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eHam Forums => MARS => Topic started by: WA5CVI on October 16, 2011, 06:36:36 AM



Title: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: WA5CVI on October 16, 2011, 06:36:36 AM
I am curious about present day MARS. I was in Air Force MARS in the early to middle 70's when I was in the Air Force in Idaho and at that time, there were some definite benefits to being in MARS: access to MARS parts banks, tech pubs, equipment issue (of sorts), MARS newsletter, tech advice, etc. These were benefits that were incentives to individuals to join and maintain membership in MARS. There was always the promise of Collins equipment but I really think that only a small fraction of people were able to get Collins equipment.

Are there any of those types of incentives for membership now or have all of those perks dried up?


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: KA0P on October 17, 2011, 08:41:21 AM
 We were probably  active Air Force around the same time- 72-77? although I was stationed in Mo.  I still maintain my MARS Membership although most of the benefits you decribe are long gone

If you ask around enough you might find some folks who have remnants of the old parts and publications banks in a garage or basement. No equipment issue for a long time, most was pretty useless anyway. Lot of tech advice still around. If there is a newletter, it is  most likely on- line only.

With the push toward a lot of digital activity, requiring pretty  stable equipment,   the days of swapping out the heterodyne oscillator crystals in my HW-101 to get on the AF frequencies is a distant memory.

73   


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: WA5CVI on October 17, 2011, 12:39:03 PM
You're exactly right. I was in the AF from 1972 to 1975. I was at Mt Home AFB and I was absolutely crazy about ham radio. While I was on the base I bought the Drake twins...the "C" line because of MARS and the WARC bands. I remember how I kept hoping that I would actually get some Collins gear but it never happened. My personal experience was that most of the stuff I saw people getting was indeed junk. At that time the AF used the Collins KWM-2A's and the 30L-1 and the 30S-1 in the command posts. It was really beautiful gear. You really brought back memories of the mods that were available in the MARS Newsletter to get people on the MARS nets. I specifically remember a lot of Heathkit mods. Oddly enough, I have a lot of Collins today but am not on the air much. It is packed away. I have ben thinking recently about getting back on the air. I would be curious about your experiences with AF MARS. I understand it is difficult to get into AF MARS now. Is that true? 73's..Scott


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: KA0P on October 18, 2011, 06:09:39 AM
pm sent. I was stationed at Richards- Gebaur in Kansas City, which at the time was Air Force Communications Service HQ. 


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: WA5CVI on October 19, 2011, 05:14:26 AM
Yes I remember that. I can remember how much I tried to "wheel and deal" to get equipment but as you said, never did. It was mostly junk.  I am curious about what you remember of your MARS experience back then.


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: KA0P on October 19, 2011, 05:57:58 AM
It is fairly easy to join AF MARS. The only difficulty is you now are a temporary member and have a training callsign and have 6 months to  complete. You have to take a short test, send 2 drill messages, one has to be an EEI message in a digital mode, and spend 1 hour as NCS, then you become a full member, and you have to have digital capability when you join. and of course have equipment capable of operating on AF MARS frequencies.

In the 70s and early 80s, USAF used their MARS program as  an actual  backup comm system. Each active base had a MARS station on the air during the weekdays, and there were several key stations on 24/7, manned by active duty airmen in the radio operator specialty- was a good training for those who would go on to work at the HF air/ground stations. I recall the training area at Keesler AFB had a room full of  Heath HW-18s running into dummy loads, they used for operator training.

The affiliate members would then take over the nets in the evenings, however affiliates could check in during the day.

I was a navaid tech, but volunteered at the station on base when I was off duty.
I sent a pm with my email address. 


   


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: KA4NMA on October 30, 2011, 05:16:01 PM
Does Mars provide any equipment, especially for digital and winlink?

Randy Ka4nma


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: WA1OEZ on October 31, 2011, 07:29:52 AM
No, it doesn't.  MARS has stopped letting out
any equipment.   All winlink needs is a soundcard
interface.

Bob Mims
WA1OEZ / AAA1RD
Director Region One Army MARS


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: N3WAK on November 01, 2011, 07:33:23 AM
Benefits of membership? 

I'm not even a member of MARS yet...HQ is slow-rolling my application.  But to me, the #1 benefit isn't the cool call sign, or the possibility of getting old, surplus equipment like in the old days, but the camaraderie associated with MARS operations, and the knowledge that one is giving back to, and supporting, the military community.  That should be more than enough of an incentive to join MARS.

