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Author Topic: Slow lingering death of MARS.  (Read 294332 times)
WB2MVM
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #75 on: February 15, 2015, 09:14:05 AM »

Maybe we should rename this post, "The Slow Lingering Death of 'The Slow Lingering Death of MARS' Thread"! Tongue Grin
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 09:20:20 AM by WB2MVM » Logged
W1MSG
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Posts: 128


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« Reply #76 on: February 15, 2015, 12:28:36 PM »


Thanks for the 9 year old article link, I believe I was in Iraq at that time. I actually think I read it when it came out at my Remote Outpost via Satellite Internet.

73
 
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N6JSX
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Posts: 226




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« Reply #77 on: February 16, 2015, 08:32:29 AM »

MARS needs to be totally re-scoped/re-purposed as the Vietnam era days are gone (prior to cell phones). Few of us today even have a home land-line. And with CW no longer deemed a valuable ability (that I still say is a gross FCC error) available communications modes are being redefined by the skills of your members.

MARS appears to be very slowly re-purposing to find a home within USA Govt Comm, now it looks like they are a very ancillary support to FEMA/HLS, but lastly our Military (except those units that are called for CONUS disaster support). MARS needs to be affiliated as a RACES organization to get FCC RACES protection for its members.

MARS needs to look at the big picture of how they can best support Govt comms when a national/regional disasters occur within the USA and how best they can fit in as well as how HIPA restrictions will affect comm traffic. They need to think out of the box, the what-if's, i.e. major Equake +9.5R, +F5 Hurricane, another major Mississippi flood, Solar EMP (or other) taking out regional electricity, Nuke reactor melt down --- what will be needed over a large geographical area of devastation that could be as short as a week to years. When one of these hits cell/phone/internet and electricity will be toast. The ONLY MARS stations will only be individual HAM stations on their own power! 

MARS needs to focus more on individual abilities to create a fully operational station not their rigid schedules/NETS that only weed out the working HAMs. Remember, the working HAMs earn the means to keep a station on the air. Oh and while MARS is at it - give credit to prior Service Technical training (USN Fire Control [RADAR/Guns/Missiles]) and Veteran HAMs that have gotten their BS & MS in a engineering program like EE/EET.

Otherwise MARS is just an organization of old-farts trying to fit into a bigger picture and being left behind.           
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WB2MVM
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« Reply #78 on: February 16, 2015, 08:37:49 AM »

AMEN & RIGHT ON N6JSX!!
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K4PIH
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #79 on: February 16, 2015, 05:22:27 PM »

This is right on target N6JSX I could not have said it better. I recently had a nostalgic relapse and signed up for MARS and even bought a new radio (needed on anyway). I remember back in the day when MARS served a purpose and was fun. Now, it's a playground for old mil types that want to relive their glory days on the radio. I actually participated in some training sessions only to find out that it was cut up into little fiefdoms and you had to do penance to get in. I was told I did not know how to operate a radio correctly, couldn’t format a message properly. The final straw was an email that I got saying that they were going to start practicing encryption with trans-lateral substitution where A was Z. A bunch of self –appointed self-important lids. I do SHARES for the federal government and wondered we didn’t interface more with MARS. Got it! Hey at least I got a new radio.
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KC2QYM
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« Reply #80 on: February 17, 2015, 08:05:32 AM »

When we hear about EnComm we always think of natural disasters such as weather, or fires, power/grid outages. train/plane crashes etc.  What we don't appear to talk about is issurrection, terrorism, and other interruptions to our civil society.  These threats are very real and perhaps Americans may unfortunately come to understand this again in a post 911 world.  So the question is, where the heck does MARS fit into these scenarios?  Think about the people who are engaged in MARS, how the DoD incorporates or fails to incorporate those resources and the folly of thinking that MARS can muster a coordinated network within the reality of chaos.  It's time to hang up your spurs Martians; you're in the same hole as the rest of us when the S--T hits the fan.  All your nets and traffic handling won't really help.  If marshall law is proclaimed, what role do you truly expect to play.  Would the regular military engage you in their security planning and enforcement activities.  I doubt it, you might even become a source of supplies for wandering military teams cut off from their own HQs in the confusion aftermath.  Who is going to depend on a self important bunch of hobbyists for their communication needs?  Those of you who were inspired by the movie 'Independence Day' when CW saves the day as a means of international communication between human forces to defeat the aliens are really living in Science Fiction.
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N9AOP
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« Reply #81 on: February 17, 2015, 12:51:46 PM »

