Ionospheric conditions are variable in nature and can cause destructive interference to transmissions made in the High Frequency (HF) band, which ranges from 3-30 MHz. This poses a problem as the HF band is a critical fre- quency range for various applications (i.e. emergency, military). To manage these dynamic conditions, intelligent techniques should be implemented at the transmitter and receiver to properly maintain reliable communications. In this paper, we present work deriving components of a cognitive HF transceiver with agents called cognitive engines (CEs) operating at the transmitter and receiver. At the transmitter, cognition is employed to determine the combination of modulation and coding techniques that maximize throughput. At the receiver, cognition is implemented to derive the best parameters for equalization (i.e. tap length, step size, filter type, etc.) Results are presented showing that the individual components are able to satisfy their objectives. A discussion is also provided surveying recent research efforts pertaining to the development of cognitive methods for the Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) protocol, a common networking methodology for HF stations.