Thanks to all of you who are already in MARS. 

73, Tony N3WAK
Air Force, 1988-2008


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: W4HLN on December 18, 2011, 07:31:40 PM
Equipment?  Not anymore!  As far as Digital MARS I was running the KY Digital MARS net for about a year each time I was in and had a total of 2 checkins total for 2 years. I ran a net every single day (10 PM Nightly) for 2 years! I also passed a LOT of Traffic going to Iraq and a bunch EEI's through other nets. I usually spent 40 plus hours a month on nets but nobody else in our state seemed to want to do more than the minimum

Our problem was we had a lotta members...just no participation! I did have a lot of fun but after 2 years and nobody else wanting to play it gets really discouraging real fast after that!

Benefits of membership?   Let me know if you find any!

Good Luck!

Ernie / W4HLN


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: WM3M on February 11, 2012, 06:22:21 AM
I emailed my AF MARS application to re-join two months ago today, still waiting.  I have contacted the MD director several times.  I have listened in on the nets, there are quite a few check-ins on the HF nets.  No idea why it takes so long to re-join.  I have lots of ham equipment that I do not use much so I had hoped it would get more use if I re-joined AF MARS.  I had to quit MARS in late 80s, major life crisis, so no time to be active.  I am mostly retired now with more free time to do some volunteer work.  I joined Army MARS while stationed in Germany as a DoD civilian, in the early 80s, then switched to AF MARS.  I was in Air Force for 8 years, got out in 75.  Anyway, if I ever do hear from AF MARS I will be active but if I don’t will try something else……


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: WX4O on March 10, 2012, 06:31:03 AM
I joined Army MARS about '75 or '76. Stayed with it thru 2 overseas assignments, to Germany and Korea. I actually got a couple pieces of equipment: An R-390 and a tube tester, but have neither now. I quit MARS after 20 years because 95%
of the activity was a couple of nets a week with check-ins and comments. When I retired in '06 I thought about joining again, but all of the additional new training and requirements put me off, and I didn't rejoin.
WX4O


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: WB4TJH on May 08, 2012, 04:32:12 PM
I was active in ARMY MARS in the mid 1970s for a few years, but finally gave up in disgust. Only the guys with connections got any gear that was decent and the on-air activity was boring. I decided the whole thing was a snobby clique and a big joke.


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: NK7Z on October 19, 2012, 09:03:18 AM
I am curious about present day MARS. I was in Air Force MARS in the early to middle 70's when I was in the Air Force in Idaho and at that time, there were some definite benefits to being in MARS: access to MARS parts banks, tech pubs, equipment issue (of sorts), MARS newsletter, tech advice, etc. These were benefits that were incentives to individuals to join and maintain membership in MARS. There was always the promise of Collins equipment but I really think that only a small fraction of people were able to get Collins equipment.

Are there any of those types of incentives for membership now or have all of those perks dried up?
You will become well trained, (if you are not already), and versed in communicating with others, trained the same way.  Above all, the training is by far the best aspect of MARS now. 


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: W1MSG on January 03, 2013, 11:28:20 PM
You will become well trained, (if you are not already), and versed in communicating with others, trained the same way.  Above all, the training is by far the best aspect of MARS now. 


I found the training antiquated, and inadequate to do any communicating with todays military. I joined Army MARS while still on active duty and shortly after resigned.  From what I can see they no longer actually serve the Military, MARS stations are closing up on most bases, and with todays technology really have no use any longer.


Title: RE: Benefits of Membership in MARS
Post by: AE7VA on January 27, 2013, 08:57:35 PM
Everyone has pretty much covered the current status of MARS correctly. 

In answer to your question on benefits, we are authorized access to Class C Morale Welfare and Recreation facilities.  With my MARS identification I've regularly in the last year used the Luke AFB recreation facility in Flagstaff Arizona.  To learn more about the facility visit www.lukeevents.com and follow the links for Fort Tuthill rec. site.  They have some awesome cheap cabins. 

We can use any rec. facility that is classified as "off post" and where authorization is classified as "DoD Civilian".  You can find the sites in military travel guide books online.  I'm currently looking forward to using the Fourth Cliff (Hanscom AFB) site in Massachusetts for a summer on the beach.  So I think this is a pretty awesome benefit for us as volunteers and I'm very grateful that we are provided this by DoD Instruction.

I am the State Director for Arizona USAF MARS (AFF9AZ).  You can find our new site online.