Radio Activities Cat Intro
ALE is a technology that enables automatic establishment of HF Links based on Link Quality of stations in the net. It is widely used in Federal, State and Commercial HF worlds and does have some utility in Amateur operations. As part of HFLink core team I've implemented software to show network status, Internet Chat, and station messaging from ALE 141 AMD's to SMTP email.
Portable HF operation has been an interest of mine from the first day I received my license. In the late 70's and early 80's, I used portable HF gear to maintain communication from wilderness areas where 2m repeaters & cellphone still do not work.
Being actively involved in Boy Scouts, hunting, & fishing, I'm camping 30 or more nights a year and take advantage of the time to share amateur radio with the scouts as well as chat with friends in the evening.
With the founding of the HFPack yahoogroup by Bonnie KQ6XA, portable operators worldwide have a forum to exchange learnings on antenna's and equipment. Vendors now have offerings specifically for portable operation, which is a first!
There are also groups for users of military manpacks like the PRC-104, PRC-74, PRC-320, and PRC-1099.
Amateurs provide communications for many natural and manmade disasters every year. Routinely mainstream communications are knocked out or overwhelmed and amateurs in the form of volunteers and organizations like ARES, RACES, and MARS step in to fill the gap.
I've deployed into two hurricane zones, most recently being Katrina. HF and VHF communications from amateur volunteers made a difference and I will always try to maintain some readiness to be able to help.