test it carefully and verify it for proper operation on a
>dummy load before connecting your antenna.
>12. Use the Polite or Voice Detect or Busy Detect feature of your ALE.
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