A shares net can also be sort of like having a heart attack.  Been there, done that.
Art
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KC2WI
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« Reply #82 on: February 17, 2015, 07:06:04 PM »

I've been a member of USAF MARS for about 10 years.

Yes the regular nets are fairly boring and little actual traffic is passed.  All the regular nets are just training nets. There is no requirement to check in to every net. The participation requirement for USAF MARS is 12 hours per quarter which is one hour a week.

There are periodic communications exercises which can get interesting. The push now is on developing more digital communications proficiency including interoperability with other government and military stations using the standard military modes. This is somewhat of a technical challenge to implement with ham equipment and computer/ sound card based modems.

The old MARS mission of providing welfare and morale messaging for the troops is gone. There is no need because of the general availability of Internet and cell phones for routine communications such as this.

There is still an active USAF MARS phone patch net that is used on a regular basis by the military, including some "morale" phone calls.

The MARS mission is now backup and supplemental communications support to military and other government agencies in times of emergency.

While the Internet, cell phones and satcom is generally available, there is still a lot of value in having an established trained group to provide backup and contingency communications using HF which does not rely on any infrastructure and also has members with stations scattered all across the US. The government spends very little on MARS so they are really getting a big bang for the buck.

While there are still 3 branches of MARS, there has been significant effort to standardize all operational procedures.  Generally speaking, most MARS nets are open to members of any branch. We regularly have Army and Navy-Marine members check in to our northeast region Air Force mars nets.

As a military communications auxiliary we follow the standard Allied Communications Procedures pretty closely. Whether or not some of these procedures are "antiquated" is something for the maintainers of these procedures to deal with.

MARS, like ARES/RACES, may not be super important in the grand scheme of emergency response. However it can't hurt to have a backup to other commercial and government systems and to have citizens who are engaged in emergency preparedness activities.

There are other people with other hobbies and somewhat specialized skill and knowledge and equipment who contribute to emergency response and public safety as volunteers. For example underwater rescue teams, search and rescue dog teams, etc. Why not amateur radio operators?

I would submit that MARS, or ARES, or RACES is at least as legitimate a focus for amateur radio 'hobbyists' as contesting, dxing, or anything else.
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KC8VWM
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Posts: 3147




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« Reply #83 on: February 20, 2015, 09:49:17 PM »

Mission?...What mission? ...There is no mission.

The only mission is to exchange MARS callsigns with other MARS stations.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2015, 09:52:38 PM by KC8VWM » Logged
KH6DC
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Posts: 694




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« Reply #84 on: February 28, 2015, 04:14:50 PM »

Mission?...What mission? ...There is no mission.

The only mission is to exchange MARS callsigns with other MARS stations.


The last bunch of natural disasters - hurricanes, tsunamis here in Hawaii no MARS nets were activated.  I participated in the RACES and SKYWARN nets but nothing heard from MARS so I'm wondering what is their mission, justifying someone's employment at Army NETCOM?  Also there's is no credibility when the Army MARS director is a contractor and not military or a government employee.
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
KC2QYM
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Posts: 311




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« Reply #85 on: Today at 10:42:10 AM »

AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. Do you have the mission documents sir?  over
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. What mission documents do you mean?  over.
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. Well...the 'MISSION'!!, the reason we meet here every Monday night on this Net
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Hell, I don't know about any freaken mission, we get on the net just to make sure our radios are working. Out
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie.  OK, how about any traffic to pass?  over
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Where have you been boy? the last piece of traffic I passed was back in 1976, out.
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